Monday, October 24, 2016

Fountain Pen Review: Nemosine Singularity Blueberry

I came across the brand Nemosine a few years ago through a fellow member of Fountain Pen Network Philippines. His pen, Nemosine Singularity, was a modest demonstrator with chrome trims, but what caught my eye was its #6 nib. More colors were produced since then, but it wasn't available in the Philippines, so the chance of getting one in my collection was slim. Until I got an offer to review one.

Goldspot Pens, seller of brand name luxury and fine writing fountain, rollerball, and ballpoint pens based in New Jersey, USA, has kindly sent me a Nemosine Singularity fountain pen in Blueberry with a 0.6mm stub nib to review here.

Nemosine, a pen company based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been around for a couple of years. Their writing instruments, offered only as fountain pens are: Singularity, Neutrino, and Fission. The Singularity, their flagship fountain pen, is available in three finishes: Traditional, Demonstrator, and Acrylic. For a fountain pen in the $20 price range, the Singularity has a wide range of colors and nib widths to choose from. The Blueberry fountain pen in this review is one of the 13 colors of the Traditional Singularity, with seven other colors in the Demonstrator and Acrylic lines.

Nemosine fountain pens are packaged in simple white laminated cardboard boxes that bear the Nemosine logo on one side. The other side has details about the pen such as color, nib width, warranty, and the origins of the pen's parts. Interestingly, every Nemosine Singularity pen box is marked with the Schwarzschild radius equation.

Inside the box are: Singularity fountain pen, converter, six short international ink cartridges, and a fountain pen filling and cleaning instruction leaflet.

The Singularity's parts are manufactured from different places, as the box indicates. The pen bodies (cap, barrel) are from Taiwan, while the nibs come from Germany (either Jowo or Bock). The pens are then inspected and packaged in the USA. Nemosine offers a three-year 'perfection warranty' for their pens.

When I tried the Singularity Blueberry for the first time, I noticed that it's a very light fountain pen, even with a full converter. It's just as light as a Lamy Safari, but the difference in their plastic material is noticeable. While I am confident that the Safari will survive a fall, I cannot say the same for the Singularity. The Singularity, however, has an impressive gloss.

The Singularity weighs ~17 grams (capped), and measures ~5.4 inches long while capped, ~4.9 inches without the cap, and ~5.8 inches when the cap is posted.

Parts of the Singularity: cap, barrel, converter, section, feed, and nib.

The barrel and cap of the Singularity have the same tapered shape, where they are widest at the center of the pen, and narrows slightly towards the ends. The Singularity pen's barrel is shaped from a single piece of plastic which is excellent for eyedropper conversion. The cap is screw-on type, which is a nice feature for an inexpensive pen.

The Singularity's wide cap band is set above the cap lip, giving it a nice look together with the barrel's thin chrome band when the pen is capped. The Nemosine logo is handsomely inscribed into the cap band.

The Singularity clip and clip band are in the same chrome finish as the barrel and cap bands. The folded-metal clip is springy and holds the pen securely in place.

The conical endpoints (top cap, barrel end) of the Nemosine Singularity fountain pen.

The Singularity's #6 nibs have a unique and distinctive design. The design suggests butterfly wings, but I also see flower petals and bird feathers. The imprint includes "Made in Germany" at the base, nib width (0.6) above it, and the letter N (for Nemosine) just below the breather hole.

There are six nib widths available for the Singularity: extra-fine, fine, medium, broad, 0.6mm, and 0.8mm. The 0.6mm nib is untipped and quite sharp, and may not be suited for writers who rotate their pens, but the sharp italic creates impressive line variations.

Traditional Singularity fountain pens have the same black plastic section. It has a nice hourglass shape without any grip guides that is comfortable to hold.

In other pens, the threads used in screwing the cap to the barrel is placed in the barrel. With the Singularity, the threads are placed in the section and not in the barrel, so that at times, my fingers are resting on the threads above the section. It does not bother me at all, nor does it make writing uncomfortable.

The Singularity's (center) nib with other #6 nibs: Jinhao (left) and Edison (right).

I am including the Nemosine Singularity (5.4 inches) in the full size pen category, together with the TWSBI 540 (5.6 inches), Lamy Safari (5.5 inches), and Noodler's Ahab (5.4 inches). Its length is just right for comfortable writing.

I love matching ink colors with my fountain pens. Diamine Sapphire Blue seemed the perfect match for the Blueberry Singularity. The untipped 0.6mm stub nib was not smooth throughout the writing sample I included here, but I am happy and impressed with the line variation it produced.

