Thursday, November 30, 2017

Review: Benu Pen Essence Collection Bird of Paradise Fountain Pen

Thanks to Benu Pen for sending this pretty breathtaking fountain pen for review! I'm not usually captivated by beautiful pens, but this one is nearly impossible to resist.
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Pictured with the Essence Collection Dreamland
ABOUT

Body material: Resin
Trim: Gold-plated brass
Cap: Screw on
Posts: Yes, friction
Clip: Yes
Ink window: No
Filling System: Standard international cartridge, converter, or eyedropper
Nib material: #5 Schmidt steel
Length (capped): 141.36 mm/5.56"
Length (uncapped): 125.06 mm/4.92"
Length (posted): 166.03 mm/6.53"
Length (section): 21.55 mm/0.84"
Diameter (barrel): 13.79 - 15.72 mm/0.54" - 0.61"
Diameter (section): 9.79 - 11.18 mm/0.38" - 0.44"
Weight (all): 25 g
Weight (cap): 10 g
Weight (body): 15 g
Price: $200.00 USD with clip | $190.00USD without clip
Where to buy: Benu Pen

PACKAGING

The Benu Pen Essence Collection Bird of Paradise was presented in a cute, whimsical little cardboard box. The box was deep grey with silver glitter, and had 'Benu' printed across the top. The lid can be removed and there is a bed of shredded brown paper inside. On top of the paper, the pen is rolled up in Benu kraft paper with a piece of twine securing it. I love it. It's simple, minimal packaging that is recyclable - no plastic! It's nice and it works.
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APPEARANCE

The Benu Pen Essence Collection has been updated with slightly longer bodies and the option of a clip. They are round pens with rounded off ends. There is nothing on the finial. The clip model has an external clip, attached by a thin gold colored ring around the cap. The clip is plain but nice looking and matches the pen well. At the end of the cap, there is a wide gold colored center band engraved with 'Benu'. I like Benu's simple, tidy, and classy branding.
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The barrel tapers towards the end where there is a ridged end - for posting the cap snugly. The section is smooth, round, and tapers slightly towards the nib. There are cap threads at the back of the section and a small step up to the barrel. 
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What really stands out in this pen - and all of Benu's pens, really - is the absolutely beautiful material. Benu says, "The Bird of Paradise pen embraces the vibrancy of exotic nature and features a spectrum of marine blues, fresh greens and luminous golds. A combination of bright pigments and glossy finish gives the model a unique personality which is playful and stylish." I can't argue. The Bird of Paradise is a glamorous, stunning, truly breathtaking bird with magnificent color. This pen matches that so well. Google it. The material is a glittery blue base from top to bottom. The barrel is sprinkled with green, light blue, dark blue, and gold flakes. It spreads from the end of the pen upwards. Radiant!

NIB & PERFORMANCE

The #5 gold colored nib is a fine Schmidt with a plastic feed. The nib has a single slit, no breather hole, and is Schmidt-branded. The pen is a slightly toothy writer that delivers ink on the dry side. That also means drying times are fast so it's a great pocket pen/daily user. It is a firm nib that offers just a little line variation. It is well tuned, does not skip or hard start, and is a reliable writer. It is not an unusual or outstanding nib, but it is solid, reliable, and performs well. 
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As I said with the Dreamland, the only thing I really take issue with on this pen, because the pen is otherwise so special and unique that the Schmidt-branded nib takes away from it a little. There's nothing wrong with a Schmidt-branded nib, but it feels like an incomplete package.

IN HAND

The clip is spring loaded and it's really easy to operate one-handed. It's safe to attach to papers, pouches, and pockets because it doesn't tear as you remove it. The section is long and comfortable, with smooth threads and no sharp ridges. I really like the shape and design of it, it's not slippery, and it works well for longer writing sessions.

Unposted, the pen is perfectly comfortable, well balanced, and it feels great. It works well for me for long and fast writing sessions. The cap is designed to be posted and it does so securely, and unlike the Dreamland whose posting I did not care for, the Essence Collection posts well. It's just right and easily usable. 
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Top to bottom: Essence Collection Bird of Paradise, Dreamland Collection Nebula, Essence Collection Dreamland, Lamy Safari
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The filling system is a simple standard international cartridge/converter and the pen can also be used as an eyedropper. That's fun if you want more ink in the tank, but the downside is you can't see what your ink levels are as you use it. 

PROS & CONS
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OVERALL

I think Benu Pen is doing something beautiful - the pens are fun, stunning, and work well. I'm hoping the nibs will rebranded at some point and perhaps the prices will come down a bit. They may not, but one can hope. I think $200 is steep but the pen is just so darned GORGEOUS that it's hard to resist. I think the ideal price would be $150 because it truly feels like a custom poured resin, but it's a Schmidt nib and a cartridge/converter. 

But really. That Bird of Paradise material is just out of this world!!




I received this item free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion.


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