Nib: Extra Fine
Filling System: Piston / Cartridge (International Standard, I think)
About the Pen
Knox is an interesting brand. They’re only available from one retailer (XFountainPens out of Pittsburgh, PA, USA). They appear to be commissioned from a Chinese manufacturer, but outfitted with German nibs. I heard some great things about the Knox nibs and noticed that the Galileo came with a free bottle of ink. For $15, I figured I’d take a chance on it (okay, the fact that it comes in a nice, shiny orange may have had something to do with it, too). With the exception of one rather large flaw, I absolutely love this pen.
I find the pen to be beautiful, if not a little simple in design. It’s a sleek, clean design that has just enough chrome accents to give it a little sparkle. I have two pens, each with a different finish. The orange pen is glossy and shiny; the black pen has a matte finish. Both finishes are extraordinary, although the glossy one is a bit of a fingerprint magnet.
The cap and barrel are metal, and the pen has a bit of heft to it, although I wouldn’t say it’s heavy. It feels solid; sturdy. The finial and endcap are simple chrome adornments, as are the clip and cap band. The clip reminds me a little of Pelikan in style, but it’s shaped in a wave pattern that adds a little bit of flare to it.
The nib is gold colored, which I think is a strange choice, given the pen’s silvery chrome accents. It would have looked much nicer with a silver-colored nib instead of gold.
Build Quality (5/5)
The Galileo feels like a solid, well built, good quality pen, and it performs very well. Both the glossy and matte finishes are beautiful and feel durable. The snap-on cap secures tightly in place with a loud and satisfying click. Although sometimes the cap doesn’t close. You can push on it pretty hard, but it won’t snap shut. I don’t know if it’s slightly misaligned or if I’m pushing at a minute angle that it doesn’t like. When this happens, I just separate the pen and cap and try again, and it always snaps into place the second time.
The section is very smooth and somewhat slippery. I can’t tell if it’s plastic or metal, but the threads on the section are metal and well machined. The section screws and unscrews from the barrel very smoothly; the metal-on-metal feel of the coupling makes the pen feel nice and solid. The converter is a standard screw-type piston filler that slides in and out of the section. It would be nice if it screwed into the section, but the hold is pretty firm. I have no fear that the converter will dislodge from the section accidentally. And the converter comes with a small plastic or glass ball in it to agitate the ink for better flow into the section & feed.
I had quite a few skips early on, but the pen seems to have settled down quite a bit. I generally don’t have any problems with it writing. I’ve noticed that if I let the pen sit open for more than a few seconds, it may take one or two strokes for the ink to start flowing to the paper, but otherwise, the writing is beautiful and consistent.
The cap is very secure on the pen. I have no worries about it coming off by surprise. And I have had absolutely no issues with the pen leaking or dripping, although I’ve found nib creep to be pretty prominent.
The pen is pretty comfortable to write with for short periods of time, but I’ve found that my hand tends to cramp up when writing with the Galileo for an extended period of time. The section is very slick, and it’s not uncommon for my fingers to slip around a little bit when writing. It hasn’t been a huge problem, but it’s noticeable.
One gripe of mine with the pen is that the cap doesn’t post. I’d very much like to try writing with the cap posted to see if it changes the balance of the pen and alleviates the hand cramping. I’ve heard of other people successfully posting this pen by forcing the cap onto the end of the pen, but I’m afraid if I push too hard, I’ll break the plastic sleeve inside the cap. I’d rather have a pen that doesn’t post than a pen that doesn’t close. And speaking of the cap, because it’s a push-on cap, there is a slight lip where the section meets the barrel. These lips tend to be a little sharp and can cause discomfort if you hold the pen higher up the section. But honestly, I don’t notice the lip at all when writing. I think they did a great job of designing it to not be a nuisance.
The slick section and hand cramps are enough for me to dock the pen a couple points for comfort.
Writing Experience (4/5)
Now that the skipping business is out of the way, I have to say that I’m very impressed with how this pen writes. The nib is fantastic: super smooth and consistent. There is no line variation, but the flow is great. It’s a pretty wet writer. My only problem with the nib is that it’s supposed to be an extra fine, but writes closer to a medium. I have very tiny handwriting and am dying to find extra fine nibs that are actually extra fine (I wish Pilot sold standard #5 and #6 nibs!). The pen writes awesome, but it’s a bit too thick for my taste.
I did try a bit of reverse (upside down) writing. The line is super fine…just beautiful, in fact. But the nib is wicked scratchy in that orientation. It makes me nervous, so I don’t do it.
This pen is an amazing value for $15. When I ordered it, it came with a free bottle of ink. It comes with a converter, but also takes international standard cartridges. One thing I really like about the Galileo is that there are a ton of nib options available. It takes a Knox K26 nib, which comes in EF, F, M, B, OB, and OBB for under $10 each. So for a pretty small price overall, you can get a solid, dependable pen and various sized nibs to swap out. If the EF nib was a true extra fine, the Knox Galileo would rival the Pilot Metropolitan for value and sheer awesomeness.
The Nutshell: Overall Score: 22/25
|Best Qualities||Worst Qualities|
|Solid build||EF nib is not an EF|
|Great nib||Cap does not post|
|Lots of nib grades available||Cap does not always snap into place|
If you’re in the market for a fountain pen and don’t have much cash to shell out, consider picking up a Knox Galileo. When I purchased the pen, it came with a free bottle of ink and they were running a buy-one-get-one-free special. So I ended up getting two Knox Galileos and a bottle of ink for $15. I mean, you really just can’t beat that! I have no idea how often they run those types of promotions or if it’s still going on. But I do know that the quality and performance of this pen exceeded my expectations.
Note: You can get these pens from XFountainPens.com. I generally don’t link to vendors, but XFountainPens seems to be the ones to commission the Knox and Bulow branded pens, so they’re the only site that sells them.