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This was an impulse buy. I’ve mentioned the web forum FP Geeks before and this pen was featured in a listing by Lexaf for $12 plus very reasonable shipping from The Netherlands. I discovered after a messy start that it’s actually a very good writer.

20150531_201708-001Lexaf was able to buy stock from a family who was closing their pen business and bought a large lot of these Elite 1745s. Apparently these pens are identical to the “very popular and well known” Reform 1745s. They are made by the same company: Reform of Germany. I had never heard of either pen until now.

The pens were made for the Swiss market between 1970 and 1980. The lots that Lexaf purchased are mint condition; original box and never inked. The actual original price is still on it, on a gold sticker that says 75 Francs. I couldn’t determine how much 75 Swiss Francs cost in 1975 but according to moneyconverter.com, 75 Swiss Francs equals almost $80 USD today. Quite surprising considering the low price I paid but such is my limited internet research. Feel free to correct me!

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Here is the pen out of the box with the price sticker clearly visible.

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I was quite taken with the styling of the pen. I’m a sucker for blue and green. Add the gold against the green and I had to have it. Oh and the price didn’t hurt either!

So I went to ink it up today and write this review. I’m embarrassed to admit I couldn’t get into the pen for quite a few minutes. I eventually had to look up the original ad to jog my memory as to it being a piston filler. The seam where the knob meets the body is very good; I could barely feel the line where the knob turned.

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So I filled the pen with Waterman Serenity Blue and it wrote straight away. But on either side of the nib were these large bubbles of ink. I had to continually dab a tissue with the ink or it would have made a big mess on my page.

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I couldn’t understand why until I started reading the info Lexaf had included with his ad. How stupid I felt when I realized this pen could very well have been sitting in its little box since 1970, never seeing the inside of an ink bottle. There’s bound to be some dust or grit in the feed! So I emptied the 1745, washed it out thoroughly with water and re-inked it with Serenity Blue. Perfect; no ink bubbles.

I’m usually so excited about a new pen that I don’t flush it out with water before the first fill. I know I should but I’m just too impatient. However in this case it was definitely needed. A good lesson learned.

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Here’s a writing sample. I wrote the top bit before the pen was flushed and re-inked. It has an “FB” nib which really means semi flex. I’m not into flex that much so with no pressure it’s a great fine nib. It’s really fun to write with and very comfortable in the hand. The piston is a little stiff but that’s to be expected from a pen that hasn’t been touched since it was made potentially 45 years ago!

Thanks Lexaf for a great pen and for furthering my education about vintage piston fillers, the benefits of water flushing and patience. 🙂