I've been recently obsessed with 1940s-50s Watermans, so I've been amassing a few diffent kinds of 100 year pens too. By nature, I'm pretty cheap, so I may never own an oversize, since they seem to command a pretty hefty premium. Anyway, nice pens you have there--especially the bottom one, IMO.
Richard Binder's profile
is the closest I've seen to a coherent explanation of the 100 Year pen variants. I don't know how authoritative it is, but I'm not in a position to argue against very many of his specific claims. Based on the limited number of pens I've been able to buy, though, I suspect that the story isn't quite so tidy as it seems in his profile. For example, The barrel, cap, and nib engravings seem to vary pretty widely and not according to any pattern that I can discern, and there seems to be a similar unpredictability with regard to the method of securing the cap--"lock-slip" vs. screw. I've spent most of my own research time in advertisements from the period, and based on those I'd feel reasonably confident disputing one particular claim that I see both in Richard's profile and elsewhere: that the 100 Year Pen was rebadged as the Emblem Pen. Maybe it's just a quibble, but all of the ads (and the 1947 catalog) seem pretty clearly to show that Waterman's renamed the 100-Year Pen the "Medalist." Granted, the nibs say "Emblem Pen," though.
By the way, I wouldn't have guessed from your photos that the bottom pen is a 100-Year (or 100 Year or Hundred Year or Emblem or Medalist), since it doesn't have an expected nib or cap band. Those say to me Commando. I don't own very many of those, though, so I can't be at all sure. Is the barrel marked? (I can't make out the writing in your photo.) The reason I ask is that both of my Commandos are labeled on the barrel. Of course, your pen is obviously Lucite, which is interesting, as I don't recall ever reading any allusion to Commandos made in Lucite. Wouldn't surprise me if they were, though, given the other contemporary Waterman's I've seen.
It occurs to me that I've mostly just used your post to ramble on about other things--sorry. I trust, though, that your real questions are pretty adequately addressed by Richard's profile?
If you find out anything else I hope you'll post again.
Edited by brettttt, 28 January 2011 - 21:15.