Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wed. Review- Stipula Etruria Alter Ego



The Stipula Etruria Alter Ego is a beautiful celluloid pen with (in this case) a new Titanium T-Flex nib, a very interesting nib coming from Stipula. Thanks to a special order customer who was generous enough to let me play with it, I took the opportunity to compare it to a Namiki Falcon with a soft medium nib, and a Noodler's Konrad flex pen. In the end, it's hard to really compare a $500 pen to a $140 and $20 pen directly, but at least you can see them all in action.

The Etruria Alter Ego is a stunning pen. The celluloid is cast in a solid block and turned individually on a lathe to create this pen. The clip and centerband are solid sterling silver, designed in Florentine style like you see in many of the Stipula pens. Older versions of the Alter Ego have been cartridge/converter, but this newer pen is a piston-filler with Stipula's SCS (Self-Cleaning System), which is unique to any piston mechanism I've seen. It rotates the piston seal inside the pen as it turns down, cleaning the inside walls of the pen as you use it. I only tested it for a few days so I don't know how much of a difference the SCS piston works over time. The craziest part about it is that the end of the pen that is connected to the piston mechanism turns backwards from most other piston pens, it takes some getting used to!

Stipula Etruria Alter Ego

Stipula Etruria Alter Ego, with titanium T-flex nib

The T-flex nib isn't as smooth on the paper as the Falcon, it's definitely not scratchy but it feels more like the nib has some drag on the page. This is really a matter of preference, as I know plenty of people that don't like super-smooth nibs because they feel a loss of control. I think that having a little drag on a nib like this is okay, because you want deliberate, controlled movements on a flexible nib anyway. The degree that this nib flexes rivals any modern flex nib pen, but man does it put down a lot of ink! You'll want to use only the best paper with this pen, and set it aside with plenty of time to dry if you plan to flex it out.

Closeup of the Stipula T-flex nib, available on many different Stipula pens

Stipula Etruria Alter Ego, with its solid sterling silver trim

This is one of the more expensive pens I've ever played around with, and there are some things I really love about it. It's out of my own budget (y'know, the whole two kids in diapers thing) but if you're in the market for a $500ish pen, you like celluloid and sterling silver, and you want to flex around with a titanium nib, then check out the Etruria Alter Ego.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

8 comments:

  1. Very nice review! This one's out of my price range, but I still enjoyed seeing it and getting a sense for how the T-flex nib compares to other modern flex nibs. That's some gorgeous celluloid!

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  2. This one's out of my price range, too, honestly! That's why I'm appreciative that I was able to play with it before I send it out : )

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  3. You said the furniture is solid sterling silver, but it looks gold in color in the photos. Is it gold plated or are the colors rendered incorrectly? I don't think it's my laptop (or eyes for that matter). The nib seems the right color for titanium. Hmm....

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  4. Thanks for the great review. Of course all this did was make me desperately need a bottle of Apache Sunset! I guess here goes my second order this week to Goulet Pens! Please keep these awesome reviews coming!

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    1. Haha....I'm sorry! Sort of ;) Apache Sunset is such an awesome color, I love using it in a flex pen.

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  5. It is sterling silver...I had been handling the pen quite a bit, and the yellow is likely some slight tarnish from the oils in my hands. Silver is pretty, but it's biggest downfall is that it needs to be polished regularly to look its best.

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  6. Just wondering *how* flexible the T Flex nib is... Is it still suitable (for most users) to use as a normal medium nib (which is on the soft side) for regular quick writing, with a little flex experimentation on the side? Or is it better suited for using as a semi-flex nib for slower deliberate writing, which can also be used for the occasional quick note? (I realise that this is quite subjective, but your opinion would be great, as I'm looking for the former, not the latter.)

    Thanks!
    Taz.

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  7. If you write with a light hand, then you can certainly use the T-flex as a 'regular' pen. It does write VERY wet though (like most flex nib pens do, I've found). I have the T-flex up in the Nib Nook, if you want to compare it to some other pens: http://www.gouletpens.com/Nib_Nook_s/1114.htm

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