Perfect together: Diamine Sapphire Blue and Singularity Blueberry
The Nemosine 0.6mm stub nib makes writing very expressive.

While I have a few minor reservations about the Singularity, I would still recommend this $20 fountain pen not only to beginners, but to long-time fountain pen users, as well. Its material may be a downside, but the #6 nib is probably worth $15-$20 on its own. It's a lightweight pen, and comfortable enough to use for longer periods of writing. If you are looking for a beginner fountain pen, or for one to add into your collection, head over to Goldspot Pens and get one (or two)!

The Singularity and other Nemosine fountain pens are widely available in many reputable sellers worldwide. If you want to look at other Singularity pens, visit Goldspot Pens.

I received the Nemosine Singularity fountain pen in this review free of charge from GOldspot Pens. For more details, visit their website.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Fountain Pen Review: Kaweco Liliput


I have magician friends in Nürnberg, Germany, and they are hiding in a place called Kaweco House of Magic and Sorcery. They make small, tiny pens that become big pens as soon as you uncap them. My friends are led by wizards, and one of them is Sebastian Gutberlet. Yes, my friends, Sebastian is a wizard and he is running Kaweco's team of magicians in Nürnberg. Magicians!

That scenario is only a fantasy, but I will always think of the people behind Kaweco as magicians. That was my initial reaction to the Kaweco Liliput when I first held it, uncapped it, and screwed the cap onto the barrel: This pen is a work of magic!

When Kaweco's Sales and Marketing Manager Sebastian Gutberlet sent me a box of Kaweco products last year, he kindly included an aluminum shiny black Liliput fountain pen. I've been curious about this tiny aluminum pen since it was reintroduced in 2011, after Kaweco was revived by H&M Gutberlet Gmbh. I wanted to know how it writes, and see if I could write with it.

Kaweco introduced the Liliput fountain pen in ebonite in 1910. The remake is now made from different metals, with a matching ballpoint pen. The Liliput in this review is made from lightweight aluminum with a shiny black finish, but the line includes other colors/finishes: aluminum (shiny silver); lead-free brass (eco brass smooth satin, eco brass wavy); stainless steel; copper; and tempered steel which is used on the fireblue steel Liliput.

The Liliput is a small and compact pen. It is the smallest fountain pen made by Kaweco, and one of the smallest fountain pens in the world that uses standard short international cartridges. Due to its size, the Liliput can only take short cartridges. I have seen converters for Kaweco Sport fountain pens, but none for the Liliput.

Kaweco makes its own ink in 30ml bottles and short international cartridges, available in 8 colors: Pearl Black, Midnight Blue, Royal Blue, Paradise Blue, Palm Green, Caramel Brown, Ruby Red, and Summer Purple. In 2016, two new ink colors were introduced: Smokey Gray and Sunrise Orange.

Lots of parts for a small pen: cap, barrel, section, feed and nib holder, feed, and nib. 

The aluminum Liliput is the lightest among all Liliput fountain pens. It weighs ~11.3 grams, and measures ~3.8 inches long while capped, 3.4 inches uncapped, but becomes a full-sized pen at ~5.0 inches when the cap is screwed onto the barrel.

The barrel of the Liliput is even smaller and thinner than the barrel of the Sport series. At a diameter of 0.4 inch, it could almost fit in the Sport's barrel.

Kaweco Sport (left) and Kaweco Liliput (right) barrels.

The threading on the end of the Liliput's barrel allows the cap to be screwed on securely, converting the pen into a full-size length of ~5.0 inches, comfortable enough for writing.

Because of its material, the aluminum Liliput cannot be transformed into an eyedropper pen. Prolonged contact with ink may corrode the barrel.

The Liliput's screw-on cap serves two purposes: nib protection and barrel extension. When the cap is screwed onto the section, it protects the nib and prevents ink from drying up. Once it is uncapped and screwed (posted) onto the barrel, it becomes an extension, and transforms the pen into a full-sized fountain pen. The Liliput's cap is a wonder, but I wish the Kaweco wizards can install a clip on it.

The logo KaWeCo (Federhalter-Fabrik Koch, Weber & Co), or “KA-WE-CO” in the three-part circle was first used in 1930. It's still being used today in nearly all Kaweco pens.

The Liliput's section has a feed and nib holder, probably to avoid rusting and corrosion from the prolonged contact between the aluminum section and the wet feed and nib. The feed and nib holder is threaded, and screws onto the section for a tight fit.

