One of the joys of fountain pen shows is when something jumps out at you while passing and browsing tables, especially those belonging to the solo and small pen makers. Such a thing happened to me with this Rosetta at the 2022 October London Pen Show. Making their first appearance, Nine-Bespoke Pens were not unknown to me, however it was the first time I had been able to see their work in the flesh.
I say they, but Nine-Bespoke Pens is actually the work of single person, Kris from Eastleigh. Starting in 2020, he was first brought to my attention when I started the British Pen Makers page. Asking round on a number of UK based Facebook fountain pen groups plus the other members of United Inkdom, a number of people quickly pointed me at Kris’s work, which at the time was only available through his website and a number of craft type shows near him.
I must admit it was the brightness and warmth of the resin that jumped out at me as I looked at the table, and I was not alone. Turns out both Penultimate Dave (9’58” in to this video) and Anthony/Eciton of UK Fountain Pens had looked at the same pen and considered buying it not long before I turned up. Knowing what both are like, particular the former, for this type of material I think I was lucky.
If you like reds, oranges, and flame type appearances then this pen is stunning. It is a riot of chatoyance and sparkles, but without actually being bling. It reminds me almost of the Jonathon Brooks material used for the Pay It Forward it Kickstarter Franklin Christoph pen, almost certainly coincidental, but I do prefer this one over my FC-31. From the photos you can see the finials are darker disks, and along with the section may come from a different blank, though similar in style. The same can be said for the bands between the cap and barrel and the finials and barrel plus the inner barrel threads, except here they are from a grey blank. It is interesting to see just how different the unpolished threads are from the finished disks.
While talking about the finials and bands, these are perfectly flush with the cap and barrel, whether this was due to precise measurements when cutting or finishing once the components were assembled I do not know, however it does show a care and attention to detail in the making of this pen.
Size wise the pen is of a decent width and is long, which for people with larger hands is a good thing as the design means the cap will not post. Oddly, while I would consider the barrel girth to fall into the oversize bracket, the section is more of a regular size, though still comparatively long. It is straight until towards the nib where it tapers in for the last couple of millimetres.
The cap is not quite flush with the barrel, however this helps keep the width of the section. The material is quite thick and I suspect it could be reduced slightly, but at the same time that would weaken the opening of the cap and also still not be the same width as the barrel. I think it adds character to the pen. The cap unscrews in two and a third turns, just something to be aware of if you are part of the ‘one turn maximum’ brigade, however for me this is a non-issue. It also seals well and in the three months I have owned this pen I have seen no noticeable ink evaporation plus the pen starts first time every time even if it has been a while since last use.
In the hand the pen is extremely comfortable to use. The long section means there is plenty of scope with where and how to hold it, with either no or minimal touching of the threads or the barrel step. The grey ring on the barrel provides the latter and is both curved on the edge and of the right height to not be obvious but also to prevent you from feeling much of the threads. I do not know if this was for visual aesthetics or by design, but either way it works and works well.
Considering this pen is made from acrylic there is some heft to it. Not as much as with a metal based pen but enough that you will notice it, with the cap being 8.9g and the barrel/section 21.0g. The only metal parts are the nib and bits of the converter. The balance point is close to three fifths towards the rear of the pen, so presumably there is a fair bit of material at the back of the barrel. It does mean to me the pen is a little back heavy and this would restrict me from using it for long writing sessions. As previously mentioned, you can not post the cap, but this pen is long enough that even with large hands there should be no issues.
The filling system is international standard cartridge and converter. As I bought mine at a pen show I do not know if the pens comes with any cartridges, however the converter is extra (just £2).
The nib on this particular pen is a steel JoWo #6 unit. Looking on-line, it depends on the individual pen as to whether it will come with a Bock or Jowo nib, though I suspect you can specify if Kris is making a custom pen specifically for you. Be default the pens come without nibs, though on the website you can select what you want and it is the same at a show. I went with a gold coloured medium. I do not know if the nib is tested before being sent out, but the advantage of a show was I could test before buying. Note many single and small pen makers do not test nibs so this is not unusual.
Instead of the usual box, the pen comes in a cardboard sleeve containing a plastic disk on top of a cardboard tube to hold the pen in place. It works well but I suspect the disk is not recyclable if you do not intend to keep the packaging.
So my views on the pen. Well first off the material and the build quality are superb. This pen is a stunner to look at and the grey disks add a wonderful little touch of contrast. It is comfortable to hold and use and the only downside for me is it being slightly back weighted. However, as I matched the pen to an orange ink I am unlikely to be using it for long writing sessions so this is not an issue. I also think some of my left handed friends may find this pen more comfortable to use for the same reason. I paid £110 for the Rosetta including the nib at the 2022 October Pen Show, though I think that was a special show price. Looking at the Nine-Bespoke Pens stock page I think this would normally go for £125 with a nib, which I think is still good value and at the cheaper end for British pen makers.
Would I recommend this pen to others. The length and balance point might mean this is one to try before buying but Nine-Bespoke Pens have a good range of styles without it getting to be too many, plus Kris will make custom pens so for this model a shorter version could be an alternative option perhaps. On his website the pens go for between £110 and £130 without nibs, so around £125 to £200 with both nib and converter (with the more expensive ones including Bock titanium nibs rather than steel). As with all small pen makers I think it is best to catch Kris at a show as there you can see his present stock, see what jumps out at you (as this one did to me) and also get to try the pens. Still if you see one you fancy on his website, he also lists measurements (though his weights read far too low) so if the pen is not too large for you then go for it.
- Stunning and well balanced choice of materials.
- Excellent fit and finish.
- Long section makes it very easy to find a comfortable hold.
- Price for this pen sector.
- Nib/ink well sealed.
- Balance is towards the rear.
- Two and a third turns to remove the cap may put some people off.
- Converter is extra.
- Some people may be put off by the nib being an option.
- None that I can think of.
Size Comparison Photos:
Here with not only the ubiquitous Lamy Safari/Al-Star but also the PIF Kickstarter Franklin-Christoph Model 31 in a Jonathon Brooks flame resin, as mentioned near the start of this review.
Hi, this is Vic, from Portugal. Uh, just to be sure, did you mean 21,0 grams instead of 210 grams? Stunning pen, by the way. Cheers… Vic
Woops – cheers for spotting that one – now corrected.
The pen is amazing—really, one of the most beautiful pens I’ve seen in quite awhile. Those three bands! I have a feeling Penultimate Dave is regretting his missed chance.
I was thinking the same thing! I’m sure he’d have loved it; it made me think of one of his pens from Atelier Lusso – the Andromeda, I think, with a dragon.
Gorgeous pen and I love the long section 🙂
Gorgeous pen. I love the long section and the material 🙂