Xezo Architect Azure FM Review
I was first introduced to the Xezo brand last season when a user sent his Xezo Legionnaire to me to review. Xezo is a US-based retailer of luxury goods: mostly leather goods, watches, and fountain pens. They don’t do their own manufacturing, instead, having most of their goods manufactured by other companies to their specifications. They also generally tend to manufacture their pens in smaller, limited quantities (usually around 500 each), and each model is only available for a limited time.
Xezo reached out to me a few months ago and asked if I would be interested in reviewing any additional models and then providing those models for giveaway to my viewers. Since I’m all about doing giveaways these days, I said yes without hesitation.
One of the models they sent over was the Xezo Architect Blue Azure. The Architect is a large, metal-bodied pen decorated with diamond-engraved guilloche decoration, and lacquered with a bright, turquoisy-blue color that Xezo claims is inspired by the blue of the Mediterranean sea. All of the pen’s accents are platinum-plated, giving a bright, silver shine that compliments the blue of the pen nicely. The pen is capped off with a platinum-plated finial, on which is engraved the pen’s limited edition number and “.999 Platinum-plated.” The body of the cap is faceted, with the guilloche being applied to alternate facets. The pen’s clip is a clean-lined clip, quite stiff and strong, with a flattened ball clip. The cap is finished off with a medium-width cap band on which is engraved Xezo Architect Limited Edition and the year of release (2016 in this case.)
The barrel of the pen contains the same faceting with alternating guilloche and smooth facets, and it tapers down to another flat-ended finial, into which a small groove has been cut along the sides.
The cap has a black plastic inner cap liner into which has been cut the cap threads. Despite the pen being metal-bodied, it has matching black plastic block-style threads, so the cap and barrel mesh quite smoothly. (Much better than metal on plastic or metal or metal.) The short-ish black plastic section tapers down to a small platinum ring. The section is a touch short for my personal grip, and my fingers will occasionally land on the threads, but it was far less common that I expected considering that shorter grip. When I did grip the threads, they rarely bothered me.
The Xezo Architect can accept standard international cartridges (in long or short) or converters. The pen comes with a high-quality converter that fits perfectly and didn’t cause any ink flow issues for me.
The pen features a #6 bi-color steel medium nib. (I’m guessing the nib is manufactured by Jowo based on the nib’s design and the shape of the feed…but that’s just a guess. As usual.) The choice of a bi-color nib was a bit of a design misstep in my opinion: it seems silly to have yellow gold on a pen with blue and platinum accents. A steel nib without gold plating would have looked more cohesive. The nib is engraved (I’m guessing laser engraved) with the Xezo logo.
There’s no doubt that, in the hand, the Xezo Architect Azure is a substantial pen. The all-brass body results in a pen with some heft. Uncapped, though, that heft is very nicely balanced in my hand, and I found the pen quite comfortable for longer writing sessions as well as short notes. The pen does post, and the little channel cut into the side of the end finial is intended to help the cap “click” into place securely. Unfortunately, the cap is quite heavy, and when posted, completely throws off the balance of the pen for me. If you have huge hands, posting this pen may be the right option, but it doesn’t quite work for me.
As for the writing experience, I was pleasantly surprised. The Xezo pen I had reviewed last season had a nib that was a little drier and more feedback phone than I preferred. Such was not the case with this Architect Azure. The medium nib was just north of moderate in terms of ink flow and didn’t exhibit any ink starvation, even with potentially problematic inks like the Diamine Shimmertastic Brandy Dazzle I kept in the pen for almost a month. The nib was smooth, with just a whisper of pleasant feedback. It was a really reliable, consistent writing experience, even on long-form content.
The combination of color, design, and nib works well for me on this pen. It’s not the kind of pen I would usually go out of my way to find, but the more I used it, the more I found myself liking it. It’s a nice design. It also highlights one of the potential difficulties of doing private label manufacturing. The basic design of this pen also makes an appearance in the Italix line of fountain pens as the Churchman Prescriptor. The Italix version of the pen comes only in black and doesn’t contain the guilloche of the Xezo Architect, but aside from that, they appear to be largely identical. I will say that I personally prefer the more attention-grabbing Architect and its unique and beautiful color. And I find the guilloche decoration to be an excellent addition to the basic model.
The Xezo Architect Azure lists for a full price of $140.00, but often sells for quite a bit less. (At the time of publication, XEZO is offering a large discount for Pen Habit viewers with the code PENHABIT20 at checkout.) A $140 price is a bit steep, especially considering the cost of the Italix version of the pen. Granted, the Architect Azure is far more intricate and labor intensive, with the guilloche and enamel decoration requiring a lot more manual work to polish. It is also a limited edition, which will usually add to the price of the pen somewhat. With a discount, though, I feel like the Xezo Architect Azure becomes a real value. I was quite pleased with the performance of the pen, which I have always liked; and the more I use it, the more continues to grow on me.
Nib: Steel #6 Medium Nib
Filling System: International Standard Cartridge / Converter
Length (Capped): 142.5mm
Length (Uncapped): 126.9mm
Length (Posted): 155.7mm
Section Diameter: 11.2mm
Barrel Max Diameter: 14.8mm
Cap Max Diameter: 16.2mm
Weight, Uncapped (with ink and/or converter): 26g
Weight, Capped (with ink and/or converter):48g
Disclaimer: The pen for this review was provided free of charge by Xezo for review purposes and giveaway to Pen Habit viewers. No additional compensation was provided. All opinions expressed herein are my own.