Review: Elbwood PocketMaster
Thanks to Frank Pressentin of Elbwood, I now have an obsession with tiny, adorable fountain pens.
The Elbwood PocketMaster may be the height of of tiny adorableness in fountain pens. Elegant cuteness. Sophisticated miniscularity.
Frank has also gone to extreme lengths to make receiving the pen feel like an event. I had a brilliant surprise when I got home from college and saw a brown box waiting for me, and an even bigger surprise when I opened it and saw a rather posh gift bag inside. To my recollection, I hadn't gone shopping in Germany recently, but the bag would suggest otherwise - never before have I received a pen in the post in a gift bag, but I like it!
Inside, there is a booklet and a box. Intrigued by the booklet, I opened it first, to be greeted with some very, very pretty pictures of pens... and lots of German writing. While I can't read German, using the Magic Of Technology I easily translated the text with my phone. I'd write it all here, but there's quite a bit of wit, so I'd recommend downloading any free translating app or using Bixby Vision if you have a Samsung Galaxy phone. It's worth it!
After I'd finished staring at the beautiful pens inside the booklet I made a mental note to freeze my own bank account before letting myself anywhere near the Elbwood website in case my hand slips and I accidentally buy the shop, and proceeded to open up the pen box.
It comes in a cardstock sleeve, which you remove to reveal the tin inside. I love it when pens come in these! Tins look good, and they are sturdy and reusable. The unboxing experience doesn't end when you open the tin - inside, you find two seperate pieces of card, one with your new little writing friend's details on it, and another with some more beautiful photography on it.
Remove these, and your ebonite PocketMaster is revealed!
Honestly, it was love at first sight with this one. The colour is described as 'red', but I'm not sure if I'd call it that. It's obviously closer to red than orange or yellow, but it has a gorgeous pinkish tone in it that I'm at a loss to describe because I cannot find it online as a convenient hex number that you can Google to see it for yourself. On my laptop, the photos show the colour quite well, but depending on your display the colours might differ. If I were to have a crack at describing it, I'd say it is red with hints of coral/salmon that give it the pinkish tint that I mentioned before. Either way, I like it.
The overall design is very effective too. It's not elaborate or complicated, but the simplest designs are most effective. I haven't seen any other pens with horizontal lines for the grip section, but it looks so good! Yes, I can hear you all yell 'that's because your fingers will slide down the section!' They don't. While the ebonite isn't grippy, I haven't experienced any problems of the sliding variety. Or of any variety, in fact.
Also, I thought that those threads at the bottom of the pen (meant for screwing the lid on to) would really annoy me, but they don't. It just seems to fit in nicely with the design, and the threads are machined to high tolerances which means that the cap screws on smoothly in one turn.
The first thing that you are likely to notice when you pick up the pen is how light it is. It doesn't feel light in a cheap way because the ebonite feels strong in the way that aluminium would (though I would be careful to avoid dropping it because I think I recall reading somewhere online that ebonite pens can crack). The second thing you'll notice is that unlike aluminium, it feels warm in the hand, something unique to ebonite and wood. This is much more pleasant than picking up an ice-cold pen on a chilly day!
I have small hands, so I can very comfortably use the pen unposted, but I usually post it anyway to keep the cap safe. It is actually one of the most comfortable pens I own, and given that the pen is 10cm long capped and only a few centimetres longer when posted this surprises me. Pocket pens often get a bad reputation for being uncomfortable, but that certainly isn't the case here!
The Broad Jowo nib only adds to the pleasant experience - when I say it writes like butter, I mean it. I now want a Broad Jowo nib for every pen I own! It feels... perfect. It completely suits my writing style, and it isn't too dry or too wet. It's definitely on the wetter side (as is the case for many Broad nibs), but if you used a drier ink you wouldn't notice this at all. I write quickly, so wetter nibs are better for me sometimes because they won't skip or dry out whilst I'm writing.
The black nib even looks good, with a subtle Elbwood logo engraved into it, and it contrasts nicely with the confusing red of the ebonite. I love the lack of branding on the Pocketmaster! There's the logo on the nib, and nothing else. This really allows the colour and the material to shine as the eye isn't distracted by any garish branding. You get to focus on the minimalistic design instead.
As with most pens, you unscrew the barrel to access the inside. There's no way that you're going to fit a converter in a pen this small, but you can use any small cartridges. Frank considerately included some blue Pelikan cartridges, and I inconsiderately split the first one. I don't get along with cartridges, so hard to squeeze to get them going... I didn't make the same mistake twice and I pushed the second one much harder into the section, so it wasn't overly pressurised when I squeezed it to start the ink flowing. It's very well-built so you don't need to worry about breaking the section, you can push the cartridge in harder than you think you can.
You can also remove the nib if you like, you just need to unscrew it and it will come right out. This could be useful if you want to give the whole thing a very thorough clean, and you could also purchase more nibs to swap between.
One last thing - don't leave your pen in direct sunlight, as it can cause the ebonite to fade. I'd recommend keeping it in a pen case, or just somewhere shady on your desk. You don't want it to go light pink or white!
Frank has created a beautiful writing instrument that I will enjoy using for many years. It's unexpectedly comfortable, writes like a dream, and who doesn't love an adorable little pen?
Disclaimer: Elbwood provided this product for review purposes. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.