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Rhymes Of The Parker Sonnet (A Review)

parker sonnet lacquer 18k sonnet mark 1 france sonnet iy

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#1 sannidh

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Posted 15 June 2015 - 18:35

I have replicated the content in my blog. Happy reading ! Below is a link to the same:

 

Rhymes of the Parker Sonnet

 

It is often said that the Parker Sonnet, was originally designed to succeed the elegant simplicity of Parker 75 pens. The 75-series had already run successfully for over two decades. With a classical yet distinctive Arrow clip, the Sonnets were to carry this legacy through the millennial year and beyond. Geoff Hollington, a London based designer was tasked to make the sonnet rhyme and in due course of time he came up with eighteen different designs for Mark 1 Sonnets, which were successfully released in 1994.  You can find a detailed bible on anything and everything about Parker here.

 

THE LAQUE FIREDANCE

 

My Dad had got the lacquer firedance fountain pen back in 1996-97. It was during my schooling years when I had a Camlin Sleek and a Flair Success (a pelikan lookalike) as my grail fountain pens. Those days, it was somewhat mandated (though not strictly) to use fountain pens in government schools, while gel pens had just begun their proliferation, among the private ones. Needless to say, my greedy eyes were fixed on the laque firedance (and a Camlin Premier) from the moment I laid my eyes on the pen. I never knew for years, that it had a gold nib, which was why I was not allowed to carry it to school. 

 

Luxor India still sells this pen in its online shop, at a price close to $ 100, as I write this review. 

 

DESIGN (5/6)

 

The firedance has a mottled lacquer pattern in dark red and black with sparking golden trims. It’s Mark I and a part of the first eighteen sonnets released in 1994, with a distinctive golden arrow clip. 

 

A golden dazzle preludes the sonnet from the finial end running along the arrow shaped clip before converging with the marbled arabesques of red and black, with the final shimmer from a minimal cap-band. The clip starts with an arrow head before transforming into a slender shaft towards the broader vanes, ending up with the finial rings. Some of the Mark II Sonnets released in 1998 came up with a much broader cap band, which can go well or worse given  your taste.  

 

DSC_3637_zpsea4wqph5.jpg

 

On pulling the cap off (yes it’s a snap-on cap), you can notice the golden rings at the start and end of the black plastic grip section. The final symphony is of course played by the usual suspect - the 18k monotone nib glistening at the end of the grip.

 

DSC_3650_zpsjbhkgfm0.jpg

 

The cap mentions a few things in a subtle golden font, the name PARKER SONNET, Parker’s traditional arrow through an oval logo and the date of manufacture, IY  here refers to the year of 1996. In some of the sonnets, you can see the country of manufacture embossed too. (usually I have seen FRANCE)

 

Further to this, you can observe a unification of design at finial ends of both cap and barrel. A simple black disc does mark the finality in design at both ends of the sonnet. 

 

DSC_3674coll_zpsrxkmmtz6.jpg

 

FILLING SYSTEM (5/6)

 

On removing the barrel from the grip, you would instantly notice a gold plated metallic thread section, inside which the converter is plugged. With circular cross sections, the parts make an easy fit. A traditional cartridge-converter filling system with a Parker Deluxe Converter gives you an ink-capacity of around 0.5 mL, which might seems limited for extensive writers.

 

DSC_3692_zpsmexc1fuz.jpg

 

NIB - ALL THAT MATTERS (4/6)

 

The nib comes in four different nib designs (18k two-tone, 18k monotone, gold-plated steel and steel) across five stock widths - EF, F, M, B & BB (and special widths in OB & I). The firedance has a 18k monotone nib which looks compact and is efficient.

 

 The tail end of the nib specifies the composition (75% Au) of the gold-alloy used with the traditional diamond hallmark of P-Arrow-P on the left. PARKER and 18 K imprints rest on the body, while an arabesque decor runs along the inside tines towards the shoulders of the nib, encompassing the circular breather hole in between. There is an outer curve which encloses  the nib aesthetics. This one is a medium nib and lays a wet line with a hint of feedback.

