The 323 was an early PenBBS model, coming to market in late 2017 - a bit before PenBBS came on my radar.
Was the 323, after the 266, the second pen PenBBS released? Drop some knowledge in the comments. It's hard to find background info on PenBBS!
The shape didn't strike my fancy, so I didn't pay much attention. I'd never been a big fan of the way the TWSBI Vac 700 flares out at the end. PenBBS had more interesting pens.
But it seemed like everybody who tried the pen raved about how comfortable it was as a writer. The positive comments made an impression.
So when @beini_zheng, the social media voice for PenBBS, announced an aluminum version, I paid note. She called it the "hardcore 323."
After my terrific experience with the PenBBS 380, another new aluminum pen, I was excited for the release. I placed an order the first day it popped up on taobao.
The pen is also offered in two other colors.
I especially liked how PenBBS had moved the cap threads to the top of the section like the Asa Nauka. That promised to make the writing experience even better. Hold the pen anywhere!
Capped the PenBBS 323 is a couple of grams lighter than the PenBBS 380. Uncapped, it is about half a gram heavier.
I got the pen with a traditional fine nib. I like PenBBS's new "round" nibs. The round M nibs have performed perfectly out of the box. The round fine in my PenBBS 471, however, need tuning to write well.
The fine nib with the PenBBS 323 also needed work. I opened the gap between the tines with my (now very handy) nib flossing tool and all was right with the world. The nib was already smooth and didn't need any micromesh attention.
So we arrive. For all the aluminum PenBBS 323 has going for it, there's one big flaw. It is disappointingly slippery. All the grip has to come from you. It's work to maintain to a positive hold on the thing. If your hands are dry, good luck.
The extra effort to keep the pen in check is tiring. It also presents a barrier to getting ideas from your brain to paper. You need to pay attention to that thing in your hand. Not fun.
But this isn't my only aluminum pen. Why is the 323 any different? Sadly, it's because it's so smooth. And relatively heavy.
The PenBBS 380 has the same powder coating but it also has the edges of the facets for needed grip. So does the TSWBI Precision. The barrel of the PenBBS 350 is smooth but the pen is lighter.
The other surprise with this pen is that edges around the base of the section are rather sharp! The gain of moving the threads to the end of the section is lost by those two steps. Oops.
It's a shame. I like the size and weight. And I'm starting to come around to the shape. But in the course of thinking about this pen I picked up a bunch of other fountain pens. Many smaller. A few larger. But none hit the same trifecta.
I haven't dropped a pen in a good long while. This is the candidate. I have to be careful.
This pen was just over US$16 plus shipping on taobao.
More often that not, my desk is my pocket. But everyday desk items doesn't have the same ring.