Monday, October 26, 2020

Fountain Pen Review: Otto Hutt design04

Here's another first in Rants of The Archer blog: Otto Hutt, a pen brand from Germany's "Golden City" of Pforzheim. Founded by Karl Hutt in 1920 and successfully run by his son Otto, the company has a first-class reputation around the world through centuries of making jewelry and writing instruments. Using the Bauhaus style, the company produced new products for pocket consumer goods and writing devices made of silver. Otto Hutt still uses silver in some of their pens, but they mostly use brass and aluminum now.

Otto Hutt was relaunched in 2016, and the company's new package includes a modern collection of seven different design lines, design01 to design07. Each line has several variations such as shape, material, and pen type. The design04, however, is an exception as it is the only line with an extensive combination of designs and variations. Otto Hutt design04 is available as a fountain pen, rollerball, ballpoint, or pencil in ten combinations of patterns and designs including this black lacquered square guilloche fountain pen. The lacquered guilloche on the barrel is elegant and classy.

Pen products are presented differently by their brands. Though presentation boxes and accessories are usually unused and kept in storage — or discarded — after purchase, I enjoy seeing them and their branding. To me, such details reveal how a company values its products. I like Otto Hutt's presentation box for their pens. It's elegant, compact, and sturdy, and like their pens, these boxes and other accessories are also 100% Made in Germany.

This sleeve, printed with Otto Hutt logo in silver, covers the box carrying the design04 fountain pen and accessories. 
The box carrying the Otto Hutt design04 fountain pen and accessories is elegant and sturdy.
All Otto Hutt writing instruments are packaged with an ink converter, a cleaning cloth, user manual, and warranty card.

I came across Otto Hutt on Instagram. I was very impressed by the pens from their different series which all speak precision, quality, and functionality. When I discussed this collaboration with them, I didn't know what pen they were going to send. The design04 fountain pen surprised me. It has a subtle design, but it is elegant, classy, and functional. It looks ultra-modern and very Bauhaus, despite coming from an original design by Otto Hutt from the 1960s.

Otto Hutt design04 fountain pen is 100% made in Germany, produced in their own factory with a 70-man workforce. This slim and compact medium-sized pen is made of solid brass. The barrel has a checkered guilloche pattern, lacquered in several color coats with a final velvet, matte finish. The cap and clip of this pen are both made from brass and plated in platinum. For its size, this pen is well balanced. It's not too heavy from the materials it's been made from, but it's not light, either. The design04 is available as a fountain pen, rollerball, twist ballpoint pen, and twist pencil.

Otto Hutt design04 fountain pen black square guilloche with a bicolor steel broad nib.

Otto Hutt writing instruments all carry the label "Made in Germany." Initiated by the German Federation of Jewelry and Watches, this label shows the product came from Germany and is a unique distinction within the jewelry industry. To get the distinction of this label, a brand must fulfill an extensive range of requirements. To fulfill such requirements, Otto Hutt products are exclusively manufactured in Germany using high-quality materials and a sustainable manufacturing process.

Otto Hutt design04 fountain pen has the following measurements and specifications:
  • Length, capped: 5.25 in | 13.3 cm
  • Length, uncapped: 4.9 in | 12.4 cm
  • Length, cap posted: 6.75 in | 17 cm
  • Length, barrel only: 3.1 in | 7.8 cm
  • Length, section to nib: 2 in | 5 cm 
  • Length, cap: 2.3 inches | 5.8 cm
  • Weight, capped/empty barrel: 34 g | 1.20 oz
  • Weight, cap only: 13 g | 0.45 oz
  • Weight, barrel only: 21 g | 0.75 oz
  • Body material: Brass with guilloche pattern in a checked design
  • Clip material: Brass, coated with platinum
  • Nib material: Steel or 18ct gold
  • Filling mechanism: Converter or cartridges (standard international long or short) 

The design04's clip is Otto Hutt's unique mechanical spring clip handcrafted from solid brass with a high-quality platinum coating and checked by hand several times to ensure quality. This clip is a special feature of Otto Hutt writing instruments. It is highly polished but well constructed. There are no sharp corners or uneven parts that could snag a shirt pocket or pen case slot. It feels solid, very sturdy, and the spring works perfectly.

The design04's clip bears Otto Hutt's branding and the pen's identification. The company's logo is laser etched on top of the cap behind the clip.

