With the London Fountain Pen Show coming up in a few weeks, a new addition to my fountain pen collection couldn’t have been further from my mind in the first balmy days of September. Yet this stunning little pocket pen, my very first Kaweco, stole my heart and had me flinging my money around without a thought for necessities such as heat and lighting.
My new love is the Iguana Blue Kaweco Collection pen with a medium steel nib. This is the aluminium version of Kaweco’s Sport design pocket pen. The standard Sport models are made of plastic and sell at a very keen price point. But we all know I like a metal pen, and this one is coated in just the most perfect shade of turquoise. It is quite close in colour to my gorgeous Lamy Studio Aquamarine, but leans more green where the Studio leans towards blue.
I had eyed up this very pen online and it was the first Kaweco Sport which had truly made me look twice. I added it to my list of pens to look at when I hit London in October. Then came last Sunday. I had a ticket booked to see the director’s cut of Star Trek: Wrath of Khan which, let’s face it, would make a day perfect on its own. In a fit of self-indulgence I decided I would stroll into town, have a wander in Jarrolds (our local independent department store) and buy some brown ink, then have coffee and a cake before heading into the cinema.
The trip didn’t get off to the best start. Jarrolds have been relocating departments within their shop for a while now. Their very creditable book department, which lived on the ground floor for most of my life followed by a few years in the basement, has recently moved to the third floor. Some stationery, greetings cards and gift wrap have also been relocated to the third floor, although the fountain pens remained on the ground floor, rather out of place amongst the perfumes and jewellery and bags.
On this hot September afternoon, I strode confidently to the usual pen and ink location to find just the lonely Monblanc counter remaining. I quelled my negative thoughts and told myself they had probably done the sensible thing and put the pens upstairs with the other stationery. Up the escalators I went but no pens awaited me at the end of the ride. I returned to the ground floor wondering if there was some possibility that I had simply not noticed the pen counters. They were still not there and I stood fuming that this department store, which I used to rely on, had stopped selling fountain pens and inks – an action which I would deem unforgivable.
Then it struck me that there was an outside chance they might have moved the pens into the separate shop which used to house their office stationery. Alongside rapidly decreasing odds and ends of business-related stationery, this had recently become home to their rather good art supplies department. I walked out of the back door of the main store, crossed Bedford Street and found myself transported to the most lovely stationery shop. A one wall housed a grand technicolour display of Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks whilst diaries and all manner of pretty stationery sat on display units and shelves. Filofaxes and refills, previously split between the main shop and the Office Stationery, had been reuinted into a single cohesive collection. From the moment I entered I could see the fountain pen displays gleaming at the back of the shop like a beacon for my soul.
On a little wall-mounted wooden rack they had set out some bottles of ink – Kaweco, Cross, Waterman, Lamy. I picked up a bottle of Waterman Absolute Brown which I’ve been intending to try. I like a good Waterman ink. They had a selection of ink cartridges there, too, with other refills for ballpoints and rollerballs. I decided I would get a pack of Kaweco Caramel Brown because I’m in my brown phase, at least as far as ink goes. Inks in hand, I turned my attention to the pen cabinets because, really, it would be rude not to.
The Iguana Blue Kaweco Collection pen caught my eye without me even trying to look for it. Obviously, I wasn’t interested in buying it, but the lovely (or should I say cunning) salesman saw me staring and asked if I’d like to take a closer look. Theoretically, I’ve been pretty sure I wouldn’t like the miniscule pocket pen style, but the moment I held it in my hand I could feel it ought to be mine. The size, the weight, the intense colour, it had everything going for it. We discussed how pretty it was, and I asked the price which wasn’t prohibitive. After a while I reluctantly handed it back to the salesman and turned my attention to the Esterbrooks in the cabinet. I don’t think they stocked Esterbrook before, but then I can’t recall seeing any Kaweco pens previously so perhaps I haven’t been paying attention. We talked a little more about the Kaweco and, like the big girl I am, I said it was definitely on my list to buy, but not that day. It took very little to change my mind and five minutes later I was leaving the shop with the Kaweco and the inks in a dinky little paper carrier bag.
My first week with the pen has been a delight. When I got home I quickly rinsed the nib, put in one of the Caramel Brown cartridges, and it wrote perfectly. The nib is smooth and friendly, writing with a line which is not too thick for my taste. If I decide the Medium nib isn’t quite to my liking, it’s easy to procure replacements in different nib widths. I like that the nib and feed unscrew from the section like they do on my Namisu Orion – I find it helps when cleaning pens. I’ve been using the Kaweco in my journal and have experienced no hard starts nor any kind of temperamental behaviour so far.
Pocket pens such as this are clearly too small to hold a standard converter. To use bottled ink, one must either clean out and refill a Standard International ink cartridge, or buy a tiny cartridge-sized converter. I shall just use it with cartridges – I don’t have any strong feelings against them and there are enough ink colours available in the format to prevent boredom setting in. Sometimes it’s nice to faff around with bottled ink, but it can be good to swiftly whip in a cartridge and be off.
Would I recommend this pen to others? Yes. I already have. I took it to work and showed my fountain-pen loving colleague who now has it on her Christmas list. I’m looking forward to showing it to my grandson as he has been suggesting that I add a pocket pen to my collection for a while now. I think he’ll be impressed, although he will deplore my choice to fill it with anything other than turquoise ink.
This pen has lifted my spirits in a week where, like many of my compatriots, I’m feeling saddened by the death of our Queen. For the first time in my life there is a King on the throne, and the Prince of Wales is no longer a man the same age as my brother, but one younger than my daughter. We clearly have a bit of adjusting to do over the coming months, but for now our thoughts are with a very special lady who we can’t quite believe is no longer with us.