Pen Review: Krone Continuum Atmosphere

Material: Acrylic & Brass
Nib: 18k Gold
Appointments: Brass
Filling System: International Standard Cartridge Converter
Length (Capped): 141mm
Length (Uncapped): 123mm
Length (Posted): 163mm
Section Diameter: 11.3mm
Barrel Max Diameter: 14.5mm
Cap Max Diameter: 15.9mm
Weight, Uncapped (with ink and/or converter): 22g
Weight, Capped (with ink and/or converter): 32g

Although it may seem otherwise, I do actually have something of a personal limit to the amount of money I am willing to spend on a single fountain pen. Most people would look at my pen-spenditures and think I had lost my mind. (Frankly, I think that way half the time.)  But even I am taken aback by some of these modern fountain pens that cost several thousand dollars, and are so delicate in construction that they could never actually be used as writing instruments. At that point, they become works of fine art, not writing instruments. And while there’s nothing wrong with collecting fine art, it’s not where my interest lies.

My personal budget limits play a large part in why I had never heard of, let alone used, a fountain pen from the company Krone.  Named after the founder, Robert Kronenberger, most of the pens in Krone’s line are highly elaborate, hand-painted works that look more at home in a curio cabinet or under glass than in the board room. Some call them ornate. Others call them lurid. I generally fall somewhere closer to the latter camp. Despite my preference for flashy pens, I find most Krone designs to be too over the top even for me…especially at prices of up to and including $2,500.

When Fountain Pen Hospital had its semi-annual pen frenzy a couple of months ago, I came across what looked like a “production line” Krone fountain pen at a comparatively reasonable price. Plus, I really liked the unique design and decided I’d give it a try.


The Krone Continuum comes in three finishes:  black with silver rings (Abyss), brown with brass rings (Aladabra), and blue with brass rings (Atmosphere.) I picked the Atmosphere version, although the Aladabra certainly intrigues me. The design features acrylic cylinders interspersed of ever-decreasing length with brass rings. The acrylic of the Atmosphere floats effortlessly between a rich, royal blue, and a shimmery, metallic sky blue with a lovely dose of chattoyance. The barrel of the pen tapers to a ridged brass finial with a flat terminus.


The cap of the pen has a flat top with a bevelled corner. The cast brass clip is chunky, but streamlined, and features a shield with the Krone crown logo and a twisted rope motif around the edges. The clip attaches by a small slit cut into the cap and is firm while still being a bit flexible. I find it very easy to clip this pen to either a shirt pocket or the pocket of my jeans. At the base of the cap is a brass band with the same ridges that decorate the finial.


The cap threads are superbly manufactured, and are both smooth and tight. It takes approximately 3 turns to uncap the pen fully. Upon removing the cap, you find a tapering section which leads to an attractive two-color 18k nib featuring some clean-lined scrollwork and the Krone logo. The plastic feed employed on the pen is a bit unusual, with vertical slits instead of the far more common horizontal fins usually seen on a feed.

The pen is a cartridge/converter pen, and comes with a fairly unimpressive (read: cheap) twist-style converter. (Mine got ink behind the plunger the first time I used the pen, and completely fell apart the first time I tried to clean it.) Fortunately, it does take standard-international converters and cartridges, so I was able to replace the lackluster included converter and get right back to writing.


The pen can be posted, although I would not recommend it. With a heavy cap and heavy metal finial, the pen feels unbalanced. The metal of the cap band meshes with the metal of the finial, making for a very secure posting that is difficult to disengage. And posting the pen exposes a small design flaw. For some reason, the brass finial and some of the acrylic unscrew from the end of the barrel as though it was a piston-filler. By itself, this wouldn’t be a problem, but when coupled with a full-length converter, unscrewing the finial also manages to twist the converter’s piston, dumping ink on your hand. I discovered this first hand (pun intended) when I tried to un-post the pen for the first time, and had to twist the cap to get it to disengage. It was a very unfortunate premature ink-jaculation. At least the ink I was using at the time left a lovely sheen on my hands…

The Continuum’s nib is a good, if not glorious, writer. It has a forgiving sweet spot, but writes with a pretty significant amount of feedback.  The tines on my pen were fully in alignment, but the nib felt as though it had corners almost like an italic nib. If you like feedback, you may like the nib as it is. I will probably smooth it out a bit more.  The ink flow is moderate, but it handles long writing sessions with aplomb. It is a fairly rigid nib, but you can coax a decent bit of line variation out. Unfortunately, the feed doesn’t seem to be able to keep up, and the pen railroads quite easily if you do try to push the nib. Clearly it wasn’t designed for any sort of “flex” use.

