Pen Review: Kaweco SKYLINE Sport Mint & Kaweco Sport Brown

The Kaweco SKYLINE Sport Mint and the Kaweco Sport Brown are currently for sale. (SOLD)

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

I have previous reviewed the Kaweco AL Sport Stonewashed fountain pens, which are pocket sized writers with decent nib performance, excellent build quality and unique finish on the pen body. They are not my favourite pens, but serve me well when I need to carry some pens around and not worry much about protecting my pens from potential damages.
Since I enjoyed using that model, I decided to give the lower end models a try. Therefore, this review will be focusing on two pens from two similar lines, the Kaweco SKYLINE Sport Mint and the Kaweco Sport Brown.

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Basic Information:
Fountain Pens: Kaweco SKYLINE Sport Mint & Kaweco Sport Brown
Nibs: Stainless steel 1.1mm stub & stainless steel medium nib
Filling System: International standard cartridge/converter
Production: Regular edition/special edition

1. Packaging (6/10):

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These pens are among the cheapest pens that I own. For what they cost, I don’t really expect too much for the packaging.
Both pens came in a simple cardboard box. Opening the box, the pen is then wrapped in a small clear plastic bag. The cardboard paper is thin and light, which barely provides any significant protection from anything beyond scratches. What’s nice though is that the box has some basic but cool looking scroll patterns printed, in addition to the brand logo.
Overall, for the pen’s price, the packaging is nice looking and has a small footprint. But comparing to pens with similar prices, such as the Lamy Safari and the Pilot Metropolitan, I feel that the packaging here really does not do much protection.

2. Pen Design (6/10):
The Kaweco Sport line has gold plated nib, imprint and cap top medallion. In comparison, the trimmings on the SKYLINE model are silver coloured. Other than that, the design of the two models are identical.

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Just like the previously reviewed AL Sport Stonewashed fountain pens, the plastic versions are also quite short and light. The octagonal cap can keep the pen from rolling around when closed or posted. The lettering “KawecoSport” on the cap has a consistent font, which I think is a better design choice than the ones for the AL Sport/AL Sport Stonewashed pens.

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Unlike the AL Sport/AL Sport Stonewashed version, the nibs here are not installed by twisting the whole nib and feed unit into the pen. Instead they fit by just friction. Removing and installing the nibs are still fairly easy. However I find this approach less simple and elegant.

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Perhaps the biggest difference between the Sport and the AL Sport models is the body material. Instead of using aluminum, the Sport and the SKYLINE Sport lines use plastic. Since the pen is already quite small, I find the overall weight too light for my preference. With the cap posted, the length of the pen is good, but still too light. The plastic makes the pen feel cheap in the hand. Compared to the other pen in the similar price range, I find the Lamy Safari and the Pilot Metropolitan to be much more comfortable to hold.

3. Filling System (6/10):
The filling system for these pens is exactly the same as the one for the AL Sport version, which accepts international standard short cartridges. Some of the international standard converters fit as well, but they have to be very short, because otherwise the pen’s barrel won’t be about to accommodate them. I can understand the limitations of a pocket-sized fountain pen. And it’s great that at least it follows the international standard. But I still find it a bit inconvenient, since I prefer to use bottled inks and have a larger ink capacity on the pen.

4. Nib Performance (7/10):

The medium nib and the 1.1mm stub installed on these two pens write very similarly to the two that I have reviewed in the past, which are in these two nib grades as well. These stainless steel nibs write fairly smoothly and have no issue right out of the box. For most of the ink that I have tried, these nibs tend to write on the drier side. It’s not what I usually prefer, but for pocket pens, which could be used for taking quick notes, having a drier ink flow may be an advantage.

5. Pen Cleaning and Maintenance (9/10):
The Kaweco SKYLINE Sport Mint and the Kaweco Sport Brown are mostly made from plastic. They may feel a bit too light or even fragile in the hand, but the build quality is actually pretty good. I have carried these pens around and never had any issue with them. The plastic pen body will get scratches over time, but that’s common and pretty much the extend of the usual wear and tear anyway, as long as the user takes good care of the pen.
Cleaning the pen is very easy as well. Just flush the pen with water. The nib and feed can be pulled out, if extensive cleaning is required for any stubborn ink left behind.

