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Waterman Sérénité


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#1 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 08 April 2005 - 00:39

I will most likely rewrite this review later, but under popular pressure (ya... you know who you are !), I decided to post this first version.


Waterman Sérénité : A Review

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It has been a few years since this pen first caught my eye. The Waterman Sérénité, is in my opinion, the most original fountain pen design on the market. I may even dare to say, the most original design ever produced for a fountain pen.

The Sérénité plays the card of humility with matte silver trims and highly polished black resin --resembling black Urushi lacquer-- in an unusual combination which captures light and shadows. When most other fountain pens are variations on the stick design (flat top or streamline, fat or slim, simple or with heavy trims,...), the Sérénité is curved. The curve is often said to recall a quill or a bow. To me, it recalls the reed of Descartes, an allegory of the human condition, bending under the wind, but never breaking. Around this wild growing reed, a rope of solid silver is wrapped, while its needle-shaped clip, also made out of silver, is gently curved to follow the line of the cap, both standing signs of a human presence. The Sérénité stands upright, whether it is capped, open or posted, as another sign of natural strength and resilience.

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But the Sérénité is not just an eye candy. The quality of the design, engineering and production present in this pen is impressive. The finish is outstanding. Waterman higher end pen are fully finished and tested by hand in their single factory, and it shows. No part is loose or too tight, all are perfectly fitted. Because of its particular shape, it closes and posts in only one way, to maintain an harmonious curve. Grooves, that need to be aligned, are present in the cap lip, inside the silver section trim, and at the end of the barrel. The cap lip fits inside the barrel end, eliminating any possible posting mark. The delicate looking clip is firmly attached to a spring action mechanism, with a generous 3/16'' amplitude at its tip. The silver trim serves as a efficient grip, and needs to be turned to access to the c/c filling system. Seeing the nib rising is quite a fun experience, pleasantly different from the banal unscrewing of a barrel.

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The nib wraps partially around the feed, recalling the Sheaffer Triumph. Made of 18kt gold, it is plated with Rhodium, to preserve the harmony of the colors (or more exactly, the absence of colors). The nib on my model is a fine. It is a generous fine, which I would qualify as a medium-fine. Very smooth, it performs like a typical current production good nib, inflexible but flawlessly. The flow was perfect out of the box, and no flushing was needed.

A common comment concerns it's balance and the difficulty that some people experience to write comfortably with a Sérénité. Being very tolerant to sizes and shapes, I found my comfort zone without much trouble. But it is undeniable that something is different from most other fountain pens. I can identify two particularities that I imagine can be problematic.
a - Because of the curve, the barrel extends well below the axis of the nib and feed, and that could definitely be an issue if you hold your pen at a very low angle.
b - When the cap is posted, the weight distribution has a clear tendency to prevent you for turning the nib. If you rotate your nib, and if you belong to the Holy Church of Cap Posters, you may be in trouble.

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Personally, I am very comfortable using it non-posted. I consider it a great advantage with this pen, as there is one more quality that I have no found in any other pens. The appearance of the Sérénité is drastically different when posted or capped, compared to the naked barrel. Fully dressed, it is a very sophisticated pen, ready for an evening at the Opera. Cap-less, it takes a much more rugged, rustic, utilitarian appearance. I get to experience both worlds.

Using a Sérénité is a wonderful, unique experience. With all the attributes of a high end pen, it also has all the qualities of a daily workhorse. The contrast between the elegance and understatement of the barrel, with the highly reflective rhodium of the conical nib, captures your eyes when writing, without being distracting. A true Objet d'Art in itself, the Sérénité is a 21th century quill, rather than a fountain pen.

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The Sérénité comes in a curved display box, with two packs of Waterman cartridge, a converter, and an instruction booklet. The list price is of USD 630, but is available, for example, from Pam Braun at Oscar Braun Pens for USD 375.

#2 wil

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Posted 08 April 2005 - 01:35

One of the first pens that I fell in love with but always hesitated because of the c/c filling mecha.

Any chance of adding some dimensions to this great review? :lol:

#3 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 08 April 2005 - 01:49

Here they are :

Length:
- capped : 5 5/8 ''
- uncapped : 5 1/16 ''
- posted : 6 1/2 ''

Width:
- min (section trim) : 3/8 ''
- max (barrel and cap end) : 9/16 ''

#4 Thesaurus Rex

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Posted 08 April 2005 - 03:17

Oh, god, I want one so baaaaaaaaaaaaaad!!

:bonk:

And as understanding as my family is, I don't really see a request for an approximately $400 pen for my birthday going over particularly well. Sigh.

I need a wealthy patron. How come nobody supports artists anymore? The most I get is patronized, and usually by other artists.

