No one can accuse BENU of producing boring pens. From the start they showed you can add sparkle and glitter in ways that can appeal to those who like subtlety as well as the ‘bling brigade’. Bright strong colours and bold designs help their produce stand out in a world of repetition. BENU was started in 2016, however it was not until 2020 that they finally produced a pen with a #6 nib. The Euphoria is the third model in their range to come with this sized nib, following on from the Grand Sceptre and Supreme.
First for those of you who are unaware. BENU moved from Russia to Armenia during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. This was not long after Alex Semanin was ‘detained’ post an anti-war protest. Both Alex and Kate Dmitrieva had already show their support for Ukraine on social media.
There seem to be three types of BENU pen. Highly textured, heavily glittered, or lightly glittered with partly luminescent resin else hand painted art work. With this version of the Euphoria we have a blend of purple and luminescent blue resins. The former looks pearlescent from a distance, but up close you can see it is heavily embedded with particulate in a multitude of colours, though primarily purple. The latter is an ultra-marine and does seem to glow slightly in normal light, though this may be my imagination. It is also slightly translucent with shadows of the nib and converter being visible through the material. In various places around the cap and barrel, especially in and around the purple resin, we have clumps of crystal like slices, though they could also be fragments of mother of pearl or pieces of foil.
As can be seen, this is a faceted pen with 10 sides. How it is made I am unsure, but from a price point and based on details from the Benu website (this page on the design and manufacturing process is actually very interesting and well worth a read) I suspect the external shape is moulded then the interior lathed before being hand finished and polished.
There is one other material I have not yet mentioned, a black resin that is used for the cap band (which includes the internal threads), section, and barrel threads. I am in two minds about the cap band. On the one hand I would have liked the purple resin to continue to the end, however at the same time the black adds some additional subtlety to the pen and is much more preferable to the chrome plated metal bands many other manufacturers go for.
The cap is made of four pieces. A finial which secures the clip in place, the aforementioned clip, the main length, and the black band which includes the threads. The finial angles inwards slightly and alas the seam is visible, though I am not sure how you could get around this without changing how the clip is secured. Sure you could go for a single piece of resin for the cap, but then you would have to secure the clip with a screw or pin, and with this material that would be visible. As a result of the translucent nature of the ultra-marine material you can see the inner hollow does extend in to the finial piece giving extra space for the nib. The only markings on the cap is BENU engraved in to the black band and in line with the clip. If I were to be picky, the facets on the band are slightly different from those on the cap, so while some line up perfectly, others do not. To be honest this is very minor and does not bother me despite my OCD for such things. Now if this were to be a £500 pen rather than £100 then my views might be different.
The cap will post, though there is little need unless you do so by default. With the cap on the back you have a very long pen and this does affect the balance, making the Euphoria back heavy.
The clip is very stiff, however there is enough of a gap at the end to allow it to easily slide over a seam, and the pen does stays firmly in place. It is not until you lift the end of the clip that you see the nub is larger than you would have first thought as it is part recessed in to the cap. A nice touch. Looks wise it is surprisingly plain for this brand and reminds me of the blade of a letter opener or a long sword.
The actual section is of a compatible length to many of the other pens I own, however with the barrel threads being of the same black material I am tricked into thinking the two components are the just one part. I think a lot of this is to do with the contrast between the black and the purple/blue of the rest of the barrel. Net result I find myself using quite a long stretch of it for a very comfortable hold. Helping this are the threads which are wide and soft to the touch. I know some people in the past have asked for other colours for the section as for a long time there was only the one black option. Now some are this way, though with the Euphoria model it is just with the special editions. I suspect it might be a cost consideration and one of the things I will cover later is how good these pens tend to be when you consider value for money.
All BENU pens come with Schmidt nibs. I know many will see this as a cheap option associated with pen kits, however they are linked with both Bock and JoWo (and rumour has it one of those now own Schmidt), and BENU themselves say the actual nibs are made by Jowo, the feed is definitely also JoWo, so it is just the collar that is made by the St. Georgen based company (and it should be noted that more manufacturers than you might realise use Schmidt collars). Key thing though is how does this pen write. The answer is very smoothly. It is almost as if this nib had been tuned. There is a slight amount of bounce, more than you would get from a JoWo and slightly less than with a Bock.
The pen comes with a converter installed, an international long cartridge in the box, and also the ability to be eye dropper filled. The latter could be an interesting option as you will see the ink sloshing around through ultra-marine material at the rear of the barrel.
The packaging is nice and simple. A small cardboard box with branding on it. Inside is a cardboard sleeve holding the pen, and then shredded paper to provide protection. Don’t like keeping pen packaging? All this can go straight in to the recycle pile.
