Q1 1983 Jasper Red Quartz
First Impressions 4 / 5
With the introduction of the ball pen, The Parker Pen Company was left with their low-end, low-profit products that sold well. Kenneth Parker was not satisfied with the Jotter and 45 lines and since they had to recapture the high-end market (high-profit, gift-oriented), a new pen had to be unleashed.
Both Kenneth Parker and Don Doman (Designer) collaborated into retrieving the bets bits from their collections in order to create a pen that would make the company face the future. Long story short, from the 45 came the filling mechanism C/C and from the VP the gripping section with three flat surfaces (more on this latter).
And so, by 1963 the Parker 75 was launched in Sterling Silver (the so famous Ciselè pattern). Its cost by the time was $25, triple of the 45 FP.
Production ended by 1994 with the introduction of the Sonnet. During over 30 years, both the earliest factory in the USA and the latter in Meru (France) had produced over 10 million units of this respectable pen. There were several limited editions, some were used to sign the most important nuclear disarmament treaty documents by US Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, not to mention they're highly collectable. There were several patterns, materials, different sections, tassies, caps, nib grades, you name it. Also, there were special markets like Australia and Italy. For further information check Lih-Tah Wong's Parker 75 website for the best '75' reference there is in my humble opinion.
Talking a bit of my own '75', it is a Q1 1983 Lacquer Series in Jasper Red Quartz finish. This was a gift given to my grandfather by someone to thank him for something I believe. He's given it to my mother since he did not use it, so basically I am the one making the best use out of it. I did not know what Parker this was, until someone here at FPN told me it was a '75'. Later that same day I could identify the pattern and official name.
On to the details, the packing: the presentation box is made out of plastic and inside we are greeted with the pen (we'd hope so). When I first took the pen out of the box, there was a U shaped pillow to accommodate the pen cap. The converter was off the pen, laying on the side of the barrel. The pen was in MINT condition and I believe it was not even dipped. One thing that wasn't anywhere in the box was the Nib Adjustment Tool. I hope to get hold of one later. I believe this accessory was only shipped on the earliest models. Also, I didn't get any papers / books / warranty info that should have been misplaced or kept with the person who bought it. This pen could use a better box (more refined), but it's all right. If I had all the stuff that should come with this pen it would be a very complete package (4.5 / 5 for me), thus the 4 / 5.
Image courtesy of parker75.com.
Appearance & Finish 5 / 5
Open the box and you are present with a high quality glossy finish pen. Its color is something between a dark orange to a red with black, irregular strokes. This makes the pen very appealing to the eye, especially with the glossy finish of the lacquer. Very nice. Its official name is Jasper Red Quartz, from the Lacquer Series collection. Its construction is remarkable: one cannot point out a single manufacturing issue. It's that good indeed. Mine shows a slight plate wear on the barrel's tassie: it fell out of my pocket unfortunately. One can see Parker had great attention to detail on this pen, the cap closes as it should, very smoothly (glides over the section until it closes). I'm clearly happy with the construction of it, could hardly be better. By the way, I do not post this pen; don't want to risk damaging the great finish.
Design, Size & Weight 4.5 / 5
This pen has both the barrel and the cap made out of solid brass which is then covered by a great amount of Chinese Lacquer. The design, yet simple, is great. I prefer simple designs to over engineered stuff. The finish along with the GP trims set this pen apart and one notices this isn't your average pen.
There were several tassies and this pen features the Dish ones, Sunburst Top as called by Parker on their engineering sheets. They consist of dimpled tassies each with a gold-washed circular disc filled in.
Worth mentioning is the amazing gripping section from the Parker VP. Kenneth Parker always said that the nib should be adjustable like the "lens of a fine camera". There are three flat surfaces on the section, the front two being ribbed. You get great comfort with the use of such idea and you can turn the nib to whatever your preference. I believe this is especially nice for the exotic nibs (italic / oblique) where you can use the nib in a rotated place without rotating your wrist or the pen itself. Cool, but efficient as well. This rotation is supposed to be done with the Nib Adjustment Tool, but one can do it with the fingers. Rotating the nib won't affect your finger positioning (at the three flat surfaces) as you should have understood by now.
