Last week, I took a look at the Tactile Turn Gist fountain pen, an excellent Kickstarter pen that's now available to the general public. The Gist comes with Bock nib material options, steel, titanium, and gold, and I thought that it would be fun to try a titanium nib. This is my first titanium nib, and I chose the fine version. Unlike the shiny stainless steel nibs, the titanium has a darker, tarnished color. This pairs well with certain pens and compliments the distressed look of my Gist's copper grip and finial. Bock nibs are etched with the Bock logo and intricate spiral designs. These are beautiful on their own, but the designs really shine when ink smears on the nib and fills them in.
The Bock titanium nib has significantly more flex than a steel nib, resulting in a moderate amount of line variation with different writing pressure. The fine-nib version still functions well as an everyday writer, even though it can be pushed to offer a significant amount of flex. The flex does cause the nib to burn through ink very quickly, which doesn't pair well with smaller-capacity converter-fill pens, such as the Gist. Expect to fill the converter every few days or so, even with only a moderate amount of use.
The titanium nib glides smoothly across the paper, with minimal resistance. Although the nib is smooth, I occasionally experience skipping and hard starts, after longer writing periods. There were several occasions where I even had to unscrew the barrel to push ink through the converter and prime the nib. The issues were frequent enough to break my writing flow and cause annoyance, which makes it difficult to recommend the nib without reservations. This can be alleviated, somewhat, by choosing an ink that flows easily.
The Bock titanium nib is fun for short bursts of stationary writing. Its flex is enough to leave moderate line variation without gushing ink onto the page. The nib falters during long writing sessions, and the soft titanium material makes it a poor choice for an everyday carry pen that may see unstable environments or even the occasional drop. Although I don't plan to fill my pen arsenal with titanium nibs, I'm glad to have one in rotation. Most don't choose fountain pens because they're incredibly convenient and versatile, and there's something to be said for the titanium nib's unique performance and aged appearance. It's certainly worth a try, even if it isn't destined to travel with you on a daily basis.
So this is all well and good, but how do I buy one? Here are a few links to pens that offer Bock titanium nib options. Most offer separate nib purchases, in case you already own the pen itself. This isn't all inclusive, since many pen manufacturers use Bock nibs.
- Karas Customs Ink Fountain Pen - $140 with titanium nib. Great review by Pen Habit.
- Tactile Turn Gist - Starting at $159 with titanium nib.
- Conid Minimalistica - The large capacity is perfect for satiating a titanium nib's ink hunger. Great review from The Gentleman Stationer. Don't look unless you're prepared to drop $400.
Don't forget to check out my original review of the Tactile Turn Gist.