[ search ]

Krone button-fill pens

Krone Vintage Select Hyperbole pens, c 2001

Krone is a relative newcomer to the pen biz, but what they may lack in heritage they've more than made up in notoriety. Their very first product was a limited edition pen to comemorate the great Abraham Lincoln, but unlike other makers (who'd probably just have made a pen that looked like a piece of rail fence), Krone "decorated" this pen with a tiny bit of genetic material replicated from the Great Railsplitter's genuine earthly remains, which had been exhumed during the 1990s for medical-historical research (can't you just see the chairman of the GOP down at the cloning lab with a Krone on the table and a hammer in his hand?).

Krone button filler (model unknown), c 2002

Subsequently, they have not again reached this level of creepiness, although they have tried (one of the latest efforts being a Marilyn Monroe model with traces of the late sex kitten's own lipstick). Krone's limited editions have provoked all sorts of reactions, from chuckles to indignation (the latter mainly among women who find a certain patronizing or objecifying tone to the company's products and promotion). Of course, I'm sure the folks at Krone take all this in stride, it being part of the Krone Grand Branding Plan. On its website, which is liberally decorated with pouty young thin women in various states of undress, the company explains that "Because of Krone, pen collecting is not exclusively for pen collectors anymore." Hmm... I think Krone is saying something catty about pen collectors there, but I can't be sure.

Anyhow, lost in the uproar occasioned by its bizarre flagship products are a number of interesting "unlimited edition" pens from Krone such as those pictured here. Two of these are from the series known as "Krone Vintage Select Hyperbole" (I won't go into Krone's explanation of this mouthful of a name), and all three happen to be authentic button fillers, sac pens that work on the same principle as the venerable Parker Big Red Duofold. What caught my eye about the two pens above was the nearly transparent plastic used in the barrels and caps, augmented by wisps of strong color. They also have an unusual profile, both thicker and shorter than average—this gives you something to hold onto while writing, but doesn't require an extra-long pocket or case to carry it around.

I can't be sure (since Krone publicity doesn't go into the firm's origins, history, or base of production), but I suspect these pens are made by Marlen, another newcomer to the field. Whoever made them, they're actually quite well made. The points are smallish, but are authentic 18k gold with two-tone masking and very well-excuted engraving. Krone nomenclature is laser etched into the barrel, and the blind cap gets a laser-etched Krone logo on its end. I've had one of these pens completely apart, and found that the sac was of a necked design (promising greater capacity), although it seemed somewhat thin-walled (other Krone regular-series pens feature cartridge/converter fill). The band and clip are of silver, with a slight antiqued effect in the engraved lines and patterns. These little pens get lost in a big black velvet-lined gift box big enough for a small pizza, and are furnished with a bottle of Krone brand black ink.

The Verdict

For whatever reason (could it be their annoying publicity? Naah...), Krone's regular series pens often end up getting sharply discounted. If such an opportunity presents itself to you (as it did to me on two occasions), you might consider taking advantage of it if you find their unusual size, shape, and style to be appealing. These are nicely-writing pens of impeccable build quality, and you can always tell people that it has DNA all over it -- your own.

I will quibble about the sacs used in these pens; the walls seem entirely too thin for them to survive long, and indeed I've already replaced one (which gave me a chance to see how well put-together the Krone button-fill mechanism is).

Maker Krone
Origin Italy
Production 2000c - present
Type Button (sac) filler
Point 18k with silvery mask.
Construction Transparent acrylic barrel, cap, and blind cap with swirled color accents; silver cap band and clip.