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Waterman Liaison: A Brief Review


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13 replies to this topic

#1 dms525

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 20:02

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The Waterman Liaison model replaced the Man 100/200 as Waterman's "top of the line" pen, I believe in 1994. However, it's reign was short-lived. I think I have read that it was produced only for two years. In contrast, both the Gentleman and Man 100 were produced for about 10 years. I'm sure there is an interesting story about the development and the rapid demise of the Liaison, but it is unknown to me.

The Liaison was produced in black and in two colors of wood grain-appearing ebonite. A limited edition - the "Cobra" - was black with chasing. I believe other colors were also made, but I haven't found a complete list. I do not know how many Liaisons were made during its brief life, but both used and NOS Liaison's are currently found on eBay and a few online vendor web sites.

I recently purchased a dark brown wood-grain model, my first Liaison. The Liaison is a substantial pen. It is essentially identical to the Man 100 in length and girth, but it is heavier by 6 grams on my scale.

The Liaison had a number of design features that sets it apart from the models that preceded and followed it.
• The barrel is basically a cylinder with a slight swelling in mid-length. There is no defined separate section.
• The nib is semi-hooded and wraps around the feed.
• The way the cartridge or converter is accessed is by turning the blind cap. This pushes the nib/feed and collar that holds the C/C out from the barrel. (See photos.)
• The hardware - clip, cap ring, etc. - is of an unique and pleasing design.
• The Waterman emblem on the cap is cast into a gold hexagon.

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Clip and Cap Ring

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Waterman emblem on top of cap
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Blind Cap (Turn to release nib/feed/ and load cartridge or converter.)

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Nib (Compare to next 2 photos.)

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Nib, after turning the blind cap to release it for loading ink.

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Cartridge installed, after pulling out released nib (See 2 preceding photos.)

The Liaison is a comfortable pen to hold and use. For me, it is a tad more comfortable un-posted but certainly not uncomfortable to use posted. The one I have is a dark brown ebonite with orange streaks, giving it a wood grain appearance. The nib is a Medium. It is a very smooth writer with even ink flow using a Waterman Florida Blue cartridge. I haven't yet tried it with the converter. There is very slight tactile feedback, writing on Rhodia paper. I was pleasantly surprised to find that writing on either inexpensive printer paper or high-quality, "fountain pen friendly" paper gives essentially indistinguishable results.

Reading older FPN threads, I find that some experienced problems with Liaison nibs skipping. So far, I have had none. Mine writes beautifully. I am enjoying using it.

David

Edited by dms525, 08 March 2012 - 20:06.


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#2 jameswatts

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 22:19

I have the orange wood grain ebonite, with a fine nib, and love it. My only disappointment is that the color of the body fades -- the area on the barrel covered by the cap is quite a bit darker than the rest of the pen. But just put it down to "character" -- the pen writes too well, and feels too comfortable in my hand, for me to get too bent out of shape over aesthetics.

#3 XV107

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 23:45

Thank you, an interesting review. I have a wine/burgundy coloured Liaison (I forget the exact name of the colour), which complements a black one from about 1994, and another one I bought for GBP35 when a major department store was shutting down and clearing out all its stock. The Liaison was sitting there, slightly forlornly as people were buying cheap Lamys, Shaeffers and a couple of Parkers and ignoring it - I'm guessing that none of them did what I did 'Ooh. A Liaison! *How* much?!?' (imagine me reaching for my wallet as I thought the second sentence...).

I found my original Liaison a bit disappointing, with a slightly scratchy nib. The wine one is OK, but not as nice as my Man 100. The 'Rescue Home' Liaison as my wife referred to it came with a Broad nib, which is very, very nice indeed. I have to admit that the way I hold a pen means that I sometimes find the lack of a section a bit of a mild annoyance, but one which I'm prepared to forgive overall. I seem to recall seeing a blue Liaison RB when I was in Toronto a couple of years back (but since I bought three fountain pens from the same shop, I kind of felt that buying an RB as well might push She Who Must Be Obeyed's benign tolerance of my pen habit a bit too much...