The medium stainless steel nib was scratchy, and hard starting at first, so I thoroughly cleaned both feed and nib to take off any manufacturing residue. I widened the feed's ink channel, and the space between the tines. 

Bock, a German nib manufacturer, makes nibs for Kaweco. The Kaweco nib imprint includes the width (M), logo, and the words 'Germany' and 'since 1883' under a filigree-like pattern. Five nib sizes are available for the Liliput: extra fine (EF), fine (F), medium (M), broad (B), and double broad (BB).

Other nibs available for the Liliput are: gold, rhodium plated gold, or a bi-color gold nib. The carbon black steel nib is perfect for the black Liliput. Some of these nibs are available for order at

The Liliput's nib.

Kaweco uses identical stainless steel Bock nibs on the Liliput, Sport, and Student series. This feature of Kaweco fountain pens is helpful because I can easily swap nibs from one pen to another.
Left to right: Liliput, Sport Skyline, Student.

The Liliput, capped, is ~3.8 inches long. Uncapped, it's only ~3.4 inches.
When the Liliput's cap is screwed onto its barrel, the pen becomes a full-sized pen at ~5.0 inches, almost the same length with the Sport at ~5.3 inches.
Writing with a posted pen is new to me. I tried writing with the Liliput without the cap, and it was uncomfortable. Writing with a short and slender pen felt like there was no balance between my hand and the pen. The Liliput's cap not only extends the length of the pen, it also provides additional weight and balance.

Writing with the pen uncapped was still possible, but uncomfortable.
The Liliput is a comfortable pen to write with once the cap is screwed/posted onto the barrel.

Writing sample of Kaweco Liliput with a broad nib inked with Kaweco Paradise Blue.

The aluminum shiny black Kaweco Liliput is a well-made, compact, and solid fountain pen that is uniquely designed to be portable and easy to use. The stainless steel nib writes well, and changing nibs is very easy. It's a great pen and the perfect companion for small (and big) notebooks. If you are looking for a portable fountain pen, nothing's better than a Kaweco Liliput.

The Liliput fits comfortably in my TN's pen holder.

The Liliput and other Kaweco pens are widely available in many reputable sellers worldwide. For a list of sellers, visit Kaweco's Store Locator.

I received the Kaweco Liliput fountain pen in this review free of charge from Kaweco Germany. For more details, visit the Kaweco website.

In the Philippines, Kaweco Liliput pens are exclusively available at Scribe Writing Essentials stores in Eastwood Mall, Shangrila Plaza Mall, Glorietta 5, SM Aura, and SM Megamall. Their 6th store has opened in SM City Cebu in April. For their complete location/address, contact numbers, and store hours, visit the Scribe website.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Fountain Pen Review: 2016 Lamy Safari Special Edition Dark Lilac

After years of waiting, Lamy fans and collectors got their long time wish in 2016: a purple Lamy Safari!!! After three green pens in four years—two of them called neon—Lamy gave in to the clamor for a purple Safari, and issued the Dark Lilac.

Dark Lilac is Lamy's Special Edition Safari pen for 2016. I have a Dark Lilac fountain pen, but the Dark Lilac Safari collection also includes a rollerball and a ballpoint pen. Dark Lilac not a 'limited edition' pen like the previous ones, but a 'special edition' Safari. I received the Dark Lilac fountain pen and its matching ink in this review at no cost from Lamy's authorized and exclusive distributor in the Philippines, Times Trading Company.

Dark Lilac Safari fountain pen in box. Times Trading, through its sellers in the Philippines (Scribe Writing Essentials, National Bookstore), includes an ink cartridge and a Lamy Z24 converter for every fountain pen purchase.

Lamy released the Dark Lilac Safari fountain pen in a packaging similar to that of the 2014 Neon Coral. Instead of the old plastic pen box, Lamy now uses laminated cardboard boxes with the year's color theme for their special and limited edition pens.

The announcement of the 2016 Safari surprised many. Lamy did a turn around in 2016, and created a special edition pen that is not glossy and bright (neon). Instead, the new Safari has a muted and subdued deep purple color in matte finish. But the surprise does not end there — with Dark Lilac, Lamy brought back the black clip and black nib that were installed in the early edition Safari pens. The black clip/black nib combination looks better on the Dark Lilac, instead of the shiny chrome clip and nib.

Lamy Safaris are student pens, and the starter pen of many fountain pen enthusiasts. Dark Lilac is still made from the sturdy ABS plastic – the same material used in Lego blocks, golf club heads, keyboard keycaps, inner walls of refrigerators, and the filament commonly used in 3D printers. Designed by Wolfgang Fabian, this pen was first presented during the 1980 Frankfurt exhibition, and has been in Lamy's regular production since then. Despite some fountain pen enthusiasts' low regard for this plastic pen, a number of fans around the world collect the Safari and its aluminum cousin, Lamy Al-star.

