There has always been something about Rosewood to me that is just so beautiful. I’m not sure if it’s just the color, or the grain pattern, or the way that musical instruments made using it resonate so well, or something else. But one thing I do know is how beautiful it looks in a pen.
I was always skeptical of buying wood pens. When I was a kid I had been given a “cherry finish” ballpoint pen and pencil set and it looked and felt poorly made and it wrote about as well as it looked. I had seen wood pens at various craft fairs and they always had poor quality nibs and various quality of wood finishing, but none of them seemed to be decent writing instruments despite some costing well more than $100.00.
I never really gave wood pens much thought until I started seeing the various wood versions of the Conklin All American. Finally, I started to see wood pens that made me consider going out of my comfort zone to try a material that I had just never considered for a fine pen in my collection.
When Pen Boutique of Columbia, Maryland announced that they were releasing their 15th anniversary Conklin All American in rosewood, my interest was piqued. I already have a history with rosewood though my love of the sound and look of it on musical instruments. When it was known that this was to be a rosewood pen, that was enough for me to make the move and purchase the pen. Not only that, but with the rose gold trim, it’s even more beautiful that the photos I first saw.
The pen came in the standard Conklin packaging, but with a special edition sleeve denoting the model with a printed wood grain look. It is quite attractive. I appreciate that the packaging was tastefully done. Inside, along with the pen, was the usual things one would expect to find such as the warranty card and usage instructions. There were also two cartridges include: one blue and one black. A converter was included inside the pen.
When I first opened the box, I noticed right away the way the tight grained rosewood is complimented by the choice to with rose gold trim. There is something about this trim color to me that just works. I can’t imagine any other trim color working to compliment the color of the wood the way this does.
The wood itself is well machined, I could find no obvious flaw in the production of the wood elements of the pen. The natural variations in color and grain gave a nice look to the pen body and the engravings were easy to read. The finish was evenly applied, through I would have preferred that the end grain of the cap and barrel had received the same finishing as the rest of the pen. That end grain does not detract from the overall look of the pen, but it does give some insight into how it was made. It suggests the pieces were first finished, then trimmed to fit afterwards.
Overall the cap and body of the pen is very well done. I do also wonder what it would have looked like if the engravings were filled in with rose gold lettering. But at the same time, gilded lettering will fade over time anyway.
Conklin, for the clip on this pen, went with my favorite of their designs, the rocker spring clip. I had touched on the history of this in my prior review of the Conklin Mark Twain Crescent Filler. The rocker spring clip really makes it easier to quickly slip the pen into my shirt pocket and I never have to wonder if I am going to get it secure on the first go.
One thing that I did notice about the clip however, is that when the pen is capped, the Conklin name on the clip is facing the opposite direction as the engraving on the barrel.
The All American is a comfortable sized pen to hold. I measured it at just about 5.125 inches unposted from nib tip to the end of the barrel and it fit well in my hand unposted. Posted, it measured just about 6.6 inches long. Closed, it is 5.7 inches long. While the pen will securely post, I do not recommended doing so with this or any other wood pen. The material that the cap threads are made of is harder than the rosewood and can cause marks in the barrel as a result. The pen is also comfortably thick. The diameter of the barrel is just under 0.6 inches and the section diameter is just over 0.4 inches. Overall the size of this pen contributes to making it’s use enjoyable.
I purchased this pen with a fine nib which comes in a black finish. The nib was made by Jowo for Conklin and has their famous crescent shaped breather hole. Personally, I would have preferred that the nib was also rose gold plated, but the black nib does look nice as well.
In using the pen, as usual, I test with a Black Monteverde Ink for consistency. The nib performance is what I have come to expect from my Jowo made nibs. Ink flowed smoothly with no skips or hard starts. It performed as it should.
There are only 398 pieces in this limited edition sold exclusively at Pen Boutique in Columbia, MD. The pen is available in EF, F, M, B, 1.1 Stub, and Omniflex. It retails for $95.00 but at the time of this writing, it is on sale for $71.25.
This is a really beautiful pen and there are not many available. If you were considering a wood pen, and love the look of rosewood the way I do, this is a great pen to buy while you still can.