Monday, April 17, 2017

Fountain Pen Review: BENU Classic Ghost White Silver

Since 2008, I have reviewed a number of fountain pens from Germany, Japan, Taiwan, and the United States. I have also reviewed pen-related products from Australia, China, France, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Now, for the first time in Rants of the Archer, I am honored to write the first-ever review of BENU Pens' Classic fountain pen, an emerging and promising pen brand from Russia.

I came across BENU Pens in October last year, a few months after the Moscow-based brand was launched. I was impressed by their wide selection of vibrant pen colors and material textures. I saw colorful, shiny, and pearlescent pen barrels, some of which have gold and silver inserts. In March, I was surprised to be discussing pen reviews with one of BENU's founders, Kate Dmitrieva, who let me choose three pens to review at Rants of the Archer.

Fountain pens from BENU's Classic Collection: Turquoise Blue Silver, Midsummer Bronze, and Ghost White Silver.

One of the pens I chose was a white pen, and Kate sent me the Ghost White fountain pen in silver trims. It was love at first sight. The Ghost White fountain pen is elegant, sophisticated, and classic. I am excited to review this beautiful and unique pen, but before that, here is a short glimpse into my fascination with Russia.

I have always loved reading even as a young elementary pupil, and my fascination with the country began with reading books, and looking through an old, tattered world map in our school's small library. Russia's vastness mesmerized the 10-year-old me, and I believe Robert K. Massie's words summarized my fascination: "So immense were the Tsar's dominions that, as night began to fall along their western borders, day already was breaking on their Pacific coast."

It was a book which I salvaged from a trash can near my high school that truly stirred my interest in Russia. Frederick Forsyth's The Devil's Alternative was both entertainment and education, and I was left craving for more. That led me to Ludlum and Clancy. In college, I hang around with the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov for several semesters while I studied classical conditioning. But it was Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov that eventually took me to St. Petersburg.

Snippets from Fyodor Dostoevsky's novels.

Recently, a friend tagged me along when he joined the postcard exchange program The postcard exchange took me on a virtual tour of Russia. I saw churches: The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, St. Basil's Cathedral, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior; and monasteries: Novodevitchiy Monastery and Kurskaya Korennaya Pustyn. I also saw the State Historical Museum, the Bolsheokhtinsky Bridge across the Neva River, and the Moscow Kremlin.

From Russia with love: postcards and fountain pen.

I read and learned about Russia through literature and postcards, but my conversations with Kate and the pens that she sent brought me closer to the country. And to Pavlov, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Chekhov.

BENU Pens is a young pen company launched in early 2016 by co-founders Alex Semanin and Kate Dmitrieva with one goal in mind: to make writing instruments and desk accessories for those who prefer bright colors and new designs that are playful, stylish, and fun.

Alex and Kate previously worked together in Russia's fine watch industry. Alex was the Chief Designer and Director of Product Development and Innovation at the Nika Group Company, where he helped launch several collections of gold and silver writing instruments, accessories, and watches. When Alex decided to create his own line of writing instruments, Kate decided to join him, bringing in her experience as the General Manager of Konstantin Chaykin, a daughter company of the Nika Group.

BENU Ghost White fountain pen inside the box.

BENU fountain pens are presented in elegant gray cardboard boxes that are lined with thin and long shreds of paper. Inside the box, the pen is wrapped in kraft paper and secured by jute twine. Printed on one side of the kraft paper is a brief description of BENU Pens, and product care for their pens.

The pens have uniform shape and size, all handcrafted and made in-house in the company's own Moscow-based workshop. The pen in this review is a fountain pen, but it is also offered as a ballpoint.

The company currently offers three collections of fountain pens and ballpoints:
  1. The Classic Collection includes fountain pens and ballpoints in over 30 color combinations. Most pens in the Classic collection have pearlescent or aventurescent effects and various inserts, such as golden and silver leaves, to achieve a luminous, eye-catching look and to enrich pen’s color.
  2. The Ornate Collection includes fountain pens and ballpoints with geometrical or skull pattern. 
  3. The Sublime Collection includes a limited number of fountain pens with contrasting color combinations. The Sublime collection is produced in limited editions, numbering from 1 to 10 pens only.

