9.22.2009

Review : Taccia Merit Fountain Pen


Bold, bright colors and chrome (or gold)-pressed appointments accent Taccia's newest release, the Merit Collection. Although this pen has an overall body shape that is pleasing to the eye and comfortable to hold, the first distinct feature you will notice is the transparent ink window.



Following the recent upward trend in transparency in pen design (i.e. Monteverde Mega fountain, Pelikan M205 Blue Demo, Aurora Optima Demo), the Merit offers the writer a glimpse into the converter (or cartridge) to view the ink level. The collection is offered in a matching rollerball as well.

There is also an ink window on the rollerball model as well, which is pretty useless considering the rollerball cartridge is opaque.



I tried out the Onyx Black fountain pen in medium point. The large nib is German stainless steel with iridium point. I filled the converter with Noodler's Bulletproof Black and gave it a test run on some Levenger Circa paper.

Initial impressions : plastic, but done well. The body is made from polished resin through and through. No brass body to the pen or cap. The ample girth and polished trims really save this pen from looking, or feeling cheap. The light weight is actually a positive in my book, as it is more comfortable to write with for long periods of time.




The nib flows very wet without scratching or any intermittent flow issues. Even with Bulletproof Black, which tends to not flow so generously through my Pelikan M215 Fine Point, the lines are very smooth and rich. The Medium is great for signatures and faster handwriting styles. The nib quality is on par with some of the best steel nibs that are out there.

A few pet peeves I have about the pen are cap-related issues. One : the cap posts very loosely on the back of the pen. This is a make or break for many fountain pen people out there, including me. Also, the cap does not screw back on to the business end of the pen very smoothly. I usually have to try once or twice to get the threads aligned properly.

The major selling point of the Merit collection is the price. At a retail value of $95 for the fountain pen and $80 for the rollerball, the Merit is a great value and can be compared to pens that are twice as expensive. When you order them from Goldspot Pens, every finish goes for $75.95 Fountain / $63.95 Rollerball.

Summary:
  • Writing Quality : Large, German-made, Stainless Steel nib (available in fine, medium or broad) writes wet and flows nicely. Top pick amongst other Stainless Steel FP's (grade A-)
  • Aesthetic Quality : Simplistic, but nice choice of vibrant-colored resins. (grade B)
  • Utility : Fountain pen Ink window lets you know when to fill up before the ink runs out. However, the cap does not post tightly on the back and the screw threads to close the pen are not very smooth. (grade B)
  • Price : At $95 retail (on sale for $75.95 at Goldspot.com), this is a very affordable value for a pen that can easily be considered in the same tier as a Parker Sonnet, Waterman Perspective or an Aurora Ipsilon. (grade A-)

Final Grade : B+
We can give a lot of "merit" to the price of this line, given the current economic climate, but I will choose to give credit to the high-quality nib and the usefulness of the ink window.

9.08.2009

The Facebook Traveling Pen Giveaway


Enter to Win a $25 Gift Card to Goldspot.com
No purchase necessary. Gift Card not redeemable for cash.

Partly inspired by the "roaming gnome" prank and the recent Twitter pen & paper community topic #dailyarsenal, coined by @DIYSara, Goldspot Pens is conducting a month-long giveaway through our Facebook Fan page called "The Traveling Pen."

Pens can become office utensils, status symbols, travel companions, workhorses and confidants of our innermost thoughts, etc. We want to see how your pens fit into your life. Snap a picture of your writing instrument of choice in an environment that tells a story. For example, if you are always buried with paperwork at the office, you may want to take a picture of your Lamy 2000 resting atop a stack of papers that rest in your "inbox" on your desk. If you're a big Star Wars fan and love pens, take a shot of your MB Starwalker resting against a Luke Skywalker action figure as if it is his lightsaber. The more creative, the better.

Here's how we will run the Giveaway :
  • Entries must be submitted through our Facebook Fan page in the "Fan Photos" Album. If you are not a Fan yet on Facebook, Find us Here.
  • Upload a photo and title it.
  • Enter as many pictures as you would like from now until Wednesday, September 30th. The winning photo will be picked by the Goldspot Staff.
  • The winner will be contacted through Facebook to obtain their mailing address to send the $25 Goldspot gift card. The photo will also be published on this blog, with the photographer's consent, of course.
Some Ground Rules :
  • No inappropriate or pornographic images, please. If Facebook doesn't automatically delete them, we sure will. Goldspot reserves the right to remove any image that is found offensive.
  • Family members of Goldspot employees are ineligible to win the giveaway. Sorry, Dad.
  • No purchase necessary.
  • Gift Card cannot be redeemed for cash.
Judging Criteria :
  • Creativity
  • Photo Quality / Clarity
  • Representation of Theme
Have fun taking your pics! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask and comment on this post.

Some quick links related to this post - #dailyarsenal topic on Twitter, @DIYSara's Blog, Traveling Gnome Prank on Wikipedia, Goldspot's Facebook Fan Page.

9.02.2009

Must-Have Back-to-School Supplies

As the calendar flips to September, kids are taking the first step on the school bus, students are being handed out their syllabuses and teachers are hurrying to complete their curriculum for the coming school year. The first day is always nerve-racking, yet exciting. Meeting your teachers and classmates for the first time, you quickly set expectations and get yourself prepared for the semester ahead.

