Today we have an early look at a prototype of the recently launched Kickstarter project for the Zero Fountain Pen by Trilogy that you can find here on Kickstarter. Above is the first layer of the excellent packaging with the Trilogy logo and branding. Its a flat black card stock with a slightly glossy black foil stamp for the lettering and logo.
Once you open up the box, there is a second layer of simple branded packaging which is an identically styled card stock sleeve. This slides out pretty easily but its amazing how tight the tolerances are here. There isn’t a hair to spare in terms of extra space, but its also not a struggle to slide it out.
Once you slide the sleeve off, your new Zero Fountain Pen by Trilogy is presented in a wooden sarcophagus like box with no lid. Much like the prior layer of packaging, the pen fits perfectly with not an inch to spare, but not jammed in tight either. The box takes a slightly different design styling from the pen itself. While the pen is smooth and incredibly well finished, the wood box is a bit more rustic with rough edges and cuttings in the center, but it still matches the minimalist design of the pen. I’ve got the silver finish version of the Zero Fountain Pen, but it also comes in a black finish.
I mentioned the tight tolerances for a reason, and you can see that reason in the picture above. The Zero Fountain Pen has an almost invisible seam where the cap and body meet once the cap is twisted on. Not only can you hardly see the seam, but when you run your fingers over the super smooth surface of the Zero Fountain Pen you can hardly even feel that seam either.
The Zero Fountain Pen by Trilogy comes with a Schmidt K5 Converter installed, which feeds into a Bock #6 nib. The nib is available in EF, F, M, or B and can be had in either Steel, Black, or Plated Gold. The version I have for review purposes is the EF steel one.
Here is a close up of the German Bock #6 nib in extra fine that also happens to catch some of the rough carving of the inside of the wood box that I mentioned before. You can also start to make out some of the micro-pitting on the surface of the pen which feels super smooth to the touch. There are some adjustments being made to the way these pens are anodized though, so the finish wont have this exact same look and feel. The folks at Trilogy did say that their improved process after this round of prototype that I saw has more of a feel like you find on Apple products in terms of the finish.
Here is a closer look at the surface as well as the threading on the grip section. Again, I need to stress that the finish has been upgraded since this prototype was sent to me, so on the finished versions you probably won’t see this wear on the threading. I pointed out the threading though because when you screw on the cap one very minor thing I did notice was that it takes about four twists to turn tighten up the cap as compared to the Pelikan which takes only one to one and a half twists.
Here is the obligatory nib with ink shot as close as I could get to show some extra detail on the nib. Don’t worry, this wasn’t some experience where I had excessive nib creep, rather it was right after loading the pen up. One thing to note is that on this version you can already see at the base of the pen body there is some slight ink staining going on. Staining is probably not the right word either though because I got some on the grip section and it wiped right off with some water. You might get different results with different inks, but I’m assuming the new finish on the final versions will be just as easy to wipe clean though.
One thing I didn’t mention yet is the huge size of the Zero Fountain Pen by Trilogy. It measures 155mm capped and 143.5mm with the cap off, and weighs 39.8g with the cap on but drops down to 31.4g with the cap removed. To date the biggest fountain pen I’ve used on a regular basis was my Pelikan M805 Stressmann Anthracite (review here) so I thought the above comparison picture would help put things in perspective. No beating around the bush here, the Zero Fountain Pen is pretty darn huge, but because of the light weight 6000 series space grade aluminum the pen still feels nice in your hand.
Zero Fountain Pen Writing Sample:
The Bock Extra Fine nib on this Zero Fountain Pen by Trilogy wrote very nicely. It was smooth with a consistent flow that leaned slightly towards the dry side which happens to be a personal preference of mine. In using the pen for taking notes at work I didn’t find any issues regardless of the length of writing session. I was concerned that I might get tired because of the size of the pen, but that never became the case. Although the pen is light weight it certainly has a presence, even with the cap un-posted. I should mention that the cap is not meant to be posted, and since it has no clip you might take to standing it up so it doesn’t roll away. The writing sample was done with Pelikan Edelstein Topaz ink in a Black n’ Red notebook.
Keeping in mind the risks you take in backing any Kickstarter project, I think the Zero Fountain Pen by Trilogy has a ton of potential. Its an incredibly substantial pen that retains great modesty due to it’s minimalist design and it manages to write very nicely without any of the flaws that you might assume come along with such a large pen. For a fountain pen with this much subtle presence I think the current pricing on Kickstarter is definitely worth it. If it the project is successful you will be getting the footprint and presence of a pretty imposing pen for a great (read mid-range) price. Check it out here for yourself on Kickstarter.