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 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.

Pen Review: Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst

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Pelikan has a lineup of premium fountain pen inks called the Edelstein. Since 2012, a new colour gets introduced every year, called the Ink of the Year. Starting in 2015, Pelikan also releases a special edition fountain pen with the matching colour, in the Classic M200/205 line. The 2015 special edition colour is the Amethyst. This review is going to go over the details of the Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst.

DSC_0001

Basic Information:
Fountain Pen: Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst
Nib: Stainless steel fine nib
Filling System: Piston
Production: Special edition

1. Packaging (9/10):
The Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst has a simple but adequate packaging, just like any other regular production Classic line fountain pens. There is actually a version with a special packaging, which includes both the pen and the Ink of the Year ink bottle. In comparison, this box seems much more plain and simple, but it’s still a great one.

2. Pen Design (9/10):

DSC_0002
The Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst is a beautiful pen. The overall shape and structure of this pen is identical to the ones that I have reviewed in the past (M200 Black, M200 Café Crème, M200 Demonstrator & M205 White-Silver), but what makes it stand out is the beautiful frosted purple resin. It’s a demonstrator fountain pen, which shows the piston mechanism inside the barrel, the nib inside the cap, and the amount of ink left in the reservoir. But unlike some other clear demonstrators, such as the Lamy Vista or the Pelikan Classic M200 Demonstrator, or the one with the matte surface, the Platinum 3776 Century Nice Pur, the Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst is polished outside, but frosted inside. I really enjoy this wonderful approach. Combining with the silver coloured trims, this pen is very attractive. I really wish that the same finish can be made available on the M805 model.
Other than the special finish, the Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst shares the same design aspects as the other M200/M205 pens. The cap twists off, and posts deeply and securely onto the end of the barrel. The lightweight resin ensures that the weight balance is always excellent, no matter whether the cap is posted or not. The nib unit is interchangeable, so that this pen can be fitted with any M200/M205 stainless steel nib, or M400/M405 14K gold nib, which is one of my favourite features from the Pelikan Classic and Souverän lines of fountain pens.

DSC_0003
Being a lower level model from Pelikan, the M205 Amethyst is not perfect. The seam lines are visible on the grip section. And compared to the metallic cap top from the Souverän line, the plastic cap top looks a bit out of place, considering that the rest of the pen is constructed by either the translucent purple resin, or the silver coloured trims.
Despite the imperfections, I think the Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst has a great design for its price.

3. Filling System (10/10):
Just like any other Pelikan Classic M200/M205 that I have reviewed, the piston filling mechanism installed here is flawless. It has a decent ink capacity. The piston operation is very smooth. And the whole translucent barrel serves as the perfect ink window. If you like a coloured demonstrator, there is not much else to ask for.

4. Nib Performance (9/10):


The stainless steel nibs from the Pelikan Classic line always have high performances. Personally, I think they are among the best in their category. This fine nib doesn’t have much special. It is rigid and it doesn’t offer any significant line variation, but it always writes without any disruptions. Right out of the box, hard start or skipping problems don’t exist on this nib. As a good option for a daily writer, its reliable performance is the key.

5. Pen Cleaning and Maintenance (10/10):
The Pelikan Classic M205 Amethyst doesn’t take much effort to clean. The piston operation is smooth and effective. The nib unit is removable for easy access to the ink reservoir. Furthermore, the piston seal is tightly fit, so that unlike what I have experienced with my Omas Ogiva Alba, no ink gets trapped behind the piston seal. Within its price range, there isn’t much else that can compete. The resin used to make the pen will of course see some normal micro-scratches during the daily use. But other than that, there isn’t much to worry about. The build quality of the pen is excellent.

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 M205 Amethyst is Pelikan’s first special edition release that matches the corresponding Edelstein Ink of the Year, and it’s a great one. The M200/M205 model is on the small/medium side for a pen, but it is easy to handle and great for carry around. Other than a few seam lines that are not polished off, and a few decorations that are less fancy compared to the gold nib Souverän model, this pen has a lot of great features. The translucent and frosted purple cap and barrel look amazing, and the smooth piston filling mechanism only makes it even better. Being a special edition and for what it offers, I think it falls into the right price range. No matter if you choose the M205 Amethyst, or any other version from the Pelikan Classic lineup, it will be a great writer.

 

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Pen Review: Pelikan Classic M200 Café Crème

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Pelikan in the recent years have been releasing special editions in the Classic M200/M205 line, mostly related to the Pelikan Edelstein Ink of the Year, or as re-release of past special editions with slight tweaks. While having a special edition that matches with the ink of the year is a cool idea, reintroducing old special releases doesn’t sound that interesting to me. However, this isn’t always the way that Pelikan releases new pen finishes. The Pelikan M200 Café Crème is one good example that has a brand new colour scheme and is quite well received.

