Review: Schon DSGN Ultem Fountain Pen

Our first Pensplainer product review comes from Lisa Millraney. Lisa is a speech pathologist by training and a writer by inclination. Besides pens, she is fond of crafting, travel, reading and gardening. She lives in Tennessee in an ivy-encrusted cottage. Her favorite pen varies with her mood: sometimes it’s a Sailor 1911, sometimes it’s a Jinhao Shark. You can find Lisa’s blog at; you can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Ian Schon of Schon DSGN kindly loaned me one of his brand new Ultem fountain pens to take for a test drive. This is my first review for Pensplaining, and to say I am excited is putting it mildly! (waves to readers)


Ultem fountain pen, Schon DSGN, Schon DSGN Ultem fountain pen
Unboxing the Schon DSGN Ultem fountain pen


Unboxing was like opening a wee treasure chest. Unexpected little surprises spilled out, including a Write Notepads notebook with the Schon DSGN logo and some stickers and info cards. (May I say the art of Pocky, the Schon mascot, posing with Gritty, the Philadelphia Flyers mascot, is just glorious, and needs to be a sticker if the Flyers will allow it.) The Ultem comes in its own little plastic storage box with cutout foam to cradle and protect it.


First Impressions

The frosted resin has a terrific feel in my hand. It’s not textured, exactly, but it does feel different and nicer to me than the usual slick surface of most pens. Amber is the first and, at the moment, only color the Ultem comes in, but I bet in the future the selection will expand. (Yes, barrel color matters to me. I’m a sucker for a pretty pen, though not so much that I let that override my common sense. No matter how pretty it is, if a pen doesn’t perform pleasingly, I walk away.) The cap posts securely. I’m always a bit paranoid about a posted cap falling off, and that’s one thing I adore about my Pocket 6: the cap screws on and isn’t going anywhere.


Schon DSGN Ultem fountain pen, Schon DSGN, Ultem fountain pen


The Ultem fountain pen comes with a converter, which is fortunate for me. I know part of the idea behind the Ultem concept, with the O-rings and all, is to be able to eyedropper it and have a considerable quantity of ink ready to roll. After a traumatic experience with a leaky eyedropper pen, I can’t force myself to give that particular technique another spin just yet.


Ultem vs. Pocket 6

I love my Pocket 6. It’s so tiny and easy to slip into any small space to carry, and then posts to normal-ish size. That’s double-edged, of course, because it only takes cartridges, and sometimes I find I have to play with a fountain pen a bit to get the ink flowing. Squeeze the cartridge, floss the nib, cap the pen and set it someplace upside down for a few minutes, whatever. My Pocket 6 already had a Monteverde Napa Burgundy cartridge in it, so for maximum contrast, I inked the Ultem with one of my favorite old reliable inks, Waterman Mysterious Blue. Happily, as previously noted, the Ultem does have a converter, so the only ‘issue’ is the universal sign of a fountain pen enthusiast: inky fingers!



That said, on to the actual mechanics of comparison. Size-wise, the Ultem is bigger than the Pocket 6 when both are closed. Posted, the Pocket 6 is a tad longer than the opened but unposted Ultem. When both are posted, the Ultem retakes the lead. My hand is probably about average for a female, and both pens seem to sit well in my grasp. I really like the way the grip section on the Ultem dips in just a hair; my index finger drops right into that little groove and makes writing at length feel very comfortable. It’s incredibly lightweight for a full-sized pen, feeling no heavier than the Pocket 6 to me.


Schon DSGN Pocket 6 fountain pen (top) compared with the Schon DSGN Ultem fountain pen (bottom)


The nibs on the Schon DSGN Pocket 6 (top) and Schon DSGN Ultem (bottom)


The Writing Experience

As for how the Ultem writes: This nib is listed on the website as a Jowo #6, and marked M for medium. (My Pocket 6 has a Bock, and though I don’t see a size indication, it writes a little finer than the Jowo M on the Ultem.) The Ultem is a very smooth writer; the ink flows well, but it isn’t a firehose. The nib feels firm on the paper, though not scratchy. It’s really well tuned, too. I didn’t have to turn the pen this way and that, or fiddle with it to hit a sweet spot for optimal performance.


