This is actually my third CF. The first was inherited from my grandmother, who passed away some time ago. My dad went to get the gold plated body polished, but ended up losing it, pen and converter and all. My second was a lemon from an eBay seller, which had many cracks as well as an underperforming nib. Based on my experience in getting a refund, I suspect that this was due to the shipping process because he proved very good at getting the refund back.
Which brings me to this pen. I’ve wanted to replace the lost CF, since I adored the nib design on it. I found this also on eBay and got quite a reasonable price.
Note: When there are 2 rating, the top is for my satisfaction, while the lower is for how much it could do, for that particular category. For example, I might be extremely satisfied with a stiff nib (5/5) but the lower rating would be (1/5) since it couldn’t flex at all. The ratings are not included in the final score.
Box and Instructions (5/10)
I bought this pen used, but it came in a standard and, I think, modern Waterman box. This consisted of a blue cardboard and faux-leather box and a white cardboard outer sheath. Whilst not very exciting, it was a nice touch from the seller. No instructions were included.
The pen has a mesmerising moire pattern. There are superimposed designs on the lined silver finish which give the pen a very sophisticated feel. Some of the moire pattern is a bit off and inconsistent, so points are deducted. The cap band and barrel trim come together when the pen is capped and the moire pattern aligns beautifully if properly positioned.
The silver coloured trim is very high quality and is not scratched even after use as a pocket pen for about 4 months. This pen’s grip section is on the thinner side but is still fairly comfortable. The rather long section is completed by the “Skripsert” type nib which is well-integrated into the section and is flush with the pen.
Engravings on the pen are obviously high quality. Whilst they may not be obvious due to the colour scheme, they are legible when required and disappear when you’re not looking for them. “WATERMAN CF” is inscribed into the cap band, whilst the barrel trim is engraved with “MADE IN FRANCE”.
The clip is a little large in comparison with the pen, but is expertly plated like the rest of the trim. It integrates well into the pen, with the clip ending with the cap top.
Initial Feel (8/10)
As someone who appreciates a hefty pen, this did not disappoint. Although small, the Waterman CF is quite solid and fairly heavy for its size. The moire pattern is quite ergonomic and provides a very nice grip, since I tend to post this pen and grip it fairly high. The barrel isn’t flush with the trim ring, though.
The pen didn’t come with a converter, but I had bought one earlier. It’s a squeeze type, which has quite a tough sac but otherwise works. What is annoying is that it’s proprietary to not only the brand, but to the model of the pen. This means that if I happen to lose or break this, I’d have to either pay $40 for a new one or refill the cartridge for the rest of my days.
The nib has a very good performance on all papers. It’s smooth, but has some feedback which I didn’t mind. What I didn’t expect was for the nib to sometimes squeak, which has scared me on quite a few instances.
The 18K nib was quite springy, but as it was already a broadish medium, there was little line variation to be had. Nevertheless, I didn’t expect any flex, so this slight variation was a nice surprise.
The pen has a wet flow of ink, which keeps the nib well supplied. I haven’t yet had any hard starts or skipping during my use of this pen at all, which is quite pleasing and a relief since it would be a nightmare to prime the feed using a squeeze converter.
General reliability (15/20)
An annoyance with this pen is its tendency to leave a ring of ink on the section near the nib. This is quite minor, since I don’t grip so far down anyways, but my compulsive requirement to wipe it off has given my fingers a variety of colours.
Other than that, the pen has not failed in its performance as of yet. I take it to places where I don’t expect to write too much, since it’s not the most ergonomic of pens for me. The nib, however, is smooth enough to warrant me to want to use it more often than not.
Construction and Ergonomics
The exterior of the pen is done flawlessly. The cap slips on firmly and stays closed. The clip does not wobble, and like I’ve said before, the plating on this pen’s trim is flawless. The section unscrews rather roughly, which is a minor concern.
This pen’s clip is very stiff. It’s hard to open manually, and doesn’t slip on surfaces easily. The clip on my pen is also ever so slightly misaligned which is OCD-terrifying. However, this doesn’t affect the functionality.
The CF’s balance is great posted, and I almost always use it that way. The cap isn’t the most secure when posted, but usually stays on most of the time.
Miscellaneous (Extra thoughts)
Value for money (8/10)
I got this pen for $90US. Not an incredible deal, but a fair price for a pen in excellent condition. Considering the fact that $90 doesn’t get much these days, I am quite pleased with the purchase.
This pen was amongst the first cartridge pens, and the first commercially successful ones. In that respect, the Waterman CF is quite historically significant.
Image and Advertising (3/5)
Strangely enough, the pen isn’t as well known or respected as the 51. Whilst having a more conventional design, the fact that the first successful cartridge pen isn’t celebrated more is quite a surprise.
Buying experience (4/5)
I bought this pen on the internet, through eBay. I didn’t expect much and was rather wary after my previous experience. Free shipping was a very nice touch, even though I didn’t communicate much with the seller.
This pen is a very pleasant writing instrument, although too small for extended use in my larger hands. It’s quite an underrated and underexposed pen, in my opinion. I feel that the extremely specific filling system and rarity of converters has put of potential collectors who would rather have an easily replaceable part as opposed to something that is expensive and difficult to find.
The Waterman CF is a pen I take out in order to make quick notes or fill in forms. I find it visually appealing but cannot write with it for an extended amount of time. Since I’ve been through 3 of these, I am happy to say that I have found another piece that will stay with me in my collection.