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.
A 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.
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.
*why you would want to do this is unclear.