Spear is an Ebonite fountain pen by a Chennai(India) based company ASApens. I purchased it from their website.Like my two previous purchases of the same brand I am quite pleased with it. This is a review and not an eulogy, but all things said and done I really liked the pen.
What I am going to do here is to review the pen and also compare it with Athlete side by side.Please pardon for the poor photographs.
It is a German twin of Athlete, better educated, better trained and better skilled with almost the same height and personality. Hand crafted with Ebonite, the pen, like Athlete is a pleasure to hold with almost perfect balance, practical average sized section and nice length. The cap of both the pens flush in the Barrel and it is difficult to see the line where the cap and the barrel touch. The clip of both the pens is supported by top cap screwing in. The finger stopper is present on section in both pens.
In looks they differ in two things. First the ASA engraving on the barrel is far more pronounced in Spear. Truly speaking it is visible but not aesthetically as pleasing as was in case of Athlete.Secondly in spear the pen takes a larger number of turns to come out. Which is something that I don’t like. But it is a minor issue with an otherwise wonderful pen.
You will pay 25$ for an Athlete and 35$ for the Spear. For this difference of 10$ you will get a qualitatively different nib and feed system. Athlete has simple IPG marked, Iridium tipped monotone steel nib. This nib was apparently made in Taiwan or somewhere near I guess.It has a fairly simple ebonite feed and an eyedropper filling system. A few FPN members had issues with the nib. Though most of them reported that the issues were easily resolved. Personally, I loved the nib and it has been my favorite for the sheer simplicity, efficiency and elegance.
But, the Spear offers 10 breather hole German Jowo nib and a Jowo feed and Three in one filling system. The nib looks more like a space gadget with 10 holes than a spear. The nib attracts the attention of bloody everyone around. No one has seen such a thing. It looks sci fi. I don’t know why Jowo thought it proper to use 10 holes and not our old favorite one hole but I am glad that they thought something like it. Man, it looks cool!!! Holding a fountain pen sometimes, in this age of Rollers and ballpoints looks antediluvian, having a pen with 10 breather holes always help. I have used this pen with the converter and as an Eyedropper. So the filling system pretty much works.
Now, I will discuss the most important part. The writing experience. The Jowo nib is shorter to Athlete #6 nib. So you will have to hold the pen a little higher depending upon the hand stance you use. The nib is sturdy and has been very securely fit. It can not be removed with normal force. I hate using abnormal force. So I have not yet been able to disassemble the pen.The tines, like all Jowos have been so properly placed that the chances of their alignment getting disturbed are pretty low. Athlete has always proved to be a wonderful writer for me though the nib needed a little tweaking every now and then. Spear has its own advantages. It is smoother. Typical Jowo smoothness. The nib is M but with Pilot blue I use, it wrote more of a Lamy F and less thicker than Schmidt M. However what I found was, surprisingly, that the Athlete is a lot wetter than Spear. Thus if you try to draw a very fast straight line you will find no skipping in Athlete but in Spear you may find some skipping. Having said that, I conclude that the nib is superb. I loved writing with the pen given its great balance and superb smoothness.
Would you prefer Spear or Athlete, the choice is yours to make. Personally, I liked the spear a lot, I mean for say 1200/-INR I got a lot. I have paid more and have been lesser satisfied. But, for me, its a personal opinion, the pen does not threaten to push the Athlete in oblivion. Perhaps someday I will fit a Bock/ Jowo Friction fit with my Athlete and it will become my dream pen. But till that day comes, Athlete is,for me, as precious as the Spear.