sleeping beauty

Karas Kustoms Decograph 1801 Sleeping Beauty Limited Edition Review.

Karas Kustoms contacted me some time ago to ask if I would like to use their latest signature limited edition fountain pen, the Decograph. I have been using this pen for some time, all the opinions and thoughts shared in this review aren’t influenced by Karas Kustoms in any way.

I have been using the 1801 ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Decograph for some time, months in fact. The Decograph is not my first experience with Karas Kustoms pens, I own a Retrakt and an Ink fountain pen both of which I enjoy but in very different ways to the Decograph.

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The name.

This limited edition is the 1805 Sleeping Beauty. Its name is taken from the blue colour of the pen which is inspired by turquoise mines found in Arizona, where Karas Kustoms is located.

The packaging.

I don't really often mention packaging on the blog, because really who cares. But the Decograph deserves some attention here. This is one of the nods to Karas Kustoms specialities, working with aluminium. The Decograph is packaged in an aluminium tube with the Karas Kustoms logo stamped on the front.

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As this is an aluminium tube its heavy. This tube provides serious protection to the fountain pen, perfect for shipping but also for storing your pen when you’re not using it.

I was genuinely wowed when I opened the box, I wasn't expecting anything like this, and it’s very different to how the Ink and Retrakt came to me. I presume this is all part of the signature line.

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The Decograph design.

The Decograph is a move away from the traditional Karas Kustoms materials. It’s made from a thermoplastic or acrylic-like material which they have combined with their distinctive aluminium finishes. The blue acrylic has a black swirling pattern moving through the pen body that is similar to other acrylic pens.

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I really like the blue used in this edition because its bright and vibrant. I expected it to be semi-transparent but in fact it’s not, it’s a solid blue. I like this because you aren’t distracted by the inner workings of the pen and seeing the convertor which is pretty boring, instead you concentrate on the beautiful colour and design.

The defining features of the Decograph come from the aluminium flourishes. The sturdy pen clip and the aluminium cap top and bottom.

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There’s a subtle Karas Kustoms logo nestled on the underside of the pen. The aluminium is almost a brushed finish which looks nice in the overall design. The contrast of the plastic and aluminium helps to add some weight to the pen but also finishes everything off really well making it look and feel like a premium pen.

Each limited edition pen comes with the model number and pen number etched into the side of the pen. Each limited edition has a limited number of available units and you can track your unit number on the pen itself.

Model number and pen number subtly hidden in the pen barrel. 

Model number and pen number subtly hidden in the pen barrel. 

The nib and using the Decograph.

Karas Kustoms Decograph uses a #6 Bock nib. I am not sure what nib I have here, I am presuming a fine but it writes beautifully. The nib is smooth and the ink flows well. The #6 Bock nib is the right size and fits proportionally with the Decograph, anything smaller would have looked odd.

The Bock nib

The Bock nib

I have used the convertor provided with the pen using my Pilot Iroshizuku Syo-Ro, one of my favourite inks that matches so well with this pen.

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I have used this pen a lot over the last few months because I enjoy it so much. It’s really nice to write with and the light weight makes it a really comfortable to use for long periods of time.

Overall thoughts.

I have used my Decograph almost every day which shows how much I have enjoyed this pen. I’ve tried to think about how to summarise the Decograph and do the pen some justice. When you look at this pen it’s clear its made by Karas Kustoms. The simple, classic shape plus the high end aluminium finishing touches all scream Karas Kustoms.

Size comparison against the Lamy AL Star

Size comparison against the Lamy AL Star

For me the Decograph puts Karas Kustoms in a place where I feel like I can really use their pens. Their past alumiunium pens, while they are solid and great to use, are too clunky for long term use. By expanding out and using a different material and pairing it with aluminium is a great idea and potentially opens Karas Kustoms up to a whole new market. The Decograph has become my favourite Karas Kustoms pen and one that I will use over and over again.

I’d like to thank Karas Kustoms for sending me the Sleeping Beauty fountain pen to review here on the blog.