 

DSC_3705_zpsuvckdjd3.jpg

 

Thin fins constitute the feed which along with the nib screws back into the grip section. There is the nib size mentioned in a triangular region at its end.

 

DSC_3708_zpsu3xhaiyv.jpg

 

PHYSICS OF IT (4/6) – RELATIVELY SPEAKING

 

With a cylindrical lacquer coated metal body, it does give a good feel of length, albeit with a bit of imbalance, while posted. The overall weight of the Sonnets has a significant contribution from the cap. The posted cap might leave you with a dragging feel of top-heaviness.

Uncapped Length ~ 12. 3 cm

Posted Length ~ 14.3 cm

Nib Leverage ~ 1.9 cm

Overall Weight ~ 20-25 g

 

DSC_3722_zpsifqgtwrb.jpg

 

A girth of 1 cm at the grip might seem kind of average but it does match the overall design. 

 

DSC_3726_zpsgn99iu6k.jpg

 

ECONOMIC VALUE(6/6)

 

It retails at around USD 100-105, and might be available at lower street prices. It seems to be a good buy given the unique make of a lacquer coated pen with a 18k gold-nib. However, you have to be aware that there are a lot of Chinese fakes flooding both the online and offline markets, some of which could be easily identified from the diamond hallmark (P-Arrow-P ) on the nib.

 

OVERALL (4.8/6)

 

This 18k nib has a wet flow, with a hint of feedback. The nib is flexible and lays a broader line with a little pressure. There is no significant variation among the horizontal and vertical strokes. These wet lines take almost 7-10 secs to dry with a traditional pilot blue-black ink on MD paper.

 

DSC_3740_zpsr0w8imju.jpg

 

Thank you for going through the review. 


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#2 s_t_e_v_e

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 19:02

Thanks for the review! Nice photos!

I used to have this pen but sold it since the nib was not writing up to my expectations. 

I have another sonnet in matt black and like it more. It's a much smoother and much wetter writer.

Though I do like the finish on the fire dance.



#3 welch

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 19:22

Firedance? Good name for a beautiful pen!

 

My first pen, upon returning to fountain pens, was a Sonnet Mark I. I like the balance and the look: the thin banded tassie is more appealing than the later wide-band.

 

Love the interchangeable nibs...have several from Jean-Michel Lewertowski, the great "pen-seller from France".

 

Only quibble is that the Sonnet dries out too quickly, apparently because the cap jewel has several air-vents at the request of safety-and-health people who were afraid someone might get a cap stuck in their throat. So says the legend, anyway. I've tried painting shellac around the cap jewel, but it's not a great solution.

 

Yes, I still have that Mark I. It's been banged around a little, but it's a tough pen. Also "accumulated" a duplicate when I won a bottle of Parker Penman Sapphire. Apparently, Parker gave a bottle of Penman Sapphire with a Sonnet...at least for a while. Used the ink (of course), but haven't needed to touch that Sonnet.


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#4 sannidh

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 05:10

Thanks for the review! Nice photos!

I used to have this pen but sold it since the nib was not writing up to my expectations. 

I have another sonnet in matt black and like it more. It's a much smoother and much wetter writer.

Though I do like the finish on the fire dance.

 

Thank you steve! The one with me has a medium nib and lays quite a wet line. I do love this finish. And also the ones with the laque blue and midnight blue finish look quite attractive.

 

 

Best,

Sonik


Edited by soniknitr, 18 June 2015 - 05:45.

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#5 hari317

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 05:50

Hi Sonik, Nice pen and review. The "Lacque Firedance" was one of the first gold nibbed pens that I bought. Do you remember the drool worthy print media campaign that Luxor had run when these models plus the marbled ABS body Frontiers were introduced? My favorites are the Lacque Ambre and the Fougere.

