Pen Review: Think Pens Gatsby
Filling System: Standard International C/C
Length (Capped): 131mm
Length (Uncapped): 126mm
Length (Posted): 163mm
Section Diameter: 11mm
Barrel Max Diameter: 13.2mm
Cap Max Diameter: 16.1mm
Weight, Uncapped (with ink and/or converter): 14g
Weight, Capped (with ink and/or converter): 26g
One of the things I most enjoy about reviewing pens is that I get to try pens I would never naturally buy for myself. Perhaps my favorite aspect of the fountain pen hobby over the last two and a half years has been the opportunity to learn about brands and models that don’t pop up that often. My recently reviewed Merlin 33 is one example. The Think Pen Gatsby is another.
I wish I could give you some background on the Think Pens company. Unfortunately, information is not readily available. At least not without more journalism than I care to exert. I have only seen their pens for sale through two retailers (Fountain Pen Hospital and Fahrney’s). Their website is, for all intents and purposes, unusable. And even what info I could find in the forums is vague or even conflicting. But in the end, the history of the company isn’t important; the pen itself is.
I purchased this Gatsby, in the “Chaplin” acrylic, for $40 USD. It had a list price of $100, a rather astonishing price for such a simple pen. The pen’s packaging is unusual, but kinda cool. It’s a long, skinny box, and the top slides off at the short end. The pen itself is nestled into a bed of material under the removable lid. It reminds me of a pencil case I had in elementary school.
The pen itself is a little less cool. The Chaplin acrylic from which it is made is…well…ugly. It is a pale cadaver grey with clots and veins of deep red. It looks like it was made from a mangled corpse.
The pen is flat-topped, with a large ’T’ emblem embedded into the top of the cap. The clip is made of folded metal, and is quite stiff. Both the clip and the cap band are a chrome/steel color, and the cap retains a very cylindrical shape, with no visible taper. The cap band sports the word “THINK.”
The barrel is also quite plain, with a cylyndical shape and only a whisper of a taper toward the end of the barrel, which terminates in a flat stop.
Removing the cap, you find a black acrylic section. I really like the difference in material for the section. The section in the same Chaplin acrylic wouldn’t have looked quite right. The section itself has a very comfortable shape for my grip, with a rounded lip toward the nib end.
The steel nib features another simple, clean ’T’ design that I like quite a bit. It appears to be a standard #6-sized nib, and likely replacable if you thought it necessary. I didn’t.
The pen uses standard international cartridges and converters, and comes with a fairly high-quality converter, but not cartridges. The pen also appears to be fully eyedropper compatible. It has all-acrylic construction, tight threads, and a massive barrel chamber for a whole lotta ink.
In the hand, the pen is quite comfortable. The shape of the section is nice. The girth of the pen fits my hand well, and the pen is just long enough for me to use unposted. It can be posted, and seems to maintain a nice balance when it is.
The nib, which is quite firm and very smooth, has a moderate amount of pleasant feedback. Ink flow runs from low-moderate to moderate, and seems to be a bit more sensitive to ink than most pens I have tried. Kaweco Ruby Red, for instance, tended to run quite dry, while Montblanc Oyster Grey was a bit better. Were this going to stay in my collection, I would increase the pen’s wetness a touch , and would also polish the nib tip to a slightly smoother point.
At no point in writing the first draft of this review did I run into any issues with hard starts, skipping, or ink starvation. This pen was clearly made to be a workhouse of a writer.
At the discounted price of $40, I feel like the Think Pens Gatsby is a really nice pen. While I don’t care for the material choices, putting this pen is the same category as the Lamy AL-Star, the Faber Castell Loom, the Monteverde Impressa, The TWSBI Diamond 580, etc., makes sense. This pen easily holds its own against any of those pens.
At the full price of $100, though, I don’t believe I would pony up the dough. It wries as well or better than many $100 pens I have used before. But at $100, I start to look for things that make a spen special. The Think Pens Gatsby is a solid pen and a solid writer. But from a design and materials perspective, not to mention a nib perspective, it is fairly pedestrian. That being said, were there a material option I liked, I would likely be buying another of these for myself. I would love to see this in a colored-acrylic demonstrator, and turned into an eyedropper.
The Think pens Gatsby is one of the pens that will be raffled to Pen Habit supporters at the end of Season 2 in June. For more information about supporting the Pen Habit, please visit this page.