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Conklin Duragraph Elements Limited Edition Water (EF nib)

This is third in the Conklin limited edition ELEMENTS collection, named Water. Some of you may have read my reviews on the other 2 pens in this collection, but this is a totally independent story so don’t worry if you haven’t.

Photo by @missmuffat 

I can’t get over how the time of arrival of this collection seems to be resonating with what’s happening in the world around us now. Covid19 is a pandemic that disrupted and uprooted all old ways of doing things, but the unrest and other geo-political tension in different parts of the world is adding to the unsettling feeling for me. Maybe I’m just cooped up at home for way too long and spouting nonsense haha.

What I think is poignant about the ELEMENTS collection:
“EARTH”, where every convention we knew was “torched” to the earth, then slowly bit by bit rebuilding our lives with some flames of fiery love and passion “FIRE”, then comes WATER – to cleanse, purify, and of course, clean our hands and pens (yes, nothing gets between me and pen cleaning).

Water the world with compassion

I love how the colours on this pen instantly calmed my thoughts and settled me down in front of my desk. In a strange way, the specks of color brought me to the ocean and I could almost hear the waves.
I thought this pen was a good wrap-up to the collection of ELEMENTS. The colours on this pen will be a crowd pleaser, with its translucent specks of blue and yellow. The pen is otherwise clear, which makes it a close substitute to a demonstrator Duragraph (doesn’t exist yet). I could see the ink level rather clearly for mine. What’s even more interesting is that this is the only pen in the series with rose gold cap band, ring, and the finishing at the pen tip.
Of the 3 pens – Earth, Fire, Water – Earth and Fire both have dark steel nibs, Fire is a standard steel.
The detailing on the pen body (cap bands, rings etc) are different – Earth matches the body details to the nib. Fire is the same. Water is the game changer – rose gold detailing, with a dark steel Jowo #6 nib. I think Conklin is definitely trying to please the crowd with Water – hence the rose gold detailing to elevate the look.

The pen body is made of resin, with steel finish around the cap band, cap top with mounted clip and the pen tip. The nib is a standard Jowo #6 steel nib. I believe Conklin also did something to the feeder design – it has a more graduated slope towards the tip of pen, the shape also seems conducive for good ink flow.

Photo by @missmuffat 

The Experience

I braved a new territory and went Extra Fine nib for this pen (gulp!). Coming from a broad or stub nib preference, this is a pretty big dive for me. But I thought with the new Jowo nib, I am confident my maiden journey into an EF nib will be well taken care of. New times, new changes – I am totally game to try something out of my usual zone. One thing that scares me about EF nibs – I always think I will hear a squeaky scratchy sound because they are so fine and delicate – but this one is totally different! Still hairline fine, but no discomforting sounds.
I wrote with it for over an hour, no fatigue. I think the new JoWo nib is really working in its favour, it was literally gliding across the pages of my Tomoe River and also the Leuchtturm – the pen moves fast on paper.
The Duragraph is a good size, it is not too large, and the girth of the pen is just right. It is not overpowering, a good workhorse pen if you’re looking to toss it around the desk and write a whole bunch of stuff with it.
Pen is not too heavy, so it is a breeze to handle. If you want the pen to glide, don’t apply deliberate force. I tried it with Monteverde Horizon Blue to start with, just because I wanted to use an ink of medium wetness to ease into the experience.

The background on Conklin and what’s changed about their nibs:

Conklin and their long overdue comeback

This series is a new Duragraph collection inspired by the elements Earth, Fire, Water. All 3 pens are limited editions, numbered for 1898. I call this the “comeback” series, because Conklin now uses JoWo #6 nibs, a trustworthy, reliable, German-made nib maker, who has honed their craft as quality nib makers, loved by the fountain pen community.

I am very pleased with this nib upgrade, and finally, it’s as if my pen prayers have been answered. (Monteverde pens will also now use JoWo #6 nibs). In the past, the nib performance for Conklin has been largely inconsistent, and usually ‘scratchy’ when I put pen to paper. It was always a tug-of-war between the attractive pen design and the unstable nib quality. Note that these pens come with a variety of nib options – from steel extra-fine, fine, medium, broad, 1.1 stub (yes, all Jowo nibs). It also comes in the Omniflex nibs, but those are still Conklin’s own. Be warned that there are a lot mixed reviews about the Omniflex nibs out there, but allow me to weigh in with my 2-cents.

Conklin had meant for the Omniflex to be a 2-in-1 standard-cum-flex nib – something that would present a little bit of line variation if you’d exerted a little more force than usual. For times when you’re in a hurry to scribble something, the “unflexed” state would offer the speed of writing, as if it is a normal non-flex nib. For most of us, we saw the word “flex” and took “omniflex” to mean
“flex to any extent” or expect it to perform like a flex nib – which didn’t work out.
If they had named the nib differently, the reviews might have been different. Either way, I gave my omniflex nib in another Conklin a lot of patience – I took it through curves and lines, hoping it would “open up” to me in more welcoming arms. It did – a very very tiny bit – only after months.

Compared to my previous Conklin experiences, the writing experience is a total head-turner. I believe we have a lot to look forward to, now that Conklin has made a good comeback on the ageold complaint.
Wishing you joy and laughter, as you cruise through the elements with this unique collection.

Yours truly,


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