There’s a new kid in town and it’s the Waterman Allure fountain pen. I’m sure I have mentioned how much I like Waterman fountain pens and every so often I visit their website to drool over pens that I can’t afford. I have never seen the Allure before and that turns out to be because they don’t feature it in their main pages, although they do list it in their shop. I came across it in a newsletter from Cult Pens and I knew I had to buy one as soon as I saw it. Before you mention it, yes, I know, I already have more fountain pens than I can reasonably use, but my collection is small compared to many.
First, some details. The Allure fountain pen costs £18.00 from Cult Pens which puts it firmly in the ‘budget’ category dominated by the Lamy Safari (£18.90 at Cult Pens) and Al-Star (£25.90). The Allure is a metal-bodied pen with a slightly tapered, black plastic section and a steel nib. As is often the case with entry-level fountain pens excepting those from Lamy, it is only offered with one nib width. Normally this would turn me straight off a pen, but rather than going with the standard Medium nib, Waterman have decided to offer the Allure with only a Fine nib – perfect for my taste. The pen is a cartridge/converter style and no converter is supplied although they can easily be bought separately. In all honesty, I think a pen like this is likely to be used in situations where cartridges make more sense anyway. The Standard International cartridges fit which means a decent range of ink colours can be sourced without having to resort to bottled inks. As to dimensions, it is 133mm long, the cap is 13mm diameter, the pen weighs 20g capped/12g uncapped. I would say the style is understated, even plain. In the pastel finishes currently sold by Cult Pens it is keying in to the trend for seasonal pen offerings so if you like to change things up for spring and summer these pastel pens could be a nice option.
One good reason for trying out the Allure was to see how it would compare with my existing Safari LX (comparable in size and style to the Al-Star), and to my existing Waterman Hémisphère pens (which sell for a higher price point of £74.00 at Cult Pens, although I’ve seen some interesting deals on other sites). I won’t bother trying to build suspense: it compares very well.
Sitting next to my Lamy LX, I see that the Allure is rather more slender overall, particularly with regard to the cap.
Beside the Waterman Hémisphères the dimensions are very similar indeed; and the weight is pretty much standard across these three pens (the Rose Cuivre being the lightest of the three at 19g capped/11g uncapped and the older-style Blue Hémisphère being the heaviest at 23g capped/14g uncapped).
The real test of a pen, though – the place where it stands or falls – is in how it writes. The fine-nibbed Allure writes very nicely indeed. I loaded it up with a cartridge of Graf von Faber-Castell Stone Grey ink and let it stand for a while to let the ink get into the feed (I always recommend that when using a cartridge) and then it wrote straight away with no skipping, hard starts, scratchiness, or other temperamental issues. The line width is what I would expect of a fine-nibbed pen, it doesn’t gush ink and I don’t want it to. It won’t show off a sheening ink to any great advantage, but that isn’t the point of it. This is the type of pen that just needs to write reliably and give the owner an easy time and the signs look good for this pen to do just that.
So is there a downside? Yes, of course: it is a budget pen and that shows in little things, particularly compared to the slightly more expensive Waterman offerings. My Hémisphères are rather more refined, cultured, grown-up; the Allure is the rather plain youngest sibling. The thing that I notice most of all is that the section of the Allure feels lower quality than the other two; and I notice the black plastic of the section where the lid and barrel meet – on the Hémisphères there is a metal ring which gives a smarter finish. You can order the Hémisphère in different nib widths which can be a deal-breaker for a lot of fountain pen enthusiasts (depending on where you shop, they’re available in Extra-Fine, Fine, Medium and Broad; you can also source a nib and section unit separately if you want to try a different nib width on an existing Hémisphère).
All that being said, as a first pen, a school pen, an everyday pen to take to work with you, I think the Waterman Allure stands up very well against the competition. A worthy addition to my collection. Just for now, I’m using it to write my journal.