Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Review: Marlen Aleph Pearly Grey LE Fountain Pen - Steel Flex @MarlenItalia @couronneducomte

The Marlen Aleph is a fountain pen made from a colalboration between Aleph and Fountainpen.it, and it is particularly unique because it has a flexible steel nib!
Review: Marlen Aleph Pearly Grey LE Fountain Pen - Steel Flex @MarlenItalia @couronneducomte
ABOUT

Body Material: Resin
Trim: Metal
Length (capped): 144.9 mm/5.70"
Length (uncapped nib-end): 135.8 mm/5.34"
Length (posted): 155.87 mm/7.12"
Barrel Diameter: 12.6 mm - 14.0 mm/0.50" - 0.53"
Section Diameter: 10.4 mm - 11.8 mm/0.41" - 0.46"
Nib material: Steel
Weight: 30.9 g
Fill type: Piston-filler.
Price: €160,00
Where to buy: La Couronne du Comte

PACKAGING
Review: Marlen Aleph Pearly Grey LE Fountain Pen - Steel Flex @MarlenItalia @couronneducomte
The Aleph arrived with very interesting packaging - the pen was nestled in a recycled cardboard paper bed, in a paper box that has Marlen's information on it, along with the Aleph logo. The box says 100% eco friendly, and it looks like it's made from recycled materials, which I really like. All the packaging is recyclable, which I really like, so there is little waste. Way to go, Marlen.
Review: Marlen Aleph Pearly Grey LE Fountain Pen - Steel Flex @MarlenItalia @couronneducomte
APPEARANCE
Review: Marlen Aleph Pearly Grey LE Fountain Pen - Steel Flex @MarlenItalia @couronneducomte
The Aleph is a large, beautiful fountain pen. The ends are flat and fairly blunt. The finial has the Marlen logo on it, and it matches the pen well, being simple and tasteful. The barrel is a pearlescent grey resin and has no bells and whistles on it, which adds to its beauty, in my opinion. The only trim is the clip and three chrome rings around the cap. The section is also the pearly grey resin, and the threads are at the end of the section right before a small step to the barrel. The barrel gradually tapers towards the end, and the whole pen has a sleek look to it by not having any sudden or drastic shapes to it.
Review: Marlen Aleph Pearly Grey LE Fountain Pen - Steel Flex @MarlenItalia @couronneducomte
What really must be mentioned is the very pretty clear feed. When inked, the ink can be seen through the breather hole, and when looked at from underneath, the entire feed shines with the colour of the ink. It's lovely.

Review: Marlen Aleph Pearly Grey LE Fountain Pen - Steel Flex @MarlenItalia @couronneducomte
NIB & PERFORMANCE
Review: Marlen Aleph Pearly Grey LE Fountain Pen - Steel Flex @MarlenItalia @couronneducomte
The nib is large and very attractive. It is a steel nib with a heart-shaped breather hole. I really like it because it is not adorned with much - it just has the Aleph letter, and it says Marlen on it in small writing. It's very tasteful and simple. In addition, there are two notches cut into the sides ("the wings"), which not only serve a functional purpose; they are aesthetically pleasing as well.
Review: Marlen Aleph Pearly Grey LE Fountain Pen - Steel Flex @MarlenItalia @couronneducomte
The nib is pleasant to use unflexed - it's lovely and smooth when the tines are properly aligned, with good flow. I found that when flexed, the tines could become misaligned relatively easily, perhaps because they are long and thin. When writing with pressure, the feed can run dry, so one must pay attention to slow down with this pen to allow the feed time to keep up with the ink demands. Unflexed, as I  mentioned, there are no issues with ink flow. I was disappointed to find the feed runs dry so easily when the nib is flexed. It's normal for a pen to railroad when it's pushed, but a nib that is marketed as a flex nib should be able to keep up with average flex writing.

With  moderate pressure, the nib flexes to give moderate line variation, so in that regard, the flex is nice.

IN HAND
Review: Marlen Aleph Pearly Grey LE Fountain Pen - Steel Flex @MarlenItalia @couronneducomte
The piston-turning knob is exposed enough to operate easily and comfortably. The section is also nice and comfortable, smooth with a slight flare towards the nib.

Although the pen is fairly large, it's not too heavy, and when unposted, I find it perfectly comfortable to use as it falls right into the perfect spot on my hand to write with - but this is just as it was designed to do. I do find it a little difficult to control though because the nib is thin and long, leaving my grip far from the nib itself. I like to grip as close to the nib as possible to have as much control over my writing as possible. I could just be weird though.
Review: Marlen Aleph Pearly Grey LE Fountain Pen - Steel Flex @MarlenItalia @couronneducomte
Review: Marlen Aleph Pearly Grey LE Fountain Pen - Steel Flex @MarlenItalia @couronneducomte
Like I said, it's fairly large.
Review: Marlen Aleph Pearly Grey LE Fountain Pen - Steel Flex @MarlenItalia @couronneducomte
Review: Marlen Aleph Pearly Grey LE Fountain Pen - Steel Flex @MarlenItalia @couronneducomte
PROS & CONS
Review: Marlen Aleph Pearly Grey LE Fountain Pen - Steel Flex @MarlenItalia @couronneducomte
OVERALL

While I find this pen intriguing, I was disappointed by its flex capabilities. The pen is attractive, I think it's great that it's a piston-filler, the nib is attractive, the feed is neat, and it writes nicely unflexed, but not drying out so easily is a real downer. If it was a lower price, I'd say jump in, but at full retail price, it leaves me hesitant.

For more on this pen, check out Serious Nibbage Part 8!

6 comments:

Robert Harris said...

Both when I saw serious nibbage, and then later reading this, I did wonder if you could alter the feed (like with the noodlers pens) to increase the flow. Maybe get a razor blade and enlarge the feed slits (the ones running parallel to the nib slit) etc. (I just did this with a Lamy Safari and it worked amazingly well.)

While for that price it should definitely work out of the box I just wonder how much you'd like it with decent ink flow.

Tristan_Noelmans said...

I'm wondering if the problem isn't caused by the feed slit. If you look at the pictures through the breather hole, you can see the slit isn't aligned with the slit of the nib, like in not at all. Seems a bid odd to me and can likely be the problem?

Azizah Asgarali said...

Yeah, but the writing samples (in blue) wasn't done with the feed like that. I forgot to do the pros/cons and had to pop it back in. Either way, it can't keep up, even when aligned.

Azizah Asgarali said...

Interesting. I'd be curious to try that, but am hesitant only based on the price of the pen. I'd do it to a Safari for sure, but at this price, if I ruined it, it would suck. Sigh!

Francesco Broggini said...

Hi, just to clarify, the slit of the nib must be in the middle of the two slits of the feed.

Robert Harris said...

Yeah ... I'd feel somewhat the same way. But on the other hand if it's just going to sit around unused (I'm making a few assumptions here ... ), because of the feed issue, what have you got to lose ... ;)

Maybe practice on something else first (noodlers!). Surely SBREB has some pens you could experiment on ;) !

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