Surprisingly enough, the barrel is made out of wood – but it’s no ordinary wood. Far too important to be made out of something as commonplace as pine or cedar, the 2012 is made out of an ancient wetland oak wood carefully cultivated from Germany’s bogs and marshes. This special oak takes centuries to form, and many of the wood pieces used in this collection have been buried for more than 8,000 years. The recovery of wetland oak wood is a matter of chance, and this makes each and every piece as unique as it is mysterious. (You could almost consider them a portable National Heritage Site .)
Whether it’s The Golden Fleece, the Nibelung Hoard or the Philosopher’s Stone – no matter the medium, there has been no metal that has so wholly captivated and controlled the entire world as gold. Since the dawn of time this precious element has bedecked emperors, sparked wars, and it was for this very material that the entire Western Hemisphere was traversed. (“The gold of Cortez, the jewels of Pizarro…the gold we find here will dwarf them by far…”) Faber-Castell has incorporated this utterly timeless material in the 2012 installment by using a system that made sure nothing could possibly be left to chance. The next step in creating these pens is a process so delicate and precise that only a select few gilders in the entire world are capable of implementing it. Ernst D. Feldmann, a master gilder and church painter, has studied Venetian gilding techniques for years and has been awarded the Bavarian State Design Award. It was this skill and expertise that made Faber-Castell allow him to apply a gold covering to the wood using a 4,000-year-old, Ancient Egyptian technique. Using a fine squirrel-hair brush, multiple layers of 24K gold leaf are carefully painted onto the oak barrel in an intricate design.
The front tip of the pen features an impressive 18K bicolor gold nib that is available in line widths of fine, medium and broad with each one ‘run in’ by hand. The end cap protects the filling mechanism’s twist knob while the top cap is crowned with a chessboard faceted citrine gemstone. Every one of the meal fittings and finishes are 24K gold-plated and shinned to luminescence. (“So go for the gold, we know which is here, all the riches here…” Don’t look at me like that. You know that movie was amazing.) The final finishing is coated with a tough resin that skillfully presents an exceptional display of resplendence and beauty.
The 2012 Pen of the Year is a masterpiece in its own right, and never before have I seen a pen created with such subtle distinction and unmatchable superiority. It is a timeless piece of such pristine perfection that it is only expected that it is packaged with the same care and dedication that it took to make it. Limited to only 1500 pieces, each pen is individually serialized and comes in a striking deep black wooden case. It is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity signed by Ernst D. Feldmann. The Certificate is his personal attest to the uniquely complex process and materials that collaborated to create the precious treasure lovingly enclosed in the aforementioned box.
I could go on for ages about the fascinating mechanisms and historical mystiques embedded in the very nature of these pens, but it would take ages to go over each miniscule wonder that the crafters managed to implement. In the end, all you need to know is that this pen is a magnum opus fit for El Dorado.