Pen Review: Waterman Carère Ombres et Lumières

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Waterman is a well known fountain pen brand, and has a long history of pen manufacturing. Waterman offers a wide range of fountain pens, but most of them don’t look appealing to me. However, there is one pen model that is very interesting. The pen to be reviewed is one example from the line. It is the Waterman Carère Ombres et Lumières.

Basic Information:

Fountain Pen: Waterman Carère Ombres et Lumières
Nib: 18K gold fine nib
Filling System: International cartridge/Waterman proprietary converter
Production: Special edition

1. Packaging (9/10):

IMG Waterman Carère Ombres et Lumières - 1
The Waterman Carère comes with a sturdy cardboard box. The dark blue pen box has a light blue ribbon decorated on the top. It looks very simple and elegant. The pen is securely placed inside the box, and the Waterman converter is provided with the pen. Considering the size of the pen, the box can be smaller, but it’s not wasting too much space anyway.

2. Pen Design (8/10):
The Waterman Carère has a great design, and this special edition finish makes it even more attractive. The pen has a very streamline shape. The clip of the pen also has a matching style, narrow and simple.

IMG Waterman Carère Ombres et Lumières - 2
The cap of the pen is in black, but the finish on the barrel gets a lot more interesting. From the side at the grip section to the end of the pen, the pen shifts from entirely black, to the black dots sprinkled onto the white background, and eventually to just white, finished by a decorative end piece. The change of the patterns and the colours is implemented nicely here.
One outstanding feature of the pen is the 18K gold inlaid nib. Unlike many common modern fountain pens, the nib is not inserted into the grip section. Instead, it’s right on the top of the grip section, and it’s essentially integrated to the section as one unit. The tapered shape of the nib matches well with the rest of the pen, and the silver coloured plating ensures that the pen remains its cool colour scheme. The grip section is in overall a tapered shape as well, which may look slippery to hold onto. But the material used here ensures that this is not the case.
Much of the pen has a metal construction with lacquer coating. That gives the pen a decent weight. The Waterman Carène is not an oversized pen, but still has a good length, so that the barrel sits comfortably in the hand.
While the design of the pen is well done, I found one issue with the pen. The nib should align with the decorative barrel end piece. However it’s disappointing to see that it was not this way out of the box.

3. Filling System (2/10):
The Waterman Carène can accept international cartridges, but it only takes the proprietary Waterman converter. And this is the problem.
To begin with, the Waterman converter doesn’t even work well with the pen. With my limited use of the pen, multiple converters had been damaged. The opening of the converters cracked, causing ink leakage. There seems to be some design or quality improvements that can be greatly appreciated.
In addition, the Waterman converter is not very easy to use. The converter piston doesn’t operate very smoothly, and ink occasionally gets trapped behind the piston seal. This filling system doesn’t offer much convenience, and has a pretty low quality. The execution here is just poor.

4. Nib Performance (9/10):

IMG Waterman Carère Ombres et Lumières - 3
This Waterman Carène Ombres et Lumières has an excellent nib. The nib writes without any issue out of the box, and the ink flow is consistent with different inks. The fine nib writes a true fine line, and offers almost no line variation. It’s extremely rigid, considering that it’s an 18K gold nib. Overall, this nib provides a very reliable and enjoyable writing experience.

5. Pen Cleaning and Maintenance (9/10):
Despite that the poor quality of the converter, the cartridge/converter filling system makes the pen easy to clean. Perhaps due to the design, the grip section seems to have the tendency holding quite some ink, which makes cleaning the ink longer than usual, but the process remains simple and straightforward.
The lacquered finish on the pen seems to be strong. There’s barely any visible wear and tear on the barrel. However a pen case or a pen pouch to protect the pen is always recommended.

Summary:

Packaging: 9/10
Pen Design: 8/10
Filling System: 2/10
Nib Performance: 9/10
Pen Cleaning and Maintenance: 9/10

Total: 37/50

The Waterman Carène Ombres et Lumières is a great pen model with beautiful designs. It has a top quality nib in its price range, but the poor converter design and quality make me use the pen less frequently than I wish to. This may not be a common issue on all Waterman Carène fountain pens, but still something to be noted. Nevertheless, the Waterman Carène Ombres et Lumières provides an interesting option to the market, and it is certainly worth considertation.