Denis, you're a fortunate son. Enjoy that pen doubly. For yourself and for me.

Even if it is a fine nib.

You don't use (shudder) black ink too, do you?

#5 wimg

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Posted 08 April 2005 - 16:45

Hi Denis,

Aaahhh, you almost make me go out and buy one, you! :D Even though I know it doesn´t fit my hand...

It actually is the pen that renewed my interest in fountain pens: I saw the wooden one in the shop window, and just had to go in and ask. That was it. I couldn´t write with it, but I could write with the Edson. A month or so later I got one (Edson, not Sérénité)... :D

Thanks for the nice review, Denis, and the nice pics!

Warm regards, Wim

the Mad Dutchman
laugh a little, love a little, live a lot; laugh a lot, love a lot, live forever


#6 Stylo

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Posted 08 April 2005 - 21:03

Nice review indeed.

#7 Maja

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Posted 08 April 2005 - 22:42

Great review and great photos; thanks, Denis!
I am still not sure if the pen would fit my writing style; there is just something off-putting to me about the shape of a curved pen. I don't know...I guess I would have to try it out at a show or pen store.
Bravo to Waterman for creating something that is unique, in any case!

Denis, I hope you get a lot of enjoyment out of your 30th birthday pen! :)
Vancouver (B.C) Pen Club (our website)

#8 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 09 April 2005 - 04:13

Thanks for the nice words everyone.

David, I'll put you in my will for it :D And it is filled with Noodler's Ottoman Azure.

#9 wimg

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Posted 09 April 2005 - 19:36

Denis,

Hey,

Noodler's Ottoman Azure

That's it my man, that's it!
:D

Warm regards, Wim

the Mad Dutchman
laugh a little, love a little, live a lot; laugh a lot, love a lot, live forever


#10 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 09 April 2005 - 19:46

Denis,

Hey,

Noodler's Ottoman Azure

That's it my man, that's it!
:D

Warm regards, Wim

You know, that stuff is addicting. I think we should contact the Surgeon General and request that a warning be put on Ottoman Azure bottles : "Warning : Using this ink will spoil you for other ones". :D

#11 wimg

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Posted 09 April 2005 - 20:06

Hi Denis,

Denis,

Hey,

Noodler's Ottoman Azure

That's it my man, that's it!
:D

Warm regards, Wim

You know, that stuff is addicting. I think we should contact the Surgeon General and request that a warning be put on Ottoman Azure bottles : "Warning : Using this ink will spoil you for other ones". :D

Do you mean to say you haven't tried Ottoman Rose and Cayenne yet?

You should see me making notes during meetings. It goes something like this:
Hmmm, which ones of my pens should I use now? Ok, the d'Inverno, 1.1 italic nib, Ottoman Azure, ok, here we go. Hmmm, I have done half a page with it already, let me think, oh, the 991, 1.1 italic, Noodler's Red Black. A few lines later: aaahh, let me add some more colour to this, the M200 with cursive Italic and Noodler's Cayenne. Or shall I use the Orangerie B nib Cayenne? Nah, M200 this time. Hmm, I am missing a colour??!! Ok, the Delta Passion, stub nib, Penman Emerald. Hmmm, still missing true blue. Ok, Etruria Blue Ocean, 1.3 italic, PR DC SS 2003. Maybe some black now. Etruria 916, OB, Waterman Black. Oh, now it is going a little too fast, quick, the Edson with WM BB... Aaaah, now where is the Ottoman Rose. Oh no, that pen is still in Italy. I have to find another pen for the time being, that asks for Ottoman Rose :D. Ah well, then it is time for the Waterman Gentleman OB (more like O3B), WM South Seas blue. Oh, and then, for some nice purple, the M800, "Maddened" OM nib with La Couleur Royale.

I guess you could call my notes colourful. Sometimes they call my personality colourful, too, but that is a different story :lol:.

Warm regards, Wim

the Mad Dutchman
laugh a little, love a little, live a lot; laugh a lot, love a lot, live forever


#12 antoniosz

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Posted 09 April 2005 - 20:26

Very nice review Denis!...
Interesting pen. When I first saw it for the first time, I thought that this pen is very french! Exquisitely beautiful and rather impractical :o ;) :D

AZ

#13 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 09 April 2005 - 21:21

Very nice review Denis!...
Interesting pen.  When I first saw it for the first time, I thought that this pen is very french! Exquisitely beautiful and rather impractical  :o  ;)  :D

AZ

:lol: That's definitely a cultural bias I acknowledge... even though, if you've had the opportunity to visit the Centre George Pompidou (Paris' MoMA), you know that we can overcome it and design things that are both ugly and impractical :D

Edited by Denis Richard, 09 April 2005 - 21:25.


