Let’s talk about nibs. If you’ve been reading my blog for a bit you’ve probably noticed that I’m attracted to pens based on looks first. That’s not to say I don’t care about performance, but when was the last time I reviewed a plain black pen? (It was September, and the time before that was July, although that one at least had a red accent on it.) An interesting looking pen is what catches my eye, but I want to be able to write with it as well.
Recently, Conklin and Monteverde, both owned by pen distributor Yafa Brands, upgraded their nibs. I don’t know who was making their old nibs, but they had the unfortunate reputation for poor performance and inconsistency. I used to replace the nibs on my Monteverde pens with other brands, in fact, as I’ve mentioned previously. All of that has changed with the new Yafa nibs, now made by Jowo. Yafa kept their proprietary shape for their nib, feed, and housing, so the nib units are still compatible with your old Monteverde and Conklin pens, but the new nibs, now manufactured by Jowo to Yafa’s specifications, perform much more smoothly out of the box, and exhibit much more consistent performance.
Case in point, this Special Edition Conklin Nozac was a pen that I wanted for a while, but because I hesitated when it was new back in 2018, it became difficult to find. A few months ago I found a retailer who still had a few in stock and snapped this one up. It’s original nib had the issues that I’d grown accustomed to, but rather than being unsatisfied with my new pen I decided to replace the nib with one of the new Jowo Conklin nibs.
I could tell the difference immediately. The Jowo-made nib has a beautiful consistency when writing, just as you would expect with a Jowo-made nib. Something about this nib, possibly the crescent breather cut-out, gives it a softer feeling than most Jowo nibs, although as with any nib I’d be careful not to apply too much pressure because you don’t want to spring it. If there’s a pen with a beautiful barrel that you’ve had your eye on, but concerns over Yafa’s nibs have kept you away from Conklin or Monteverde pens in the past, I would say now is the time to give them another try.