 

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Pen Review: Pelikan Classic M215 Black-Silver Rings

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For more details, please visit the following related pen reviews:

 

Most of the models in the Pelikan Classic line are very lightweight. The pens are not very long, making them balanced in weight whether the cap is posted or not. Personally, I prefer to use pens that are heavier. And I found that there’s an interesting offering within Pelikan’s Classic line. It is the Pelikan Classic M215 Black-Silver Rings.

IMG Pelikan Classic M215 Black-Silver Rings

Basic Information:

Fountain Pen: Pelikan Classic M215 Black-Silver Rings
Nib: Stainless steel fine nib
Filling System: Piston
Production: Regular edition

1. Packaging (9/10):
The Pelikan Classic M215 Black-Silver Rings is presented in the standard packaging for the Pelikan Classic pens.
(Please refer to the previous reviews for more details)

2. Pen Design (9/10):
The look and shape of the Pelikan Classic M215 Black-Silver Rings are following the same design as any other Pelikan Classic pen models. For this pen, the real differences are the weight and construction. According to Pelikan, the M215 Black-Silver Rings has a metal construction for its barrel core. The weight of the pen increases significantly. I appreciate the added weight, since I find it much easier to use, compared to the regular M200s/M205s. Since the pen cap remains lightweight, the pen remains balanced with the cap posted.
The barrel of the pen is nicely polished and decorated by four silver coloured rings. The design is quite simple, but remains very elegant.
Many Pelikan piston filling pens with solid colour barrel utilize the ink window into the design. The M215 Black-Silver Rings shares the same idea. What’s great on this particular model is that the ink window is in dark grey, and it is almost indistinguishable from the rest of the barrel. Personally I like this approach, since it keeps the overall appearance uniform, while preserving the ink window functionality.

3. Filling System (10/10):
Just like any other Pelikan Classic fountain pen, the piston mechanism is well designed and built.
(Please refer to the previous reviews for more details)

4. Nib Performance (9/10):
When it comes to the writing performance, Pelikan’s stainless steel nibs are among the best in the price range. The stainless steel fine nib installed on this Pelikan Classic M215 Black-Silver Rings is true to the size designation. It is fairly rigid, with a slight amount of bounce when applied with pressure. Being a fine nib, it writes smoothly enough. The ink flow is also generous enough, while still ensuring that the pen is practical to use.

5. Pen Cleaning and Maintenance (10/10):
The Pelikan Classic M215 Black-Silver Rings is well constructed. Just like the other models in the Classic line, this pen is quite sturdy, but good care of the pen is always recommended. The piston mechanism on the pen is very effective. Combined with the removable nib unit, cleaning the pen doesn’t require much effort.

Summary:

Packaging: 9/10
Pen Design: 9/10
Filling System: 10/10
Nib Performance: 9/10
Pen Cleaning and Maintenance: 10/10

Total: 47/50

The Pelikan Classic M215 Black-Silver Rings may look like any other regular Classic model. But the added weight on the barrel makes the pen unique and comfortable to use. If you like the design of the Pelikan Classic line, but don’t appreciate the light weight as much, then this model is definitely worth a try.

 

For the list of pens currently for sale, please visit here.

Photo of the Day – Episode 22

Pen Review: Pelikan Souverän M600 Pink

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Pelikan’s Souverän line of fountain pens ranges from the smallest M300 to the largest M1000. Among the different sizes, the M600 model does not often get as many special editions introduced, compared to some other models, such as the M400 and the M800. But in the recent years, when a special edition of this size gets released, while the overall design doesn’t change, the choice of the colour scheme is fresh and unique. One of these recent releases is the Pelikan Souverän M600 Pink.

IMG Pelikan Souverän M600 Pink - 1

Basic Information:

Fountain Pen: Pelikan Souverän M600 Pink
Nib: 14K gold fine nib
Filling System: Piston
Production: Special edition

1. Packaging (8/10):

IMG Pelikan Souverän M600 Pink - 2
For the regular editions in the Pelikan Souverän line, the usual packaging is a large cardboard pen box and the pen is protected inside a white Pelikan pouch. But for this special edition Pelikan Souverän M600 Pink, Pelikan actually introduced a new package design. The box is fairly small, compared to the regular edition packaging. In fact, the outer sleeve appears to be identical to the ones from the Classic M200/M205 line. But the pen box itself is totally different. Instead of having just a fairly plain grey coloured top cover, there are ribbons on the top of the box. The two covers of the box are also secured by magnets. Therefore even when the ribbons are not tied together, the box can still stay closed.
Inside the box, there isn’t a Pelikan pen pouch. The pen is secured by a piece of elastic band. While the special packaging looks pretty cool, it doesn’t add much value to the pen. Instead, the useful Pelikan pouch is not provided, and the elastic band is quite stiff, making it difficult to pull the pen out, or push it back in. I appreciate that it’s a new packaging design and the appearance is attractive. However, the pen box is hard to use, and offers fewer useful features, compared to the regular edition package.

2. Pen Design (9/10):
The Pelikan Souverän M600 Pink is a medium sized pen. The size and weight of the pen are both between the regular M400 and M800 model. When uncapped, the M600 is only slightly longer than the M400. In fact the smaller and shorter M400 nib unit can be installed onto the M600 pens (however, while the M600 nib can be installed onto the M400 pens, the cap cannot be closed properly). Other than the size and weight differences, the M600 model is largely the same as the previously reviewed M400 models, in terms of the construction and function. What’s special for the M600 Pink is the beautiful pink and white stripes on the barrel, and the white coloured resin.

IMG Pelikan Souverän M600 Pink - 3
Personally, I love white coloured pens, and I particularly enjoy Pelikan’s white coloured pens. Just like the previously reviewed Pelikan Souverän M400 Tortoiseshell-White, the cap, grip section, and piston knob are white. The pink and white stripes on the barrel are not just plain colours. The stripes have a bit of sparkles on them, and the pink ones also have slight colour variations.
Just like the other Pelikan Souverän fountain pens that have stripes on the pen barrel, the M600 Pink doesn’t utilize the ink windows in the design. However, the material used for the stripes is not as translucent as the other regular edition ones. It’s quite difficult to tell how much ink is left in the pen. In my opinion, the pen would look even cooler, if the white stripes could be translucent. But it’s not a deal breaker.
Even though the M600 Pink is only slightly larger than the M400, it is much more comfortable to use. Personally, I don’t like to post the cap for my pens. And the M600 is a good pen model to be used without posting.
If I have to pick one thing that I wish that can be changed about the M600 Pink, I would prefer to have silver coloured trims instead of gold coloured ones. But overall, I really like how it looks, and how it feels in the hand.

3. Filling System (10/10):
Pelikan’s piston filling system is reliable as always. The M600 Pink holds a decent amount of ink, and the piston operation is smooth and effective. The design and execution here matches well with the price of the pen.

4. Nib Performance (9/10):
This Pelikan Souverän M600 Pink comes with a 14K gold fine nib. The nib writes very similar to the 14K gold ones on the M400/M405 line. It is rigid with only a tiny bit of bounce, but it writes very smoothly and has a generous ink flow. The ink flow is wet enough to help improve the nib smoothness and show off the colour of the ink, while keeping it manageable, so that the pen can be used on more than just the premium quality paper.
Since the nib is fairly rigid, it doesn’t have much noticeable line variation. I think this nib is best suited for anyone looking for a standard nib that has a reliable writing performance. The nib here writes right out of the box, and does not have any issue that needs to be fixed.

5. Pen Cleaning and Maintenance (10/10):
The Pelikan Souverän M600 Pink is a light coloured pen. Any ink left on the pen can be easily seen. However, I find that the material used for this pen is fairly staining resistant. With enough care, the pen can be kept very clean. Pelikan’s well-designed piston filling system makes sure that flushing the pen is almost effortless. The removable nib unit then makes the cleaning even easier.

Summary:

Packaging: 8/10
Pen Design: 9/10
Filling System: 10/10
Nib Performance: 9/10
Pen Cleaning and Maintenance: 10/10

Total: 46/50

The Pelikan Souverän M600 Pink is a beautiful special edition fountain pen. It keeps the classic Pelikan Souverän design, but with a refreshing colour scheme that makes the pen stand out. I am very happy seeing this type of special releases from Pelikan.

The M600 model has a good size for many users. Even though it is only slightly longer than the M400, I can definitely feel the difference and I like the M600 size a lot more than the M400. In my opinion, the pen is a good option for daily writing, thanks to its nib that has an excellent writing performance, and the effective piston filling mechanism that holds a large amount of ink.

 

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Pen Review: Pelikan Classic M200 Cognac

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In the recent years, Pelikan started releasing one special edition M200/M205 model that matches with the Edelstein Ink of the Year. But before that, there were special edition releases representing different themes. The Classic M200 Cognac is one good example.

IMG Pelikan Classic M200 Cognac - 1

Basic Information:

Fountain Pen: Pelikan Classic M200 Cognac
Nib: Stainless steel medium nib
Filling System: Piston
Production: Special edition

1. Packaging (9/10):

IMG_0051
The Pelikan Classic M200 Cognac is a special edition release, but like many other past special edition Pelikan Classic M200s/M205s, it is presented with just a regular packaging. Considering its price point, I think it’s not a problem to not have anything unique, especially when the regular packaging handles the task just fine. The pen box is sturdy and nicely decorated. Inside the box, the pen is well protected with the provided Pelikan pouch. The overall presentation shows the value of the pen well, while still keeping the packaging material relatively simple. The size of the box is also very reasonable.

2. Pen Design (8/10):
Pelikan’s special edition M200s/M205s tend to be mostly changes in the colour scheme, while keeping the construction of the pen fairly consistent. The Classic M200 Cognac is a good example of it. Compared to the previously reviewed M200 Demonstrator, which is also a special edition, the M200 Cognac is essentially the same pen, just adding a bit of colour to the translucent material. I am personally not against this approach of introducing new special editions, but I certainly hope for more innovations, or at least a more complex set of colours or materials.

IMG Pelikan Classic M200 Cognac - 3
The Pelikan Classic M200 Cognac is a pen in the small to medium size range. The lightweight material makes the pen very balanced in the hand both posted and not posted. The gold coloured trim and the gold plated stainless steel nib match well with the warm brown coloured pen body.

3. Filling System (10/10):
The piston filling system on the Pelikan fountain pens is nearly perfect. It’s hard to find anything that’s equally as good from the non-Pelikan pens. The piston operation is smooth and effective.

4. Nib Performance (9/10):


Pelikan’s stainless steel nibs have excellent consistency in quality. The medium nib installed on this pen is very smooth and has a generous ink flow. There is no issue with skipping or hard start out of the box. It’s a great nib for daily writing.

5. Pen Cleaning and Maintenance (9/10):

IMG Pelikan Classic M200 Cognac - 2
The Pelikan Classic M200 Cognac has a very efficient and effective piston filling mechanism. Therefore flushing the pen has never been a difficult task. However, since it’s a demonstrator pen, I pay more attention to the inks that I use with the pen, just to make sure that the pen won’t be stained.

Summary:

Packaging: 9/10
Pen Design: 8/10
Filling System: 10/10
Nib Performance: 9/10
Pen Cleaning and Maintenance: 9/10

Total: 45/50

The Pelikan Classic M200 Cognac is a special edition release in the Classic line. While the pen shares the same basic designs and functionalities with the regular editions, it is a coloured demonstrator model. Personally, I don’t think that the new finish itself is interesting enough for me to recommend this particular version. But the Classic M200/M205 model can be a great choice for anyone who is looking for a medium-sized, lightweight, and reliable piston filling fountain pen. It is fairly priced, offers a consistent and reliable writing performance, and has an outstanding piston filling system that is hard to find in this price range.

Photo of the Day – Episode 21

Pen Review: ystudio Portable Brassing

The ystudio Portable Brassing is currently for sale. (SOLD)

For the list of pens currently for sale, please visit here.

 

While the fundamentals of how a fountain pen works are well established and there aren’t much significant changes, the appearance of a pen, and the add-on features can vary drastically. In this review, I’m going to cover the details of a pen that’s an interesting representation of the designs that focus on simplicity. It is the ystudio Portable Brassing.

IMG ystudio Portable Brassing - 3

Basic Information:

Fountain Pen: ystudio Portable Brassing
Nib: Stainless steel medium nib
Filling System: International standard cartridge/converter
Production: Regular edition

1. Packaging (10/10):
The ystudio Portable Brassing fountain pen comes with one of the best packagings in my pen collection. The wooden box is protected by a strong cardboard sleeve. Lifting the lip open presents a booklet and a piece of sandpaper. The sandpaper is provided to purposely remove the black coating on the pen to add more character to the pen, if the user prefers and chooses to do so. The pen and the wood pen tube are securely placed underneath. The quality of the packaging materials and the attention to details are outstanding. It’s hard to find another pen within the same price range that offers such a great package. Even many pens in the higher price levels cannot compete.

2. Pen Design (7/10):
The ystudio Portable Brassing fountain pen is designed to work seamlessly with the wood storage tube that’s provided. Therefore, I will go through both the pen and the tube in this part of the review.

IMG ystudio Portable Brassing - 2
First, the pen. The design definitely focuses on simplicity. The pen is fairly long and slim, and the brass body makes it quite heavy for its size. Personally, I’m not very into its slim profile, but I really appreciate the decent weight. Both the cap and barrel are hexagonal, so that the pen won’t easily roll around. The snap cap is easy to use, and being a snap cap, it can freely rotate on the pen, making it easy to align the sides with the barrel. Since the cap and barrel share the same dimension, this pen cannot be posted at all. Also, that means there is no smooth transition from the barrel to the grip section. While the cap and barrel have the same matte black coating, except for on the edges, the grip section simply shows the colour of the brass materials. The bright and golden tone of the brass grip section makes a great contrast with the rest of the pen. The stainless steel nib is gold plated, making sure that the colour scheme is kept consistent. Overall, when uncapped, the shape of the ystudio Portable Brassing fountain pen reminds me of a pencil. Personally, I like the clipless, simple, and modern design, but the slim profile and the thin grip section are not my favourite. As mentioned before, a piece of sandpaper is provied, and it can be used to remove the matte black coating on the pen, in order to give it a less pristine look.
Even though I don’t necessarily agree with all of the design aspects of the pen, I can see that the build quality of the pen is nevertheless outstanding. I think the provided pen tube doesn’t live up to the same expectation.

IMG ystudio Portable Brassing - 1
The wooden pen tube has a screw-in cap and a barrel. The top of the cap has a rectangular cut out, which is to let the top of the pen cap to go through. Once the pen cap is inserted, the user can secure the pen cap there by using the provided string. This design lets the pen have enough protection inside the pen tube, and doesn’t move around freely. However, I find the design not really practical. First, the pen doesn’t really sit completely securely inside the tube, and the inside of the tube not only doesn’t have any padding for protection, but also stays unpolished. Secondly, the goal of the design is that when the user wants to use the pen, the tube barrel can be removed, presenting the pen, so then the pen can be pulled out to use. However, this process takes a considerable amount of time to complete, which defeats the purpose of using the snap cap mechanism. Without the tube barrel, the pen body may also have the risk getting loose, especially if the user chooses to use the provided string to tie the pen tube on the outside of a backpack, or some other places that wouldn’t be ideal for protecting the pen. I think the idea of a pen tube is cool, but the implementation is poorly done.

3. Filling System (7/10):
The ystudio Portable Brassing fountain pen uses the international standard cartridge/converter filling system. There isn’t anything special about it. The provided converter works very well, and holds a decent amount of ink. But compared to the nicely finished metal pen body, the plastic converter doesn’t have the same feel of the premium quality. Also, the converter is not threaded. Personally I always prefer to have a threaded international standard converter, for its added safety to hold on to the nib unit.

4. Nib Performance (8/10):

A stainless steel medium nib is equipped on this pen. It writes reliably and has no hard start or skipping issue out of the box. But my biggest complaint is that the writing experience is uninspiring. The ink flow is very conservative. The nib is not very smooth, but it doesn’t provide any pleasant feedback either. It’s just a dry nib that writes like the same on almost any type of paper. For me, that’s not good enough. But if you are specifically looking for a nib that is fairly reliable, and has a drier ink flow, maybe this pen is a good option.

5. Pen Cleaning and Maintenance (8/10):
Being an international cartridge/converter filling fountain pen, the ystudio Portable Brassing is very easy to clean. However, since the matte black finish can be damaged, if anyone wants to keep the finish as pristine as possible, it’s probably a good idea to store the pen carefully in a pen case or a pen pouch.

Summary:

Packaging: 10/10
Pen Design: 7/10
Filling System: 7/10
Nib Performance: 8/10
Pen Cleaning and Maintenance: 8/10

Total: 40/50

The ystudio Portable Brassing fountain pen carries an interesting design. It has a very modern look, with quality construction and the simple but reliable international cartridge/converter filling system. For its writing performance, it can be a good choice for a daily writer. However, I personally find the writing experience with the nib not very interesting. Considering its price and what it really offers, I think a large portion of the investment goes towards the packaging, the provided pen tube, but not the pen itself. Combined with the slim profile and thick grip section, it’s not the ideal pen for me.

 

The ystudio Portable Brassing is currently for sale. (SOLD)

For the list of pens currently for sale, please visit here.