Noodler’s Konrad Flex Fountain Pen Earns Kudos02/13/2013
Not long ago Dick Egolf at Luxury Brands USA sent a Noodler’s Tahitian Tortoise Konrad (#14009) for review. My first impression was that the colors were dark, beautiful and in line with my favorite inks. It got a quick fill of Noodler’s Turquoise that was also in the shipment producing a very nice duo indeed.
The build quality of the Konrad is fine and the value for money better than one might expect. Everything is fitted together nicely and the low weight makes a pen that can be used for hours without strain. It does not require posting to achieve good balance and that’s a decided plus. The nib is stainless and engraved simply “Noodlers Ink Co”. There is a handy ink view window in this piston filler and both Noodler’s Turquoise and syo-ro added harmonious color to the caramel-teal-green barrel. Diamine Teal looked attractive in it and worked well, too.
Today Iroshizuku syo-ro was feeling neglected so why not shake things up by loading the Konrad with a luxury Japanese ink?
The flexible nib gets better with use as is true for most flex nibs. The line width range is greater than with my Namiki Falcon SF pens as well as the Pilot 742 Falcon and the Platinum Century FF. With more use, the Century may produce the greatest variation between thin and thick lines but that has yet to be proven. However, it costs ten times as much so there is that to consider. The ink flow from the Konrad is easily superior to the Pilot 742 but the nib isn’t as smooth. The Pilot costs more than the Century so if you are on a budget but interested in getting acquainted with a flexible nib, the Konrad is the best way to go. Even if you have the resources for the Pilot 742 FA, I don’t recommend it. The flow just can’t keep up. The Konrad has no such issue so it’s a lot more fun to use.
Just to be clear, the Pilot 742 FA, Namiki Falcon, and the Platinum Century are all well constructed pens and none will disappoint in that regard. It’s the nibs and flow that are different. If you just want a little flair to your signature, the Namiki Falcon and the Platinum Century will do. With lots of use both will soften and produce wider lines with little loss at the narrow end. The Konrad will reach that point faster and possibly with the widest variation of the three. None will be as soft as a vintage flex nib but they are easily controlled for everyday writing as well as the occasional flourish.
The Namiki, Century, and the Konrad all work nicely for drawing where expressive line work is especially welcome. Again, these pens need some breaking in to get as flexible as possible. Don’t overextend but do put them to use with very gentle pressure to awaken the artist’s tool in them.
The piston filler is stiff and can stick so it takes gentle, patient twisting to get a proper fill. If I had Noodler’s Eel Turquoise, I’d use that a time or two to see if it improves the filler’s ability to slide in the barrel. With use the stiffness may disappear so this issue isn’t a deterrent.
There is one caveat to the Konrad. It has a strong and distinctive odor. That fades somewhat with time but after two months, it is still quite evident. For someone who is sensitive to such things, this could be a deal-breaker. For anyone else, this is a fun and handsome pen that comes in a variety of colors. Whether you access its flexible nature or use it as a straight writing pen, at $24 it’s a very good deal.