The Conklin Victory is the latest addition to a long line of fine writing tools dating back to the late 1800s. While most of their pens fall squarely in the “luxury” price range, the Victory has just hit the Goulet Pens catalog at the moderately entry level price of $40. Lets take a look and see if this budget-friendly pen holds up to its family name.
Right out of the box, the Victory has the look and feel of a luxury item. The pen is shipped securely in a soft lined and cushioned box, with two standard international short cartridges hidden underneath the platform, and a converter installed in the body. Like other standard converters, this one lacks any sort of branding or unique features, which means replacing it will be very simple should the need ever arise. The lacquered finish and polished chrome accents combined with the subtle engraved branding give this pen a very nice first impression. This definitely looks like a more “professional” type of tool, particularly in comparison to the entry-level TWSBI and Lamy pens I currently have inked next to it.
The body, cap, and clip are all metal, giving this pen a considerable heft for it’s size. That said, most of the pen’s 31 grams are in the cap, so the weight is only a concern if you prefer to write with your pen’s cap posted. While I typically prefer to leave my pen cap on the table, the length of the uncapped Victory very nearly requires posting. It isn’t as short as a Kaweco, for example, but it is slightly shorter that the Pilot Metropolitan and the TWSBI Eco; So that is absolutely a factor to consider for those of you with larger hands. The grip section in particular is pretty narrow, and shorter than the Pilot or TWSBI as well. I found the grip very comfortable, but due to the slick finish, I found myself having to re-adjust my grip more often than usual.
Another feature worth mentioning is the clip. The over-the-top design is noticeably different from other pens, but the top of the clip houses a small spring-loaded pivot point. This mechanism allows the pen to be easily inserted into pretty much any pen sleeve, case, or shirt pocket. While the clip does pivot, the spring is strong enough that I was never concerned about the pen falling out of place.
While Conklin’s other fountain pens feature a unique looking number six nib with a crescent breather hole, the Victory uses a fairly standard number five German steel nib. Conklin has made this pen available in Extra-Fine, Fine, Medium, and 1.1 Stub, but the pen should be fully compatible with other number five nibs like Bock or JOWO. If you do decide to swap out the nib in the future, or you’re just very thorough when flushing and cleaning your pens, be prepared for a struggle. The grip section houses the friction-fit feed and nib, and they do not come out easily. But, once you do pull them out, they are easy to clean and re-install with the help of a flattened underside of a feed track, and a cut-out section where the nib sits. While I was a little disappointed to see a standard looking nib under the cap, I quickly ran out of things to complain about once I started writing. After running Diamine, J. Herbin, and Pilot Iroshizuku inks through the pen, I was pleased to see that it wrote very smoothly and consistently across several brands of paper.
Overall, the pen has provided a very solid writing experience. The nib is smooth, the grip is comfortable, and the brand name has a legacy. Unfortunately the unit I received for this review does have a couple minor cosmetic issues. A little extra lacquer on the grip (as you can see in the photo above), a little loose plastic around the rim of the feed housing, and what appears to be a partial finger print under the glossy coat on the cap. Again, these issues are purely cosmetic, and I didn’t even notice them until I was staging the photos for this review, but it does seem like something that should have been caught before it was shipped to the vendor. That said, Conklin does offer a lifetime warranty for all of their products, so I am confidant that any real issue could easily be resolved.
So. Is it worth it?
To be honest, I’m a little torn with this pen. On the one hand, the design does go for a bit more subtle elegance than the rest of my personal collection. There is definitely value in that style, but it doesn’t have the personality of a TWSBI demonstrator or the feel of a Lamy Safari. On the other hand, $40 gets you a solid writing experience that is compatible with a wide range of replacement nibs from several manufacturers, where as the TWSBI and Lamy pens lock you in to their nibs.
Overall, you are definitely getting your money’s worth with the Victory. And if your collection looks anything like mine, you’re also getting a very stylish upgrade to your writing tool set.
If you’ve got $40 in the pen budget this month, class up your collection with the Conklin Victory from Goulet Pens.
The Conklin Victory at Goulet Pens
Disclaimer: The Goulet Pen Company provided this pen to The Poor Penman blog at no charge for the purpose of review. All opinions stated are those of the author.