Pen Review: Diplomat Aero

This pen was provided free of charge by Points of Distinction, the US distributor for Diplomat pens, in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation was provided. In keeping with the Pen Habit Review Code of Ethics, this pen will be given away on The Pen Habit in a future blog post.

Material: Aluminum
Nib: Steel Medium Nib
Appointments: Aluminum
Filling System: Standard International Cartridge/Converter
Length (Capped): 140mm
Length (Uncapped): 128.7mm
Length (Posted): 158.2mm
Section Diameter: 11.3mm
Barrel Max Diameter: 15mm
Cap Max Diameter: 15mm
Weight, Uncapped (with ink and/or converter): 30g
Weight, Capped (with ink and/or converter):42g

I love The Simpsons. I’ve watched every episode of the first 15 seasons at least a dozen times. It’s a real struggle for me not to infuse every single one of my reviews with dozens and dozens of quotes from the show. So, if you’ll allow me to give into my baser instincts, I’d like to paraphrase a Simpsons quote.

The fountain pen hobby lets me feel like Christopher Columbus: I discovered something millions of people did before me.

Every once in a great while, I feel like I am stumbling onto some hidden gem of a pen when I am really discovering something that has been around for a long time. Take, for example, the German brand, Diplomat. They have been around since 1922. I had heard of them, but I had never used one before. Nor had anyone in my immediate pen circle. Then, while at the LA Pen Show, I stopped by the Diplomat table to meet the brand’s US distributors, Points of Distinction. (They are, by the way, a delightful and friendly group.)

P1020790 They provided me with one of their show offerings, the Diplomat Aero, for review purposes along with a bottle of Diplomat blue ink. The appropriately-named Aero is a beautiful, anodized aluminum pen shaped much like a zeppelin of old. When capped, the pen starts with a rounded point onto which the diplomat logo has been stamped in white. The ridged body swells toward the center, then tapers back down to another point at the end. It is a graceful, and somewhat unusual shape, but one that I find eye-catching. The pointed ends and the springy clip are offset by a lighter, satin-like anodization. The cap features a modern white font.

P1020776 P1020777

The cap pulls off to reveal a matte anodized section that matches the clip and pointed ends. The texture of the section has a lovely non-slip feel which completely overrides my general dislike of metal section. The section comes off on very smooth threads to access the standard international cartridge or converters.


Design-wise, I love the look of this pen. It comes in both black/grey, matte brown, and matte silver. The black, almost stealth, finish is beautiful, but I find myself being continually drawn back to the brown version of this pen. (For many reasons, not least of which is that I don’t have very few brown pens in my collection and this one looks like chocolate.) The construction of the pen is very high quality, very precise. It feels solidly made; like it could stand up to some serious abuse.


In the hand, this pen is surprisingly comfortable. The all-aluminum body is lighter than you might expect, and the swelling shape of the barrel puts the weight balance in precisely the right spot. It is long enough to be used without posting, but it is sized nicely to bridge the gap between the larger and smaller hands. And while there is a step down from section to barrel, the long section and lack of threads make for a very comfortable grip.


For you posters, the cap does post deeply, although only moderately securely. The deeper posting means that the pen doesn’t feel unbalanced or too long. If I were a pen-poster, this is a pen I would enjoy using posted.


I really like the pen itself, but where this pen sings (almost literally) is the nib. I love the nib on this diplomat Aero. It is a medium steel nib, but interestingly, the nib’s reflection of the pen’s dark finish almost makes the nib look Ruthenium plated. (It’s not, though.) It is a #6 nib in the standard profile, but lacks a breather hole which streamlines the appearance somewhat. It features the Diplomat logo and the text “Diplomat Since 1922.”


Diplomat has managed to do very, very good things with this nib. It is a touch on the dry side, but is beautifully tuned and quite smooth. (A 2 or a 2.5 on the Matt Armstrong feedback scale). The feed seems capable of keeping up with long writing sessions with only the barest hint of ink starvation. This nib is easily in the top five steel nibs I have ever used, and blows a lot of gold nibs out of the water too.


In the U.S., at least, not a lot of retailers carry the Diplomat brand. Considering how well these pens write, I found that just a bit confusing. At the time of writing this review, retailer had the Aero on sale for $125. For me, $125 is more than a fair price for a pen that writes this well. However, the list price for this pen is $195, with a non-sale retail price of $156. At $156, this pen starts to compete directly with other gold-nibbed offerings from Pilot or Platinum, or the iconic Lamy 2000. It also starts to compete with steel-nibbed pens from Edison or Franklin-Christoph. I have no hesitation in saying that the Aero writes just as well, if not better, than any of the pens I just listed. It really is a superb writer. But at $156 (or higher) the price point does tend to get just a little trick when you look at the competition. It’s still worth it, in my opinion (as evidenced by the fact that I will probably end up buying one of these for myself–I like it that much.)

  • Ziho

    Nice review Matt.
    I simply adore this pen’s overall design. Most slip on&off pen look nice and slick capped, and look kinda unnatural and bulky after uncapped(at least for me). But this one looks simple and unique capped, and still has that simple and calm feeling after capped off. Plus great funtionality and quality.
    I was in quite a dilemma choosing a birthday gift for myself, lamy 2000 vs Aero. Guess this one will be in my hands in a few months.

