I think I’ve found the exact embodiment of what ordinary people are thinking of when they think of a fancy fountain pen. Though I didn’t exactly find it—Zait contacted me to see if I would be interested in one of their pens, and without any idea what exactly I’d be getting I agreed. Thanks to Zait for providing this sample to review
Imagine my squealing delight when I opened the box and unwrapped the bubble wrap to this beauty. The beautiful wood (Jerusalem Olive Wood I’m told, though ‘TREE!’ is about the finest recognizeable distinction I can make when it comes to types of wood) goes perfectly with the chrome accents. The black nylon-coated threads to post the cap are visually balanced by a black ring between the wood and the chrome at the top of the cap and the black background of the floral center band. It’s a good looking pen.
To post or not to post? I can’t decide. The weight of the posted pen is solid and reassuring, but with the size of my hand borders on becoming unwieldy. The pen is certainly long enough for me to write comfortably with it unposted…but there’s some ineffable quality that the extra weight adds. The faceted grip looks great, but picks up my fingerprints like crazy (so if you’re looking for a pen to star in a crime drama…). Any white residue on the nylon-coated threads is just a protective wax applied before shipping, and wipes away with a soft cloth.
The nib is a gilded stainless steel iridium tipped Bock fine/semi flex. If, like me, you live under a rock you might not have known prior to a little Googling that Bock is a major nib supplier to a lot of companies. Though I no doubt own many pens with Bock-made nibs, this is the first I’ve seen with the Bock branding. Look at the little goat. Why a goat? Because Germany.
The semi-flex fine nib is a lot like the nib on my old Pelikan M150 in terms of both fineness and flex. It makes for a great everyday writing pen (I find fine nibs typically have the most success in random paper encounters) and, being both fine and a little bit flex, good for drawing. I did have to adjust the tines just a smidge* (one was a fraction of a millimeter high) but this is a fix so quick that it’s worth learning for every fountain pen user. Once the tine was in place it was smooth sailing—a nib with a nice tactile feeling on the page, excellent flow and no problems with starting, skipping, ghosting, or anything. Now, the aesthetic choice of a gold-colored nib on an all chrome-accented pen is another matter…
These pens are handmade and hand-assembled. The Jerusalem Olive Wood is sustainable and sourced locally to the company’s production plant in Jerusalem. It comes with a converter and takes standard short international cartridges. This pen retails for $100, which includes registered international shipping from ISRAEL! Which probably isn’t very exciting when you live in Israel, but here in America I’m always excited when something comes all the way across an ocean. All in all, a very satisfying fancy pen that would make a handsome gift—for you or for someone else.
* When advised that I had to adjust the tines a little on the nib, Zait Pens told me the following: “We were very surprised by the non-alignment of the nib tines. Each of our fountain pens are ‘Road Tested’ for at least two days by our resident calligrapher to ensure that no problems arise with nib function. After each two day writing test the nib housings are dismantled, washed, re-polished and re-assembled. Now you have alerted us to this problem we are reviewing our re-polishing and packaging techniques in case either of these may be responsible.”
I was very pleased with how responsive they were to the problem!