Classic Pens LB5 King Profit 2012 Final Prototypes
by Jim Mamoulides, December 8, 2012
A pre-release view of the final prototypes
We have had the great pleasure to observe and participate in the prototyping process that will result in the new Classic Pens LB5, an oversize pen based on Sailor's top of the line King Profit, also known as King of Pens in the West. Classic Pens has been working with Sailor to create a customized King Profit using Carville created diffusion bonded acrylic finishes.
We saw the first prototype early this summer, in a deep purple acrylic, that was almost too difficult to photograph and get the full impact of the inky depth. The pen was extra large, being about 6 1/16 inches long capped, 6 5/8 inches long with the cap posted on the end of the barrel, and 13/16 wide, measured across the widest point, at the cap band. The cap band is very bold, with a wide, full to cap lip gold plated insert, engraved with the Sailor King of Pen name around the entire band. A stunning pen that showed well and generated a lot of excitement when shown to prospective Classic Pens customers at pen shows and clubs.
We also had the opportunity at the Washington, D.C. Pen Show to see the other initial prototypes in five Italian acrylic colors, a gold color, intended for the Kouseki (metal ore) pen, a bronze brown color for the Tairiku (continent) pen, a red color for the Kaen (violent flames) pen, a blue color for the Tensui (raindrops) pen, and a green color for the Midorigi (new green tree) pen.
An unfortunate problem with these gorgeous pens was the resin is translucent, and the lighter colors allowed the black plastic cap and barrel thread inserts to show through. This is why prototyping is so important, especially with an exclusive high end product. Every detail has to be 100% right. It's also why some products take time to launch, so they are perfect when released.
The decision was made to create a second set of prototypes from the same Flame Red and Space Blue diffusion bonded acrylic rods as the Classic Pens LM1 Flame Red and Classic Pens LB3 Jupiter Art Pens. These arrived a couple of months later. These pens were the same overall proportions and the same appointments as the first prototypes, with the blue pen having rhodium plated trim and nib. They also used a black plastic sleeve as the threads for the cap and barrel, which disappointingly showed through the less translucent diffusion bonded resin, as with the earlier prototypes.
On the other hand, the Flame Red and Space Blue material really shows off the profile of the Sailor King Profit, so it was decided to make another run of the pens in Flame Red and Space Blue with changes to eliminate any show through of the cap and barrel liner. In the cap, a clear liner was used. In the barrel, the threads are now directly on the barrel itself, similar to the construction of the LM1 and LB3, though the threads on the King Profit are cut finer.
With these changes, another decision was made to increase the length of the pen by 1/4 inch overall. This is done by making the barrel longer, increasing from 3 7/16 inches (not including the nib section) to 3 11/16 inches. There is no change to the cap size (2 7/8 inches long) and the caps of the two versions are interchangeable. The result is a longer, better proportioned pen.
As of this writing, Classic Pens is working out the final numbers for the Limited Edition run. Classic Pens expects to produce 50 pens in each color, five colors total. It is expected that the pens will be offered with Sailor's excellent 21 karat gold Japanese Medium and Broad nibs as well as Sailor's exclusive Nagahara Cross Point nib.
Identification guide and features:
- Production limited to 50 LB5 pens in each color, Flame Red or Space Blue, with expected delivery to Classic Pens in February, 2013
- Flame Red or Space Blue diffusion bonded acrylic cap and barrel
- Flame Red version will have gold plated, full to lip, cap band, marked "SAILOR THE KING OF PEN 1911" around the center and gold plated Sailor design clip and trim rings
- Space Blue model with standard Sailor nibs will have rhodium plated, full to lip, cap band, marked "SAILOR THE KING OF PEN 1911" around the center, rhodium plated Sailor design clip and trim rings, and rhodium plated nib
- Space Blue model with Sailor Nagahara Cross Point nib will have gold plated, full to lip, cap band, marked "SAILOR THE KING OF PEN 1911" around the center and gold plated Sailor design clip and trim rings
- Standard nibs will be medium or broad (in yellow gold or rhodium plate to match the trim) in solid 21 karat gold nib marked "1911" over "21K" over "875" over Sailor logo
- The Sailor Nagahara Cross Point nib (21K yellow gold only) will be offered with a few pens in both Flame Red and Space Blue finishes. There is a premium for this nib.
- Screw on cap
- About 6 1/4 inches long capped, about 6 7/8 inches long with the cap posted on the end of the barrel, about 13/16 inches across the widest part of the cap, at the band
- Weighs 1.5 ounces
- Sailor cartridge or piston converter filling system
- The retail price of the LB Fountain Pens with medium and broad standard Sailor nibs will be $1,500. Pens with the Sailor Nagahara Cross Point nib will be higher priced.
- Presented in a Classic Pens gift box
I should start off this review by saying I personally use a Classic Pens LM1 almost every day, so I have an automatic like for the Flame Red material on the Sailor King Profit. The earlier LB5 prototypes are similar in size to the Classic Pens LM1, though the cap on the LB5 prototype is a little longer.
As with every other Classic Pens model, the extensive time spent on every design element has resulted in a truly distinctive version of the Sailor King Profit that won't be mistaken for any other. All the work done to get the cap and barrel liners right so the liners won't show through allowed for rethinking the overall size of the pen and the longer final prototype has better proportions.
Having seen and handled all the previous LB5 prototypes, this final version gets it right in all areas. The 21 karat gold nib on the LB5 is very large, bigger than the LM1 nib both in length and width. The nib is super smooth, even writing, and the long tines and high gold content give it a soft feel, similar to a vintage semi-flex nib.
This is a really large size pen, measuring 6 1/4 inches long capped, and a really long 6 7/8 inches long with the cap posted on the end of the barrel. Writing unposted is quite comfortable and would be my personal preference with this pen. It's plenty big around, about 13/16 inches across the widest part of the cap, measured at the band. It's a cartridge / converter filler, and the converter is an especially nice piston unit that works very smoothly.
I generally favor smaller pens, but I particularly like the final size and shape of the Classic Pens LB5 King Profit. I have a Pelikan M1000, another really huge pen, and this one is more comfortable to write with. At 1.5 ounces with the cap on, it's not overly heavy, and it sits deep and snug in the pocket when not in use. I personally like the Flame Red material more than the Space Blue, but I like bold colors. The Space Blue is well suited for those who would want a more formal looking pen.
I expect the Classic Pens LB5 King Profit will be a real success. Starting with a great pen from Sailor, their top of the line model that competes with the best from any other pen maker, and adding the unique cachet of Andreas Lambrou's design experience with Classic Pens will make this a winner and a desired collectible. Many Classic Pens models have actually increased in value since they were produce, a rarity in the pen business.
There are preferential prices for pre-orders of the Classic Pens LB5. For further details and to pre-order please contact Classic Pens directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments on this article may be sent to the author, Jim Mamoulides