The Trilogy ZERØ


There are as many definitions of minimalism as there are minimalists, theorists and laymen alike. In terms of the triple “form, function, identity,” the idea of minimalism advocates design choices of simple (or abstract?) forms, that guarantee total function and at the same time preserve the core identity of an object. In our case, one may ask, how much can we take out of a fountain pen without degenerating it to a stick and still have a fountain pen in our hands? The Trilogy ZERØ proposes an answer to this question.


Of course, one may add some qualifications. Is the “demonstrator” choice a minimalist one? Is the Namiki Emperor Vermillion a minimalist pen? The answer would probably be “yes,” if one compares it with a Namiki Togidashi-Taka Maki-e “Kylin”. Mutatis mutandis, it is as if one compares the Rothko Chapel with the interior of the Frauenkirche in Dresden. One would go even further to include abstraction, such as Piet Mondrian paintings, thereby loading the notion with many more meanings than one can possibly handle in a consistent manner. All of this is interesting. To reproduce a well-known US-specific pander, I guess that minimalism is like pornography: nobody can really describe it, but you know it when you see it.

Santorini – from the Flickr stream of Tony B Tony Bowall FRPS

OK, enough – The Pen

In any case, this Kickstarter campaign has recently delivered on its promise, after some delay that stressed out some backers. The Trilogy ZERØ is a converter-based fountain pen, with a Schmit-K5 converter (included), and one that takes international standard cartridges.

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It’s lines are simply perfect, and this is quite an accomplishment in all honesty. In my opinion, it is very easy to do unintelligent things when you mess around with concepts such as minimalism. A bit of excess here or there, an obtuse angle in a certain part, and you may end up with a disproportionate object, with a form that is a bit too round, or a perhaps too flat, a bit chubby, or simply hideous. I suppose that this is because, in the process of removing parts of the fountain pen, decorative or otherwise, one removes placeholders for the eye that create a “chatter” around the pen. This is not the case here. Even the section is wonderfully aligned.

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This is a lightweight pen. It is roughly the size of Pelikan m800, which for some people, is the very definition of a fountain pen. It is also tall, lengthy, and this is a pleasant feature. It disposes of the need to post the cap.

The material is anodized … something. From the product description:

ZERØ begins life as virgin space-grade 6000 series aluminum. This alloy was deliberately chosen for the optimal weight, feel, durability and function of ZERØ. This alloy serves as the pure, precise foundation ZERØ is built upon.

Very pleasant to touch, gives a feeling of “cold” touch. It’s a bit too cold, however. The pen just arrived, and given that this was springtime, I only got to have a feeling of the material during high temperatures. I can’t really say how it will feel in a low-temperature environment or season.

The two ends are flattened. This is a departure from a decorative choice of having a cone on the two ends. This choice is met at another one of the minimalist pens that I’ve backed, the Namisu Nova, and another pen that I find minimalist enough (and totally black as well.)

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The ZERØ, Namisu Nova, and a Faber-Castell e-motion pure black

The ZERØ is winning regarding lines, size, feel, and capacity to perform the writing process, in my opinion.

It’s a nice idea to give you a pen holder when you buy a pen, and one that matches the pen itself and your desk arrangements. If you get a desk set with a vertical pen holder, placed in the foreground, so that you reach for the pen as if you are actually inking a feather, just in order to write an equation on a piece of paper, then this is a bit problematic. It’s as if you are giving the importance that presidents give to signing. Although, in recent times, apparently some people have something to say about that.

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My overall assessment is positive. I am happy that the fountain pen arrived in this state, and I will continue adjusting the black-coated Bock nib to my writing. It will take a couple of weeks of everyday usage or a visit to a nibmeister, and it will definitely come to a perfect state. This is a very nice pen, and it beats other minimalist such fountain pens found out there.

Recommended For

  • Those who want a simple, performing, and very pleasant fountain pen for everyday writing.
  • For minimalists, especially those that take the notion to the limit. If you want to have one fountain pen (indeed, there may be people like this out there), then this might be the most minimal object you can have for everyday writing.

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