Goathard Sunburnt Orange Fountain Pen Review14 March 2018
Brad Goathard is a UK-based pen maker who specialises in individually turned metal pens.
Filling method: standard international cartridge/converter
Barrel options: this pen is named after its barrel finish but Goathard makes many other machined metal pens in different finishes
Nib options: stainless steel medium or fine
The actual name of this pen is ‘Gently Ribbed & Sunburnt Orange’. While an accurate description of the pen, it also sounds like a form of contraception, so I like to refer to it as just Sunburnt Orange.
Moving swiftly on, what we have here is an aluminium cap, barrel and section. The cap and barrel are deeply etched in rings and anodised in a gorgeous reddish-orange colour. The workmanship is top-notch.
Metal sections aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and they can be a little slippery. I don’t have that issue myself but this particular section has a gentle concave curve to it which helps your fingers and thumb nestle in, aiding the grip.
The large cap screws to close and pushes on to post. It posts quite deeply but does, inevitably, alter the balance slightly (but, for me, it actually helps rest the pen back into my hand). I worry that over time the threads on the inside of the cap might begin to damage the finish on the barrel but so far I’ve not seen any signs of this (but then I don’t post the cap very often). The fit of the cap on the section is excellent and the threads on the section are high enough to keep out of the way of your fingers.
In hand this is a comfortable pen. It’s a good length, even unposted, and being made of aluminium it’s light but still feels robust.
The pen uses a standard international cartridge or converter. Being aluminium, it can’t be eye-droppered.
The Sunburnt Orange comes with a stainless steel Jowo nib, available in either fine or medium. The nib that came with mine was smooth and had good flow but I swapped it almost immediately for a 14k gold broad stub, which is what you can see in these photos.
There’s much debate about pens over £100 or so coming with steel nibs instead of gold. It certainly feels as if you should be getting a gold nib when you’re paying that kind of money. However it’s usual for this kind of pen to come with a steel nib. I assume that for pen makers working in such small quantities they will be paying quite close to retail for their nibs and so the cost of a gold nib would have to be added, penny for penny, to be cost of the pen. That would price the pens out of reach of a significant number of people. Given that, I think it’s fine for individually made pens such as this to be supplied with a steel nib. (That said, I would like there to be more options available from Goathard.) What I’ve done, to get around this situation, is buy a couple of gold Jowo nibs that I’m able to swap into the many pens that will hold them. That’s quite a list and includes Twiss Pens, Franklin-Christoph and of course this one.
This leads nicely into a value for money discussion. I bought this pen at a very significant discount due to a wonderful offer that Brad Goathard made to members of the Fountain Pens UK Facebook group. I feel I got a bargain. The full retail price is very high and you are getting a cartridge filling pen with a steel nib. On the other hand, it’s been machined individually to a high standard by someone who really cares about what he does, and it’s a rare pen. I think it’s up to you, dear reader, to decide if it’s worth your pounds. Myself, at full retail price it’s above what I’m comfortable paying for any pen, but the Sunburnt Orange is one of my favourites and is rarely uninked.
Individually made to a very high standard
Distinctive and stunning design
Comfortable to hold and use
Limited choice of nibs