Pilot Metropolitan. TWSBI Eco. Lamy Safari. These are the staples of the “Entry Level” fountain pen market, and with good reason. The WRITink from Faber-Castell , fits the budget, but does it earn a place on that short list? This week I’m spending time with this new pen to answer that very question.
One note before I get things going, and this is strictly one man’s opinion. If anyone from Faber-Castell happens to read this, WRITink is a bad name. I would suggest a quick re-brand, The Identity or INKdentity would make great names that go along with the fingerprint design. Alright, on to the review.
The WRITink is an entry-level fountain pen from Faber-Castell, the makers of fine writing tools and art supplies dating back to 1761. Although the company has a long history, this latest addition has a very contemporary style. Starting with the obvious, the WRITink features a raised finger print design that wraps around the middle of the resin body. This design is what initially attracted me to the model, and it looks even better in person. The contrast and texture of the finger print looks and feels great, and it is very refreshing to see a manufacturer step out of the box on a design that really stands out.
The grip and cap of the pen are very light on the details, further highlighting the finger print as the main focal point of the instrument. The black steel nib is adorned with Faber-Castell’s standard nib design, a dotted pattern with their logo in the middle, and pulls out with the feed easily for thorough cleaning. Covering the nib is a snap-on cap which features a spring-loaded clip, making it perfectly compliant with a pen case or pocket-carry setup. The only other design detail on this pen is the inlaid Faber-Castell branding on the cap, which is not colored or filled in, providing subtle branding while keeping focus on that finger print in the center.
The pen accepts the standard International Short cartridges or the Faber-Castell converter. The body is almost completely hollow, providing enough space for two cartridges, so you’ll always be able to have a backup on deck. That spare cartridge is backed up by a metal tube and spring, ensuring that it won’t get stuck inside the pen. Unfortunately, the inclusion of that spring means that you cannot eyedropper-convert this resin pen. Down the road I may try to remove that whole assembly, but today is not that day.
Putting Ink to page
Writing with the WRITink is a mostly smooth experience. Even though Faber-Castell is a German company, the fine nib writes somewhere between a Lamy and a Pilot Fine in terms of line width. For reference, this is more similar to the line put down by the TWSBI Eco EF. It’s pretty on par with the TWSBI EF in terms of smoothness as well. There is a little feedback on the page, but I would not go so far as to call this a scratchy nib. I have, however, run into a few instances of a rough start when the pen is fresh out of the bag. It has occasionally taken one or two extra strokes to get the ink flowing, and this has occurred with inks from Robert Oster, KWZ, and Diamine. That said, once it gets going, this pen leaves a clean solid line. At the time of this writing, I’ve only seen the WRITink available in a Fine or Medium point. Due to the design of the nibs, other third-party replacements are not an option, and I have not heard any word on Faber-Castell’s plans to make wider or stub nibs available.
It is difficult to describe the grip section without relying heavily on comparisons to other pens, which isn’t incredibly helpful if you’re shopping for your first fountain pen. The best word I can use to describe the grip is probably “unremarkable.” It’s a plain, rounded grip made of the same smooth resin as the rest of the pen. There is no texture to keep the pen steady in your hand, but there is a very (nigh imperceptible) dip towards the end to provide a bit of a finger groove. Coming from the triangular grip of a Lamy or the tri-point finger-stops of a TWSBI, this pen feels more along the lines of a Sharpie in your hand. That isn’t necessarily a strike against the WRITink, but it certainly lacks the finesse and detail of other pens. With a diameter of 10.5mm, the grip is larger (if only by a millimeter) than the Eco. My personal taste and propensity for fine lines make the wider grip a bit uncomfortable for prolonged sessions, but users with larger hands or wider pen-strokes will probably have an easier time.
So, should you buy it?
Allow me to answer that question in two parts.
If you have a few fountain pens already, and you have a pretty good idea of the different nibs and pen types that are available, the WRITink’s style would make a great addition to your collection. It writes well enough, but the unique finger print design is what makes it stand out from the crowd. While it may look a little out of place in a professional business meeting (luckily I don’t have to worry about that), it’s certainly a welcome addition.
If you’re a new fountain pen user and you want something that will give you a good idea of what fountain pens have to offer and will stay with you for a long time, there are better pens out there. To clarify, for all of the reasons I mentioned above, this is a pretty great pen. There are just better pens available in the thirty dollar price range that provide a better introduction to the world. The Lamy Safari has a variety of nibs openly available and easily swappable. The TWSBI Eco looks great and is also available in a variety of nib widths. While the Faber-Castell WRITink does a lot of things right, and looks great doing them, its baseline performance is nothing to write home about.
So long story short, your $28 wont be wasted on this pen. That said, if you only buying one pen, there are better options out there.
Want to add this unique pen to your collection? Get yours at Goulet Pens.
Disclaimer: This pen was purchased at full retail price. The reviewer was not compensated for any of the products mentioned.