I am pleased to review Faber-Castell’s Ondoro “Orange.” Consistent with this blog’s philosophy, I will put some notes in black and white, sharing some of my experiences. This is an excellent pen, yet another exemplary piece of design from Faber-Castell’s Design line. If only the quality of the nib were matched with the design …
And immediately after writing this, I realized that it might have been a bit blunt. As I will explain below, it is nonetheless true. I will give the description of the pen, some strong points, a writing sample, and my recommendations on who is to use this pen.
It is impossible to describe in words how much I love Faber-Castell’s design in general. My stationery tray is full of their products. I am impressed with their design choices, in a manner that I cannot really describe in words. I suppose it is because the design is a cross-breed of classical, 18th and 19th-century writing instruments with contemporary materials, and at the same time elevating certain salient features of the traditional design in a minimalistic way. I don’t know if this makes any sense, but this is my subjective take on the overall design.
So what is more to say in this Ondoro orange fountain pen, with a broad, steel-made nib inked with a Lamy black ink? The physical description is simple: a hexagonal, orange resin body, with a chromed cap which itself features the Faber-Castell logo. The filling mechanism is converter-based, and it accepts international standard cartridges. All in all, Faber-Castell keeps things simple, interchangeable, and with beautiful design.
Observe the hexagonal design of the body. As Stephen B.R.E. Brown says in his review, it indeed looks like a pencil, albeit an oversized one. The orange body is reminiscent of a yellow, Mongol-style pencil, but not exactly like one. This is not an ACME ballpoint pen, i.e. a pen that is designed to look like a pencil.
An Ergonomic Pen
But let’s have a closer look at the body. This pen is designed to be comfortable, and I can say that the manufacturer has scored 100 over 100 on that front. Try holding the pen with your hand. The thumb comfortably places itself underneath, the pointing finger is easily embracing the section from the top, and the supporting middle is assisting seamlessly. This is extraordinary. The configuration is well thought of and coupled with the overall lightweight body, it is rather impossible to find a pen that is better designed for long writing sessions.
The nib is the standard steel nib of the Design line. In general, the nibs of this line are extremely smooth, with outstanding performance. This has been my experience with these nibs, up to now. This B nib falls a bit short of this standard. I suppose that the nib can be easily replaced, and I intend to resort to this solution when I find the time.
Have a look at the following writing sample, on a Rhodia No 18 (80gr), where I have underlined the problems with nib performance. In order of appearance, on has a forced start, underflow that forces pressure, dim writing, and a complete flow stop. This nib is problematic. My handwriting may also be problematic, but this is of second-order importance in this example.
This nib — in general — is capable of some line variation, but my writing is very nervous, especially when I go through technical notes, reading notes, or lecture notes.
Lastly, it will be nice to comment on the entire Ondoro experience by pairing it with a rollerball that I always keep loaded in my pen case. This photo should have had another Ondoro fountain pen on it, the “matte black” one with an M nib, but it was unfortunately removed from my office during a short absence.
Overall, this pen is extraordinary, very stylish, and a wonderful writing instrument. Faber-Castell makes wonderful pens, and sometimes, less than wonderful nibs.
I have decided to send it back to F-C’s customer service, and I will share my experience when the pen arrives.
- Pencil lovers, who would like to have a design writing instrument that is reminiscent of a pencil;
- Heavy note-takers, who would avoid a repetitive stress syndrome with an ergonomic pen, suitable for long-writing sessions;
- Dutch fountain pen lovers and assimilated people, who would love to have yet another object in the national color of the Netherlands.