Writing sample with the Schon DSGN Ultem fountain pen. Ink: Waterman Mysterious Blue


On the whole, I really like the SchonDSGN Ultem pen. Highly recommended!


(Schon DSGN provided this product at no charge to Pensplaining for review purposes.)

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31 thoughts on “Review: Schon DSGN Ultem Fountain Pen”

  • What do I love about fountain pens? There is so much, the various styles, materials, writing experience, I could keep going. Above all, the best thing about fountain pens has to be the people and the community surrounding them. I have made many wonderful friends over the past 10 years and so many great memories.

  • What do I love about fountain pens? They are the tools that allow me to feel like an artist and creator – something I have dreamed of since I was a kid (and I have few dreams so this is memorable).
    Great review and voice! Thank you for the fun giveaway!! I’m hoping to get one of the #8 sections at some point so this would be a perfect treat 🙂

  • I love how fountain pens write, with very little pressure. I love how many ink and nib possibilities there are and how my writing looks when using a fountain pen!

  • What do I love about fountain pens? It comes down to something about the overall writing experience — there’s something that I just can’t quite name, when all the little and not-so-little things of a good pen and ink combo come together into a delightful whole experience.

  • I’ve red about Ultem pens, but that’s all; and I have been wanting to put my hands on a Schon DSGN pen for a while now, but 2020 put a major dent in my pen budget. Now Schon DSGN has an Ultem? Yes, please!

  • I love the concept of this pen, and the design looks great too. An almost impervious material should make a very durable pen.

  • What do I love about fountain pens? Fountain pens offer so much variety and enjoyment for writing. I got into fountain pens to help reduce hand strain in grad school note taking. But it turned into me journaling more, exploring inks, and just discovering more of myself and expressing myself at a time I really needed it. Now I continue because I have grown to love all the “tinkering” and ins and outs of having a niche hobby, which also supports my mental health long term.

  • One thing I love about fountain pens is that there are great pens available at every price point so everyone can enjoy them; as well as the craft involved in making them.

  • I love the experience of writing with a fountain pen. Because it slows me down (especially versus typing) my writings (whether personal or professional) are more thoughtful because I am forced to think through my words.

  • So what do I love about fountain pens? Whenever I use a fountain pen to write I feel as though I am contributing to a generations old tradition. It gives a feeling of substance and worth to my writing that digital key tapping cannot deliver. I am more in touch with the process and the mechanics. Plus I love fiddling about, messing with inks and filling systems. Changing the colour of the font on Word just isn’t the same.

  • I love the countercultural analogue nature of fountain pens – the fact that they force you to take things a bit slower, to not look at a screen.

  • The comparison between Ian!/ two fountain pens is a great idea. Thanks for this approach.

  • What do I love about fountain pens? In no particular order: the pen community, the inks, the different materials and nib choices. I think the community may be the best part. Ian has hit a home run with this pen and I really enjoyed reading the review.

  • Beautiful pen!

    I think the thing I love about fountain pens is the versatility- I can own every color/type of ink, and only need one pen. I haven’t managed to restrain myself to just one, but I could! Really! I can pick a pen based on my needs at the time, varying weight, size, color of pen, etc, however I need to. And there are pens available in all price ranges, so they’re accessible to anyone who might want to try them.

  • I love how fountain pens as a hobby exist at the intersection of function, collecting, tinkering, and object d’art!

  • I love creativity of expression fountain pens give in both material and writing. And Orange is always a good thing!

  • Wow that material looks fabulous! I love the creative new ways pen makers find to use materials to make writing instruments. Always inspiring to see something neat.

  • I love the style and creativity that a fountain pen gives me. It seems to be a kind of art.

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