#4 dms525

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 00:06

Thank you, an interesting review. I have a wine/burgundy coloured Liaison (I forget the exact name of the colour), which complements a black one from about 1994, and another one I bought for GBP35 when a major department store was shutting down and clearing out all its stock. The Liaison was sitting there, slightly forlornly as people were buying cheap Lamys, Shaeffers and a couple of Parkers and ignoring it - I'm guessing that none of them did what I did 'Ooh. A Liaison! *How* much?!?' (imagine me reaching for my wallet as I thought the second sentence...).

I found my original Liaison a bit disappointing, with a slightly scratchy nib. The wine one is OK, but not as nice as my Man 100. The 'Rescue Home' Liaison as my wife referred to it came with a Broad nib, which is very, very nice indeed. I have to admit that the way I hold a pen means that I sometimes find the lack of a section a bit of a mild annoyance, but one which I'm prepared to forgive overall. I seem to recall seeing a blue Liaison RB when I was in Toronto a couple of years back (but since I bought three fountain pens from the same shop, I kind of felt that buying an RB as well might push She Who Must Be Obeyed's benign tolerance of my pen habit a bit too much...


Your experience of the Liaison nibs' variable performance seems representative of the other comments I have read on FPN regarding this pen. I wonder if that is a reason it wasn't kept in production for long. I can't recall reading about anyone having a Liaison nib tuned by a nibmeister. I would think that the scratchy writing and ink flow problems could be remedied.

Thanks for your comment!

David

#5 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 08:59

the nib on the liaison was a tubular nib smooth but with zero line variation and it was not waterman's flagship luxury pen, it was n°3 behind the man 100 and the edson introduced in late 1992 early 1993. The very last man 100 the coupe du monde was produced in late 1997 early 1998. Aesthetically the liaison was nice but when it came to writing performance the liaison was an average pen
Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time

#6 dms525

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 18:03

the nib on the liaison was a tubular nib smooth but with zero line variation and it was not waterman's flagship luxury pen, it was n°3 behind the man 100 and the edson introduced in late 1992 early 1993. The very last man 100 the coupe du monde was produced in late 1997 early 1998. Aesthetically the liaison was nice but when it came to writing performance the liaison was an average pen


Thanks for the corrected chronology, Georges. I was repeating what I had read elsewhere on the web. It would be nice if Waterman had more historical information on their web site.

I would rate the particular Liaison specimen I have as an above average writer, but, given the mixed reviews I have read, perhaps they were less consistent than most high-end pens.

David

#7 hari317

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 18:09

David, thank you for a detailed review and very nice pictures of the Liaison.

Best
Hari
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#8 MarcS

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 23:03

hello, all. i recently bought an ebonite liaison at an estate sale. the price was too good to pass up, even with the uneven experience of fpn members. it, too, has a scratchy nib (especially compared to my everyday gentleman) that skips, and a barrel that is slightly faded. what i really want to know is: should the cap "snap" when you close the pen? this cap becomes snug, but does not "snap" shut like my gentleman does.

all comments appreciated in advance,
marc

#9 dms525

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 15:24

hello, all. i recently bought an ebonite liaison at an estate sale. the price was too good to pass up, even with the uneven experience of fpn members. it, too, has a scratchy nib (especially compared to my everyday gentleman) that skips, and a barrel that is slightly faded. what i really want to know is: should the cap "snap" when you close the pen? this cap becomes snug, but does not "snap" shut like my gentleman does.

all comments appreciated in advance,
marc


The cap on mine behaves as you describe, Marc.