Summary:

Packaging: 6/10
Pen Design: 6/10
Filling System: 6/10
Nib Performance: 7/10
Pen Cleaning and Maintenance: 9/10

Total: 34/50

The Kaweco SKYLINE Sport Mint and the Kaweco Sport Brown are quality plastic pocket-sized fountain pens that offer excellent build quality and reliable writing performance. There are limitations such as the restricted selection of converters based on the length, and the relatively cheap looking plastic barrel. However it’s difficult to find a better pocket size pen in this price range.
For anyone who is looking for a pocket fountain pen that is not so expensive, but very reliable, the Kaweco Sport and the Kaweco SKYLINE Sport line have some great options to choose. But if the budget allows, I would recommend to take a look at the AL Sport line. It is more expensive and has the same nib, but the material and weight may make the pen feel much more refined and balanced in the hand.

 

The Kaweco SKYLINE Sport Mint and the Kaweco Sport Brown are currently for sale. (SOLD)

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

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Pen Review: Kaweco AL Sport Stonewashed

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

 

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I love beautiful fountain pens and I try my best to keep my pens in excellent condition. When I need to carry my pens outdoor, I usually carry the pens in pen pouches, in order to make sure that there will be no damage to the pens. In my opinion, this is essential for carrying any full sized pen made of light and less durable materials such as resin or cellulose acetate. However, sometimes you may not need to carry your favourite pen, but rather just need a pen that writes well enough, easy to carry, and durable. The pens that this review is going to cover are one good example in this pen category, the Kaweco AL Sport Stonewashed fountain pens.

Basic Information:

Fountain Pens: Kaweco AL Sport Stonewashed Black & Kaweco AL Sport Stonewashed Blue
Nibs: Stainless steel medium nib & Stainless steel 1.1mm stub
Filling System: International standard cartridge/converter
Production: Regular edition

1. Packaging (9/10):
The pen comes with a simple but useful packaging. This pocket sized fountain pen is presented in a small tin box. The insert inside actually can fit two pens, which can be very useful if you have more than one Kaweco Sport pen, including but not limited to the Sport, AL sport, and BRASS Sport models. The insert is actually removable, so that the beautiful tin box can be converted to hold many pen accessories. Personally I use it to hold spare converters and empty ink cartridges. A cartridge is provided with the pen. Unfortunately, there is no converter. Considering the price of the pen, I wish a converter can be included in the packaging.

2. Pen Design (8/10):

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These pens are very different from any of the pens that I have reviewed so far. Being a pocket pen, the Kaweco AL Sport Stonewashed fountain pens carry quite a unique design. The cap is relatively long and covers more than half of the pen body when capped. Its octagonal shape can stop the pen from rolling. By default the pen has no clip (which can be purchased separately). On one side of the cap, the lettering states “Kaweco AL Sport Germany”. I like where the lettering is placed. However it contains several different fonts, which looks a bit messy. On the top of the cap, there is a medallion, which shows the Kaweco logo. The silver coloured trim matches well with the black or blue pen body.
When uncapped, the pen barrel doesn’t have much decoration. The grip section is short but very comfortable to hold onto. The threads there are not sharp at all, and there is only a small step from the barrel to the grip section. The stainless steel nib on the pen is quite small. But considering this is a pocket sized pen, the small nib matches well with the overall pen design. The engravings on the nib are simple and clean.

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The nib unit is easily removable by just twisting it. Users can have spare nibs of the same or different nib width switched onto the pen.

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Once the cap is posted onto the pen, this tiny pen suddenly becomes a full sized pen. The cap posts deeply onto the barrel, which makes the pen perfectly balanced in weight.
In my opinion, the best feature that makes these pens great for daily carry is the stonewashed finish. The entire pen body is specially treated, so that it looks like the pen has been well used already. Even the hidden part that connects the grip section and the barrel is treated with this finish. Personally I really like it, because then I don’t have to worry about the pen getting scratched, when it is carried around. Overall, I think the design of the pen is really simple but beautiful.

3. Filling System (6/10):
The Kaweco AL Sport Stonewashed fountain pens accept international short cartridges. Since this is a pocket sized pen, it’s too short to allow the international long cartridge. Meanwhile that also makes the pen too short to fit many of the international standard converters. Kaweco has a very small squeeze converter that fits the pen well, but it doesn’t hold a lot of ink and certainly is not the easiest converter to fill or clean up.
Personally I use cartridges with these pens. But I wish there can be a converter that is easier to use, so that I can use bottled inks with this pen more conveniently.

4. Nib Performance (7/10):

Both the stainless steel medium nib and the 1.1mm stub write right out of the box. They write consistently without hard start or skipping issues. Compared to most of the other stainless steel nibs that I have, these nibs seem to write on the drier side. Personally I prefer the nibs with a more generous ink flow. Even though they are not my favourite nibs, I still like their quality and they fit well on pocket pens, since these pens are probably not for long writing sessions, but rather for taking quick notes. A nib with less ink flow may help the ink on the paper dry out faster.

