EWW … IWI!
Once every often one comes across a pen that turns conventional thinking on its head. To me that happened the other day when I stumbled upon the IWI pens in the Penspecials office in Kolkata.
“IWI? What on Earth is that” you are thinking? Let me give you the same pinch, for that is exactly what my primary reaction was. Honestly, I had never heard about IWI before – and though Abhishek Nair, General Manager of Penspecials who had raised the topic, opened their site, and perhaps a tad bit indignantly, pointed out that IWI pens are prominently featured there, – I must confess, his Greek was sounding Roman to me. The fact is, though I have been a regular visitor to their site, I had somehow missed noticing them.
But once I took the pen in my hand – several ones in fact, and tested them, the story began to change, drastically. For, these are definitely pens with many high points that are capable of endearing them to proud owners. And it is not like this brand cropped up yesterday. In fact, IWI stands for International Writing Instrument Corp. (IWI) specializing in metallic pens since 1985 in Taiwan. IWI offers a complete range of ballpoint pens, mechanical pencils, roller ball pens, fountain pens, and pen parts with distinctive finishes to suit a variety of preferences. They are also known for their gift sets and advertising give-aways. As is the standard norm, IWI is also an acknowledged OEM supplier and caters to customer designs precisely and competently. “Active, Creative, Qualified, Efficient” the IWI websitedoes not mince the words when talking about itself. Market sources tell me, and I am not certain about this one, IWI has substantial manufacturing facilities in mainland China, having out local entities and relocating its manufacturing (at least a part of it) to a cheaper cost destination.
Now for the pens. The IWI pens that the people at Penspecials were so kind to allow me to test, generated mixed feelings. All were metal pens and I must confess upfront that I am not a huge fan of metal pens. But I also accept the fact that there are fountain pen lovers among us who love the smooth, cold feel of metal in their fingers as they grip their pens. There are also the ones that love to write with heavier pens. For them, these pens will be an absolute delight as they are a tad bit on the heavier side. And bearing an Asian soul, IWI pens are not chunky or beefy – they are of a size and demeanour that will force one to stop just short of calling them petite. The metalwork and the lacquering are both club-class and IWI pens in general have what it takes to be termed as eye candies. If one is a compulsive buyer of fountain pens and can never have enough, then IWI has many reasons to compel the aficionados to add them to their collections.
The high point however is the fact that the pens are fitted with Peter Bock nibs from Germany which needs no elaboration. What added to my pleasure was the fact that Penspecials only had IWI pens fitted with the EF nibs. Now German EF nibs, Bock more so, are not as fine as the ones made by the Japanese and I simply adore them as they help elevate my writing to a level where even I admire it. Yes, there are ones who are obsessed with changing nibs (and these nibs too can be replaced with more girthy ones) but I try to refrain from committing such sacrilege as I feel (and this is my personal opinion) that EF nibs with Medium or Broad nibs (unless of course the whole nib unit is changed) leads to flow issues. But then again, this is a free country.
The IWI Handscript model comes with a PU body while the IWI Essence is fitted with a Schmidt 888 F nib. Both write extremely well, feel fairly good in the hand, and are decent lookers. However, the IWI that made me grasp for breath is the Civilisation. The pen has a hexagonal shape which is a tribute to the lost civilisation of Atlantis which is said to have drawn all its supernational capabilities from a magnetic power stone of a similar shape.
The cap of the pen is a compliment to the retro, while the solid-brass-built body and elastic clip are the high points. A castle logo is used to symbolize the protection of civilization, family, and wealth.
The IWI Civilisation comes packed in a dictionary gift enclosure, with a tin box, a converter, a pouch, and a package of 6 black ink cartridges. All this for a price that is delightfully within the grasp of us ordinary fountain pen hobbyists with a penchant for more.
Lucky for me, the bright colours were sold out when I stumbled upon these pens so I had all the muted pastel shades to play with. Do I need to add that these soft colours have a kind of dreamy romantic feel about them that kind of transports one to the lost city-state of the Atlantis?
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