I am going to revisit a couple of areas where our perception of BENU pens have changed over time. First, bright plastic materials, especially with lots of glitter, tend to be associated with cheap toys for young kids and at first I was far from alone in thinking BENU pens looked brittle, especially with the low price being asked for them. For those of us from the UK who are over ~45, think Platignum pens. The reality is far from that though and once you handle a BENU pen you realise they are tough, really tough. In fact these days the faceted ones remind me more of the bright polyhedral dice sets we used to buy, and I still own and use for table top RPG games. Yes I am one of those geeks. Cyberpunk, Traveller, and Runequest for the win 🙂
Second is the section. It makes sense for a new pen maker to use a standard single section and nib for all their pens as it helps keep costs down, reduces the quantities of spares that need to be in place for warranty work, and also adds a brand characteristic, if needed. The problem was the combination of section and threads when together look remarkably like the generic metal ones that are central to most pen kits. In addition most of those also use a size #5 Schmidt nib, as did all the early BENU pens. I know we give kit pen makers a hard time, but most are just wood turners who care little about what tool they are making, the likes of Ryan Krusac, Gilbert House Pens, and Ritters Writers are rare (I know there are a few others and then you have Brian Goulet who moved sideways and now runs one of the largest on line fountain pen retailers in the world, plus there are a few wood turners who do care about their pens but the costs of moving to making sections and having the tools to cut the collar threads are just too much to justify). Reality is BENU are now offering colour matching sections, and from what I have seen they look good, but at the same time they do cause an increase in cost, bringing in to question ‘is the black so bad ?’.
I have got this far without mentioning the luminescent ultra-marine resin. Is it a gimmick, after all it is not the first time BENU have used a glow in the dark material. Arguably it actually makes the pen more subtle as there is less reflective material in those stretches of the cap and barrel. Let us be honest, beyond a couple of occasions we are unlikely to be going in to a dark room, shining a bright light on the pen, killing the illumination then going ‘oooh’. I have noticed one thing though, you do get a slight glow even in daylight. It is not obvious unless you look for it, but it becomes more obvious if you move the pen in to the shade. Anyone got a Geiger counter I can borrow?
Cost wise the Euphoria comes in around £90-£120 at present depending on model (luminescent ones costing more), which I think is good value for what you get. This is a mid level model for BENU, though their pens do start at ~£60 in the UK. I got mine from Derek ‘The Gentle Giant’ of Stonecott Pens at the March 2022 London Pen Show. There are a number of post move to Armenia limited editions limited editions that can only be bought directly from BENU, though these are $230-$280 and two of the four models have now sold out.
So am I glad I bought this pen. Confession time, I had been looking to buy a BENU since not long after they first came out but struggled to find a model I liked. The Euphoria ticked all the right buttons for me and knowing Stonecott Pens would be at the pen show meant I knew I would have a chance of taking a closer look. There is something tactile about the shape of the pen and feel of the material, plus it has just the right combination of sparkle and shine to be able to sit on my desktop as a ‘happy to look at’ item, though that is in many respects cruel to this pen. Partly due to my Onoto Scholar which I bought at the same show, this has been more of a decoration than a writing implement. Still when I do use it I am reminded of just how good a pen it is. It is a beacon showing we do not need to stick to the comparatively bland, office safe products. It is a pen to bring a smile to the face.
Would I recommends one of these to others. I think everyone should have at least a little bling in their life and with the BENU Euphoria you get a decent sized pen which writes really well and is very comfortable to use. Key thing if finding the right model and level of pizazz for your tastes.
- Varying levels of ‘bling’.
- Comfortable pen to hold.
- Great writer.
- Clip works extremely well.
- Fully recyclable packaging for those of a green bent.
- Actually, not everyone wants ‘bling’.
- Arguably the section and barrel threads should be of the same resin mix as the barrel and cap.
- Luminescent material may be considered little more than a gimmick.
- My level of OCD notices the facets do not quite match between the cap and the cap band.
Size Comparison Pictures:
As far as I know Schmidt never produced their own nibs and their nibs are currently sourced from Jowo, but they used to get them from Bock. Never heard the rumour that one of them owns Schmidt before and this does seem rather unlikely to me, since Schmidt is easily the biggest company out of the three thanks to their ballpoints, refills and general office supplies business.
Thanks for the detailed heads up on this model. I am yet to try a Benu but the size and the colourful bodies are appealing.I shall have to pay a visit to Derek’s table at the next London own show (and stop ogling the Venustas). Russia’s loss is Armenia’s gain.
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