The Ghost White Silver fountain pen belongs to BENU's Classic Collection and is also available with gold-plated trims. BENU Pens designed it to echo the alluring romanticism of ghost stories. Crafted from misty, airy pearlescent material, the Ghost White fountain pen is drenched in the mystique and lightness of a white phantom.

I used the Ghost White fountain pen daily for a week, and found it to be an excellent pen. It's a good pen for all fountain pen users -- newbies/beginners, collectors, students, and artists. Uncapped, it weighs 22 grams (similar to a Lamy AL-star's weight) which is just right in the hand. This bullet-shaped compact pen measures 4.9 inches long (only a bit longer than a Kaweco Sport). The Ghost White fountain pen is a light and compact pen that is just right for daily use: note-taking, journaling, and even sketching.

I also noticed the pen's exceptional gloss and shine. The cap, section, and barrel are spotless, shiny, and very smooth to the touch. The aventurescent resin from which this pen was made from was perfectly polished to a beautiful shine.

Due to their streamlined compact size, fountain pens from BENU's Collections are not fitted with converters and can only accommodate cartridges. Each fountain pen is packaged with a short international Schneider cartridge, but I filled the Ghost White fountain pen with Iroshizuku Asa-gao.

BENU Pens has indicated that they are about to launch a new fountain pen collection soon. The new fountain pens will be longer in size, fitted with converters, and will have clips and postable caps.

The Ghost White fountain pen parts: barrel, section (feed + nib), and cap.

The cap and barrel of this pen are made from high-quality, non-toxic, scratch- and wear-resistant aventurescent resin. BENU pens are created from high-quality resin of different colors with glossy, pearlescent, or jewel-dazzling star effect. To ensure one of a kind look, BENU's artisans prepare the resin for each pen separately, and carefully matches the colors by hand.

BENU Pens took great care in creating a pen ergonomically designed to fit a hand perfectly. The cap and barrel of this fountain pen are bullet-shaped and taper off toward the end, making the fountain pen comfortable to use.
It is noteworthy that in BENU pen production, the last step is cap assembly. Their fountain pens have screw on caps, and to secure the locking mechanism of the pen’s cap, the company uses the square thread. Though difficult to fabricate, the square thread has the lowest friction, which makes it the most efficient thread form known.

This pen's design does not include a clip, and won't allow the cap to be posted as well. But that's fine, as I do not post my pens. I am missing a clip, though. Also, I am not comfortable that I cannot fully take apart this fountain pen. I usually disassemble pens for thorough cleaning and even drying. Cleaning pens for reinking or storage is always a must for me.

BENU pens have decorative cap rings in rhodium plated brass or gold plated brass. These rings are attached to the cap and bear the BENU logo.

BENU logo on the cap ring.

BENU fountain pen parts are handcrafted in-house, except for their nibs. BENU fountain pens are fitted with Schmidt nibs that have high-quality JoWo and Bock nibs. The available nib sizes are Fine (F), Medium (M), or Broad (B). My fountain pen has a medium nib that wrote very smoothly out of the box. I did not experience a hardstart, skipping, or ink blobbing. I love writing with it, especially in my bullet journal.

The Ghost White fountain pen's section is very comfortable in the hand. Despite its gloss and shine, I did not experience my writing fingers sliding in the section's surface.

The Ghost White fountain pen's section is comfortable even in prolonged writing sessions.

Another white pen with a medium Schmidt nib, Retro 51 Scriptmaster II Maryanne.
BENU Ghost White with Retro 51 Scriptmaster and Pelikan M400.
Iroshizuku Asa-gao is a perfect ink partner for the Ghost White fountain pen.
Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Chekov would have been proud of this pen. 

If you are a new fountain pen user or a collector, this fountain pen (and other BENU pens) is for you! The Ghost White fountain pen is elegant, yet strong. It writes smoothly, durable, and is available in more than 40 colors! What are you waiting for? Order your pen now! To order, visit BENU's Online Store.

The Ghost White fountain pen in this review is provided by BENU Pens where it retails for US$90. For more details on purchasing pens from BENU, visit their website at

No comments:

Post a Comment