Pen Pit Stop : Parker Sonnet Matte Black
Welcome to the Pen Pit Stop. Here you will find reviews of pens that already have some mileage on them. More specifically, these reviews are of pens that are in my personal collection, and that have been in use for at least a year. I thought it would be fun to do it this way - no new & shiny pens here, but battered vehicles that have been put to work for at least a year. Let's find out how they have withstood the ravages of time.
The fountain pen that arrives at the pit stop today is the "Parker Sonnet" in Matte Black finish. The Parker Pen Company is a manufacturer of luxury pens, founded in 1888 by George Safford Parker in Janesville, Wisconsin, United States. The Sonnet model was introduced around 1994. It was designed by Geoff Hollington of Hollington Associates in London, who describes it as: "The Sonnet was intended to be 'the classic Parker', a truly timeless product, with a really well proportioned cigar shape, clear but updated arrow clip, a generously sized nib and state of the art writing experience." Much more and definitely interesting information about the Parker Sonnet can be found at https://parkerpens.net/sonnet.html.
The model designation on this pen is very faintly and unobtrusively engraved on the side of the cap, and states "Parker Sonnet, France, Y". The "Y" designates the last digit of the production year. The numbering scheme used takes the word QUALITYPEN, and designates the numbers 0..9 to each of these letters. So Y=6, meaning that this pen was produced in a year ending on a 6 (and more specifically in Q4 of that year). My specific pen has small cap bands, and is an earlier model. With the Sonnet model being introduced in 1994, this means that my pen dates from Q4 1996 … which fits with my recollection that I bought this pen somewhere at the end of the 90's. At that time, I had no particular interest in fountain pens. The pen got some use, and then disappeared in a drawer, where I rediscovered it a couple of years ago. Let's have a closer look at it.
- Build Quality : the pen is well build, and still looks great after more than 20 years. The pen also has some weight to it (owing to the metal parts used in its construction - parts of the cap, plus the threads where the barrel screws into place). The most visible wear has occurred on the band at the nib-section, where the gold-colouring is flaking away (visible in close-up, but barely noticeable in actual use). Some ravages of time, but overall this pen has aged gracefully.
- Weight & Dimensions : about the same size as a Lamy Safari when capped. Uncapped and unposted it is definitely a smaller pen, but still very comfortable in the hand. This is also a slender pen, especially compared to the much bulkier Lamy Safari. The pen has also some heft to it - it is substantially heavier than a Lamy Safari, with most of the weight concentrated in the cap.
- Filling System : this is a cartridge convertor pen, that uses Parker proprietary cartridges. Parker sells convertors, but I never use them. I find it much more convenient to just syringe-fill Parker Quink cartridges.
- Nib & Performance : the gold-coloured steel nib on this pen is well-proportioned for the size of this pen. In size, it sits right between a Lamy Safari and a Pelikan M200 nib. The F-nib on my unit writes like a dream, and produces a wet and well-saturated line. Replacement nib units in different sizes can be found online (just do a Google search on "Parket Sonnet nib replacement", and be sure to take a look at S.B.R.E.Brown's excellent disassembly line youtube video for the Parker Sonnet (https://www.youtube....h?v=tkjMuvNKtgc).
- Price : I don't remember exactly what I paid for this pen, but my best guess is that it was around 200 BEF (Belgian Francs - the Euro appeared in 2002), which is about 5 EUR (in 1996 value). Today, an equivalent Parker Sonnet costs about 99 EUR, taxes included.