I guess we may all agree that Diplomat isn’t the most popular fountain pen maker on the market. The company is rarely named when someone asks for fountain pen recommendations. It’s surprising. While some of their pens aren’t particularly exciting designwise, the ones I’ve tried so far (three) were all great writers. Solid, well built, reliable.
I’ve heard about Aero some time ago and enjoyed its design instantly. Sadly at the time the price was too high for me. It doesn’t mean the temptation faded. No, it awaited patiently, coiled, alert. Inevitably and invariably the moment came when it overhelmed reason. It happened four months ago. To be fair good price helped me to make a decision and finally grab the pen.
Ok, what’s interesting about the pen? To my eyes its design is quite unique and eye-catching. Just look at this advert:
The pen is available in three finishes (photos taken from Diplomat online catologue)
I had a hard time to choose the finish – while white does nothing to me, I find both black and brown very appealing. Finally I decided that brown IS the winner.
The pen is made from aluminium and I tend to enjoy metal pens. As seen above the Diplomat advertisements highlight how the Aero design theme came from the German Zeppelin Airships. After using the pen I can agree with this assessment – shaped like a zeppelin Diplomat Aero is appropriately-named. Anodized brown aluminium looks very well.
The pen is shaped like a strange cigar. The ridged body swells toward the center, then tapers back down.Anodized section matches anodized clip and pointed ends. It has nice texture that gives non-slippery feel to it. Section is rather long so most of users will be able to find comfortable grip. The pen is well balanced when uncapped, when capped the balance is off. Unless you post the pen deeply and risk creating some scratches with time, that is.
Is the pen comfortable in the hand? For me – yes. Actually, when uncapped, it’s quite light (32 g).The pen feels well balanced.
The pen feels solidly made and I believe the construction quality is rather high. There are however few issues that may arise with time:
- Inner plastic cap may get loose with time and repeated opening and closing the pen. It’s not most durable closing system. So far it works perfectly well. How will it behave in, say, two years of continuous, everyday use? That’s the question only time will answer.
- Diplomat logo is painted on the metal cap. It looks and feels a little cheap to my eyes. Also it’ll definitely fade. It would be ok in a pen that costs 20 $, this one however is much more expensive and therefore I expect more quality, especially when it comes to details.
- Anodized finish isn’t the most abuse-proof. If you tend to post the pen (I don’t) some scratches will inevitably occur on the pen with time.
- Some users may find small step between barrel and section disturbing.
Diplomat stainless steel nibs are among the very best steel nibs in the business – rigid but smooth and enjoyable. Also the ones I’ve tried so far were all reliable – they wrote perfectly well out of box. It is a #6 nib in the standard profile, it lacks a breather hole and features the Diplomat logo and the text “Diplomat Since 1922.”
In terms of pen-to-paper experience – the nib is smooth but not very wet, I would even say it’s a little on the dry side. Steel I’ve never experienced any kind of ink starvation even during longer writing sessions (it was one of two pens I’ve taken to a ten day course of movement therapy – apart from the movement itself there was quite a lot of things to note. Diplomat Aero passed the exam).
Cartridge or a converter. The supplied converter is branded and well-made. It holds enough ink for a typical day in the office.
Section Diameter: 11.3mm
Barrel Diameter: 15mm
Summary + some thoughts on the pricing
I enjoy this pen but in the same time I think the market price is simply too high. I’ve managed to buy it for 98 euros, a little bit cheaper than MSRP but still not really cheap. For most of us it’s the pen to save up for. The pen is well built and offers interesting design. The nib is enjoyable. The pen feels solid and it can be considered as a good choice for a workhorse pen. On the other hand for Aero’s regular price (120-130 euros) you’ll easily buy used Lamy 2000 or new Pilot CH 92, both well-engineered pens with golden nibs. Still, when it comes to pen choices, most of us don’t make 100 % reasonable decisions. Apart from construction and materials used to produced the pen, we look for aesthetic experience, uniqueness, design. Here Diplomat delivers – Aero is well built and interesting pen that performs well.
It’s not free of shortcomings – I dislike painted logo and font on the barrel. With time they’ll probably fade but it’s hard to say if the process will be fast or slow. I usually have this pen in fabric case and so far it protects painted marks well. The build quality is satisfying. It’s not light pen and I wouldn’t post it – I’m afraid the scratches would appear on this aesthetically pleasing barrel. I enjoy metal sections but it seems I’m in minority – if you dislike them in general chances are you won’t fall in love with this section. On the other hand its matt finish makes it really pleasant to hold.
Do I have another Diplomat in mind? Yes. I find Diplomat Excellence Evergreen CT very tempting due to its color. I’ll slowly start looking for good deals on this one. Just take a look at this stunning color: