Appearance: The Diplomat Esteem fountain pen is a lovely, full-size fountain pen that will appeal to men and women. The exterior of my pen is a brushed chrome with a shiny chrome decorative clip, but it comes in many different colors and finishes. The Diplomat logo is also located at the top of the pen. The section of the pen is black and you can see the black line when the pen is capped, making a nice break in the body of the pen.
Nib: The nib is stainless steel, etched with the Diplomat logo and the words “DIPLOMAT Since 1922 F.” The F is for my nib choice of Fine, and I imagine the letter will change depending on which nib size you select. The nib is connected to the section, so if for any reason you change nibs, you change the whole section piece with the nib, not just the nib itself. There is usually no nib creep, although, if there is, it is only a few tiny dots of ink.
Opening and Closing: This pen has a pull-off cap that removes easily. When capping the pen, the cap seals with a satisfying click and stays on securely.
Size/Weight: This pen is a good width, neither too skinny nor thick. It is comfortable for me to wrap my fingers around when writing, but someone with very large hands might find it small.
I find the pen to be well balanced and I prefer to write with it unposted because the pen’s body is made of metal instead of celluloid and it is slightly to heavy for me. It is lighter if I do not post the cap. I like extremely light pens because my hand and arm fatigue easily due to my tendonitis. However, the Esteem is not a heavy pen, yet it feels substantial in the hand.
Posting the cap on the Esteem requires a bit of pressure; yielding a slight click and a snug seal. If the cap is not pressed down enough to post properly, it will flop around and fall off, so I advise making sure it seals.
Writing: Writing with the Esteem is smooth and easy. I have actually written with it for significant periods of time, although this varies for me due to my tendonitis. For someone without any hand or wrist problems, this pen should prove useful for short or long writing sessions and could also be a daily workhorse.
Ink: The Esteem is a cartridge/converter pen. Like the previously reviewed Monteverde Mini Jewelria, the Esteem takes mini-cartridges. I have been using it with one of these cartridges and it works well, however, I prefer my bottled ink. I have a converter for it, but have not tried it in the Esteem yet as I do not want to waste the cartridge. I have also been using another Diplomat pen (review to come) with a converter and the flow is excellent. I expect the Esteem will be the same with the converter.
Other Considerations: I’m sure any regular fountain pen user expects a pen to dry out after sitting for a few days, which then requires a quick run under water from the faucet to get the ink flowing again. I had not used the Esteem for at least a week while I was trying a few other pens, and I was pleasantly surprised when I went to use the Esteem and it wrote immediately after sitting for all that time. Very refreshing!
My next point is to illustrate Diplomat’s wonderful customer service and professionalism. When I first got the Esteem, it had a slight nib issue. I alerted Hillary at Diplomat of the problem. First, she immediately knew it was a nib problem, as I was not sure of the problem’s cause. I liked this because it showed she had knowledge about the Diplomat products and how they work. One might think this would be obvious, but sadly, this is often not the case at many companies. Next, she immediately sent me out a new nib, and the problem was solved. I sent the old nib back to her and she alerted the factory to the problem. Not only did she know the cause of the problem, but she fixed the problem quickly AND alerted the factory to make sure the problem does not happen again.
I hesitated to share this information because I do not want it to appear that Diplomat pens commonly have problems – they do not. Furthermore, this was a problem that could happen with ANY pen. Again, it was merely to illustrate the great business of the company, with which I was highly impressed.
The Box: The Esteem comes in a simple and modern brushed chrome, hinged box. The shape and manner of opening the box are similar to an eyeglass case. The top of the case is printed with “DIPLOMAT Since 1922” and the Diplomat logo that reminds me of a flower. The inside of the box is lined with a soft, felt-type material with a groove cut specifically for the pen.
Overall: Diplomat’s website at www.mydiplomatpen.com, accurately states their products are “Fine German Writing Instruments.” While the Esteem’s price varies depending on the color, finish, and type of pen (fountain pen, rollerball or ball pen), the Esteem is not very expensive and a nice choice for a daily writer that writes well and looks great. Diplomat also offers various other collections, all of which are affordable, stylish, streamlined and classy.