Nexus Minimal Fountain Pen Review

I spotted this project on Kickstarter a little while back. Two things immediately struck me – that is a good-looking pen for the price, and that price is in pounds sterling, so no international postage. Sold.

Nexus Minimal fullA couple of months later, through the door appears a package containing the Nexus Minimal fountain pen in machined aluminium. It’s certainly elegant, and the design appears seamless due to clever placement of the threads. It almost doesn’t look like a pen at all; more like some kind of mysterious wand. The no-frills design skips out on a clip and post-able cap but does distinguish itself with some broad ridges that make up the grip. There is no logo or insignia. It looks great.

Sadly, it doesn’t write quite as well as I’d hoped. Although it’s not bad, I’ve had some teething issues – I initially tried it for a day using Diamine’s Regency Blue and was plagued by a number of dry starts and some skipping when writing quickly. The nib felt almost ‘sticky’ on the page and I felt like I was dragging it around every character I wrote. On getting home I flushed the pen through and switched in Waterman’s Intense Black (probably the wettest ink I own) which fixed the issue – the Bock nib is now a pleasant writer but still has a tendancy towards the drier end of the spectrum. Slow signatures required, but the pen now keeps up with my (fairly rapid) writing speed. In future I might try switching out the nib for a titanium version and see if I prefer that.

The nib unit can be unscrewed easily and replaced with another Bock nib if you decide that the one you have is too broad/fine/broken. It’s well balanced and the ridged grip works well, although if you hold the pen near the tip you can end up denting your fingers on the cap threads which is a little uncomfortable. The threads also take up ink when filling the pen from a bottle, and getting the ink out again is a touch tougher than on other pens (but by no means especially challenging). If you put the Nexus down you’ll find the lack of clip makes it a very capable roller as well, so be careful where you leave it.

nexus minimal fountain writing

It is, contrary to what manufacturer Namisu say, borderline possible to post the cap but it’s clearly not designed for it and the chance of it falling off is pretty high – I’d not recommend it. The cap also takes an awful lot of turns to unscrew, and if you’re constantly capping/uncapping your pens this will get to you quickly. I tend to write in longer, single bursts but I still found this slightly irritating.

Overall, though, for ¬£26 this is a pretty good buy. It’s an elegant design which holds to the principle by which it was designed – simplicity. You want to write? This’ll stand you in good stead. Like nibs that are on the dry side? Good choice. Want to wear a pen or put it on a sloped surface and have it stay there?* Get something else.

And for those of you who prefer such things – yes, it comes in black.

Nexus minimal parts

*why you would want to do this is unclear.



11 responses to “Nexus Minimal Fountain Pen Review

  1. I am finding your reviews of fountain pens fascinating. My father had beautiful penmanship and I remember him addressing Christmas cards using fountain pens. I think when I first learned cursive I learned with a fountain pen. These days I have fallen in love with this cheap Pentel gel ink pen because I sometimes have write firmly enough to go through copies. Also the gel ink dries instantly so I don’t smear.

    I have been reading that so many of my favorite authors use fountain pens for those daily pages and first drafts. Has the ink improved enough that it dries before smearing? I didn’t even know that some inks were wetter than others.

    Thanks for the information. I am going to try some more of your reviews and maybe give one of them a try again.

    • I sadly do not have beautiful penmanship (it can barely be called handwriting) but I do enjoy writing with a fountain pen oodles more than with other types.

      As for ink dry times, fountain pen ink is much more liquid than gel ink or the paste that’s in ballpoints. As such, it takes a few seconds to dry and in that time it can smear. In general, that is between a few seconds to half a minute but it varies (also dependent on the thickness of the line – more ink = more time to dry).

      If you’re interested I’d pick up a cheap fountain pen and see what you think! There are a huge range of pens varying from a few dollars upwards, and obviously each one is a bit different, but grab something cheap and see if you like the experience.

  2. I searched around the inter webs last night and found way too many beautiful fountain pens. Some of them cost hundreds of dollars. My attachment to my Enger-gel pens is ridiculous. If one of pens runs out of ink I seriously will walk back to my office or even my car before using a ballpoint. I love the smoothness, quick drying time and that they write very dark without me having to apply pressure. But the happy childhood memories you brought to mind will have me headed to Staples or Office Depot today

    • Let me know how you get on! If you decide that fountain pens aren’t suited, then from what you say it may well be worth giving rollerballs a try – they are much closer to gel pens in terms of drying time and are very smooth, but you still have to buy refills. A middle ground, as it were. Something that takes a Pilot G2 is a good all-round choice from the rollerball side of things.

      • That would feel like cheating on my Pentel Energels…I just remembered this neurologist I worked with many years ago. Dr. Ross-Dugan wrote with a fountain pen in the most beautiful calligraphy. His penmanship was truly art. Sadly, we could not read it. Unsure how he accomplished penmanship that was both beautiful and illegible at the same time.

  3. Hi, I’ve got one, with a Fine steel nib, and mine is superwet, almost writes like a medium. So, not all of them are on the dry side. Which seems strange as usually Bock should be quite consistent, but anyway, that is my experience.

      • I’ve used Noodler’s midnight blue (almost too wet to be useable), Noodler’s Old Manhattan Blackest Black (barely), and then had some more luck with Pelican 4001 (very dry ink) and a Hero Iron-Gall blue black (also quite dry). Even with the dry inks the pen is still wet.

      • Huh, who’d’ve known. Makes me wonder if mine’s a duffer or whether it’s just a QC issue. Maybe when I feel like spending some more money I’ll grab a second nib and see if it’s the same. I don’t know what this Bock is supposed to be like or any other pens it’s attached to; would be interesting to find out what other people have found.

      • They are standard Bock #6 nibs, not customized. It may just be that some of them came out wetter than others. Or maybe it’s possible that they sent me a medium instead than a fine by error. I don’t have another Bock #6 fine at hand to compare.

  4. Hi, I have just launched a new pen project on Kickstarter which may be of interest to you pen lovers!!! Let me know your thoughts and don’t be shy if you have any questions!!

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