Diplomat Excellence A PLUS Rhombus Guillouche Lapis | To the Point
I’ve been doing a lot of reviews of items that have been sent to me for review lately. I’m trying to clear out my backlog so I can get to reviewing a few more of my personal pens! But, in the meantime, I wanted to do a quick review of this Diplomat Excellence A PLUS Rhombus Guilloche Lapis that was provided by the US Distributor for Diplomat, Points of Distinction.
I’ve reviewed the Excellence A before, and really liked it. (I’ve done reviews of the Skyline and the Evergreen.) The A PLUS is the company’s slight step up in terms of features and price. There are a lot of similarities, so I’ll mainly focus on the differences in this review.
Before I do, though, a quick recap: The Diplomat Excellence A is a very nice pen. Metal-bodied with high-quality lacquer finish, the pen is sturdily built and features a classic styling. Like all Diplomat pens I’ve tried thus far, it comes with a wonderfully-adjusted Jowo-made nib and uses standard international cartridges and long or short converters. It tends to be a bit on the heavier side but is well-balanced, and comfortable in the hand. And all of the diplomat pens I’ve tried up to this point have written like an absolute dream.
The Excellence A PLUS maintains the same classic shape and high construction quality of the regular Excellence A but features a few upgrades. The first is in the finish. The A PLUS comes in a standard glossy black finish and the one provided for this review: the Rhombus Guillouche Lapis Black. This is a lacquer finish unlike any I’ve ever seen. It’s a flat, matte black finish with just enough texture to feel very different. (It reminds me a bit of unpolished ebonite, actually.) Laser-etched into the surface is a series of lines that make pseudo-rhombus-y rectangles. It gives a nice bit of interest to what would otherwise a pretty, but unremarkable, finish.
The clip of the Excellence A PLUS is, unlike its younger brother, hinged and spring-loaded. It’s not the strongest clip in the world (spring-loaded, hinged clips rarely are), but it gives you a lot of clearance to clip the pen to jeans pocket or the cover of a hardbound notebook.
The final major difference between the two pens is in the capping mechanism. The A PLUS has a screw-top pen mechanism that allows the cap to be removed with only a quarter turn. (The Excellence A has a pop-top mechanism.) It’s well-machined and creates a nice tight seal that won’t come loose accidentally–again making it a great option for clipping to your jeans pocket or the cover of a hardbound notebook.
The Excellence A PLUS uses the same #6 Jowo nibs that have appeared on all of the Diplomat pens I’ve tried thus far. This one, however, was my first experience with the fine nib. It’s a pretty standard western fine width but was a touch less smooth than I was expecting based on my previous Diplomat experiences. It was still beautifully adjusted, with a consistent, moderate ink flow and just a touch of pleasant feedback. (It actually reminded me a bit of a Sailor medium nib, but a touch smoother.) It was not, however, the “buttery” smooth feel that I experienced with the medium nibs. I don’t know if that is a difference in the nib tip size, or if I got one that had been adjusted by a different nibmeister or what. In any case, it was still a superb writer, and Diplomat continues to be my go-to answer for when someone wants to know what manufacturer has the best steel nibs.
With the Excellence A’s additional features, it comes as no surprise that this pen comes with a bump in price as well. The Excellence A Evergreen lists for $225. This Excellence A PLUS Rhombus Guilloche Lapis Black lists for $295. This is, in my opinion, too expensive for what you get. I’ve been a big fan of Diplomat’s offerings, but at nearly $300 for a steel-nibbed pen, you’re in competition with some really amazing writers. Granted, you’ll almost never pay a full list price for this pen from any retailer that carries it, but even still, this pen is in direct competition with amazing offerings like the Pilot Custom 823.
So, I really like this pen. It’s a great writer, it’s attractive, it’s comfortable in the hand with a nicely balanced weight. It’s constructed like a tank and should last a lifetime. It has one of the best steel nibs on the market. It’s just awfully expensive for what you get.
This pen was provided free of charge by Points of Distinction for review and giveaway. No additional compensation was provided. All opinions expressed herein are my own. Stay tuned to Penhabit.com for the giveaway of this pen.
Nib: Steel #6 Jowo-made Steel nib, Fine
Filling System: Standard International Cartridge/Converter
Length (Capped): 139.2m
Length (Uncapped): 130.9mm
Length (Posted): 152.4mm
Section Diameter: 11.4mm
Barrel Max Diameter: 13.4mm
Cap Max Diameter: 14.7mm
Weight, Uncapped (with ink and/or converter): 28g
Weight, Capped (with ink and/or converter):44g
Ink Flow: 6/10
Ink Starvation: 1/10
Nib Softness: 1/10