Since 2003 every year, Graf von Faber-Castell celebrates their excellence in manufacturing with a writing instrument that excels in every extend. These objects are highly collectible and are focused on a specific topic or story. This year’s Pen Of The Year is a homage to very “European” theme. Something that fascinates across generations and finds more and more enthusiasts: Knights
A bit of background
To better understand the choose of the theme from Graf von Faber-Castell, let’s have a look at the structure of the Pen Of The Year collection. From 2003 to 2012, the first 10 Pen Of The Year have been dedicated to “Nature’s Luxury”. In other words, natural materials crafted in a way that show the extraordinary skills of Graf von Faber-Castell’s artisans. Snakewood, Amber, Galuchat, Mammoth ivory, Indian Satinwood and Jade are only a few examples of the materials they have been inspired by. Being 2013 the only year, where there was no Pen Of The Year, from 2014, they have turned their attention to what they call “Pillars of History”, a series of subjects that have left a deep mark on the history of human mankind. From Vikings to Samurai over the Roman Empire, this year’s subject is: Knights
Fascination of generations
Who of us (at least we male reader) hasn’t played with its friends at knights as children? From Lego to Playmobil, all the major toys manufacturers have at least one collection dedicated to the knighthood. In fact, many touristic attractions in Europe are from the middle age. The medieval style is coming back to mainstream tourism and the interest around castles and old towns is growing. So, there would be no surprise to me, if the Pen Of The Year 2021, will be a great success. Let’s dive into the details of the Pen Of The Year 2021 since there are quite a few.
Virtues and Hopes
Let’s start from the top of the pen where we find a heraldic cross, based on the legendary knight Galahad. Galahad is one of the King Arthur’s round table knights. The purest of them. One of the three achievers of the Holy Grail in Arthurian legend. Together with Bors and Parcival, Galahad was one of the custodians. He is described as the most perfect of all knights. Impeccable and pure.
And his shield was adorned by a red cross on white background. Another interesting detail about Galahad, is that his coat of arms was showing a unicorn as a sign of purity and perfection. Inspired by this, the artisans at Graf von Faber-Castel have beautifully engraved in the top of the cap, the cross that has become a symbol of hope and have worked on the body of the cap that showcases a marvelous pattern inspired to a coat of mails. With a durable PVD titanium coating, this part of the pen is destined to last for a very long time.
Leather and steel
Another distinctive and unmissable detail of the new Pen Of The Year 2021 is the shaft as well as the grip zone. Let’s start with this last-mentioned detail. If you have ever been at the Edinburgh Castle, just to mention the probable most visited and appreciated middle age places to see, you have for sure observed the vast collection of swords and you have for sure noted the grip zone of the swords as well as the blades. As it was important for a good sword to have a comfortable grip zone and a perfectly balanced blade. Same thing for a pen. The recreation of the leather pattern on the grip zone of the Pen Of The Year is simply mind blowing and incredibly functional. I have to say, my preferred detail on this masterpiece. Obivously for a matter of longevity GvFC has gone for a way more robust material such as Steel with Brown lacquer coating. Even more impressive, is the shaft of the pen. Two things have been considered here. 1. The excellence of Damascus steel, a very stiff and resistant metal obtained from different layers of steel, normally forged with metals that are containing a relatively high quantity of carbon. The distinctive pattern is, as said created by folding again and again several layers of steel and this makes the blade incredibly rigid. The other interesting detail that we can clearly see on the shaft are the two grooves. These are commonly known as blood grooves. But did you know, that they have nothing to do with blood? Actually, they have a very important function on the blade of a sword. Technically these two grooves are called fullers, from the Old English fuliere, meaning “one who fulls (pleats) cloth”. It is derived from the Latin word fullo. As a blacksmithing tool, a fuller is a type of swage. A swage is a tool that has a particular shape forged into its surface, which is used to imprint that shape into the metal. A fuller is often used to lighten the blade. When combined with proper distal tapers, heat treatment and blade tempering, a fullered blade can be 20% to 35% lighter than a non-fullered blade with minimal sacrifice of strength or blade integrity. What a beautiful detail to add to this already magnificent writing instrument. Unfortunately, we don’t have the time to dive deeper into the art of forging Damascus Steel but I hope to analyze this on a later stage.
Gems and Truth
The writing instrument’s end piece is adorned with a red, faceted garnet with sunray cut which is particularly impressive. In the Middle Ages this precious stone embodied light and truth and was used for jewellery and weapons. Due to its hardness and high refraction of light, the valuable garnet was also called a carbuncle. As the only part of the pen, that showcases a vivid color, this color accent at the low end of the pen, captures surely the attention of observers around us, when we will use this marvelous writing instrument, since it embellishes an otherwise pretty dark layout. Finally, a more technical topic, the wonderful nicely-sized, 18 ct. gold nib with a Ruthenium coating showing the Graf von Faber-Castell shield. Even if the Nib looks great and delivers a very good writing experience there is to say that it would be astonishing to see a personalized nib decoration for each Pen of the Year in the future.
However, the overall impression of the new Pen Of The Year 2021 is a very balanced and pleasant edition. The best way for Graf von Faber-Castell to celebrate their first 260 years of history. The image of the two fighting knights, whose lances were replaced by pencils, became the symbol of this brand and we look forward to celebrate this important anniversary. Little detail in conclusion. For the first time, in the past 7 years, Graf von Faber-Castell have decided to release only one version of the Pen Of The Year. So, there will be no color variations. There will be a Fountain Pen (Limited to 375) and a Roller version (Limited to 125) and they are priced respectively at Fr. 5’300 and Fr. 4’950.
It looks like first deliveries at authorized Retail Stores should be by the last week of November / first week of December. Therefore don’t miss to call your Retailer of trust and make sure you get your hands on one of these beauties.
Find more about the Pen of the Year 2021 Knights here: