INTRODUCTION: This pen is hard for me to do a review on given how long we two have been together. This was my first fountain pen, given to me by my mother at my request twenty years ago. I was twelve when I first began using fountain pens, and my mom was unconvinced that I wouldn’t lose track of a fountain pen, or worse yet, break it. She bought me a $10 Sheaffer calligraphy pen set and I used the smallest nibbed one for absolutely everything. The deal was that if I dind’t lose or break the Shaffer for one year, my mom would buy me any pen I wanted. I was twelve and knew nothing about pens, so she felt confident I wouldn’t end up asking for something expensive.
For eight months I used that Sheaffer every day. She took pity on me four months early and went with me to Grand & Toy and let me pick out any fountain pen I wanted. I remember that it was $125 CAD at that time (1992). I loved it, and used it every day well into University, before I finally bought a second “fancy” pen – a waterman Edson sterling LE.
I do remember that when I first saw this pen (bear in mind that I was 12), I thought it was the prettiest pen in the whole world. The box was sleek and blue, the marble pattern was gorgeous, and the slimness of the pen suited my still child-sized hands well. The nib was smooth and the converter was easy to use. I was thrilled, and if I am being honest, I still am thrilled with the pen.
Appearance & Design (8/10) – This pen is very simple and streamlined. I got the blue marble version, with gold trim and a black ridged plastic grip section. Very utilitarian, there are no fancy bells and whistles on this pen, making it look very much like a cylinder that has been chopped off straight-edged at the end.
Construction & Quality (10/10) – The construction quality is great, as is evidenced by the fact that it is still working perfectly after 20 years and multiple drops! Some of the marble pattern has been chipped off in places that the pen has obviously been scratched with a sharp edge, but I can forgive that considering I gave it such a beating when I was 13. I really had no idea about pen care at that time. The pen is quite light but has a very solid feel to it.
Weight & Dimensions (8/10) – This is a slim, smallish pen, and if you like that sort of thing, then it’s not a problem. Although I do typically use larger pens than this, I still find this easily comfortable in my hand. It is well balanced when posted, but I’ve used it un-posted for literally 20 years, so I feel more comfortable that way. I took off two points just to indicate that if you don’t like slim pens, I advise against a Laureat.
Nib & Performance (10/10) – I went with a medium nib, but I do remember a F was also available, and I did end up purchasing it about 10 years later. Of course, I dropped the nib while in university and it has never written the same, so I typically stick with the M. The nib and feed are removable from the grip section, and there are several different Waterman nibs that are compatible with the Laureat. I don’t know if the original Laureat nibs are available for purchase anymore, but I bet they are.
MB Alfred Hitchcock ink
I am pretty sure the nib is gold plated steel, but it writes better than any other steel nib I’ve tried. Perhaps because I’ve written with it for years! The nib is quite wet and most inks make the nib seem like it writes a little bit more wide than a regular M. It works well on all different types of paper, but really shines on CF and Rhodia. The nib is smooth and delicious, and a real pleasure to write with.
Filling System & Maintenance (10/10) - The Laureat is a cartridge or converter filler. It has been working perfectly for the 20 years I’ve had it. Easy to clean and easy to use, this has become my “test pen” for new inks, particularly because the filling system is such a breeze to clean and maintain. The only downside is that given the slimness of the pen, the cartridge holds much less ink than I’m used to with the pens I normally use (piston or plunger fillers). This makes it ideal for an ink testing pen, but perhaps slightly less ideal for a heavy user carrying only one pen.
Cost & Value (10/10) – When I got this pen in 1992, it was $125 CAD + tax. At the time that seemed like a lot of money, but considering it is still going strong after 20 years and has never once caused me any kind of problem, I feel like the price was totally worth it!
Laureat vs. Parker '51
Edited by saskia_madding, 22 October 2015 - 17:27.