I’ve admired Yard-O-Led’s sterling silver fountain pens for quite some time. Classic flattops crafted in sterling silver. Made in England – just like Conway Stewart. As I’ve written in earlier posts about the Yard-O-Leds – the clip is one of my favourite features on the YOL pens. Refined, but still a little bit raw in the way it is attached to the cap.
The brand name stamped on the clip also has a little bit of a raw feeling that adds to the genuine feel to it.
This YOL Viceroy Victorian is the old style version with a resin gripping section and a duotone nib. The newer version has a sterling silver section as well. I find the newer version a tad more stylish – both the sterling silver gripping section and the monotone nib – but this is also a very handsome pen. The design may be called victorian, but the flat top makes me think of the 1920’s. The pattern is beautifully crafted – it gives the pen a very special feel. I don’t think I have felt the same uniqueness – with regards to craftsmanship – to any modern pen in regular production. One can really feel that someone has worked on this pen by hand.Another thing I like is that YOL doesn’t rhodinize the silver – this silver gets some tarnish if not polished and I like that. If one uses it regularly one keeps the tarnishing at bay – just as with silver jewellery. The design is classical – echoing the 20’s – but it doesn’t feel like a sheer remake of a pen from the 20’s. The clip, the tapered shape of the barrel and the texture of the pattern makes it special and very Yard-O-Leddish. This kind of domed flattop belongs to my favourites and this is extremely well performed. It is also nice to see that they improved the design and perfected it in the newer version. No drastic changes, but appropriate adjustments.
Length capped 13.7 cm
Lenght unposted 12.2 cm
Lenght posted15.5 cm
Weight 26 g
Function, Quality and Writing Experience
It is a very slender pen- especially considering that it is labelled as “standard” size. It is about as thick/thin as an Esterbrook SJ. normally like my pens a little fatter, but it is remarkably nice to write with. A little bit to thin for real long writing sessions, but I have no problems with writing a fairly long letter with it. It is – as stated above – very, very well made. YOL is one of the few pen companies that still offer a life time guarantee and what I have understood they also honour this guarantee. Everything fit together perfectly. The cap snaps on in a secure way. Not too easy nor to hard to snap it on and off. I dare to say that it is so secure when capped that one can have it in a pocket without worries. It also posts very well and secure and is still well balanced when posted. The Viceroy is made of solid sterling silver which gives a nice weight to it. Since it isn’t a big pen it is not a heavy weight pen – only 26 g – but not a light pen either. The only thing that feels a little odd is the black, plastic gripping section – it doesn’t feel cheap, but it had been more stylish, and good for the writing experience, with a matte black section. I am impressed by the overall quality of this pen and – actually – amazed that these pens are made in Britain, hand crafted and still (relatively) affordable compared with similar (less handcrafted) pens from other brands.
Nib & Performance
Interestingly this broad nib differs quite a lot from the broad nib on my Retro (which has YOL’ s new single tone nib). What unites them is that both are very precise being broads. It is neither too wet or too dry – a pleasant, steady average flow without any gushing or hesitations. The nib is smooth and offers some control. It is slightly stubbish, but not as much as the nib on the Retro that is more a stub than a broad (to my liking). It is not an exceptional nib as such, but it is – along with its Retro sibling – the only broad nib I think I will keep exactly as it is – which ought to say something about it. These broads are the first non-slippery broads that I have ever used. It would be lovely if YOL would offer italics or stubs in their regular production, but I must say that their broads are very nicely made.
This is a cartridge/converter filler that accepts international standard cartridges and converters. I like that they haven’t got the bad idea of making proprietary cartridges since it opens up for a lot of choices – both in regards to choice of converter and cartridges. It works well, is easy to clean and fill – really not much to say about it. SInce it is in sterling silver the choices of filling systems are limited, so I don’t grade this. It works fine and I have nothing against cartridges.
I bought this used for a very good price, but even if you pay retail price I think that this is one of the few expensive pens that truly is worth the price – even the MSRP. I’ve said it already, but say it again: hand crafted, sterling silver fountain pen with an 18 k nib and made in England (no outsourcing to cut costs…) for a sum that couldn’t even buy you a non-hand-crafted resin FP from a majority of the other high brow brands.
This is, as stated earlier, not a cheap pen. I also had the luck of buying it for a very good price. But, it is one of the few in its price range that I dare to say gives good bang for the buck. Many of the other “high brow” brands demands a higher price for fountain pens in ordinary resin. Considered that these pens are made in sterling silver and hand crafted in Britain, I think they are reasonably priced. Not cheap, but reasonably priced considering what you get for the money. And a life time warranty that YOL honours. I think both my Yard-O-Led pens will be pens that I’ll keep. They are very beautiful, well made and very nice writers. And – this one fits the loops on my Filofax. The ink in the writing samples is Diamine Amazing Amethyst. Lovely purple.