Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Review: Gate City Pen - The Belmont Galápagos - Fine @RichardsPens

Like the gorgeous Pilot Custom Heritage 912 + PO nib, this unique pen is on loan from the wonderful Thomas WorstandYetSomehowGreatestEnablerEver Hall. The most fun about it is the filling mechanism... or so I thought...
Gate City Belmont

Richard kindly sent me this information that I thought was pretty awesome and needed to be added to this review! And the nib, like all nibs that leave RichardsPens.com, was tuned by Mr. Binder himself, which explains why it writes so nicely, doesn't it?
The imprint on the cap is a traditional thing; imprints of that type were very common back in the day, and Gate City pens are intended to be modern recreations of vintage pens rather than something completely new. Belmont was a house brand sold by the Rexall drug store chain in the U.S., and Post fillers were wildly common during World War II as rubber was listed as a critical war resource. The Gate City Belmont's shape harks back to the shapes of Wahl-Eversharp pens from the late 1920s.
Body Material: Resin
Trim: Gold tone
Length (capped): 5.44"
Length (uncapped nib-end): 5.0"
Length (posted): 6.4"
Barrel Diameter: 0.52"
Section Diameter: 0.43"
Nib material: JoWo Steel
Weight: 19 g/0.7 oz
Fill type: Post-filler
Price: $160.00USD ($280.00USD with 18K nib)
Where to buy: Richard Binder

Gate City Belmont
The Belmont Pen has an interesting appearance. It is a full-sized pen, wider at the cap and thinner towards the end of the barrel. The trim is gold, complementing the "Galápagos" colour pattern of the body very nicely. The colour of the cap and blind cap is lovely - it is a warm, rich tortoiseshell. There is a large ink window, where the Post-filler operates. The barrel is widest at the point where the filler sits, and tapers towards the nib and the back of the body. It has an smooth and curious shape that I find appealing.
Gate City Belmont
Gate City Belmont
Gate City Belmont Nib
The steel nib is a simple, two-tone iridium point nib, made in Germany. This nib is a fine and, like other German-made nibs, it does not write extremely fine. The nib is a bit of a highlight here - it does the job - it writes well, it is satisfying and completes the writing experience. It is nice and wet, just how I like my nibs, even though it is a fine. It even offers some line variation and because it is so wet, the feed can keep up with the ink demands. Not that I pushed it much, but there is some variation possible.
Gate City Belmont Writing Sample
Gate City Belmont Writing Sample
The filling system is pretty nifty though - it works very smoothly, and is very efficient. It pulls in ink really well, and boy is it ever fun to watch and operate. And for those of you who hate cleaning pens: it makes cleaning out your pen a breeze.


The pen itself is very comfortable to hold. I'm guessing the bowed shape of the barrel contributes to this comfort. Furthermore, the weight and balance of the pen are rather magical. Even posted, this full-sized pen is comfortable for me to write with.The fine nib requires very little pressure to write with because it is set up really well, whether it came that way or was tuned, I don't know. It's a pleasure to write with though.
Gate City Belmont Compared To Others
Top to bottom: Gate City Belmont, Italix Parson's Essential, Namiki Falcon, Pelikan M400.
Gate City Belmont & Noodler's Konrad
Gate City Belmont with Noodler's Konrad.
As I said, the most fun is the filling system, or so I thought? I disassembled it to clean it before returning it. That turned out to be a ton of fun too! I can see how pen repair is addictive, when just taking this apart to clean it was fun... anyway. Thank you Thomas, once again, for giving me the opportunity to get acquainted with this nifty pen.
Gate City Belmont Disassembled
  • Smooth, efficient filling system.
  • 1.8 ml ink capacity (large!).
  • Very comfortable to hold.
  • Perfect weight, even posted. Magic.
  • Very easy to flush and clean.
  • Very nice, smooth, wet fine nib.
Gate City Belmont
  • Writing on the cap. (But only kind of. I don't dislike the writing itself, I just don't like very obvious writing on a pen itself).

The Gate City Belmont Pen is, not surprisingly, a lovely pen. My only complaint about it is the engraving on the cap, because it disrupts the flow of the body. I prefer engravings to be more faint or smaller on a pen. Nevertheless, the pen performs very well, and that's hard to argue with. At $160USD for this steel nib, it's not an inexpensive pen, but you do get a very nice and efficient filling system with a great ink capacity.


Bob McConnell said...

Thanks for the review A. I own a Bexley in Fine from Richard and really love the way it writes even though I'm more of a medium guy. I pick it up often. I like the brief heritage of the The Gate City line and I would be very confident that it would write as well as yours out of the box. However this model won't make it to my Penvelope. That shape with it posted, just not for me. Looks like the cap still has to be pushed down some. Agree with you to the advertising banner on the side of the cap is a bit much. Thanks again!

edjelley said...

For some reason I'm really liking the "UNBREAKABLE" engraving. Overall though, it is a bit much, especially for being so apparent and placed on the cap.

Interesting pen though, I'm going to have to hunt down this mysterious pen-loaning Thomas haha.

Thomas R. Hall said...

I purchased the pen second hand, but it is a Gate City and came from Richard Binder, so the nib was "Binderized"; likely why you liked how well it was tuned. I also had a steel M nib also from RB for the same pen. Nice review, and good job on the disassembly/reassembly. You've given me the longest middle name ever. :)

Thomas R. Hall said...

Of note: the engraving was meant to be as close to the original pen as possible: http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php/topic/194860-my-gate-city-belmont/?p=1971895

edjelley said...

Haha, I was only kidding. That's really generous of you to have done that, you have a great collection.

Thanks for the kind words!

edjelley said...

Haha, I was only kidding. Lending out your collection is more than generous, and that was awesome of you to do. You have a great collection from what I've seen around the blog world.

Thanks for the kind words!

El Esquire said...

Great review! I've been considering getting one of these but I tend to grip my pens toward the back of sections and the threads on this model look a little sharp. What's your opinion on how sharp they are? Would it be possible to add a picture of the Belmont uncapped lined up next to some of your other pens uncapped? Keep up the great reviews!

pmontyda said...

I always enjoy your reviews. And now this pen has me very interested.

ThomasMaloney said...

I love calligraphy with pens like these and keep a few Belmonts in storage myself. But I've found them horrendously messy at times and normal ballpoints just so much easier to buy and use. Sometimes simplicity wins out over class and beauty..

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