I bought the Diplomat Aero from Fountain Pen Hospital (FPH) while at the 2020 Long Island Pen Show. Diplomat pens have been around since 1922 but only popped up in the U.S. a few years ago. While their pens are made in Germany, I found it interesting that the contact address on their corporate website is in France.
The Aero design comes in versions for mechanical pencils, ballpoint pens, and rollerballs in addition to fountain pens. The Diplomat website also lists a gold nib version of the fountain pen. I didn’t stumble across a gold nib for sale at a U.S. retailer, but my search was only cursory.
I liked the Zeppelin inspired design of the Aero right from the start when I first saw it at the Washington D.C. pen show several years ago. But, I’ve avoided buying one until now. I also didn’t keep up with the available colors.
Last time I went to the Long Island show I didn’t buy any pens. This time I hadn’t bought anything when the time to leave approached. I was itching to buy a pen, and the only pen that really called to me was nearly $1K. I wasn’t going to answer that call. So, I decided to buy the Aero. Only three pens were on display at the FPH booth, black, blue, and red. I decided on red. Admittedly, more because I didn’t want to walk away empty-handed, rather than a deep desire for the pen. The pen show price was further reduced by an FPH gift card given at the door, making the price slightly better than the typical online price.
I asked for a red model with an extra-fine nib. Luckily they didn’t have one, but mentioned that they had EF nibs in “orange and black.” I heard that as meaning two pens and asked to see the orange pen. When the orange/black appeared, I knew I’d be getting the pen. It jumped from being a consolation pen to a pen I really did want. So, I walked out with an orange/black Diplomat Aero with an extra-fine steel nib.
I’ve read elsewhere that the nibs are by Jowo, although they are Diplomat branded. They are stamped with the Diplomat logo along with the words “Diplomat Since 1922”. The nib is a solid silver color, which is my preference.
The pen itself is all metal (aluminum), including the gripping section. The pen body is a dark orange. The cap is black, as is the section. The words “Diplomat” and “Made in Germany” are stamped around the base of the cap in silver. It gives the appearance of being a cap band, especially since the bottom of the cap is flat. The tip of the body is crowned with a bit of black. The end of the cap has the Diplomat logo in silver.
I popped in the included blue-black (?) cartridge when I unboxed the fountain pen. The cartridge went dry as I was drafting this article, but it’s still the only ink that I’ve loaded in this pen. It performed well, and I saw no reason to replace it. The box actually included two cartridges, of the same ink, along with a converter. Diplomat does like branding any surface they can, so the converter has the Diplomat logo along with “Diplomat Made in Germany” stenciled on it.
The packaging was a bit elaborate, although not too expensive. The outer cardboard box had the Diplomat name and logo printed on it. (Did I mention that they like their branding?) Opening the box revealed a metal covered sliding box, which also had their branding. The metal was unexpected until I realized that they promote all their pens as being made from metal due to its durability (I do see one lacquer pen in their lineup). Sliding the cover off revealed their brand yet again, in a cardboard flap that covered the pen. Removing that flap finally revealed the pen. The pen rested on the typical pen box removable shelf. The two cartridges and a converter were below the shelf. The pen uses standard international cartridges and converters.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been cooped up for weeks, but I found all that branding comical. Literally, it made me chuckle as I opened the Russian Nesting Dolls to get to my pen, seeing their logo and name each time. But the reality is that the branding is subdued and not flashy. The packaging contributed to making it feel like a quality product and bought in volume, it probably doesn’t add much to the cost of the pen.
After getting to the Diplomat Aero fountain pen, I inked it up with one of the included cartridges. By the time I picked up the packaging and stored it away, the pen was ready to right. The ink made it to the nib without any help from me, and while lying flat on its side. That was an encouraging start.
The Aero is comfortable in my hand, even for long writing sessions. Even though it’s a metal pen, aluminum is relatively light, and I wouldn’t consider the Aero heavy at all. Sure, it is heavier than a resin only pen of the same size. The grip section is also metal, and it’s smooth. I haven’t had any problem with the pen slipping. But, the weather is still cool and dry. It may be a problem when heat and humidity move in.
The nib is a smooth writer that was well-tuned. The ink flow has been perfect, and I haven’t had any problem with skipping or hard starts. I’ve been rotating through my pens, so the Aero would spend 4 to 6 days stored nib up between uses. There weren’t any hard starts. It is a firm nib which I like.
I’m happy with the Diplomat Aero. It’s a great writer, and I love the look. It probably won’t rise to the level of being a core pen, but it will be around for a while, and I expect it to be inked up frequently. I cleaned out the pen and put it in storage for now. I’ve been trying to rotate through my pens and revisit ones that haven’t been used in years. So it will sit out for now, but the Diplomate Aero fountain pen will stay handy and return to the rotation in the not too distant future.