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What makes a Conway Stewart Fountain Pen so special? We're here to tell you.
How does Conway Stewart compare to German or Japanese writing instruments? It’s a question we’re regularly asked by customers, and we’re all too happy to oblige in giving you an answer. But first, why use a luxury pen in the first place? Perhaps it’s best to think of it like a car journey: you can drive a rusty old car or you can drive an elegant vehicle with leather interior – either way you will arrive at the same destination, but one is significantly more pleasing to use than the other. Should you choose the latter option your decisions don’t stop there – just like a car you now have to pick which model, what colour, and more.Similar to car manufacturers, notable pen manufactures are often based in countries who are renowned for their engineering and craftsmanship: for example Germany for Mont Blanc, Japan for Sailor, etc. At Conway Stewart, we believe our writing instruments have the perfect mix of British heritage, craftsmanship and quality that will make your writing journey one to remember. But don’t take our word for it, read the reviews!
Classic Conway Design with Buttery Smooth nibs
Before you even hold a Conway Stewart fountain pen, a myriad of decisions have been made over how each model looks and feels. Those choices are the culmination of over a hundred years of craftsmanship and quality design since Conway Stewart was founded in 1905. Regardless of whether you’ve chosen a classic fountain pen such as the Conway Stewart Series 100, or adapted the Churchill to a rollerball or ballpoint, you are going to feel the comforting weightiness of a Conway Stewart pen in your hand.
Each fountain pen maker has their own way of differentiating themselves, often these differences can fall down country lines. Japanese fountain pens are known for having nibs that write with very thin lines compared to their western counterparts. Italian pens are flamboyant by design that can verge on tastelessness. German fountain pens are typically well made, but have that mass produced feel with the occasional aesthetic flourish.
At Conway Stewart our British fountain pen design philosophy relies on 4 key foundation stones; Heritage; Quality; Perfection; Bespoke
Heritage is in everything we do, from the internationally recognisable shape of our pens that have changed little over the years with names like Series 58, Series 100, Churchill, Dandy, Duro. Many of these were the pens we know and used when at school, and many years later we can still feel the nostalgia when picking up a new Conway Stewart. Writers around the world have used a Conway Stewart pen to write their memoirs, novels, scripts and prose, and some have even written poems about their Conway Stewart pens (Seamus Heaney).
Quality is in everything we do too. The acrylic, resins and ebonite materials used to make the barrels and caps are always of the highest qualities. Famed for having a wide variety of coloured pens in the 1920s and 1930s, we still use many traditional resins like the beautiful marbled Classic Green which is iconic to Conway Stewart. One thing that differentiates us from others is our belief that precious metals should be used rather than plated brass. We use only solid sterling silver, and solid 9ct gold for the pen rings, and all wide rings are hallmarked by the Birmingham Assay office. English hallmarking of precious metals to prove their purity goes back to 1300 when a Statute of Edward I instituted the assaying (testing) and marking of precious metals. It was all too easy to mix the precious metals with lesser valued materials so hallmarking became the way to protect the public against fraud and of the unscrupulous trader. Indeed, hallmarking is one of the oldest forms of consumer protection. See English Assay Offices to see the relevant marks, and also to read more about the history of hallmarking.
Perfection is everything; to create a balanced writing instrument that is pleasure to use every time you pick it up. To create a pen that fits perfectly into your hand and to have the right weight for you. To feel comfortable, the shape of the nib holder is critical, and the distance of the threads on the barrel from the nib holder are too. Little things that have evolved over time make the difference, the diameter of the barrel to the design of the clip. And off course the heart of the fountain pen is the nib, and our belief is it must be 18ct Gold to be perfect. We offer a variety of nibs, 99% are 18ct gold, some are non-flex and some semi- flex nibs; some are 2-tone, and some are single tone. All write as “smooth as butter” and have had world-wide acclaim. See our review pages to see the comments from actual users and see why they have given Conway Stewart a 5 star rating.
Bespoke is anything you want, we can make it! As all our pens are made to order, we can bespoke your pen to suit your requirements; – You want silver trims rather than 9ct gold trims – we can do that. You want your initials engraved in script font around the wide cap band – we can do that. You want your family crest engraved on top of the cap – we can do that. You want a special message engraved on the barrel – we can do that. You want diamonds embedded on the clip – we can do that. Whatever idea you have for your pen, tell us, and we will make it for you.
More about our Buttery Smooth nibs. The line widths are Western in thickness and the table below gives the line widths you should expect. The wetness of the nibs in a scale of 1-10 where 10 is the wettest, our nibs are marked between 5-6. However, we use one of Britain’s foremost nib specialist that can fine tune and grind a nib to your specification for a small extra charge on any pen.
A Story Worth Telling
Perhaps what is one of the defining aspects of a Conway Stewart pen is the story that goes with it. It’s a story that begins in 1905 with Frank Jarvis and Tommy Garner forming Conway Stewart & Co. Limited in the shadows of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, and continues today under the leadership of Bespoke British Pens. Throughout its history, Conway Stewart pens have found their way into the hands of presidents, prime ministers and royalty – so you know that you’re in good company when you use one. As with most companies of a certain age, there have been peaks and troughs – but a loyal following with a love for heritage, tradition and quality design has ensured Conway Stewart is renowned around the world.
Quality and Craft
Every Conway Stewart pen on in our store is made and assembled by hand in England using traditional techniques and only the highest quality materials. We are committed to our craft – it's a pleasure and a privilege to make timeless writing instruments with British craftsmanship, and to be associated with creating bespoke pens for revered brands including Rolls Royce. As such, Conway Stewart pens are proud to be themselves to make a statement in your hand while you are writing. Take for example the Conway Stewart Winston, weighing in at a hefty 54 grams this heavyweight of a pen is grand in its appearance and size, and yet has a reserved elegance that makes it practical for everyday use.Whether you want a pen to sign those all-important documents, or to scribble down the beginnings of your novel with a Conway Stewart you’re writing with more than a pen.