I was very disappointed when quality control issues kept me from being able to accurately review the Pelikan Griffix 4 Fountain Pen, so I’m very excited to have picked up a Griffix Step 3, which is not as complicated and thus harder to ruin with sloppy production.
The idea behind the Griffix 4-step system is to
indoctrinate train children from preschool onward in the skills needed for good penmanship. Step 1 is a wax pen, not handed, for learning to hold the pen and apply pressure. Step 2 is a pencil, now introducing the concept of handedness. The third step is the ink writer, designed to teach fluid writing in preparation for Step 4, the fountain pen.
The design of the Griffix combines delightful childlike simplicity with extreme ergonomics. At the far end of the pen are these little “fun buttons” (“For individual design”); the pen comes with two: one for you, and one for you to trade with a friend (encouraging children in the mechanics of social interaction and shrewd economics). They serve no purpose other than for customization, and to make it impossible, design-wise, to even hope to post the cap on the end of the pen. There’s also a place where you can apply the provided stickers with your name on it, in some theoretical magic world where so many kids have Griffix pens that the name-sticker and fun buttons are the only thing standing between you and utter chaos (/losing your pen).
As best I can figure (operating without directions here), you HAVE to carry your spare cartridge around with you in the end of the pen; there is no other mechanism for keeping your primary cartridge in place to write. I think it’s a great idea, but it’d be great if I’d known that going in, rather than puzzling foolishly at my pen for 3 minutes.
My favorite part about the Griffix is the grip. Look at that grip. No, really.
There is no room to screw this one up, no room for misguided interpretation as for what this so-called “pliers grip” is supposed to look like. The grip takes you gently by the hand, so to speak, and says reassuringly, “Here. Here is where your fingers are supposed to go.” It’s comfortable, and great for training yourself to develop the allegedly ideal “pliers grip”.
Biggest problem with the Griffix: where are you supposed to put the cap? In your nose? A pen designed for children should be all over this cap issue. Or Pelikan should sell boxes of replacement caps, because there’s no way kids are gonna NOT lose this cap.
As the sun gives off heat in all directions, so too does this nib put ink to paper at any angle in which some part of the tip of the pen is touching the page. There is no finicky zone within which the pen must be held to make writing happen; it is a very forgiving pen. As best I can tell from photographing the pen and peering at it with an eye loupe, this tolerant nature is achieved through a 360-degree slotting pattern on the end of the pen. I’ve never had any pen like this before, so we’ve just hit the limits of the extent of my knowledge on slotted-end ink pens. I can say it’s great for writing, a very satisfactory feeling when this nib is moving along the page. It’s smooth, but not so smooth that your handwriting runs out of control.
I got my Griffix 3 at my local pen shop, Office Supplies and More. Unfortunately, they don’t have a website for people to buy from, and the only place I’ve found selling the Griffix online is this store called Bureau Direct, who I’ve never actually bought anything from. So, if you know of any other stores selling the Griffix 3 that I can link to, let me know and I’ll add them to this post!
Edit: here’s a store! Pen Fountain carries the entire Griffix line. And seems to be based in a currency on the other side of the ocean from me, so this one goes out especially to all my friends and followers for whom JetPens shipping isn’t so convenient! :)