Fine Writing International (FWI) occupies an enviable place in the Taiwan fountain pen community. On the one hand, they import leading stationary brands such as Clairefountaine, J. Herbin, Rohrer & Klinger and KWZ. On the other, they are an artisanal producer and exporter of custom pens. Pencils too.
Going it alone as a small, independent pen maker is tough. Fortunately, Fine Writing doesn't have to.
Being able to pair pen making with a solid business distributing world-class products is a huge plus and likely a big reason why FWI can do some of the amazing things they do. I'm sure it also helps to be proximate to the wealth of pen craftsmanship and precision manufacturing expertise for which Taiwan is justifiably famous.
And for the Rest of Us...
But FWI also has a couple of more affordable pen lines that are gaining traction. You may have seen the Planets series.
There's also the Bronze Age series of brass pens, which has run through 5 variations of the original octagonal cap model.
The just released Golden Amour is FWI's 6th generation brass pen - and the first with a round cap.
That Crazy-cool Cap
The cap is a big part of the story of this pen.
If you are going to be confident in what you write, why shouldn't your pen have armour?
Then there's the lion with the dagger in its mouth on the end of the cap to add another brave face to your writing. The pink material is residual anti-oxidation coating from the manufacturing process. It adds a nice bit of color.
I even rather dig the pair of nubbins that serve as junior roll-stops. This pen is unique.
What You Get
The pen comes in a metal box and includes a converter and a card with useful information along with instructions for using the pen as an eyedropper.
The section, cap and barrel end-cap are all brass. The screw-in #6 Jowo nib unit comes out easily and disassembled without difficulty. The section has a healthy o-ring for eyedroppering.
The section appears to be lightly bead-blasted for grippier, matte finish.
The barrel is made of a special acrylic that is extra clear and extra strong. Rudy Lee, FWI's owner, has a little hammer he uses to whack a sample pen to show that it doesn't even scratch. I got the demo when I bought my pen. Inkantadora captures the moment at the end of her excellent video tour of FWI's shop.
The cap has a plastic sleeve with the cap threads. There's a cup at the bottom to seal the nib when you close the cap. I'd heard this was spring loaded and, sure enough, pushing down with a poker gives a little squeak. It's a nice bit of engineering.
The cap comes off in just over 2½ turns - which is as much as you'd want. I figure it's in keeping with the somewhat deliberate style of this pen.
The threads are silky smooth and, try as I might, I could not get them to cross thread.
Closing the cap, there's a bit of resistance for the last fraction of a turn where the section engages the spring-loaded cup. The instructions warn about over-tightening the cap. I bet it's possible to damage things by aggressively torquing the cap.
Weights and Measures
At 50+ grams, the Golden Armour is heavy. It feels like they could have named it the golden cosh and not been too far wrong. But nearly half of the weight is in the cap and, once that's off, you have a substantial but not onerous writing instrument in your hands.
My favorite pen weight is 20g. To it's credit, the Golden Armour carries the extra mass with excellent balance.
- Capped 140mm
- Uncapped 130.5mm
- Section diameter: 10.3 -11.9mm
- Barrel diameter: 13mm
The design skillfully manages the pen's proportions. The size and diameter of the section is comfortable. The length natural. The diameter of the barrel feels right.
All the dimensions fall nicely into place when you go to write.
The Golden Armour is comparable to other larger pens in my collection. In fact it's lighter than the titanium Namisu Nova, which tips the scales at 35g uncapped.
Getting Down to Business
There was no question. I had to go for a stub.
Initially, the Golden Armour was only available with extra-fine to medium nibs. I needed to wait for broad or stub versions to become available. So I cooled my heels. A week later, I made the trek. (If you do visit FWI, remember the entrance is to the side of the building they're in. 12th floor, BTW.)
The Golden Armour sports a #6 Jowo nib with the FWI logo etched on the nib. There's a gold version available but I went for a silver one. The stub they offer is 1.1.
As FWI is also the local KWZ distributor and I had no KWZ ink in my collection, I saw the chance to try that too. It seems many people like Brown-Pink (ST 4702) so figured that might be a good choice. It was.
Before filling the pen, I applied some silicon grease to the section threads.
I gotta say, writing with the Golden Armour is a treat. The nib couldn't be smoother with gentle but clear line variation. It's wet without being a gusher. The pen wrote perfectly from the first.
The weight of the pen calms my writing - as much as that's possible. The pleasure of watching the letters form is inspiring. This is a pen I turn to with relish.
I feel fortunate to have had my head up when this pen came along. And equally fortunate to now have FWI on my radar. I doubt I'll be going for any of their museum pieces in the near future, but who knows, there may be a 7th generation brass pen.
More often that not, my desk is my pocket. But everyday desk items doesn't have the same ring.