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

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The Kaweco AL Sport Stonewashed fountain pens are easy to clean. The nib unit can be flushed by either using an international standard converter or bulb syringe. Since the pens already have the stonewashed finish, they don’t really need much protection to keep them from getting scratched. The aluminum pen body also is quite strong and durable.

Summary:

Packaging: 9/10
Pen Design: 8/10
Filling System: 6/10
Nib Performance: 7/10
Pen Cleaning and Maintenance: 10/10

Total: 40/50

The Kaweco AL Sport Stonewashed fountain pens are excellent pocket sized pens with high build quality and consistent nib performance. They are not the pens that I use all the time, but as pocket pens, they are durable and the nib performance fits their main usage well. I think they are a good option for anyone looking for a small fountain pen that is easy to carry and maintain, and writes reliably every time.

 

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

2015 Favourites – Part 1

This is my second year coming back to use fountain pens and starting my small collection of pens and inks. It’s a year that I was able to better understand what I truly love for this hobby.

I had very limited knowledge about fountain pens before I decided to come back to the hobby. I had no idea about the huge varieties of filling systems, pen materials, nib materials, and so on. And I guess these are just the basics of any fountain pen design. At the very beginning, almost any kind of design combinations look attractive to me. As the result, I was adding pens that differ vastly into my collection. As I become more knowledgeable about fountain pens, I was able to slowly figure out what particular design directions work the best for me. Therefore I am now having a better focus on what to collect. Also as different pen companies have different designs and how their pens also do not perform in the same way, this makes my collection of pens and inks lean towards certain brands. But before talking about all those details, I think now would be a good time to start listing what my favourites are. Here are my top 10 fountain pens:

  1. Pelikan Souverän M400 Tortoiseshell-White (14K Gold, F)
  2. Pelikan Souverän M805 Stressmann (18K Gold, EF)
  3. Graf von Faber-Castell Classic Grenadilla (18K Gold, M)
  4. Pelikan Souverän M600 Pink (14K Gold, F)
  5. Delta Dolcevita Oversize (14K Gold, F)
  6. Pelikan Souverän M620 Chicago (18K Gold, F)
  7. Lamy 2000 (14K Gold, F)
  8. Waterman Carène Ombres et Lumières (18K Gold, F)
  9. Pilot Vanishing Point Twilight (18K Gold, M)
  10. Montblanc Meisterstück Classique Platinum Line (14K Gold, F)

By now you can probably see that I really love Pelikan and this brand is certainly the most favourite. My preference for the filling system is the piston filling mechanism, and I think Pelikan does the best job in this area. The pistons are always smooth and the barrels hold a lot of ink. While many other pen companies also offer piston filling pen options, Pelikan makes the basic pen maintenance super convenient by designing the nib units to be easily removable and swappable.

Each other pen has its own advantage. The Graf von Faber-Castell Classic Grenadilla has a very smooth and springy 18K gold nib. Its trip to the nib meister turned it from an average medium nib to a wet nib that writes a bit similar to an architect’s point. The pen looks classic and sits balanced in the hand. It is just so fun to use. All the other pens in the list are also good writers and the ones from Delta, Waterman and Pilot are particularly beautiful pens. Being a smooth and reliable writer, my Lamy 2000 is rarely out of rotation. Last but not least, the Montblanc Meisterstück Classique has always been one of my favourites, since it is my first fountain pen. And of course it writes equally as well as the others, if not even better.

These pens are the ones that I love the most and use the most often. There are some honourable mentions that I want to list below. While they could not make it to the top 10, these pens are either very interesting to use, or offering great values for the money:

As for inks, below is my top 5:

  1. Montblanc Lavender Purple
  2. Sailor Jentle Souten
  3. Sailor Jentle Tokiwa-Matsu
  4. Pelikan Edelstein Mandarin
  5. Montblanc Toffee Brown

I love cool colour inks in general, except for the Pelikan Edelstein Mandarin. These inks all flow well, easy for pen maintenance and offer excellent performances on many types of paper. The best part is, they all have a decent amount of shading combining with most paper types and pens.

Once again there are some honourable mentions in each colour range. Please feel free to check out this page.

That’s it for my top 10 fountain pens and top 5 inks for 2015. In the next blog I will continue to talk about other things that made this hobby wonderful, in my opinion.

Thank you for reading!