Update: I saw Esterbrook post a picture about an upcoming new Gold Rush series color in what looks to be a “sparkling teal” color. It looked like a pen blank and not the actual pen. Not that I’m enabling….
(Note: I’ve added two “update” notes at the bottom of this post. I will also add a picture with a few of my other pens next to the Estie for size comparison. Enjoy!)
I want to introduce my family of Esterbrook Estie fountain pens. My regular Esterbrook Estie and two lovely Estie Oversize (OS) pens.
My first Esterbrook Estie fountain pen was the Honeycomb with flecks of amber and golden colors. It’s a regular or standard sized pen I found on sale and it turned out to be the last one in a Broad nib from one of the online pen shops. My first Broad nib pen. A double first for this wonderful pen.
My Broad nib felt like a gushing wet writer. I was not used to having a wet writing experience especially since I started out with Extra Fine and Fine nibs at the beginning of my rabbit hold adventure. It’s a perfect pen to use with sheening and shimmering ink to go with the lovely chatoyance in this pen material.
Last year, Esterbrook announced their “Sparkle” collection of pens and their Montana Sapphire immediately caught my attention in a big way.
Esterbrook partnered with Tim McKenzie of McKenzie Penworks (a custom Alumilite blank maker) to create a stunning and sparkling Diamondcast fountain pen collection. The sparkle pens are made from a mixture of resin and reclaimed diamond particles. Besides the Montana Sapphire offering, the other pen colors include Garnet (red) and Tanzanite (blue). Tim created something unique with this particular Montana Sapphire color. He added bits of holographic silver particles to the resin and reclaimed diamond particle mix which resulted in this pen having an over the top sparkling look. I can vouch for this as my pen sparkles in different amounts of lighting.
Three apparent pen qualities came to my mind the more I used my Estie pens: quality, feel, and function.
The Esterbrook Estie is a well made fountain pen. Overall this cigar shaped pen feels solid and smooth in my hand. Inside the cap they have something called the “cushion cap”. As I slide the barrel into the cap, the section meets a cushion inside the cap and I can feel a tiny bit of resistance as I twist the cap on. This helps to seal the nib and keep it wet and ready to write. There is also a nice smooth feeling when I twist off the cap from the barrel of the pen.
The section threads are metal and there’s an o-ring in place. The Esties cannot be converted to an eyedropper pen because of this metal part in the section. Having an o-ring in place provides a nice smooth feel when screwing the section into the barrel. Perhaps the o-ring prevents wear and tear on the threads from constant twisting and use when refiling the pen with ink. Sounds like I will be doing additional research on this.
The Esties can use a short or long standard international ink cartridge as well as the included converter. The ability to use a long standard ink cartridge is an added bonus for me as I have a few boxes of Jacques Herbin, Pelikan, and Waterman long ink cartridges that I can use in this pen. The longer cartridges come in handy when traveling and more convenient to carry. Especially when my converter runs out of ink and I can install a long cartridge and continue to write in my journal.
The only slight issue I have with Esterbrook is their converter. I wish the converter was a screw type instead of the push in. That’s just a preference I have and for all I know maybe the JoWo nib units do not work with screw in converters. If anyone has information on this, please let me know in the comments. In the mean time I will add this to my research to-do list.
The Esties use the JoWo #6 nibs/nib units. Another nib swapping pen! I can unscrew this standard nib unit and put in one from another pen manufacturer that uses the same such as my Franklin-Christoph Italic or SIG nib units. I can also use my Opus 88, Edison, Schon, and other independent pen manufacturer nib units.
The barrel threads between the regular and the OS pen models are different. The regular Estie has resin threads while the OS has metal threads.
I skipped the previous Estie sparkling collection which included Rocky Top and Peacock. I found the multicolored swirls of color with the diamond particles did not appeal to me. Maybe it was the combination of colors used in the pen and I did not notice the sparkling diamond particles as much. Besides me, I do not see too many folks twirling their pens and capture it on video. I gave Peacock several looks, but I already had Montana Sapphire. I wanted something a bit more different in color.
When I recently saw the new Esterbrook Gold Rush series and the color combinations they used, it took my breath away. This new series is available in Prospector Black (black and gold) and Dreamer Purple (purple and gold). In my personal opinion, they are absolutely stunning and very elegant looking pens.
I went with my gut instinct and selected the Dreamer Purple color. Depending on the lighting and how much this pen sparkles, I can see the purple leaning towards red-violet with a medium to darker range of purple colors.
While waiting a few weeks for my pen to ship, I had pulled out all of my ink swatch cards with the purplish colors I thought would be a perfect match with my new pen.
After receiving this beautiful pen, I was surprised to see not one swatch card jumping out at me. I went back to my Col-o-ring and flipped through the color ranges until I stopped at one. That’s when Diamine Brandy Dazzle spoke to me.
I pulled out my loupe to check the nib and everything was perfect. My medium nib on Dreamer Purple writes extremely smooth. The shimmering ink just flowed from my pen. No issues. It feels like a dreamy pen writing experience.
My Esties are lovely pens and a joy to write with. Having the metal clips and metal trims gives the pens some additional weight and a lovely finish. The pens are well balanced in my hand. They do not feel light in comparison to some of the other independent pen manufacturer’s pens. The weight of the Estie regular is around 24g while the Estie OS is 33g.
There is not much else to say about Esterbrook Estie pens. They are reliable writers and gorgeous pens. They have become my EDWs or everyday writers.
Update #1: I have to add this paragraph. I typed one with the original post, but deleted it. I am now re-typing it again. A small number of pen acquaintances have mentioned several times about the cost of the Estie pen. I had posted a picture and then a video in a social media group. One person immediately commented on both about how expensive this pen is (making me feel bad for purchasing it) and it really made me sad for a few minutes. Sad for the person that commented. This person who could not afford this pen, bought a Sailor last year and complained about the Sailor pen not writing to their expectations. I know there is one in every bunch and sometimes “filters” are turned off or do not exist. Everyone has different tastes and preferences. Okay. Enough said.
I decided to go ahead and publish this post to help others who are on the fence about purchasing an Esterbrook pen or any pen from another manufacturer. I hope to provide insight into what to look for in a fountain pen. I always believe in “you get what you pay for” and many times it’s always good to pass on things when the “salivating time” lasts for only a few minutes.
A few pen manufacturers are worth a second look like Franklin-Christoph (independent pen mfg) and Esterbrook. Both pen manufacturers have different pen offerings and price points. I mention them because I have had an overall wonderful experience with both.
Update #2: I just heard from Tim that there are a few more collaborations in the works with Esterbrook. I cannot wait to see what amazing blanks Tim will create for their next series of pens.