 

Luxor offered the following finishes initially:

 

Lacque Firedance.

Gold Plated Cascade.

Lacque Ambre.

Sterling Silver Cisele.

Sterling Silver Fougere.

 

Best

Hari


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#6 sannidh

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 07:30

Firedance? Good name for a beautiful pen!

 

My first pen, upon returning to fountain pens, was a Sonnet Mark I. I like the balance and the look: the thin banded tassie is more appealing than the later wide-band.

 

Love the interchangeable nibs...have several from Jean-Michel Lewertowski, the great "pen-seller from France".

 

Only quibble is that the Sonnet dries out too quickly, apparently because the cap jewel has several air-vents at the request of safety-and-health people who were afraid someone might get a cap stuck in their throat. So says the legend, anyway. I've tried painting shellac around the cap jewel, but it's not a great solution.

 

Yes, I still have that Mark I. It's been banged around a little, but it's a tough pen. Also "accumulated" a duplicate when I won a bottle of Parker Penman Sapphire. Apparently, Parker gave a bottle of Penman Sapphire with a Sonnet...at least for a while. Used the ink (of course), but haven't needed to touch that Sonnet.

 

Loved reading your experience with the Mark 1 sonnets. Thank you John. I do share the same preference for the cap band. It's great to have different nib-widths, how are they like in terms of smoothness ?

I have felt a hint of feedback with this Medium nib too.

 

The vents do not help the pen at all. Still wondering, what could be the worst thing to eat, if you have nothing except a parker sonnet cap in your hand :P

 

Belated congratulations for winning one of the best inks :P. Copied a banner from one of visvamitra's usually excellent ink reviews, this one is of Penman Sapphire Blue.

10838362_393501970818981_378777322_n.jpg

 

 

Best,

Sonik


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#7 sannidh

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 07:47

Hi Sonik, Nice pen and review. The "Lacque Firedance" was one of the first gold nibbed pens that I bought. Do you remember the drool worthy print media campaign that Luxor had run when these models plus the marbled ABS body Frontiers were introduced? My favorites are the Lacque Ambre and the Fougere.

 

Luxor offered the following finishes initially:

 

Lacque Firedance.

Gold Plated Cascade.

Lacque Ambre.

Sterling Silver Cisele.

Sterling Silver Fougere.

 

Best

Hari

 

Thank you Hari, esp for reminding me those days.. I remember those ads in print for the frontier and the sonnets. They were pasted in stationery shops outside, beside a rotating parker vector stand :D.  I would stand there for a few minutes and wonder how would the frontier write !!

 

Do you remember how much they cost those days? My dad couldn't recall the cost. (I was in school then, but he let me write a line or two, with it at home). I got a few vectors subsequently :)

 

I still love the Sterling Silver Cisele looks :D

 

Btw, does your firedance have a FRANCE imprint on the cap beside the XX(Year of manufacture) ?

 

Best,

Sonik


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#8 hari317

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 08:12

I used to be in Pune in this period. Venus traders had a nice display counter for the new Parkers, it was very exciting. Unfortunately, I don't remember the prices, only that the pens were very expensive for me, even the Frontier, unattainable as a student.

I got my Sonnet and the Frontier sometime later after I had started working. No France on the Sonnet, the Frontier cap has Made in USA stamped on it, sold by Luxor.


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#9 sannidh

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 08:40

I used to be in Pune in this period. Venus traders had a nice display counter for the new Parkers, it was very exciting. Unfortunately, I don't remember the prices, only that the pens were very expensive for me, even the Frontier, unattainable as a student.

I got my Sonnet and the Frontier sometime later after I had started working. No France on the Sonnet, the Frontier cap has Made in USA stamped on it, sold by Luxor.

