First Impressions (10/10)
I’ve always been curious about Bexley pens, but I admit the Corona wasn’t really very interesting for me because it’s not what I would call photogenic. The color Blueberry Cream especially wasn’t very appealing to me. The photos I saw online of these pens didn’t compel me to get one at all. It looked plastick-y and marbly. I thought the Lemon Merengue was a prettier color, but in the photos, it didn’t look overly impressive either. That all changed when I went to a pen meet with local fountain pen enthusiasts and collectors and I got to try one out.
My first impression on this pen was that it looked and felt very well-made. I liked it a lot on the spot. Enough to want one for myself.After the meet, I ordered one exactly like the pen I tried in the meet from the local Bexley dealer and a couple of days ago, I finally had it in my hands. It came in a quite a large black box (or pen coffin) with velvety lining and some paperwork.
Appearance-wise, I think the Corona is a very beautiful pen and it feels like it’s made of good quality material and excellent workmanship. It’s reminiscent of classic American vintage fountain pens with influences of the art deco styling. It kind of reminded me of how Parker Duofolds looked, and other flat-top fountain pens in the 30’s and 40’s. It looks like a classic beauty.It has a nice, solid heft to it, the piston mechanism feels great, the body of the pen is beautiful! It’s cream-colored resin with bright, china blue swirls on it. The cream color is so delicious-looking. I honestly wanted to eat blueberry cheesecake while looking at the pen (and I did). Different pens have different swirls, so no two pens are exactly alike. The trade off for that is that the swirls on the cap are not continuous in design with the swirls on the barrel.
Again, it just speaks to the uniqueness of each pen and doesn’t really take away from the overall look. The pen doesn’t look cold like marble, the off-white, creamy color plays really well with the blue, making it pop but not in a very loud way. It mellows down the bright blue swirls.
I guess the reason it’s not the most photogenic pen is that you have to feel the pen in your hand and look at it up close to see the depth of the material and the beauty of the swirling china blue (either that or Bexley needs to get better product photos). I feel giddy and happy just looking at the patterns. There’s nothing industrial-looking about this pen at all. It’s like blue syrup poured into rich cream and frozen mid-swirl.
The top of the cap is flat but the edges around it are smooth. I think the black resin used at the top and at the piston knob of the pen are great touches and really ties up the whole pen’s design in a neat way. The sliver of ink window is a tad too wide for me, when capped a tiny bit of it shows. I’d like it to be a bit narrower, but really I’m just nitpicking at this point.
When I met up with the dealer to buy the pen, I also looked at the Poseidon Magnum II (Bronze Sands) and I fell in love with that pen as well (next year, maybe?), it felt more luxurious, for lack of a better word. However, the Corona really is no slouch at all. It feels every bit of a great pen, and I know it’ll develop a good look as it grows older.
As mentioned earlier, the pen felt very well-made. The weight is very pleasant, even when you’re using it unposted. I think you can’t post the pen, even if the cap fits into the piston knob. It feels unwieldy and too much of a tight fit.
The piston mechanism is smooooooth. Yes, that many o’s. I have a couple of piston fillers (Pelikan M200 and TWSBI 580) and this, by far, is the smoothest piston I’ve ever worked with. It’s pretty easy to disassemble too. The removable nib unit makes the pen easier to clean, too. Saving the piston mechanism from being worn out through too much twisting and turning while cleaning.
The section was quite long and smooth, flaring out towards the nib. This means a more secured and comfortable grip. I don’t feel the threads of the screw-on cap against my fingers while I write. Overall, I think the workmanship of this pen, from the gold plated rings and clip to the body and piston mechanism, is pretty excellent. I love it a lot.
The only letdown here is the nib, kind of. It’s a standard fine nib, gold-plated stainless steel, without much spring in it. It wrote reliably, but it could be a bit wetter. So I tuned it a bit, did a little work on it and it now writes with a more generous ink flow. People who don’t know how to adjust nibs might find the dry flow out of the box a bit off-putting, though.
However, once I got the ink flow fixed, the nib just writes perfectly. I wish I can explain exactly how it feels. It’s not as smooth as if you were writing on glass, but it’s not an unpleasant or toothy feeling either. On the contrary, the feedback is VERY pleasant. It’s more like you can feel the paper rubbing on the nib as you write, you can feel the fibers and hear the nib scratching on it ever so slightly. It makes me want to write on and on. That’s a pretty amazing thing. I admit that I miss the springiness of 14k gold nibs, but this nib is also pretty awesome in its own right.
As mentioned earlier, the pen is quite easy to take apart. I found that it’s easy to swap #6 nibs on it. I’m probably gonna have this nib reground to a cursive italic soon.
Below is a video of a writing sample:
The Bexley Corona is a piston-filler, and a mighty smooooooth piston filler at that. I had no issues whatsoever with the piston filler right from the start. The pen’s barrel, being as large as it is, can hold an enormous amount of ink which will last me a long time. Although, being in the habit of switching inks regularly, I only fill my piston pens halfway through. Perhaps if I find a perfect ink matchup (like my Pelikan M200 and Diamine Dark Olive), I’ll make it a monogamous match.
Cost and Value (10/10)
I got this pen at a very friendly price (not full retail), so for a price that’s cheaper than a TWSBI Micarta, I got a gorgeous, bench made, piston filler with easily exchangeable nib units…this one’s a no-brainer.
I am really happy with this pen, and I’m happy with it’s now part of my collection. It’s not ostentatious, but it’s certainly eye-catching. It’s a large pen and I love that it feels as solid as it looks. I had a rough start with the nib, but a little bit of adjustment fixed the inkflow quite nicely. It is a good writer, and I love how the nib has just the right amount of feedback to give a singularly pleasurable writing experience.