IMG_0034

Basic Information:

Fountain Pen: Pelikan Classic M200 Café Crème
Nib: Stainless steel medium nib
Filling System: Piston
Production: Speciel edition

1. Packaging (9/10):

IMG_0051
The Pelikan Classic M200 Café Crème uses the standard Pelikan packaging for the Classic line. There is nothing that is special for this model. It’s the same box that is used by my previously reviewed M200 Black, M200 Demonstrator, and M205 White-Silver. It’s a cardboard box that can be pulled open. Inside there is a white pen pouch that protects the pen. Considering the price of the pen, the packaging here is adequate. Pelikan’s gift box for the Classic line offers elegant designs, high quality accessories, and does not take a lot of spaces.

2. Pen Design (9/10):
This special edition Pelikan Classic M200 Café Crème shares the same pen construction as the other M200/M205s that I have reviewed before. The resin body makes the pen quite light. The length and width of the pen are both about average. It’s not a big pen, but still comfortable to hold in the hand. The weight balance is well executed no matter whether the pen cap is posted or not. These small to medium size M200/M205 fountain pens offer a good balance between usability and portability.

IMG_0058
The biggest highlight of this special edition is the colour scheme. What’s featured here is a cream coloured barrel, with a dark brown/chocolate coloured ink window. The grip section, piston knob, and cap are made from resin in the dark brown colour. This subtle yet still unique dark brown resin is quite a good choice, in my opinion. Along with the gold-plated trims, the pen represents the “Café Crème” theme well and has a warm feeling. The colours used here are not simple repetition from another version. Instead the whole colour scheme is more or less fresh, and easily distinguishable from the other ones in the lineup.

3. Filling System (10/10):
Pelikan’s piston filling system always works reliably. This pen’s piston mechanism is no exception. It’s smooth and efficient. The barrel holds a lot of ink and the large ink window helps the users check the ink level of the pen without any difficulty.

4. Nib Performance (9/10):


The gold-plated stainless steel medium nib on this pen writes well right out of the box. It doesn’t offer much line variation but still has a lot of springiness. The nib is very smooth but not over polished. I don’t find much issue with hard start or skipping. It’s the perfect candidate for daily writings.

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

IMG_0041
Just like any non-demonstrator version of the Pelikan M200/M205 fountain pens, this M200 Café Crème is easy to handle when it comes to cleaning and maintenance. The nib unit is removable, making it very convenient to access the ink reservoir for the detailed cleaning. The piston unit is smooth and powerful enough to clean ink out of the pen quickly.
The resin construction may make the user feel that the pen is light and fragile. But the material is actually quite durable. Other than the normal micro-scratches, I don’t find much extra wear and tear on the pen.

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

Among all of the special edition Pelikan Classic M200/M205s that I have, the M200 Café Crème is one of the my favourite. While most of the special editions are just different shades from the spectrum, with a single colour used for the whole pen, or just a different colour on the barrel with the rest of the pen unchanged, the Café Crème has a set of carefully selected colours and actually carries a theme. The choice of colours is up to the personal preference, but at least I really like the cream and dark brown coloured resin used here.
The Pelikan Classic M200/M205 is a good line of pens that offers excellent writing performance, high ink capacity, and relatively affordable prices. In my opinion, this M200 Café Crème is a perfect example to demonstrate what a Pelikan entry level piston filling pen should look like. With the tasteful colour scheme, it’s not just a great daily writer, but one of my favourite Pelikan fountain pens.

 

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Pen Review: Kaweco SKYLINE Sport Mint & Kaweco Sport Brown

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

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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.

DSC_0001

 

DSC_0001

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):

DSC_0003
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.

DSC_0003
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.

DSC_0002
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.

DSC_0002
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)

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Pen Review: Lamy Al-star CopperOrange

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For anyone new to fountain pens, one commonly discussed topic is what a good beginner fountain pen is. Several pens are frequently mentioned: Lamy Safari, Pilot Metropolitan, Pilot Prera, etc. In this review, I’m going to go over the details of another popular beginner fountain pen, the Lamy Al-star CopperOrange.

IMG_0004

Basic Information:

Fountain Pen: Lamy Al-star CopperOrange
Nib: Stainless steel medium nib
Filling System: Lamy proprietary cartridge/converter
Production: Special edition

1. Packaging (8/10):

DSC_0007
Lamy’s design language is form follows function. And simplicity is the key design element. This is also reflected on Lamy’s packaging design, which is minimal material and space consumption, but still with sufficient protection and interesting features. The pen box is not much bigger than the pen itself, and its is made from lightweight but sturdy hard cardboard paper. On the box, there are multiple cutouts, so that the pen’s colour can be shown without checking the label on the box or even opening it.
Inside the box is just the pen itself. A piece of paper is inserted in the clip. The paper is wide enough, such that with it installed onto the clip, the pen won’t rotate around inside the box. A Lamy cartridge is sitting in the pen barrel. A cardboard ring is placed onto the pen, in front of the barrel piece, so that the cartridge inside won’t be accidentally punched in.
Other than these small accessories used to keep the pen intact, there is no piece in the packaging that doesn’t serve a functional value. The packaging takes minimal space and everything can be recycled. What you paid for is more on the pen rather than a fancy packaging. Lamy Al-star’s special editions use the same packaging as the regular lineup. Personally, I think this is a good decision from Lamy, considering the price of the pen, which is still around the entry level pricing.

