Review: CaliArts Ego Fountain Pen

The CaliArts Ego is available on eBay for about $10USD. The pen is available with fine and extra fine nibs. I ordered the fine nib.

The pen arrives in a bubble mailer roughly 2 weeks after ordering. Inside the mailer was a silver colored box. Within that box is a silver tin. The tin has a die-cut foam insert to hold the pen in place during shipping. Inset into the foam is a silver wrench and 2 new silicone orange o-rings.

The pen is a clear piston filling demonstrator. The feed is also clear. Upon arrival, I cleaned the feed and interior with some clean water. I did not remove the feed to do this, and I should have, the feed would not allow ink to move freely. I removed it and gave it a quick scrub with a toothbrush and warm water. After drying I installed it again and the ink has moved perfectly since.

I inked my pen with a classic ink- Diamine Chocolate. There is something about this ink that reminds me of fall and the harvest but also of gingerbread. It is a lovely ink with perfect flow and is well behaved on most papers. It is a great ink for testing a pen.

The nib out of the box was smooth and feels great on all the paper I’ve tested it on. Thus far I’ve used it on Story Supply Co Morning, HP LaserJet 24lb, Staples Sustainable Harvest, the cheap recycled garbage at work, Staples 20lb office copy paper, and Baron Fig Confidant paper. Overall the pen feels great. I was surprised it felt so good on the rough garbage work paper, which makes most pens feel terrible.

The fine nib is very fine for a fine. The feed seems to allow a decent amount of ink to flow through to the nib. It’s neither dry nor wet. It is just right, for me.

The cap cannot be posted. It connects to the blind cap and flops around until it falls off. Useless. The cap itself is fine. It screws on snugly and an o-ring prevents you from over tightening. It also keeps the cap airtight.

Let’s talk about that clip. The pen itself is pretty decent looking. SImple clean and useful. That clip is an abomination. It is too small and reminds me of one of those skinny neckties, but at the wrong proportion to the body. Yeesh. Ugly. It is snug enough and holds my pen clipped to my shirt. But it’s ugly.

Overall I like this pen. Sure the clip is ugly but it is a minor issue for a pen that works really well and with a really nice nib for $10. I like that it arrives in a nice protective foam-lined tin. Because it can be completely and relatively easily disassembled it is a contender for filling with India ink for sketching. (Don’t @ me. I know you shouldn’t.)

A final thought on this pen. It is clearly, uh, influenced, by the TWSBI Diamond and Eco pens. I’ve been told that the piston and blind cap fit the TWSBI Diamond and vice versa. The nib and feed look like Pilot nibs and feeds. This pen looks as though someone took design “cues” from both companies decided that they could make their own pen and set off to make one. Honestly they pulled it off but this could have ended badly.