First Impressions - Cartier Roadster Fountain Pen

(This pen was loaned to me free-of-charge for review by my good friend Wendy. The opinions below are completely mine.)

Many of you readers have heard of Cartier before undoubtably. Cartier makes a bunch of luxury jewelry that would cost both arms, legs, kidneys, and probably eyes. However, unknown to most, they also make quite a few luxury pens with a bunch of different styles. Luckily, those only cost about one arm.

The Cartier Roadster line itself is quite extensive, taking inspiration from classic cars of days long past, notably the Roadster type cars. The pen is available in a bunch of different trims, finishes, materials, and color stones. The one I have is finished with palladium on all metal parts and features a calf-skin lined pen barrel. The top of the pen features a black onyx cabochon.

The pen comes in a beautiful red Cartier box. The box is not only hefty, but also lined with a leather(-like?) material. The box also features a nifty gold-colored hinge protecting the box from opening accidentally. I find the striking gold accents an amazing match for the deep red of the box. This is one of the most amazing clamshell pen boxes I'm seen so far.

The box opens to reveal the stunning pen sitting in the felt-lined interior secured another fabric strap. Almost immediately, you are drawn to the etched palladium plated cap with its bunch of flashy dots. It's a pretty stark contrast to the rest of the body which is lined with a monotone calf-skin leather.

On the very top of the cap, you get to see a large dome-shaped black onyx cabochon. For those not versed in gemology, a "cabochon" is a stone that is polished and smoothed as opposed to being cut (faceted). Cutting "en cabochon" is normally done on opaque stones such as onyx, agate, and moonstone. Well, that's your daily gemology lesson! The finial is also nicely etched with grooves along the circle as an extra fancy touch.

The next part below the cap is the barrel (woah!). This is one of the very few pens that dare to line the barrel completely with leather. The Roadster features very soft calf-skin leather and feels amazing in the hand. The grain on the leather is very unique and provides good contrast against the blank metal (palladium plated) end finial.

This pen has a metal section which I know many people have trouble with. This section may be a bit of trouble, considering that it tapers down at about a 5° angle. The grip does not really flare back out at the end, possibly causing a bit of a slipping issue. Also, the threads of the pen are directly cut on the metal section and have a sizable step between the barrel and section. The threads are not very sharp, but can still be bothersome for some people.

The nib is made of rhodium over solid 18k (750) gold. The nib overs a bit of spring and is quite smooth. The nib is quite wet, but still very controlled. Wendy told me that the pen was only available in a Medium nib, but I was not able to personally confirm this.

The pen fills with a standard international cartridge (both long and short) or a standard international converter. However, Cartier did not bother to include a converter for the pen. They did throw in a nice box of cartridges though, so I guess that's what they want you to stick to? Any standard converter should fit the pen perfectly fine though, so you are not limited there.

For the boring measurements, this pen comes in at 6" (15.24cm) capped, 5.25" (13.33cm) uncapped, and 6.25" (15.87cm) posted. This pen is quite a normal length and is not very hefty. It weighs 1.87oz (53g) capped/posted and 0.99oz (28g) uncapped. I find this pen to be quite comfortable in my larger-sized hands.

The pen is available for $1395 from some online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores. This pen is not limited edition, so you have some time to pick it up.