Penetralia ~ Fountain pen review ~ Conklin Duragraph Matte Black/Rainbow Limited Edition

beautiful, well behaved black nib

Now, this is a fantastic pen. I really enjoy this pen and use it on a daily basis. Since my Shibui pen case review, I have not retired this pen out of rotation yet.

Small update: I have unfortunately retired my Benu pen, it was too wet to write with. Combined with the Montegrappa Violet I felt like it was practically gushing all over my forms so it’s out (I had to keep reverse writing with it, just to get my daily work done).

This pen is NOT irritating. This pen of course is just a Duragraph with a different outfit on. So although, this version of the Duragraph was a Goulet Pens exclusive, I don’t see how it’s going to be very different from other Duragraphs. If you wanted this particular model, I believe as of writing this review, it’s now NOT available on the Goulet site.


I really like the matte black finish on this pen. It looks professional, subtle and yet a little wild too. The rainbow effect is done using magic, and so it’s variable what kind of colours you’ll get. I’m very happy with mine, it not completely wild and goes beautifully with the matte black of the rest of the pen. I actually like many of the Duragraph finishes. The other one I have my eye on is the abalone shell finish. Maybe in the new yr, if my wife lets me!

I really like the box Conklin stuff comes in. Very professional and well thought out. I kept it of course. I paid 87AUD for this. Regular Duragraphs go for much cheaper, for — I presume — the exact same writing experience.

The pen is plenty long so I don’t personally post it. I really enjoy the section, it rests my grip perfectly and is very comfortable.

Most importantly however, it’s a great writer. I got mine in a Fine nib and with this iteration of the pen, it comes with a black nib, which goes beautifully with the overall look. I believe this was the first of my Conklins to arrive. I really enjoyed the crescent shaped breather hole too! It was the first time I’d seen some company specific quirks to this effect and I was really impressed. I’ve since noticed that there’s also a bunch of crescents on the band. I don’t know what the fascination with crescent moons is with Conklin.

This pen is easy to unscrew, 1 full rotation only, which makes it ready for action very quickly. It’s also very easy to clean, the nib unit/housing easily screws out, so it’s easy to switch out nibs too. I find myself considering much more these days. Instead of buying new pens just buy new nibs for the pens I have and like to use the most. Eventually if I retire this pen from “form filler” to “journaling pen” then a different nib will be perfect. This nib never runs dry, never hard starts.

As I’ve said before, I love a limited edition. I’m a total sucker for the marketing and hoping the limited edition will appreciate in years to come, so naturally I love the edition number on the side of this pen. I have 1766. Quite an exciting year in history, according to Wikipedia.

In flight in the air. No dramas. Zip lock bag just in case though…

Finally, I took this pen on holiday with me. I thought I’d journal with it whilst away and this also gave me an opportunity to see how it would fare on a plane journey. I’ve read a lot about exploding pens, and keeping them upright on planes and so on, so I wanted to experiment.

Absolutely no dramas, whatsoever. I kept it strictly upright the whole time flying one way and then on the return I just shoved in my pocket any old how. It was sideways, upside down, shaking, got sat on and kicked by my kids and absolutely nothing happened to it. No leaking, no breaks, no nothing. I uncapped it on the ground, writing perfectly every time.


The cap doesn’t really post at all, it sort of balances on the end of the pen and if you press really hard it’ll squeak at you like wet skin on a rubber pool side and you know you’re ruining the pen, so you stop.

Again, like my Leonardo (which I love — despite the mishap) it’s very light weight. I barely know it’s in my hand some days. My preference is for heavier pens, and yes, lighter pens are definitely better for longer writing sessions, but nonetheless, this is a very slight negative for me.

The Fine nib isn’t the smoothest, but what else do you expect from a fine nib?

Other than that I can’t really say anything bad about this pen. It’s a great writer!

Writing samples

Left: 90gsm copy paper. Right: Clairefontaine 90gsm paper.
Clairefontaine 90gsm paper — very consistent writer, can still see some ink characteristics
90gsm copy paper

Like I said before, I really like how this pen lays down ink. Even in the fine, one can appreciate some ink characteristics. You can still see the variation in colour with the Ralph Waldo ink and there just a hint of shimmer with Diamine Firefly.

I’ve recently realised I’ve been spoilt by the excellence of Diamine’s shimmer inks. They do not ruin any pen I’ve put my Firefly ink into. I hope their other shimmertastic inks are as forgiving to pens as this ink is. I got a bunch of shimmer samples and they’ve been busting up my pens big time. I’ve now decided pretty much only to use Diamines shimmertastic inks, or use other shimmer inks in other lower cost pens, with fatter nibs. I guess this is a noob mistake. Sorry.

On both papers, the pen behaved great, there was a little bit of scratching on the Clairefontaine paper, but strangely I haven’t had so many fibre catching issues on copy paper. I think the Ralph Waldo Emerson did jam up my feed a bit, so I stopped using other shimmer inks with this pen, but again, it loved the shimmertastic.

Why is this pen in my collection?

It looks great. It’s subtle and a little mad too. Its super easy to clean, the cartridge convertor is very convenient for me, and its great for filling forms on crap paper all day. It’s good reverse writing too, for an extra fine line. Didn’t explode on the plane, so it may become my travel pen, alongside my Kaweco Brass Sport.

If you’ve read my other entries, you’ll know I like limited editions — I’m a total sucker for the marketing! So, of course I’m very happy I snagged this when I could.

Is this a pen fit for a GP?

Yes, most certainly. If you are office based and like a smart pen on your desk then, yes! It has just enough personality to not be gaudy, and is unlikely to therefore get stolen off your desk.

I do also think it’s good on the move. It’s very quick to open and the clip won’t rip up your shirt. Nice sturdy steel nib means even if you drop it, probably nothing will happen bar a few lost drops of ink. It writes well, no fiddling, no hard starts or whatever, it just does the job when you want it to. It can sit in my case for days and it writes straight away when I use it.

Overall, I would recommend a Duragraph, I’ve not had issues with any of my Conklin pens so far, maybe I’ve just gotten lucky. Definitely, a favourite in my collection.

Thanks so much for reading and remember no matter who you are, “first, do no harm.”




An Australian GP with a love for fountain pens, writing, gaming and gardening, throwing in an occasional rant along the way!

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An Australian GP with a love for fountain pens, writing, gaming and gardening, throwing in an occasional rant along the way!

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