Senator President - Steel Nib
Length Capped: 146mm
Length Posted: 175mm
Length Uncapped: 136mm
Section at Thinnest Point: 11mm
Section at Widest Point: 12mm
Weight w/Ink & Cap: 25.4g
Weight w/Ink & No Cap: 15.9g
Fast Writing: Keeps up fairly well; few skips.
Line Variation: Decent.
Upside Down Writing: Barely readable, dries up quickly.
Wetness: With pressure, very wet.
Pros: Inexpensive alternative to MB149, looks professional, ink capacity, ebonite feed
Cons: Lightweight, "cheap" feel, nib performance/flow issues
First off, special thanks to Clay P. for sending this pen to me to review. The Senator President is an interesting pen and I was very excited to try it out. The pen is sadly no longer made, but they make their rounds on eBay and FPN from time to time, so if you are interested you should be able to get ahold of one fairly easily.
The Senator President is a German-made fountain pen that by no coincidence very closely resembles the Montblanc 149. It's definitely the largest pen I've used, but the first thing that you'll notice when you pick it up for the first time is how light it is. At a mere 25.4g filled, it's lack of heft definitely doesn't match its appearance. The pen was made available in both a steel nib option and a 18k gold nib option. The pen I'm using is the steel version, and the nib is rather large - I would guess it is probably a #9 or so.
The pen writes fairly well, but I had quite a lot of issues with skipping. The nib is of the "Iridium Point Germany" variety, which in my experience tend to be less than stellar. I wouldn't say it's horrible, but it definitely has its share of skips and hard starts. You can squeeze a bit of line variation out of it if you try, but be careful not to spring the nib. One think I've noticed with this pen is it does take a bit of pressure to get consistent writing and flow from it. If you are light handed, you would have a lot more issues with skipping. I've seen great reviews of the gold nib version of the pen, so if you're wanting one of these, I'd recommend trying to find a gold version.
The trim on the pen is a thin metal - likely aluminum or stainless steel - and is plated to have a gold appearance. The pen does pick up micro-scratches over time, both on the body and on the trim, so something to keep in mind. The back of the pen unscrews to reveal the piston knob, and the pen has vertical stripes for ink windows just above the section. The section itself has a nice taper and flare to it, though because the pen is fairly fat, it took some getting used to for the wider grip. Once you're acclimated to it, it feels great.
All in all, the Senator President isn't a bad pen, but it's just not for me. I'm not a huge fan of black with gold trim, though I know a lot of folks are. If you do want to pick one of these up online or at a pen show, I highly recommend that you go for the gold nib and not the steel. The cheap iridium point Germany nib really ruined this pen for me. As far as pricing - based on what I've found on FPN, at the time when these pens were still available they sold for around $113 for the steel nib and $290 for the 18K gold nib. I cannot imagine paying $113 for the steel nib version - the body of the pen feels a bit cheap and for the nib performance, I'd much rather buy a couple of TWSBIs for that price. The gold nib is likely a lot better and may be worth it for the look and feel of a Montblanc at a fraction of the cost.
Thanks again to Clay for sending this to me for review, and thanks for reading!