I attended my second pen show of the year by making it to the Long Island Pen Show in mid March. Compared to the Philadelphia Pen Show I went to earlier this year, the LI show is a more modest affair. In terms of space and number of merchants, I’d put the LI show around 50-60% the size of the Philly show. Despite its smaller size, the LI show more than holds its own. Anyway, the show is not our focus here; perhaps a post about the show will come later. Those interested in a review of the LIPS should go here. Right now, let’s talk about my favorite purchase of the show – this small but beautiful bit of fountain pen fun…
I bought this Bexley Admiral from Richard Binder with a fine nib. As you may know, Richard tunes up the nib of any pen he sells so you’re guaranteed to be more than satisfied with your purchase. Now, there are a few oddities to the Admiral that makes it less than perfect, but the writing experience is great – at least for my everyday writing style. At this point, I have around 15 fountain pens with different nibs and it’s clear to me that I prefer a stiff fine nib that lays down a moderately dry line. I don’t want dry dry, but I definitely do not want anything most folks might consider wet. The nib of the Admiral fits my bill rather well. In fact, it may be the stiffest nib in my collection and the line is offers is fairly typical of an American or European fine line (shown here with Waterman Mysterious Blue).
It’s not apparent from any of the pictures, but this is a small, pocket-sized pen. Capped, the Admiral is about a centimeter longer than a TWSBI Mini. Posted, the Admiral is about a half centimeter shorter than a posted TWSBI Mini. If you only write with big, heavy pens then you should stop reading and avoid the Admiral all together. Now for some of those oddities.
First, the name. A pen called the Admiral should be a big , brawny handful of a pen. Look, the size works for me but a more appropriate Navy-themed name would have been something like the Bexley First Mate or the Bexley Ensign. Then there’s the nib. While I really like the function and the look of the nib on its own, the gold tone of the nib is mismatched with the blue, white and black camo/cow pattern with silver trim of the pen body. I suspect it’s a matter of stock and scale at Bexley and that they don’t want to tailor their nibs to all the pen bodies they sell, but the combination may be a turnoff for some. Lastly, the short length of the barrel means a full-sized converter is a no go and we’re stuck with one of those stubby plunger converters.
Overall, I’m very satisfied with the Bexley Admiral. The nib/body mismatch and small ink reservoir are, no pun intended, small concessions to make for a pen that can go anywhere with you and that, thanks in no small part to Mr. Binder, writes wonderfully. If you’re looking for a smaller fountain pen that might make more of a style statement than other pocket pens, the Admiral is a great way to go.