2. Pen Design (10/10):
The Lamy Al-star line has a classic design. And there isn’t much that I dislike. The overall length of the pen is decent, which is similar to several other popular pen models, such as the Pelikan Souverän M800/M805, Montblanc Meisterstück Classique, Pilot Vanishing Point, and Lamy’s flagship line, the Lamy 2000.
If you know the Lamy Al-star fountain pen, chances are you may have heard of the Lamy Safari line as well. The shape of the two models are very similar, except that the Al-star has a wider cap and barrel, plus that the grip section is translucent. The Al-star has more of an aluminum construction, which feels great in the hand. The pen is lightweight. The cap can be posted securely onto the end of the barrel. Doing so doesn’t make the pen too back-heavy, but personally I find it too long when posted.
The Lamy Al-star, along with the Lamy Safari, are famous for their triangular grip section design. When I use the pen, I find myself holding the pen exactly like what the triangular section wants me to hold. However, anyone who is interested in this pen should try one in person first, since it may not fit everyone’s preference.

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On the barrel, there are two cutouts that serve as the ink window. This is a welcoming feature, as I don’t find it available on many cartridge/converter filling fountain pens.

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The Lamy Al-star CopperOrange uses the stainless steel Lamy nib that can be found in many other Lamy pen models. The only marking on the nib are the Lamy name and “M” designation for the medium nib. One feature that I like about this pen is that the nib can be easily pulled out, so that a different nib can be installed, if the user wants to replace a broken nib or simply prefers a different nib size. The spare nib can be quite easily sourced.

3. Filling System (8/10):
Considering that I in general prefer the piston filling mechanism, this is a high score for a proprietary cartridge/converter filling system.
The Lamy Al-star CopperOrange accepts the proprietary Lamy ink cartridges. It also can have the Lamy Z24 converter installed. Unlike the Z26 converter that is equipped on the Lamy Studio, the Z24 converter has two “fins” that can be inserted into the slots available on the Lamy Al-star, so that the converter can stay very securely on the pen.
The converter holds a fair amount of ink for its size, and combining with the two ink windows on the barrel, I think this filling mechanism works well and the design around it is well thought of.

4. Nib Performance (7/10):


This pen has a stainless medium nib, which is the same as the perviously reviewed Lamy Studio Wild Rubin. There isn’t any issue with skipping or hard starts, and the nib writes well enough right out of the box. However, there aren’t much special characteristics about this nib. It’s not the smoothest. It doesn’t have the best ink flow. But it writes well enough, with a drier ink flow, and the performance is reliable and consistent. Perhaps that makes it a good daily writer.

5. Pen Cleaning and Maintenance (10/10):
The Lamy Al-star CopperOrange is easy to clean. The cartridge converter flushes the ink out of the pen considerably efficiently. I haven’t found any issue with cleaning this pen so far. The metal construction also makes the pen fairly durable. The coloured surface may get scratches over time, but the body itself is very durable. In addition, the self-serviceable nib is a welcoming feature.

Summary:

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

Total: 43/50

The Lamy Al-star CopperOrange special edition is one of my favourite offerings from Lamy. The colour of the pen is so perfect that I wish more pens are made in this shade of orange.
In my opinion, the best feature of this Lamy Al-star CopperOrange is its beautiful orange colour. This is one of my favourite colour and I couldn’t really say no to it, when I first saw the pen. This shade is not too bright, and has a very warm feel. I really wish more pens can be made with this beautiful shade.
The Lamy Al-star line is a slight step-up from the Safari line, which the pen body is made from plastic instead of aluminum. The metal construction makes the Al-star look more refined. Being lightweight, its length is still very decent and even if it can be a bit back-heavy, posting the cap still makes the pen very usable.
Lamy uses proprietary cartridge converter filling system. However the design here works really well. The converter stays securely on the pen, and maintaining the pen is really easy. Even the nib can be quickly replaced.
The pen uses the standard Lamy stainless steel nib. Personally I feel it lacks character but the performance is consistently well. The ink flow is on the drier side, which many users may find it ideal as a daily writer.
Overall, I like this pen. What I may try is to replace the stainless steel nib with a gold nib, just to see if the writing performance can be better. If so, it will be one of my favourite writers.

 

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