Black is by far the best way of describing the pen I am currently looking at. Made of smooth black anodised aluminium and with a black oxide coated nib this pen feels like it would be suitable for spies, the special forces or anyone wanting to stay incognito.
I have a thing for black nib pens so this fits right in with my design preferences. It is made by Namisu, a Scottish company based in Fife. This is their second Kickstarter project to reach production and whilst I didn't like the look of their first pen this one immediately appealed, even though I found out about it just after the Kickstarter closed... Luckily for me they had a pre-order option and so I put my name down for this black aluminium version with a black medium nib. It was slightly delayed during manufacture, but not for too long, and they kept the Kickstarter page updated with details. Luckily instead of rushing to get the product out on the timings specified as part of the project they spent the right amount of time and delivered a really high quality product.
The pen when capped tapers gently away from the join until it finishes at a gently rounded conical point at both ends. It looks simple and elegant & is completely unadorned with any branding or finishing touches. So many other projects or pens that I have bought tend to miss this trick and end up festooned with logos, names and engravings but Namisu keep this classy.
The cap unscrews quickly only taking one full turn to remove. A lot of other pens give you a case of RSI when you are trying to get them ready for writing, so again this is a well designed system. Being metal on metal it does unscrew with the expected squeak which can be a bit off putting but this one isn't too bad and doesn't annoy. There is nothing else on the cap, no roll stop or clip, so if you put it down on a surface without it being perfectly flat or stationary (a good case of the requirement for stationary stationery) when you let go it will roll. This pen has ended up on the floor multiple times and I have been lucky so far that I have not ended up with scratches on the anodised finish or inky fingers.
Uncapped, the grip section is slightly tapered and significantly thinner than the barrel. It tapers all the way to the nib so if your hands normally migrate to the nib then you will end up on it as there is no ridge to stop this from happening. The metal is relatively grippy and so this is less likely to happen than a shiny & polished metal section, but it's worth taking into account, depending upon how you grip your pen.
The cap does post onto the barrel and the pen is still nicely balanced when used like this, but the posting is a friction fit. Metal on metal friction fits tend to lead to scratch marks or lots of squeaks so I don't post this pen much, you just have to be careful about how you store your cap or it will disappear into the distance.
In use the Nova feels very good, with a nice even balance. There is a step between the barrel and grip section which I normally would dislike but it is nice and smooth and the screw threads can barely be felt so this ended up not being an issue for me. It is rather chunky in size especially at the point where the barrel meets the grip, but I have big hands and like larger pens so combined with the good balance it turned out to be a superb design.
The medium Bock nib is really quite good. On arrival it was relatively smooth and wrote with a nice even line with no hard starts or skipping. This is a fairly typical example of a Bock nib, overall good writing performance and no issues such as baby's bottoms or misaligned tines. It did however have a bit more feedback than I would typically want in a medium point so a few minutes of work with micromesh has turned this into one of the smoothest writers I own. One of the best things I have found is how long this pen stays wet and ready to write after being uncapped; it certainly stays usable for longer than the average pen which combined with the quick screw threads would make this perfect note taking pen, if only it hadn't just rolled off the desk again.
Design simplicity is the name of the game for this pen. Certain design compromises have been made to ensure that it stays as pure as it is, and in general I agree with them, but it does mean that this pen is not perfect for everyday use. For the money it is superbly finished and looks really sophisticated, writing excellently and reliably time after time. For a pen of this price I would have expected it to come with a converter so it could be used with bottled ink, or at very least a first cartridge so that you can get going straight away, but neither were in the packet. This is fairly clearly noted on the Namisu website and they offer a converter for sale, but I think it would feel like a better deal with one even if the pen was positioned at a slightly higher price as a result. Overall this pen is a steal and definitely worth owning, a great Scottish pen for your daily rotation.
Where to buy:
Get this pen direct from Namisu via their website. There are a range of nibs and barrel types available including a polished titanium version and titanium nibs. Don't forget to pick up your converter whilst you are there. It currently is on offer from just £35GBP and they sell a nice looking leather sleeve for the pen for just £10 - I haven't tried it, but it would stop the pen rolling away.