The first abalone pen I bought was the Retro 51 Cioppino fountain pen. The pen has bits of broken abalone strategically placed in a black background which looks to be resin. Covered with layers of clear resin. The Cioppino is trimmed with rose gold and comes with a JoWo #6 Stainless Steel nib. Like most Retro 51 pens with JoWo nibs, my pen is a smooth writer.
I had my eye on another abalone pen that kept popping up on several social media sites. This one was made by Laban. Abalone trimmed with polished chrome or matte gunmetal. Beautiful pen! I had not paid too much attention to this brand other than seeing their table at the local pen show. Their abalone pen ended up on my wishlist. Over time, that pen kept getting pushed further down on my list. More than likely because of the price. In that price range, I expect to see at least a 14K/585 gold nib on a pen. I know it’s because of the gorgeous abalone, but I still expect to see a gold nib and not gold plated. That’s just me.
A few months later, I saw another abalone pen pop into my radar. Stunning. With rose gold trim! Made by Conklin. Affordable too! So I did a “pre-order” with my go-to online retailer and waited. I noticed the pen’s arrival to several online shops was delayed. So I waited some more.
Then an email came from another online retailer (Goulet) announcing their Conklin Abalone in Chrome (Goulet exclusive) was available to order. Wait! What?! I had forgotten that a chrome version was specially made for Goulet and I must have subscribed to their notification for that particular pen. Naturally, I cancelled my “pre-order” with the other online retailer and placed an order with Goulet AND to include the new JoWo Omniflex nib. I was in for a very nice surprise!
So. Where’s the picture of my Abalone with chrome trim? Patience. I’m getting to it.
I was in love with my Conklin Abalone fountain pen! Stunning to look at. Lovely feel in hand. Beautiful writing experience with the new JoWo Omniflex nib. I could feel this nib bounce across my page while I was writing an entry into my Ink Journal. I did a writing sample on my Rhodia paper and experienced the same bouncy spring across the paper. I could not believe the joy I was experiencing with this pen!
Fast forward to today. Here’s my other Abalone beauty that showed up from a Black Friday sale:
This rose gold version is just as stunning as the chrome version. The pen comes with a stainless steel black plated nib. I selected a Fine as I do not have that in my collection. Naturally when this pen arrived I immediately swapped it out for the spare JoWo Omniflex nib I had purchased from Goulet. It’s the same writing enjoyment I have with my chrome version.
Oh yeah. You wanted to see my Cioppino pen. Here is is with my Conklin pens:
In case you want to see it at a different angle:
Okay. My left brain tells me that this new Omniflex nib is a perfect pairing with my heavy Abalone pen. I think the weight of the pen supports the bouncy/springy feeling I get while I write. I’ve tried my Omniflex on my lightweight All American pen and there is still a bounce, but not as pronounced or as noticeable.
I want to add my personal experience with the Conklin Omniflex nib. I do have the older Omniflex nibs and they are the pits! I can say that here on my blog. Most were scratchy and had to be adjusted (the best I could do). Most of the time I had hard starts. Never had a smooth writing experience with those old nibs.
I do not flex the new Omniflex nibs. Folks are giving these JoWo nibs a bad name because they try to flex the nib while writing. I’ve cringed whenever someone has posted a picture of their bent nib.
I love my Abalone pens. They are definitely my EDCs. You’ve seen my chrome version in a previous post. Stunning and constant companions for me.
When purchasing Conklin pens from Goulet, you can select the Omniflex nib and it will be a JoWo Omniflex nib you will get. Goulet is very specific about this in their pen descriptions. I applaud them for letting us pen folks know what we are purchasing. Other online retailers are still selling the old Omniflex nibs. Trust me I know this. I emailed and called another online retailer and they told me it was the new JoWo Omniflex nib. I received a pen with the old nib. Apparently, some retailers are trying to sell and get rid of the old stock.
Please, do not try to flex this Omniflex nib. I’ve tried it once and the line variation is not that great. Not worth over bending/flexing the nib. There are other alternatives like a dip pen with a Nikko G or Leonardt nib that can give brilliant line variations.
The Retro 51 Tornado Cioppino is still available. Google is your friend. Retro 51 will be closing up their shop at the end of this year. They are still looking for a buyer to take over their business. Besides fountain pens, they also have ballpoint/rollerball pens. Lately, there’s been an explosion of rollerball pens they’ve produced exclusively for various online retailers. They are also announcing new pen(s) today. As in a few hours from now.
I will do a future post on Flex-type pens I have used and tried to use. If you have the money and would like a flex pen (non-vintage), I do suggest a Pilot Custom Heritage 912 with an FA nib. The FA nib is 14K/585 gold and has curved cutouts on the sides of the nib. This FA nib flexes a bit so I can get some beautiful line variations. Also. I have not had any issues with this beautiful pen. It is a wet writer.
Pilot does make another pen called Pilot Falcon. The nib on this pen is shaped like a falcon’s beak. It can flex a bit, especially the Soft Extra Fine or <SE> nib.
I wanted to point out the two different Pilot pens and nibs as folks use them interchangeably and then confusion sets in when they receive the wrong pen.