David

#10 retro50

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 17:54

I just recently purchased a burgundy Liaison from a member of our local pen club. I has the broad nib and writes beautifully - until it starts to skip. I have tried two inks in it with the same results. The problem is worse on paper with a less absorbent surface such as Rhodia. After filling, it writes great for a page or so then begins to skip. Forcing more ink into the feed makes it work for another half page until the problem recurs. Is there a simple solution to this issue? Or is the pen just fraught with skip issues? Thanks.
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#11 dms525

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 04:21

I just recently purchased a burgundy Liaison from a member of our local pen club. I has the broad nib and writes beautifully - until it starts to skip. I have tried two inks in it with the same results. The problem is worse on paper with a less absorbent surface such as Rhodia. After filling, it writes great for a page or so then begins to skip. Forcing more ink into the feed makes it work for another half page until the problem recurs. Is there a simple solution to this issue? Or is the pen just fraught with skip issues? Thanks.

\

I haven't had skipping problems, but I just have the one Liaison.

David

#12 pelman

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 17:55

I just recently purchased a burgundy Liaison from a member of our local pen club. I has the broad nib and writes beautifully - until it starts to skip. I have tried two inks in it with the same results. The problem is worse on paper with a less absorbent surface such as Rhodia. After filling, it writes great for a page or so then begins to skip. Forcing more ink into the feed makes it work for another half page until the problem recurs. Is there a simple solution to this issue? Or is the pen just fraught with skip issues? Thanks.

Mine does the same. I have a feeling it is because of the "big baby bottom". Good luck.

#13 Bill Wood

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 02:03

David. Thanks very much for the review. Found it interesting having had two ebonites in the past. The Liason was always plagued by ink flow issues. This was brought my attention a number of years back and the repair was always opening up the feed. I went threw a couple of new feeds to solve the issue but never was successful. I'm glad that yours is working well. The skipping reported is ink flow as is some of the scratchy nib issues. For the Liasons working well, keep them. They're a great pen. For others somewhat frustrating.

Edited by Bill Wood, 31 March 2012 - 02:05.


#14 jptitus

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 19:21

Thank you all for your comments.  This is my main source for gathering history on pens.  I was about to list my black lacquer Waterman Liaison on eBay when I looked up this thread.  To my surprise I found reports of skipping.  I have two Liaisons, this one and an orange-with-black stripe ebonite model, both with medium nibs.  I decided to fill the black one and write a couple of pages as fast as I could, to see if I could make it skip.  I wrote 3 pages on 6" X 8" pages, a total of 49 lines of writing.  I could not make it skip, not even close to skipping.  The ink flow was smooth and generous.

 

The reason for this may be the way I fill cartridge/converter pens.  I got into collecting and using fountain pens in the mid-1990s.  It seemed like there were many C/C filled pens that had problems with skipping.  At that time I developed a filling procedure that seems to eliminate the problem.  When you draw ink into a pen it never fills the converter completely.  The converter has to pull in the air between the feed opening and the converter connection ahead of the ink.  Filling, expelling and then filling without pulling the nib out of the ink helps get most of the air out of the ink path.  I found with the configuration of the Liaison, there is much more volume of air between the feed opening and converter connection than on most pens.  I don't stop with multiple fill/ expel/ fill steps if I can't get the ink to fill very close to the top of the converter.  In case of the Liaison I fill/ expel/ fill, pull the nib out of the ink, turn it upward, tap it a few times, expel until ink beads up around the base of the nib, then put the nib back into the ink and fill the remaining capacity of the converter.  That, I theorize, eliminates airlocks in the ink path.  It sounds like a lot of steps, but hey, we fountain pen fanatics need our rituals.

 

By the way, I have never tried using cartridges in my Liaisons.  IMHO, doing so is just asking for airlocks in most C/C pens.  Notable exceptions would be Pilots, Sailors and Platinums with their wider cartridge openings, and Kawekos, Pelikans, Omas' and Sheaffers....(mysteriously to me).

 

Regarding the fading of the orange ebonite, it will fade if left in sunlight.  Ebonite should be stored in darkness.  To bring it back to its original color and luster, buff it with a jeweler's cloth (typically for silver) that you can pick up at most jewelry stores.








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