 

Vector was priced @ Rs. 150-200 (depending on plastic/brushed steel body) if I recall correctly. Probably, the Luxor sonnet imports did not have FRANCE stamped on it (Not sure) Thanks for the confirmation. And very happy with the fact that the firedance was  your first gold nib fp  :thumbup: , and it is technically true for me too :)


Edited by soniknitr, 18 June 2015 - 08:42.

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#10 touzeen

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 15:51

Got a Lacque Ambre from Higginbothams in Chennai few months back for a steal price.It was such an old model that the store people didnt even have any records of it,took 30 minutes just to value it...Amazing springy nib.

This finish looks good too.



#11 NavyDr

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 17:19

I have three Sonnets,two Flighters with gold trim and one pearl with the engraved silver cap. The stock steel nibs were nice on the flighters, but I ordered an older two-tone gold nib in extra fine and that nib is amazing. It's an incredibly springy and smooth. And the two tone color looks perfect with the Flighter body. It's still a great pen after all these years!



#12 The Blue Knight

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 20:51

Enjoyed the review. Well written nice photos too the Sonnet is a favourite of mine. Where was this pen made?



#13 sannidh

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 05:45

Got a Lacque Ambre from Higginbothams in Chennai few months back for a steal price.It was such an old model that the store people didnt even have any records of it,took 30 minutes just to value it...Amazing springy nib.

This finish looks good too.

:thumbup:  happy for you !! Curious, how much was the steal deal in INR ?


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#14 sannidh

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 06:23

I have three Sonnets,two Flighters with gold trim and one pearl with the engraved silver cap. The stock steel nibs were nice on the flighters, but I ordered an older two-tone gold nib in extra fine and that nib is amazing. It's an incredibly springy and smooth. And the two tone color looks perfect with the Flighter body. It's still a great pen after all these years!

 

Wow, my thought was that EF and EEFs might not be the best option. Happy to hear that you got an amazing experience with these nibs. Thanks for sharing !!


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#15 sannidh

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 06:29

Enjoyed the review. Well written nice photos too the Sonnet is a favourite of mine. Where was this pen made?

Thank you Blue Knight. It was perhaps one of a kind available during those times.

This one is Made in UK, from what I remember. In 1996, it was imported by Luxor India (confirmed this with luxor customer service)


Edited by soniknitr, 19 June 2015 - 06:35.

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#16 Reevers

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 07:56

Such as shame this is no longer available. I would be very interested in seeing this in person... and then probably falling in love with the colour and having to have the pen!

 

Thanks for the great review


Edited by Reevers, 19 June 2015 - 07:57.

Matt


#17 sannidh

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 15:45

Such as shame this is no longer available. I would be very interested in seeing this in person... and then probably falling in love with the colour and having to have the pen!

 

Thanks for the great review

 

Thank you Reevers. Some Mark 1 sonnets are still available in  book/stationery stores here (like touzeen found one at a 'steal deal'). Who knows!, the old shops near your place might be worth a try :)


Edited by soniknitr, 19 June 2015 - 15:47.

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#18 touzeen

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Posted 22 June 2015 - 16:47

Got it for Rs.3500. It has an extra gold ring in the section,less than a centimeter from the end of the section.

10491976_10152112602576008_1197823267313

 

10527503_10152112602466008_1724005225672



#19 maverink

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Posted 22 June 2015 - 17:34

touzeen you are lucky to get a good deal

however its available online at http://www.luxor.in/parker-sonnet-firedance-fountain-pen_9000002014.html 


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#20 sannidh

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Posted 23 June 2015 - 01:13

Got it for Rs.3500. It has an extra gold ring in the section,less than a centimeter from the end of the section.

10491976_10152112602576008_1197823267313

 

10527503_10152112602466008_1724005225672

 

Wow that's a real steal deal. Many congratulations touzeen  :thumbup:

Bumped in an old classified by Hari while searching for the Chinese Laque Ambre


Edited by soniknitr, 23 June 2015 - 01:21.

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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: parker, sonnet, lacquer, 18k sonnet, mark 1, france sonnet, iy



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