I can't tell you how long I've drooled over the special edition celluloid pens that Bryant Greer offers at Chatterly Luxuries (Pentime). The problem was that I've never had the available funds to snag one of his limited run Stipulas or Deltas, which can well exceed $500.00. So you can say I was very surprised when, at the D.C. Pen Show, I saw that he was offering a wide range of limited edition Delta Fusion 82 pens, in both celluloid and acrylic patterns, for $250 and under. The potential downside: They all came with Delta's Fusion nib, something that I had no experience with.
What Delta refers to as the "Fusion" nib is a stainless steel nib with a 14k gold plate fused to the top of it. If Delta's marketing materials are to be believed (and I'm not going to go into this here because it's been discussed in detail elsewhere), the gold plate does something chemically to the ink to make it flow more smoothly. I for one was highly skeptical of their claims (and still am), and it caused me to wait two years before picking up one of these pens. Now that I've used the pen, however, I frankly don't much care whether it's B.S. or not because IMHO Delta has produced one of the best writing nibs out there, gold or silver, and combined with the fact that I have two of these pens in gorgeous celluloids I've been coveting for a long time, the price I paid for these pens was more than fair.
This will be a two-part review. This particular post will make some observations on the (excellent) build quality of these pens, and attempt to post some adequate photographs of the celluloid patterns, although it's sometimes difficult to accurately portray this material in a photo. Part II will look at the nibs, a medium and a broad, and one of which I had modified by Richard Binder to a Hebrew-Italic / Architect's point.
The Fusion 82 is marketed as being hand-turned from bars of resin and celluloid. The workmanship is excellent. There are no visible flaws on the pen, other than small variations in the celluloid pattern that make each pen unique. The rhodium-plated clips are sturdy and tight, and the pen posts securely. I normally use this pen posted, but it's probably long enough for most people to use unposted. The pen is cartridge/converter, which is relatively rare on a celluloid pen, and generally is not my preference, but in order to keep the price point under $250 you have to accept sacrifices somewhere.
The Fusion 82 is also a great user pen, especially for long writing sessions, because it is light. It's length gives it excellent balance. Celluloid in general is fairly lightweight, and the material pairs well with this pen design for that reason.
The two celluloids I chose were Pompeii (a yellow celluloid with black striations/swirls) and the Marmo Incrinato. Both previously have been featured on much more expensive pens, so I'm thrilled to have these in my collection. I've been using both of my pens extensively over the past month, and I can vouch for the fact that they are excellent pens with very good nibs, despite the controversy and/or hype surrounding the "fusion" aspect. More on the nibs later this week!