Getting armed for the oncoming school year is always a daunting task. You ask yourself, "how many notebooks to I really need?" "How am I going to keep track of all the assignments, quizzes and tests?" "Will the teacher mind if I write in Dragon's Napalm Red?"

Not to worry, Goldspot is here to provide some helpful suggestions for your back-to-school supply shopping.

Before I start, lets set some ground rules : If the teacher hands out a checklist of specific items to purchase for the class, it is best to follow it to the "T." There is usually a rhyme to the reason and it will reflect better on your instruction-following skills if you come back the next class with every item on his or her checklist. The other rule would be to always have a pen handy that writes in blue or black ink for standardized tests. And I don't mean Ottoman Azure or Red-Black ink. Getting creative with your individuality is great for taking your own notes, but going outside the lines on important tests will cause problems on the report card.

On to the list : Firstly, lets get organized. Filofax offers a great system that can act both as a notebook, diary, address book and planner. Styles range from the luxurious, faux-alligator print leather to the sturdy, academic, vinyl covers. Their newest offering, the Filofax Mode, is a vinyl cover that features a punched, geometric pattern that shows off the contrasted interior color. A stretchy silicone band securely closes the organizer. With the purchase of any new Filofax organizer, you can expect a full complement of calendar, notepaper and other refills to get started. More refills, including all 2010 calendars (for current Filofax owners), are available for purchase on our website. It is always a good idea to stock up on extra notepaper and other organizational items that you can imagine yourself using (i.e. zip-lock envelope, hole punch, index tabs, etc). View the Filofax Mode Series Here and our Filofax refills Here.


As multi-tasking becomes the apparent necessity in our modern lives, we need a great multi-tasking tool to battle the onslaught of book reports, essays and term papers. One of my top selections for Multi-function pen is the Parker Executive. The style and function of the pen is reminiscent of the ever-popular Rotring 600's and Trio's that have been long discontinued. This pen is a workhorse and is exceptionally easy to operate. The selection system is gravity-based, which means that when you want to select a black color refill, you pick up the pen, look at the icon for "black" at the top of the clip and press down on the click-top. To retract the point, press the top of the spring-loaded clip. This ensures that you will never accidentally clip the pen to your shirt pocket without retracting the point. The Matte Black model uses a black refill, blue refill, 0.5mm pencil and an orange highlighter refill. The Shiny Chrome finish gives you an option between the orange highlighter an a touch-screen PDA stylus. Click Here to find the Parker Executives on our website.

A close runner-up to the Parker Executive would be the ACME 4FP series. Fun and functional, the "world's thinnest four-function pen" offers an array of eye-catching designs at a lower price ($39.00). The selection mechanics work on the same as in the Executive. Your refills are a black ballpoint, orange highlighter, 0.7mm pencil and PDA stylus. You can check out all of the styles Here.

A good, ergonomic pencil is always a useful tool, especially for those who make mistakes (it's OK, we all do). Keep the Dixon Ticonderoga #2 and a sharpener on the side for Scan-Tron tests, but when you are sketching out an algebraic equation, 2-point perspective or writing notes to your BFF a few seats ahead of you, pick up the Lamy Scribble. Available in both a 0.7mm pencil and a 3.15mm sketch pencil, the Scribble is a handy companion for both quick ideas and long sessions of writing (or drawing). Its removable clip and 4 3/4" size gives you the freedom to grip the Scribble any way you like. Starting at $27.95, you may find our Lamy Scribble selection Here.

Every backpack needs a ballpoint pen that won't quit, especially for pop quizzes or when all of your disposable Bic pens run out of ink. The Caran d'Ache Goliath ballpoint cartridge is heralded as being the best in the biz for longevity and smoothness. These cartridges can be found in the Cd'A Metal Collection. Select from over a dozen colors, including fluorescent, day-glo shades, metal-x colors and lacquer finishes. Starting at $15.95, they are so inexpensive, it is hard to buy just one. Find them on our store Here.

If the new school year is a good excuse for you to buy a new fountain pen, we've got the hottest, special production Pelikan pen that has been a huge hit among pen aficionados since its debut in early August. The Pelikan M205 Blue Demonstrator is a piston-filler pen (bottled ink-filling only) made from crystal blue resin, accented with chrome-plated trims and steel nib (available in extra-fine, fine, medium and broad point sizes). Pelikan is synonymous with exceptional, German-engineered writing quality and durability. Several of their special editions are valued in the thousands, but this series is being sold at an amazing value of $87.95 each. Buy yours today on Goldspot Pens Here. May I also suggest a bottle of Noodler's Navajoe Turquoise to complement the color of the pen?

If you've purchased a few of our selections already, good for you! Now, you need a place to protect and transport them back and forth to school. You don't want your new pens rattling around in your book bag or briefcase, getting scuffed up and possibly leaking all over your other supplies! Libelle, NY offers a variety of genuine leather pen pouches and cases to fit the size of your #dailyarsenal (thanks to @DIYSara for coming up with that hashtag topic on Twitter). Whether you have 20 writing instrument or just one, there is a leather case for you. Browse our selection of Libelle leather goods Here.

I hope you've become inspired by our run-down of the Must-Have products for back-to-school 2009. I would love to hear any additional suggestions that you may have, so please do comment on this post. As always, thanks for reading.