This is another of my Moments of Madness – yet another cheap Chinese pen! This one is a Uranus, and yes, I’ve heard all the jokes. This is a household where no pun, no matter how tiresome is allowed to pass without being commented upon to death.
Uranus, I am told, is a sub-brand of Duke. This is by no means a good recommendation so far as I am concerned. I’ve had Duke pens before – ugly, massively overweight, none too willing to write and with some of the worst casting I’ve ever seen in a pen. They tell me that the more expensive Duke pens are much better. Well, so they should be! I won’t be buying any to find out.
However, Uranus does seem to be rather better. For a start they weigh something within the range of what is acceptable for a fountain pen. Secondly, the clips are quite plain and without the extra decoration that falls foul of Duke’s poor casting methods. Anyway, I had to have this pen. The cap is decorated with a copy of Fernand Leger’s Leisure and I’m very fond of Leger who appears to have enjoyed life and was always more upbeat than many of his contemporaries. You can see one version of the painting here – he made several. There’s the option of several other artists including Picasso, if I remember correctly.
Okay so we’ve got this pretty pen that’s really nice to look at. Is it any good for writing with? Well, yes, actually it is! It’s a sensible size at 13.6 cm. It will post but not very securely. The nib which I’m told is medium is a European fine but not one of those hairline jobs. It takes the standard European small cartridges and it has a piston-type converter. I note for those of you who like to turn all pens into eyedroppers (horrible habit) that it has a very long barrel thread and seals well. The cap snaps into place very well by means of a projecting ring in the cap and a groove in the barrel. This means that the cap may continue to fit properly rather longer than is the case with many Chinese pens. The ink flow’s good and the nib is quite smooth. My only difficulty with it is that being a hooded nib pen I have to consciously line it up for writing in a way I don’t have to do with open nib pens.
I don’t remember exactly what I paid for it, nor even where I got it – they are available all over the place – but it was certainly less than the price of a cup of coffee at Starbucks.