Cleo Skribent Classic Fountain Pen Review

Cleo Skribent is a German company, formed shortly after the Second World War. Despite having being around for a while, they’ve only recently begun to catch people’s imagination in the fountain pen world.

This pen was lent to me by Write Here for me to review. These are my own opinions. The pen will be returned and I’ve received no compensation of any kind.

Price: from £75 to £155 depending on configuration. This one costs £115
Filling method: cartridge/converter (piston filling versions available)
Barrel options: white, black or burgundy (which is actually called Bordeaux); each with gold or palladium furniture
Nib options: stainless steel or 14k gold in extra-fine, fine, medium or broad (mine is 14k gold broad)

The Classic is available in a wide range of options. You can more or less customise your pen as you wish. The cheapest option is the cartridge/converter model with a stainless steel nib. This is available in three different barrel colours, four different nib sizes, and palladium or gold furniture. The most expensive is the piston filler with a gold nib and gold trim.

The design of the pen is very simple. You might say Classic, perhaps. Or boring, if you’re being mean. It’s quite a small pen with simple lines and little ornamentation. The Cleo Skribent logo is on the end of the cap, and it looks good, and that’s all to differentiate this pen from many others in terms of looks.

When a design is this simple it’s important the details are done well. Fortunately this is the case here. The Classic feels like a well-manufactured pen. The clip seems fairly strong and everything fits together snuggly.

The cap screws on to close and pushes on to post. The pen’s well balanced either posted or not and although small, is comfortable in the hand. (With my big hands, I found it much better to use posted.)

You can use standard international cartridges or converters, giving a wide range of options.

This pen is available with steel or 14k gold nibs in four widths. I picked the gold broad option. The nib is finished in gold which clashes a little with the silver coloured trim. I would have preferred the nib to be rhodium plated so it all matched. In use, the nib is quite firm but with just that hint of spring that lets you know it’s gold and makes it feel more luxurious to write with. It writes a little on the dry side but this isn’t a problem except on some coated paper, when it occasionally skipped.

The Cleo Skribent Classic is a good pen and it’s great to have such a range of options. However, in this particular configuration, cartridge/converter with gold nib, it has some stiff competition. In the UK, the Platinum #3776 is a little cheaper, has a similar range of colour options and is a classically shaped cartridge/converter pen. It’s also a little larger and has one of the best gold nibs money can buy. In the USA, Pilot pens come into play at this price point and offer great gold nibs and similarly ‘classic’ designs. Where Cleo Skribent might be onto something is with the piston-filling version. That one costs just £10 more and (in the UK, at least) it’s hard to find a piston-filling pen this well made with a gold nib at that price.

This review will form part of a United Inkdom meta-review in which most of the other configurations will be reviewed. I think this particular model, although a nice pen in itself, loses out to better pens at a similar or lower price. However, if the steel-nibbed pens are as good, they could well be worth a look, particularly if you’re keen on piston-fillers.

Pros

Lovely smooth nib
High quality manufacture
Several interesting configurations available

Cons

Occasional skipping on some paper

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