Otto Hutt pens are unique pieces and have individual numbering. A 6-digit numerical code is engraved on the opposite side of the cap, which also bears the word GERMANY. This code is also noted on the warranty card, and it ensures that every writing device is one of a kind.

The cap's finial is engraved with a variation of the Otto Hutt logo, and some people view this branding a little too much. I think the first two branding marks are a nice touch, but I prefer the finial to be smooth and shiny and free of any engravings like this pen's barrel end.

The lacquered guilloche on the barrel of design04 is very elegant and classy. Otto Hutt describes the process of making the barrel pattern: "The barrel sleeves are given a guilloche pattern in a checked design. This is followed by multiple lacquering with colored lacquer and finally with high-quality matt lacquer." The guilloche pattern is smooth to the touch and a perfect combination with the brass barrel.

design04 can be inked using standard international short or long cartridges. It can also be filled with ink using the converter that is included in each Otto Hutt fountain pen purchase. The converter that came with the design04 fountain pen is branded with the Otto Hutt logo and I prefer this because it helps me prevent mix-ups and use the correct converter each time. A  wrong converter could result in breakage or ink spills.

Long brass threads in the barrel and section ensure stability and durability. These threads will always stay in place and prevent unnecessary loosening of the pen parts.

For its fountain pens, Otto Hutt offers both steel and 18ct gold nibs in EF, F, M, and B. A stylized image of half a nib is engraved into the nib. The design04 fountain pen sent to me has a steel bicolor broad nib that is platinum- and yellow gold-plated. The plating is neatly done and it's also very pretty.

The Otto Hutt design04 is a slim and medium-sized fountain pen. While capped, it is shorter than a Faber Castell e-Motion or Lamy 2000 and shares the same length with the Kaweco DIA2.

Uncapped, it's another story. The design04 is now longer than the Faber Castell e-Motion and shares the same length with the Lamy 2000, Kaweco DIA2, and Pelikan M400. This length comparison shows the design04 is not so compact at all. It's a pen that anyone can use for comfortable writing, even without the cap. I also think that if the design04 fountain pen came in the same size as the Faber Castell e-Motion, it will be a heavy brass pen.

To test how the design04's steel broad nib writes, I filled it with Otto Hutt Ocean Blue ink, and the pen performs so well. I inked it out of the box and it wrote smoothly and consistently with good ink flow. In the days that I tested it, this pen always writes even when I have not used it for days. It doesn't skip, and it never had any hard starts at all. This pen's steel nib is so good, it's perfect! Get one for your collection!

Erratum: the design04's cap is made of brass, not silver.

When Otto Hutt sent design04 to me, they kindly included a bottle of one of their handmade inks. I wasn't so sure about their inks, but testing it in my design04 proved me wrong.

Otto Hutt also carries a series of inks for their fountain pens. There are five different colors in their selection of handmade inks, including emerald, black night, ocean blue, red rose, and gold dust. They also have permanent blue and black inks. I got a 30 ml bottle of Otto Hutt Ocean Blue ink together with the Design 04 fountain pen. 

Otto Hutt Ocean Blue fountain pen ink.

Also called 'schoolboy' ink, Ocean Blue is a bright, vibrant blue ink — the blue that I like — that is wet and saturated. It has good flow in the design04's broad nib and shows sheen in some paper types. It has a faint scent of detergent/soap, too! Lastly, I like the Otto Hutt ink bottle because it's so simple yet functional. It's glass, has a wide opening, and a coated metal cap. I just wish they use a more sturdy material for the ink bottle's box.

Otto Hutt Ocean Blue is a nice blue ink, perfect for everyday writing. Get it for your pens!

Otto Hutt design04 fountain pen is an excellent pen. It's subtle, classy, and elegant. This slim, compact, medium-sized pen is well-built, sturdy, and comfortable for writing. It also comes with a 10-year availability and guarantees on all parts. Get one from Otto Hutt where it retails for €185.00, or from authorized sellers in 23 countries worldwide. Find the one nearest you!

This year, Otto Hutt celebrates 100 years of traditional craftsmanship, technical perfection, and timeless design. The company marks this important milestone with many unique products including Unique by Otto Hutt, a bilingual magazine, new pastel colors for their design06, three new additions to design04, and the iconic and innovative designC fountain pen by award-winning international designer Mark Braun

Rants of The Archer thanks Otto Hutt for providing the design04 fountain pen for review purposes. Visit the Otto Hutt website or click the links below to learn more about their series 01 to 07:

Follow Otto Hutt in their new adventures!

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