(This is a guest post by Anchit Rao. Anchit is a 20-year-old aspiring public accountant/entrepreneur living in Silicon Valley. When he's not rambling on about pens and stationary, he enjoys photography, playing video games, playing guitar or practicing calligraphy. You can find more from Anchit on his blog The Passionate Penman and Twitter.)
So it’s been months since I’ve bought this little beauty at the L.A. Pen Show. It was one of the pens that was on my “definitely buy” list along with my Franklin-Christoph Model 40P. I was never initially drawn towards Edison pens. I don’t remember the exact reason, but I was much more enthusiastic about Japanese fountain pens. This particular model, the Pearlette was a complete mystery to me until I read a review from The Gentleman Stationer.
WARNING: Word and photo heavy post. You have been warned.
Very difficult to capture the true beauty through a photo.
I have a bit of an obsession with the color blue and it’s many varied shades. In my drawer, I have about 5 different types of blue ink, 2 of which I have yet to review (coming soon). For me, the color blue gets me thinking about the infinite sky, or the seemingly bottomless depths of the ocean. Both of which evoke a sense of mystery, adventure and freedom in me. Disregarding all of the psychological aspects, I simply think blue looks pretty. So that’s why I knew the Deep Indigo Flake acrylic was going to be my choice. The flecks of ocean blue contrast very nicely with the deep indigo base color, giving the pen a nice gradation of hues. All of which combine to give the pen a seemingly simple, yet beautiful appearance. The silver plated clip adds just the right amount of flash. Understated, but not to be underestimated.
The Edison Pen Co. branding is engraved on the barrel, but it’s minimal
This pen is from Edison’s “Production Line”, meaning they are mass produced by Edison in three colorways: Deep Indigo Flake, Aztec Gold Flake and Violet Flake. However, should you not be interested in any of these standard acrylic choices, you can work together with Brian to make a custom Pearlette through their “Signature Line”. You can choose from a huge variety of acrylics and customize the nib, the filling system and pretty much everything about the pen. The only downside is cost. I got my Pearlette for about $150USD directly from Brian Anderson of Anderson Pens. Before I purchased it, I was talking with Brian from Edison Pens and initially thought that he was selling the same pen at his table. He informed me of the difference between the production and signature lines, as well as the prices associated with them. If you want to customize your own Pearlette, or any Edison signature pen for that matter, the price starts at $250+USD. The moment I heard that price, I knew I couldn’t yet afford a custom Edison, but maybe some day…
As far as I know, Brian Grey of Edison Pens designs and makes all of his pens himself. I already knew before my purchase what to expect when it came to build quality. I was not disappointed at all. The threads are nice are spot on, allowing the cap to blend right into the body. As you can see in some of the pictures above, from a distance, it’s difficult to see the dividing line.
One complaint I have about this pen has to be the clip. While I previously said it adds just the right amount of flash, it is also very prone to loosening. I don’t know whether that is a problem with my pen specifically, but it is a little annoying. Every time I unscrew the cap, or whenever I’m putting it inside/taking it out of my pencil case, I have to invariably push the top of the cap in to prevent it from coming loose. Again, not sure of its just my pen, but I had to mention it.
When I first started using the Pearlette, I was initially reluctant to post it. I thought that there was a good possibility that the threads on the cap would mar the flawless finishing of the barrel. After much contemplation, I decided that I had to at least test it once to see whether it would improve the ergonomics.
While doing so, I found that the cap threads were harmless to the finish, but they also prevented it from being securely postable. While I’m sure many could make do with a slightly loosely posted cap, I really didn’t see the need to post at all. While the pen may look small in pictures, or even in your hands, the barrel sits very comfortably in my grip. The barrel although shiny is by no means slick, which helps retain my grip during long writing sessions.
Despite the threads being present near the grip area, they do not dig into my skin. They add onto the grip provided by the barrel, making it that much easier to write. The drop from the barrel to the grip is almost unnoticeable. Unlike the problem I had with the Pilot Metropolitan, the Pearlette gave me no sense of discomfort no matter how hard I gripped.
This nib writes like a dream but did not do so out of box. When I was buying the pen, I chose to get a standard Edison medium nib. All of Edison’s nibs are made in Germany by JoWo. I think I met a representative of theirs at the pen show, and he pronounced the name as “yo-vo”. All of Edison’s nibs are laser etched with their logo, as well as some decorative vines near the slit. Straight out of the box it was scratchy and just didn’t cut it for me. That’s when I decided to get a tuned nib straight from Richard Binder (still sad that he stopped selling pens on his website). I swapped the nib units the moment the binderized one arrived, and lo and behold, it wrote like a dream. I couldn’t be any happier. My ink of choice is Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium.
Forgive my slightly messy cursive, I’m still getting back into the habit of writing it on a daily basis. One drawback I’ve noticed is the seemingly impossible to get rid of, nib creep. Even after many frustrated swipes with a paper towel (I can very OCD about it), it refuses to disappear.
My biggest complaint about this pen is the smell. Now you might wonder what exactly I’m talking about when I say the pen smells bad. When I first uncapped it, I got a whiff of the inside of the cap. If I had to describe the feeling, it felt like my nose was socked by a boxing glove. I remember gagging and wondering what smelt so bad. I researched it a little and Brian Grey posted some info about it on the website. He said that the smell was normal for processed acrylic, and posted some more info on how to dissipate it on this thread on /r/fountainpens. I followed their directions and in doing so, reduced the smell considerably. If before it was a 10, it’s now a 4. I have a particularly strong sense of smell so it affects me a lot more, while others may not have that problem.
One of the best pens in my collection. I’ve seen the description “Tier 1” being thrown around a lot recently and if I had to describe how amazing this pen is that is the classification I’d use. It’s perpetually inked in my pen case and used everyday I go to school. Even when I’m just writing or jotting down ideas at home, I find myself reaching for it, it’s that good. My only recommendation is if you can get the nib professionally adjusted by a nibmeister like Binder, or Masuyama, get it done. It may not seem worth it in the short run, but long-term, it will save you a lot of hassle.