#14 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 09 April 2005 - 21:25

Do you mean to say you haven't tried Ottoman Rose and Cayenne yet?

I'm sure I would like them, but I know I would not use them often. My stern-ness always drives me back to blues.

#15 wimg

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Posted 09 April 2005 - 21:27

Hi Denis,

Do you mean to say you haven't tried Ottoman Rose and Cayenne yet?

I'm sure I would like them, but I know I would not use them often. My stern-ness always drives me back to blues.

Nah, you just don't dare :lol:

Warm regards, Wim

the Mad Dutchman
laugh a little, love a little, live a lot; laugh a lot, love a lot, live forever


#16 Stompy

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Posted 10 April 2005 - 17:17

Great review and pic Denis.

But I'm curious, what's the book?

#17 Maja

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Posted 11 April 2005 - 00:30

Great review and pic Denis.

But I'm curious, what's the book?

I was wondering the same thing....I would have expected French-language novel :lol:
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#18 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 11 April 2005 - 03:03

The book is "The Tale of the Rose : The Love Story Behind The Little Prince" by Consuelo de Saint-Exupéry. Very captivating auto-biography, in the form of a "letter" she wrote after Antoine's death, and was found in her chests after her own death. It sheds a new light on the Little Prince.

So, it is French related :P

#19 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 12 April 2005 - 03:01

I forgot : The Sérénités have their serial number imprinted on the barrel's end. Mine is # 21499. Definitely not an LE... :D

#20 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 12 April 2005 - 03:25

One more thing... the line width with the fine nib is somewhere between .3 and .35 mm.

#21 Keith with a capital K

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Posted 12 April 2005 - 15:43

That really is an inspiring pen to look at and now I am thinking...

Cayenne?

Hmmm...

I usually just listen to and play the blues while my favourite colours are warm browns and greens with the occasional splash of lavendar and burgundy thrown in for a little extra colour.

Black and blue get used when they need to be used buit aren't anything I use for free writing, that is, the writing I do for myself.
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#22 wimg

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Posted 12 April 2005 - 18:15

Hi Keith,

I´ll post a sample later tonight, when back at home :D.

Everybody I´ve put onto this ink, seems to love it :D.

Warm regards, Wim

the Mad Dutchman
laugh a little, love a little, live a lot; laugh a lot, love a lot, live forever


#23 Elaine

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Posted 12 April 2005 - 19:41

I'll second the cayenne. It's different enough, yet it doesn't scream "wild ink". It looks very orange when you first write with it. When it's thoroughly dry is mellows out. It also does some very nice shading.

#24 wimg

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Posted 12 April 2005 - 20:50

Hi Elaine,

And don't forget the fun it is to watch it drying. Totally fascinating :D.

Warm regards, Wim

the Mad Dutchman
laugh a little, love a little, live a lot; laugh a lot, love a lot, live forever


#25 wimg

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 08:01

Hi Keith,

Here is the promised sample of Cayenne:
Posted Image
Warm regards, Wim

the Mad Dutchman
laugh a little, love a little, live a lot; laugh a lot, love a lot, live forever


#26 Fulcanelli

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 10:15

I remember when this pen hit the market a few years ago. I read about it in "Pen World." I drooled. It's a lovely pen, though I've never held one in my hands. Sigh...

#27 Elaine

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 12:09

Keith, I think you have to see Cayenne in person. Wim's scan looks nothing like it - at least on my screen.

#28 wimg

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Posted 15 April 2005 - 21:00

Hi Elaine,

Ok, I'll try to make a new sample, with different pens. It looks ok on my screen, just a bit unsharp :D.

Warm regards, Wim

the Mad Dutchman
laugh a little, love a little, live a lot; laugh a lot, love a lot, live forever


#29 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 01 June 2005 - 01:40

Just for reference here, to be modified if someone can find other models :

The Sérénité exists in 5 different versions :
  • Polished black plastic, sterling silver trims : standard version, serially numbered.
  • Cocobolo Wood, sterling silver trim of a different pattern : limited to 3000 pieces.
  • Maki-e "White Tiger" : limited to 120 pieces.
  • Maki-e "Rising Dragon" : limited to 120 pieces.
  • Maki-e "Snake" : limited to 60 pieces.
The base pen for the Maki-e version is the standard model. It seems that the 3000 pieces of the Cocobolo version includes ballpoint pens.

#30 wimg

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Posted 01 June 2005 - 23:21

Hi Denis,

I thought there were 2 wooden limited editions?

Not too sure anymore, now though. I thought one was a snakewood kinda pen, and the other more a nice brown with only little veining.

Warm regards, Wim

the Mad Dutchman
laugh a little, love a little, live a lot; laugh a lot, love a lot, live forever