Bespoke British Pens
His Pen the Brave Man DrawsThe British pen industry has been on its uppers in recent years, but things have changed dramatically for the better. Giddy Fortune's furious fickle wheel has turned once more.
In 2014 disaster struck as one of England's finest pen manufacturers, Conway Stewart — pen makers to successive Prime Ministers and the British Royal Family — closed its Plymouth factory. A group of pen enthusiasts with experience in the pen making industry were not content to see this great name disappear completely. They bought all the stock and formed Bespoke British Pens with a two-fold strategy of assembling the old Conway Stewart stock and supporting contemporary pen makers and designers, such as Henry Simpole and Jack Row, in the process. The aim of Bespoke British Pens is to 'specialise in quality British-made pens' and to continue the tradition of British pen making.
In short, British Bespoke Pens have gone a long way to saving the British fine pens industry. We at Tweed Towers wish them every success.
Let's have a little gander at what British Bespoke Pens offer. It's going to be a very tough call on the one you choose as that little gift to yourself. You've worked very hard this year, so don't think about it, just reward yourself and allow the inordinate pleasure you'll get from using one of these pens to start as soon as possible. Don't wait until your arthritic and can't hold the bloody thing.
Conway Stewart Lives OnThe Conway Stewart pens on offer represent 'the last opportunity to acquire an original Conway Stewart pen made in the old Plymouth factory'. For certain models and casings, only a handful remain.
The Conway Stewart Churchill in quartz green with gold fittings, including 18ct nib in fine, medium or broad widths (though custom nibs are available) is an absolute classic; and will look magnificent on the desk of your gentleman's study. The pen has a cartridge/converter filling system and comes in a leather presentation box.
Henry SimpoleLondon silversmith and designer Henry Simpole is a master in producing bespoke overlay fountain pens. For Bespoke British Pens he has reproduced the legendary British Onoto Exhibition plunger-filler fountain pen from 1907 — often described as the best fountain pen ever made — which is based on an Onoto plunger-filler body with a sterling silver filigree and black enamel overlay.
The silver overlay is made from an ancient (6000-year-old) lost-wax process. The pen has the famous plunging mechanism to fill the pen with ink, but with newer technology to make it more efficient and long-lasting.
Here's what Bespoke British Pens say of this pen:
What makes ‘The Best of British’? Consummate design skills? Meticulous craftsmanship? Hallmarked sterling silver, rich enamelling and a smooth-as-butter nib? Combine them all and the result, shown here, is the closest you can get to British pen perfection.
Jack RowJack Row is described as a 'new breed of pen designer' and is based in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter. He specialises in the production of fountain pens that border on fine art, using architectural inspiration, such as London's 30 St Mary Axe, otherwise known as the Gherkin building, with The Architect’s Pen (top).
Jack's pens are made to order from solid precious metals and gems, and come in an oak and velvet-lined display case.
Stratford RangeBespoke British Pens have also managed to introduce their own brand of Stratford pens. The aim is to develop a range of British-made pens that 'have all the hallmarks of the heritage British brands with which we have been associated, but with distinctive elements that will help them to be forever identified as ‘A Stratford Pen – Made in England’.
The Shakespeare pen (above) has a casement made from 23ct gold-plated sterling silver vermeil, fully-hallmarked, and has an engraving of Shakespeare on the cap to mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard's death this year.
The 18ct two-tone gold nib (available in standard widths) has a little engraving of the Union Flag: