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Waterman L'etalon For A Fountain Pen Noob

waterman letalon etalon newbie noob experience

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16 replies to this topic

#1 tismijnestylo

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 10:42

I own a Waterman L'Etalon ballpoint, which I love. And I want to complement it with the fountain pen: I love the elegant, sophisticated yet simple look of it and I love its solid weight.

 

However, looking around the internet, they don't come cheap - to my standards.

 

I am a fountain pen noob, so before spending an inordinate amount of money on a pen, I would like to experience somehow if I like the fountain pen experience in the first place. Can you guys give me a hint as to where to start? Does a supermarket pen provide a similar writing experience as does a luxury pen? Are there any others ways to help me avoid this being an expensive gamble? I know of no place in my neighbourhood where I can test a pen, especially not a vintage pen.

 

Thanks a lot for your input!



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#2 ENewton

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 13:45

If you have never written with a fountain pen before and like the weight of your L'Etalon ballpoint, I would suggest that you first try a Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen with a medium nib. Get used to writing with it--the most important difference in writing with a fountain pen is that with a fountain pen one isn't supposed to apply pressure as one writes--and get a feel for the practice of filling the pen from a bottle of ink and flushing it with water now and then to take good care of it.

 

Start with a Waterman ink.  They are not expensive or prone to clog your pen.  It is very important to use only inks meant for fountain pens; other kinds of inks, notably India ink, can ruin a pen.

 

You will notice that with a fountain pen, you might have to select paper more carefully than with a ballpoint.  Ink tends to spread or seep through some papers.  

 

When you finally get your L'Etalon, the writing experience will be somewhat different, in that the nib is likely to feel softer as you write, but by that point you will be accustomed to writing with a fountain pen, and you won't accidentally push too hard.  As to price, yes, a nice pen will not be cheap, but you will have it for the rest of your life.  Right now I am writing with a Waterman Gentleman pen that I have used consistently for twenty years, and I also own a Waterman pen from the 1930s that writes beautifully.

 

When you are ready to buy, people on this forum will help point you to reputable dealers so you will be able to feel confident that your pen writes well.  

 

Welcome. 



#3 Aysedasi

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 13:54

I've owned two L'Etalons.  Really nice pens, but I just found them a little..... dull.  Both were sold on and I wouldn't be inclined to buy another.  I'm not a huge Waterman fan if I'm honest, although I'd be pretty happy if someone bought me an Edson.......   ;)



#4 Force

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 16:08

I have bought, sold, given and kept the FP and BP's. I have only had one instance of failure which was a cracked section grip which leaked ink. I still have it somewhere in my scrap box. The FP's are not rare but then again not common so when they do appear they demand high'ish prices if in good order. Last year I sold 3 lovely (mint) sets (FP+BP) in the colours, black, burgundy and green to one person. He liked the first set and bought two more for his son and daughter. He has never complained so I assume he/they are happy. In the main they are a well built, quality, pen.

 

I still have an FP, RB and BP in silver, my brother has 2 x FP's, an RB and BP in the same, my wife well she just has a BP in silver for her hand bag which gets a lot of comments.



#5 tismijnestylo

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 21:11

Thanks for good advice. I'll first see if I can get used to writing with a fountain pen in the first place with a pilot metropolitan. Once I am sure, I'll see to get a trustworthy seller :-)

 

@Force, I can imagine that your wife's silver Etalon is an eye-catcher indeed.

 

I have the burgundy BP, the twist action is broken, but I found a new one on the Bay. Next week I'll try to replace it.



#6 RMN

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 22:58

I own a Waterman L'Etalon ballpoint, which I love. And I want to complement it with the fountain pen: I love the elegant, sophisticated yet simple look of it and I love its solid weight.

 

However, looking around the internet, they don't come cheap - to my standards.

 

I am a fountain pen noob, so before spending an inordinate amount of money on a pen, I would like to experience somehow if I like the fountain pen experience in the first place. Can you guys give me a hint as to where to start? Does a supermarket pen provide a similar writing experience as does a luxury pen? Are there any others ways to help me avoid this being an expensive gamble? I know of no place in my neighbourhood where I can test a pen, especially not a vintage pen.

 

Thanks a lot for your input!

 

Welkom bij FPN.

 

 

I think the Stallion ('l Étalon) is a very good fountainpen. I have one, bought from a shop that wanted to close down. He had another and I still kick myself for not buying it.

 

That said, if you have never used a FP before, I think ENewton's advice is sound. Start with a cheaper pen, see how you like it and if you like it, go for something nicer.

Where in Belgium are you located? There are some penshops in Belgium, but I don't have their addresses.

You could always try La Couronne de Comte in Tilburg. Dennis is a nice guy and very helpful. If you get a Pilot Metropolitan from him be sure to ask for the European version that takes standard international cartridges. (called the Pilot MR2) Much easier to find inks to your liking here in the SI size.

Waterman cartridges are basically long SI sizes, and could be used in the MR2. Or you could get a converter to pull up bottled fountainpen ink. (make sure it's FP ink. Drawing inks, like India ink, are nice to use with a dip pen, but they'll ruin your FP)

 

If you can find a Waterman Kultur in a shop near you, or a Phileas, that's a good option too. You may be lucky finding cheap Phileas in Belgium.

 

 

D.ick


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KEEP SAFE, KEEP INSIDE, KEEP A DISTANCE.

 

Freedom exists by virtue of self limitation.

 

 

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#7 sidthecat

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 02:50

I just bought one - a broad nib. The seller didn't know what it was so I got it for a bit north of $50.00. I was interested in the 18K nib, but I didn't realize how modern it was.

Due diligence...one should always do it.

#8 RMN

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Posted 27 November 2016 - 00:47

I just bought one - a broad nib. The seller didn't know what it was so I got it for a bit north of $50.00. I was interested in the 18K nib, but I didn't realize how modern it was.

Due diligence...one should always do it.

 

Well, you got a very good pen!

 

 

D.ick


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KEEP SAFE, KEEP INSIDE, KEEP A DISTANCE.

 

Freedom exists by virtue of self limitation.

 

 

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#9 tismijnestylo

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Posted 27 November 2016 - 10:14

@sidthecat, 50$ sounds like a bargain.
You say you didn't realize how modern it was, that sounds like the pen doesn't really meet your expectations. Does it?

#10 sidthecat

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 04:13

I bought it for my boss, who is starting to collect. I bought it because I have a Wahl Doric with an 18K nib that's absolutely brilliant. We're both flex obsessives, so I thought it would be a flexible nib. However, I gather that they aren't.
I'll have to try it, of course. I have a couple of modern pens that have lovely nibs, even if they don't flex. It is an awfully pretty thing, goodness knows.

#11 RMN

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 09:39

I bought it for my boss, who is starting to collect. I bought it because I have a Wahl Doric with an 18K nib that's absolutely brilliant. We're both flex obsessives, so I thought it would be a flexible nib. However, I gather that they aren't.
I'll have to try it, of course. I have a couple of modern pens that have lovely nibs, even if they don't flex. It is an awfully pretty thing, goodness knows.

 

Modern Watermans, and the L'Etalon is a modern pen, have fairly rigid nibs. They are good nibs, but no flex at all.

It is a great pen, when I bought mine a few years back I was very surprised to find that kind of quality in a fairly modest priced pen.

If I had to part with a pen I would rather part with my regular black Carène than with my l'Etalon.

 

 

D.ick


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KEEP SAFE, KEEP INSIDE, KEEP A DISTANCE.

 

Freedom exists by virtue of self limitation.

 

 

~

 


#12 sidthecat

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Posted 29 November 2016 - 03:18

The L'Etalon arrived today, and it is a handsome fellow! The feed is saturated with black ink which I'm soaking out, and I'll fill the cartridge with something more interesting. There's even a little flex to the nib, which I hadn't expected.
I'm hoping to write with it tonight. Does anyone know if they take a converter?

#13 Force

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Posted 29 November 2016 - 06:21

The L'Etalon arrived today, and it is a handsome fellow! The feed is saturated with black ink which I'm soaking out, and I'll fill the cartridge with something more interesting. There's even a little flex to the nib, which I hadn't expected.
I'm hoping to write with it tonight. Does anyone know if they take a converter?

Yes, the standard Waterman modern converter.



#14 sidthecat

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Posted 29 November 2016 - 06:33

Good to know. It writes with a massive line: a perfect pen for a cave man with taste. I actually like it as a lettering pen. It would be a good sketching pen, too - too big and coarse to get fiddly with a drawing.
Trouble is, it's a ridiculously hard starter. I'll have to send it out; then it'll be off to the races!

#15 donmcnel

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 17:05

This was my very first FP and I also found it to be a hard starter, so much so that I didn't enjoy it at all and it soured me on fountain pens. I went to the DC pen show 8 or 9 years ago with a friend and while there I had someone (I forget who) look at it. They made a small adjustment to the nib and it made all the difference. It became a wonderful, reliable writer and started me on my way with fountain pens. I'd highly recommend now.



#16 hpk90

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 19:39

I have a love/hate relationship with my Etalons.  I have the whole set in black and gold, and love all but the fountain pen.  The fountain pen is a notoriously hard starter, and I probably need to get it tweaked a bit.  There are usually a handful for sale on Ebay, and I watch for them because I am interested in acquiring more in different colors.  The problem, of course, is price.  1990s era (not sure I am ready to call the 90s vintage yet) Watermans (Leman, Rhapsody, Opera, etc.) seem to be always very expensive on Ebay.  Sometimes you can find them as NOS at various fountain pen shops online, but you have to look carefully.  Montgomery Stationery in New York (I think) might have some, but I have not looked there in a while.  Sarj Minhas, in Britain, almost certainly has some. 



#17 wspohn

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 16:38

I've got the sterling version.  Starts easily but the cap doesn't post securely and slips off.  Probably not an issue with other materials.


Bill Spohn
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