On with the dimensions:
- Pen length, uncapped: 118mm
- Pen length, capped: 128mm
- Pen length, posted: 138mm
- Maximum barrel diameter: 10.8mm
- Weight: I couldn't measure it, though this is a hefty pen mainly due to the solid brass barrel and cap. Not your heaviest pen, but certainly above average. Also, the (quality) finish of the product make it heavier.
The balance is perfect unposted. If one posts the cap it tends to be a little heavier at the top end, but nothing unbearable. You can still write lots of pages with it without any signs of discomfort.
If I'd be more exigent, I'd ask for a slightly larger pen (more diameter), but this would have to be accompanied by a larger nib and slight increase in overall dimensions. This is not a problem for me, and the proportions are certainly right.
Nib Design & Performance 5 / 5
Things just keep getting better and this bit isn't a let down at all! This is a Medium Nib but unlike newer Parker models, this is the proper medium. The line that comes out of this nib is certainly a standard, old-school medium. The flow is properly adjusted (not too dry, not over flow), it is butter smooth to write with this FP. I suspect this is one of the best samples. If all the '75' write like this, what are you waiting for? Go get one yourself! I doubt you can get much better.
This Nib is made out of 14k (585) Gold, it is hallmarked and is presented in monotone (from the French production). There are 18k nibs as well, not to mention all the nib grades you can think of. Obviously, prices are a bit steep for these (they can go upwards of $75 even on the 'bay).
Size wise it is not a very big Nib, but then it wouldn't be proportional on this pen. Feedback provides little to no flex. It has a black plastic feed by the way.
This is the best Nib I have ever been across. It is just amazing. Makes one write for hours without fatigue. And then it puts a smile on your face. Ohh, and don't forget the nib rotation abilities.
The Filling System 3.5 / 5
This is where things aren't so sophisticated. It is a standard proprietary Cartridge / Converter (C/C) pen and it came with a Slim Aerometric Converter. This is not unusual in a Parker, even on the newer pens including the Duofold. Seems like Parker's idea is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". The included Converter gets the job of filling up done. Takes four squeezes and it fills up. A downside is the user cannot see the ink level.
Obviously, if I want I can use a newer Slide Converter or better, a Piston Filler Converter, but I'll leave it as Parker sent it out. I have no issues with any filling system. I just take the time to do it.
Also, using cartridges works just as fine, not much to say about this.
Cost & Value 4.5 / 5
By 1983 this Jasper Red Quartz and the rest of the Lacquer Series models were retailing for $65. I seriously don't know how much would that be nowadays, but considering a NOS '75' FP can go for well over $150 (on the 'bay) I'd say they retailed for more. I've seen my exact pen in similar condition from a pen website selling for 365€ (can post the link if asked). And believe it or not, I've just checked the site and it's been sold for that money. Does anyone here at FPN got it?
Anyway, it's definitely worth the price, even the €365 in my opinion. If it's new, yes, worth every cent. I know, I would.
Overall Opinion & Conclusion 4.5 / 5
Well, I am overly happy with this pen. It certainly is a masterpiece (in terms of writing experience and build quality anyway). I wonder why this pen so underrated! I seriously don't understand. It definitely deserves some more credit from the community and from the FP users.
It fits my hand perfectly, the gripping section is great, the finish is brilliant, built like tank, it can even warm your hand (the Chinese Lacquer feels great when it gets warm). If I didn't have this pen for free and I'd come across it, I'd get it in a nutshell (if money was no objection).
Also, I'm fairly surprised noone has reviewed a '75' and I'm sure there are users out there with one...
As a conclusion, I certainly vouch for the '75'. It works wonders on one's hand. If you can get one, buy it. If it's in mint condition or is NOS, don't let that go away: you might not have the same chance again. If you have big hands, search elsewhere.
Ohh, I've tried to be as much unbiased as possible. I've written about its bad aspects and good ones. This pen is really worth having, really!
Edited by maia, 07 July 2006 - 17:26.