What can be more satisfying than a Saturday morning started with a brand new pen? 

I want to do a quick mini-review of the Monograph Brass pen.  I was drawn to this, as is often the case by a post about it on the Fountain Pens UK Facebook group and decided to take a look for myself.  

I ordered this for £17.95 from www.arbolhouse.com and it arrived in 24 hours, well packed.  I had quite low expectations:  an under £20 pen is never going to get me too excited… but how happy I am to report that my initial impressions of this pen are that it is absolutely brilliant!  

Nestled in the very smart, pale green box was a solid little solid brass pen in a dark foam wedge, instructions for use and basic black cartridge to get you started.  So far, so smart.  In the hand this is a sold pen for its diminutive size – around 25g all in and it feels like it would survive a nuclear holocaust! 

Its a slim pen – 10mm across the barrel, 8.5mm section, unposted is 105mm long and posted 148mm long.  This definitely puts it firmly in the pocket or travel pen camp, but I think it’ll likely end up as an EDC for me due to it overall convenience and the general experience of writing with  it! 

Taking it from the top, then: the cap has a very smart simple clip in a deeper brass shade, nicely machine engraved with the “Monograph” brand.  It was already developing a light patina on opening the box and I think it’ll age well.  Take off the push fit cap and you’ll see a plastic liner inside the cap to reduce the risk of the pen drying out, and the cap posts nicely and fairly securely to take this pocket size pen up to a much more useful size. 

The nib is a simple size 5 steel IPG affair, but is is two-tone in finish and has a swooping fan like engraving on it which gives this a distinctly art-deco feel.  The classy looks are matched by the writing experience: the nib was smooth out of the box, with decent flow and I was really surprised by how much I like the fine-medium line it produces.  It is a nice writer – better than many much more expensive pens I own!

Unposted it’d suit someone with small hands and a low grip on the section.  In this case the balance is neutral and excellent –  I can’t see how you wouldn’t enjoy writing with this. 

With my larger hands I will be using it posted (unusual for me). In this case, the balance sits towards the back end, which I dislike, but for short periods of writing it’s really not a problem.  Its comfy and the weight makes it easy to use, the ink flow is good and I have had no skips, catches or hard starts so far.  I can tell this little pen and I will get on just fine!  

So here’s the thing.  I don’t generally like cheap pens:  even the excellent brands like Jinhao and Wingsun, Ranga, FPR etc leave me feeling mildly uneasy – I have a sense that these are “sweat-shop pens” that often lean too heavily on designs of the expensive European or US brands – and this leaves me feeling cold.  But…  this is a case of a pen in a design I haven’t come across before that completely destroys the much more expensive competition!  For example, I much prefer this to significantly more expensive Kaweco Brass pens and even the Kaweco Supra, Midori Travellers Pen or Diplomat’s Traveller pen.   £17.95 for this pen is a significant bargain and for once I have found a cheap, Chinese manufactured pen that actually makes me feel quite smug.  Like I started with:  a great way to start a Saturday morning! 

If you want to take a look for yourself, google: “Monograph Brass Pen” or visit arbolhouse.com 

I purchased this pen for myself and have no link back to the above supplier or retailer.  

I wrote this short essay a few weeks back as part of the #FountainPenChallenge for January 2021. Its my journey, though 2020 one month at a time based on a single memory or snapshot of time.  It allowed me to re-contextualise what in many ways felt like an incredibly difficult year and reminded me of the need to always be grateful for what life gives you. 

Warning:  some of the content could “trigger” those of a more sensitive nature so consider this before you proceed.

The “nibliography” is at the end of the piece – I hope you get something out of reading it: an insight into the life of a doctor in the COVID crisis, the balance of life vs work in an NHS career or to know me a bit better.  No people, places, areas have been named, deliberately.  

(Click to enlarge in gallery view – it should be roughly like reading a book!)