One minor pet peeve I have is that the Continuum’s nib tends to dry out really quickly, even when the pen is capped. If I stop writing for 15-20 seconds, it will give me a hard start or two on the first letter before the ink starts to flow. After that, I have no issues with ink flow at all, even on long writing sessions.

I quite like the looks of the Krone Continuum. It is pretty comfortable in my hand, and features a unique design with lovely materials. Right now, I have a strong case of like for the Continuum. Once we start getting into the $250+ range, though, simply liking the pen isn’t quite enough for me. I have to love it, and it has to be a great fit. I suspect with some nib work, my case of like may turn into a case of love. I’m going to give it a bit more time to continue growing on me. Thus far, the more I use it, the more I like it. I hope that’s a trend that will continue.

  • Emily

    I really enjoyed this review! Even though you dismiss some of your points as minor or nitpicky, they’re exactly the reason I watch pen review videos – to geek out over the little details with other people who do the same thing.

    The pen is stunning. Too bad about the design flaws…you’d hope that for the price, those sorts of things wouldn’t be an issue. Gorgeous colors, though.

  • Greg Moore

    Thank you for a wonderful review I didn’t find may other Krone reviews. Yes, this is a beautiful pen but for the price I was a disappointed by the performance.

    Maybe you have better insight into this than I (we?) do, Why are so many expensive pens cartridge converters? For me personally, I would be much more willing to shell out big money for a pen that IS NOT a cartridge converter. For the sake of conversation lets call ‘Expensive’ anything $300 USD or more.

    So if you keep this pen and have it for a long time does it become an Old Krone?

    • I think that making Piston fillers (really the only other modern alternative to the C/C system except perhaps eyedropper) is orders of magnitude more expensive than C/C, especially for smaller manufacturers. I don’t have a lot of C/C pens that were over $300, but I do have a few. I personally don’t mind it too much. Piston fillers are so much more work to clean and maintain. C/Cs are just so much easier.

      • Greg Moore

        Thanks I hadn’t thought it that way. I thought that a piston filler was just another component and you used what was cheapest kind of like do I put a Hard disk or SSD into this computer.

      • Anthony Mak

        It seems to me that the more expensive the pen, often the harder it is to maintain, simply because they’re often harder to disassemble (especially to separate the nib from feed for quick & thorough cleaning). I find this quite annoying.

        Not only are piston fillers orders of magnitude harder to clean (if hard/unable to disassemble), but without an ink window, it’s sometimes impossible to see how much ink is inside. It reaches a point where cleaning is so troublesome e.g. with Montblancs that I try and use the same coloured inks in the same pen.

        Worse than this, I even avoid loading some piston fillers with certain inks, just because I know the trouble I’ll have cleaning it later, e.g. I’ll avoid Shimmertastic or 1670 inks. Which is really annoying, because when I want to enjoy a pen, I don’t want to be restricted in this way.

        Is it just me, or do you have this problem as well?

  • Thecla

    Could it be that the barrel finial is designed to unscrew and work the converter so that the pen can be filled as if it were a piston filling pen?

    • According to another commenter, it appears that there are piston-filled versions of these available, they’re probably re-using parts.

      I still would prefer that they shellac the finial in place for the c/c version of the pens, since posting and unposting the pen can cause the finial to turn and spew ink.

  • Clifford Hughes

    I was impressed by the nib’s flex, but I would expect a pen in this price bracket to have a feed that would match it. An attractive pen, certainly, but too many annoying quirks – like drying out and hard starting.

    After watching your reviews, I’m much more drawn towards Edison and Scriptorium for classy, handmade pens. To me the Krone pens I’ve seen, like those of David Oscarson, are more like objets d’art or pieces of jewellery than usable writing instruments.

    TWSBI seem able to make piston and vacuum fillers at an easily affordable price. Why not Krone?

    • Anthony Mak

      TWSBI also makes pens that are easy to take apart, making it a joy to clean. Montblanc and some other exclusive pen makers could learn a thing or two from this.

  • Bobo Jones

    Fantastic pen review. Great call on the angle of writing. That’s something we don’t really consider when looking at a new pen.

  • mikey

    Great review Matt. Say, I have no mechanical ability – should I be concerned about your bad experience with the converter and avoid this brand?

  • mikey

    Thanks for the great review Matt. Seemed very fair balanced and objective.