The Dark Lilac Safari's parts are: barrel, section (grip + feed + nib), converter, and cap. Safari fountain pens measure 5.5 inches capped, 5 inches uncapped, and 6.5 inches posted. It's a lightweight pen, and anyone can use it for extended periods of writing. The cap with the oversized clip is 2.5 inches long, the length from the nib to converter is 4.6 inches, while the barrel measures about 3 inches.

Lamy's proprietary piston operated Z24 converters are used to fill the Safari fountain pen with ink from a bottle, but T10 ink cartridges are also available.

Dark Lilac shares the same finial (top cap button) with those of previous limited edition Safaris: Lime Green (2008), Neon (2013), Neon Coral (2014), and Neon Lime (2015).

Some fountain pen users frown at the Safari's triangular grip, saying it is uncomfortable and annoying. This feature, however, is designed to make writing easier — it is meant as a guide for users to have a firm and secure grip on the pen. An anti-slipping brake near the end of the section prevents a user’s fingers from slipping into the nib while writing. I do not find the triangular grip uncomfortable at all. I actually do not notice it when I'm using my Safari pens.

Lamy's interchangeable nibs are very useful. A Safari fountain pen uses the same feed and nib as those on the Vista, Al-Star, Joy, Nexx, and Studio. Due to the color difference, my nib options for the Dark Lilac is limited only to a broad nib from an older Safari. I can still put a 1.1 stub or 1.9 italic nib on it, but again, the color difference will bother me. But that's just me. Any Lamy nib for the Safari, chrome or otherwise, will fit Dark Lilac.

Safari fountain pens bought in the Philippines have medium nibs, but other nib sizes are available: extra-fine, fine, broad, and left-handed. The Safari can also be fitted with an italic nib ranging from 1.1mm to 1.9mm.

Lamy Safari limited and special edition fountain pens from 2008 to 2016.

Lamy previously issued a purple pen in 2009: the Black Purple Al-star. It's more red than purple.

When Times Trading sent the Dark Lilac Safari pen to me, they kindly included a bottle of Dark Lilac ink, a matching ink color for the 2016 special edition fountain pen.

The 50ml Dark Lilac ink is in a Lamy T52 bottle that comes with a roll of blotter that can be used to clean the pen after filling, or to blot writing. The bottle has a small basin at the bottom, to allow filling when the ink level is low.

I am a blue ink person, and I don't usually use non-blue fountain pen inks, especially bright purple inks that stain converters. There are only two purple inks that I like and use: J. Herbin Poussière de Lune (PdL) and Diamine Damson — both muted and dark purple. But Dark Lilac ink is a happy surprise from Lamy. It is deep, dark purple, and has impressive shading and gold sheen. It flows well and smoothly, and does not stain fountain pen converters.

Lamy Dark Lilac ink. Impressive shading and sheen!

A single stroke of Dark Lilac shows its depth and beautiful golden sheen. It reminds me of a dark night sky filled with stars.

Double strokes of Dark Lilac. This is how dark it can be when used in wider or broader nibs. 

Swabs of the three inks make me think that Dark Lilac is PdL and Damson combined. It has the reddish hue of PdL, and dark blue from Damson: a purple ink I can use for writing notes and journal entries, a purple ink I can use for daily writing.

Who's the darkest of them all? Dark Lilac!

There is one more thing I like about the Dark Lilac Safari: the purple changes with the light, almost iridiscent. It can look dark and almost black in soft light, but changes to a brighter, happier purple under intense light. It's a different Lamy Safari, one I'd hold on to in my Lamy Safari collection.

If you want to get a Dark Lilac Safari, you better get one now. It's almost sold out, and to date, Lamy will not be making this special edition pen anymore. Go get yourself a Dark Lilac now!

Lamy Safari pens are widely available from pen sellers worldwide. For a global search of Lamy retailers, visit:

In the Philippines, the Dark Lilac Lamy Safari (and other Lamy products) is made available by Times Trading Company, through National Bookstore branches around Metro Manila. Lamy pens are also available at Scribe Writing Essentials stores in Eastwood Mall, Shangrila Plaza Mall, Glorietta 5, SM Aura, and SM Megamall. 
Their 6th store has opened in SM City Cebu in April. For their complete location/address, contact numbers, and store hours, visit
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