    But still, I’m going for the giveaway, if this can be shipped to Korea 🙂

  • lililu

    This pen is currently on Massdrop with a gold nib option. 2 days left. Your review was very nice. This pen has a good look.

    • Kevin Guo

      Dang it! They ran out of fines!

  • MKR

    Homer Simpson singing “Blimpy Boy” was a very sad moment!

  • Pascal Leers

    My first thought was that your photo’s were all in black and write. Until I saw the blue ink in the converter.

  • Ben McQuillan

    I came so very close to buying this pen only yesterday (moments before I invested in my first Pelikan). Online photos really don’t do this pen justice, had I seen this review earlier this pen would have been in my shopping basket before you could say stupid Flanders! Great review as always Matt.

    P.s. Just an aside, my favourite Simpsons quote is: “Lisa get in here…in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!”

    • Pascal Leers

      As a Pelikan nut, I’m curious. What Pelikan did you get ?

      • Ben McQuillan

        I went for the M800 with an italic broad. I was originally looking at the M600 but the size and nib of the M800 swung it in the end.

        • Pascal Leers

          Nice choice. One of my favourite pens. The M1000 is my all time favourite, because of the size (I have large hands) and the big springy nib. But I use the M800 more. As the M1000 is too wet for some paper.

  • Gideon Yosua Purwono

    That zeppelin design is sweet! To me the white one looks classy, but that’s an aside

  • inotrym

    Diplomat vs Faber-Castell steel nib. If you could only have one, which one would it be?

  • Paul Roodenburg


    Lovely pen and as always a lovely review

  • otak1

    It’s superb design and something I cannot afford. Don’t think that steel M nib with low feedback will outperform Sailor and Platinum steel nibs for me, but I believe this can be quite good. And also I’m big fan of zeppelins and ancient aircraft.

  • Kevin Guo

    Very sleek looking pen. I love it! I like the matte black the best.

  • René

    I’m loving the curvy an sleek lines this pen has, but i’m always concerned with the durability of the finish on anodized aluminium pens. To bad too that the medium nib is always so remarkably infrequently available in the Netherlands.

  • Matt, what would you call your Masuyama nibs on the scale?

    • It depends. The stubs are probably 2.5-3. The round nibs are basically a 1.

      • Really a Masuyama as low as 1?? Or am I reading your scale backwards

        • They are the smoothest, slickest nibs I’ve ever used. (But that’s generally what I ask for.)

  • ppdiaporama

    I saw this pen at my local pen store last week … and came really close (and now maybe even closer) to buying it. I looks really great felt like a solid writer.

    My concern was over the finish’s durability and feel.

    Having used it, do you think that it will be prone to chipping?

    • I don’t. This finish feels rock solid. This doesn’t feel like a lacquer, but more like a matte version of the same finish that gets put on your anodized aluminum cookware, which is very sturdy.

  • ȣ Mark ȣ

    Great review Matt! I’ve seen Diplomat around the Internet but never had any good information on any of their pens. I really like the unique aesthetic of this pen. I’m also glad to here that you rate the feedback at 2-2.5 because I prefer about a 3. Also, it speaks volumes how strongly you hold your own rules for dealing with free pens.

  • Pedro Nuno Moura

    Beautiful pen…It really looks like a zeppelin!!! Let’s see if this one can come to Portugal!! Fingers cross….

  • Blattlaus

    I have several Diplomats- in August last year Massdrop offered an “Excellence A Plus” which is on the German site, but does not appear to be available in the US. The “Plus” has a screw cap and a spring clip. It is a wonderful pen- it screws closed in less than half a turn and you can barely see the threads. I got the gold nib- it was quite expensive but to me worth every cent. I have a brown Aero and a one of their Carya chrome as well as a couple of cheaper models. I think because the materials are similar to some of the cheaper Chinese pens (Jinhao for example) they are not given as much respect as if they were turned acrylic, ebonite or “Precious Resin”.

  • Huw Simmons

    Beautiful pen! I prefer a 3, possibly a 4, in terms of feedback. Thanks.

  • Pat Putman

    I love the look. I like my nibs smooth with a touch of feedback. I would also like to see the brown one.

  • Daniel

    Nice Review. On the Matt Armstrong feedback scale I like a 2.5 to 3

  • Stefan

    Thank you for the nice review! I inspired me…and my brown Aero with a fine nib just arived two days a go. What a wunderful und buttery smooth steel nib.

  • David Rea

    Thanks for the review! It definitely had me on the lookout for Diplomat pens, and I ended up buying an Aero in fine/black at the Atlanta pen show…

  • Nicholas Oviatt-Ham

    Lovely review Matt.
    I’ve been thinking about getting one of these for a while and your positive review has convinced me to give it a go.
    I’m also going to be purchasing the Aurora Optima that you spoke so highly of in memory of my grandparents once I can afford to do so. Your reviews are really good, very helpful and informative. I am a fan and you Sir helped me get interested in this hobby. For this you will always have my thanks. Please keep up the good work.

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