J. Herbin Tempête Review

J. Herbin Tempête Review


Brand: J. Herbin
Model: Tempetê, the French word for tempest
Body Material: Plastic
Color: Red cap with a clear body; also available with black, blue, orange, and clear caps
Trim: Silver
Length (capped): 15.4 cm
Length (uncapped nib-end): 13.5 cm
Length (posted): 17.2 cm
Nib Sizes: Medium only
Nib material: Steel
Overall Weight: 23g
Cap Weight: 9g
Body Weight: 14g
Barrel design: Tapered cylinder
Filling type: Eyedropper
Clip: Not spring-loaded; too short and stiff to hold well
Ink Capacity: 2.2 mL
MSRP: 100 
Actual Price: 100 
Price I paid: 100 
Where to buy: Bureau Direct and Overjoyed are the only online retailers that sell this pen. It isn't sold in the U.S., so Americans will have to buy online.*
*Not affiliated with any of these websites


J. Herbin Tempête Review

The J. Herbin Tempête arrives in a black box with the J. Herbin logo embossed on the top. Inside, there's a slot to hold the pen and another to hold the included eyedropper. It's not the most glamorous packaging, but it at least protects the pen during transport.

 J. Herbin Tempête Review


J. Herbin Tempête Review

The Tempête's appearance is simple but tasteful. One end tapers to a sharp point, akin to a Sheaffer Balance; and the cap's finial is also that way but much more sudden. I like this more modern design and love the way it appears with a clear barrel.

J. Herbin Tempête ReviewThe barrel looks nice, but the most stunning part of this pen is by far the nib. Decorated with a ship and the words "Depuis 1670" (founded in 1670), it's one of the more elegant in my accumulation. If the nib weren't so well adorned, I most likely wouldn't have purchased the pen. After all, it's an expensive eyedropper with a steel nib.

One issue with the pen is how easily it scratches. Shortly after purchase, the clear barrel began to collect scratches only from writing and sitting in a shirt pocket. It isn't a major issue, but it may be enough to dissuade some from purchasing or liking the Tempête.

Another issue is that the clip is almost too stiff to attach to clothing. When sliding it into a pocket, the clip feels as though it will snap. The feeling is disconcerting but fortunately isn't reality.

J. Herbin Tempête Review

Size and Weight

With a total weight of 23 grams and a capped length of 15.4 centimeters, this pen is a mammoth but as light as a feather. Compared to other fountain pens, its always the longest whether posted, unposted, or capped. Because I prefer longer pens, this one is a great size for my hands. However, I don't post the Tempête because it grows to a comical length. All other pens, including oversize models, appear short compared to it posted.

From the left to the right, the pens are a Faber Castell Ondoro, a Pelikan M200, a Montblanc 146, the J. Herbin Tempête reviewed here, a Sailor 1911S, a Lamy Safari, and a Pilot G-2.

J. Herbin Tempête Size Comparison
J. Herbin Tempête Size Comparison
J. Herbin Tempête Size Comparison

Filling System

J. Herbin Tempête Review

Unlike many modern pens, an eyedropper filling system is used here. To fill one, you first suck ink into an eyedropper and then deposit that ink directly into the pen's barrel. It's one of the simplest and oldest filling systems, and it feels out-of-place on a 100 euro pen. Even a converter is more complex and costly to produce than this filling mechanism. It seems that J. Herbin did this to cut costs and not because ink capacity was their main focus.

J. Herbin Tempête Review
The most ink the included eyedropper can hold at once
Thoughtfully included with the pen is a J. Herbin branded eyedropper. Disappointingly, it can't hold much of the pen's 2.2 mL capacity at once, so filling takes several trips from the bottle to the pen. Because of this inconvenience, I prefer using a syringe to fill in just one motion.

Lessening the pain of those two shortcomings, the pen holds a generous 2.2 mL of ink. For perspective, most piston fillers reputed to have high capacities only hold 1.1 mL, only half of the Tempête's capacity. I have to refill most pens every other day, but this one can go almost two weeks on one fill. For constant note-takers like myself, this is a great advantage.

One of my main concerns was whether it would leak or not. I had heard horror stories of bleeding eyedroppers online, so of course I was nervous the first time I took the pen out of the house. Luckily, the O-ring incorporated into the section prevented all mishaps, and my pocket remained dry. 

J. Herbin Tempête Review

The Writing Experience

J. Herbin Tempête Review

Although a large ink capacity is a huge plus, it means nothing if the pen doesn't write well- who would want to write pages with a pen that has intermittent flow and hard starts? Thankfully, this isn't at all an issue with the Tempête. Writing is a joy as the nib never ceases to flow smoothly and evenly. After the long photography session, it still started almost immediately.

The nib is also a very wet writer, meaning that it lays down a copious amount of ink. My preference is for wet writing pens because they tend to show the true colors of inks. Considering J. Herbin's often unsaturated inks, it's a logical decision.

There is some flexibility to the nib, but it requires a substantial amount of pressure. The risk of almost springing it isn't worth the small amount of line variation.

Writing Sample

Paper: Rhodia
Ink: Pelikan Edelstein Turmaline

J. Herbin Tempête Writing Sample


  • Wet, very smooth nib
  • Gargantuan Ink Capacity (2.2 mL)
  • Beautiful nib design


  • Expensive
  • Unwieldy when posted
  • Scratches easily

Closing Thoughts

I enjoy owning this pen, but with so many superior ones in the same price range, I don't recommend it unless you need a pen with a large ink capacity or want to try something different from the competition. Instead, I would recommend looking into the Lamy 2000, Sailor 1911 Standard, Pilot Vanishing Point, or the modern Wahl-Eversharp Skyline.


J. Herbin Tempête Review
J. Herbin Tempête Review



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. It appears strikingly similar to the Recifé Crystal eyedropper pen, and it's Indian made knock-off, the Airmail Wality 69TL, and 71TL.

  3. The pen is damn good and the packaging is beautiful but I find it tad expensive