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Which To Buy? Modern Parker Sonnet? Or Waterman Carène?

parker parker sonnet waterman waterman carène sonnet carène

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14 replies to this topic

#1 Mercian

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 00:29

Hi folks,
I am thinking of buying myself a present (ok, I'll be honest - I mean that I wants a new Shiny Thing I does, oh yes!), and I would like some advice from you before I Succumb to the Temptation to blow what is actually rather lot of money for me.

I am trying to choose between a current production (2019-2020) Parker Sonnet, and a Waterman Carène.
I am (as long as the Mods are happy to let me) putting this thread in to both the Parker forum and the Waterman forum, so that I can get as many well-informed replies as possible.
 

The Carène that I fancy the look of is (happily for me) the cheapest one available, and so it is ‘only’ the same price as a Sonnet with a gold nib.
The retailer from whom I am thinking of buying my new toy sells both pens, and in every nib width too  :)
They also stock spare nibs, so I could buy any colour of Sonnet and also buy a gold nib to put in to it.

 

Background

I already own some Parker Frontiers, so I know that the size and shape of the Sonnet suits my hand (although I don't yet know about the weight).
I also like that their nib units can be unscrewed if necessary, because I like to use Rohrer & Klingner's iron-gall inks „Salix” and „Scabiosa”.
The ease of removing the Sonnet's nib & feed for cleaning reassures me that I would have less to fear in terms of the consequences of letting any ink dry out in a Sonnet.
[I did once let some „Salix” dry-out in a Parker "51", and that was a massive PITA to put right. It took about six weeks! OK, so it has so far only happened on the one occasion, when my mother had to be rushed in to hopsital with acute neurological side-effects from a new heart medication, and was in there for a month. Happily, it hasn't happened since, but since then ease of cleaning is something that I do consider whenever I contemplate a new pen purchase.]

Regardless of my penchant for ‘planning for failure’, I am concerned that I have seen many complaints about Sonnets drying-out whilst capped, and complaints of them ‘writing dry’. Neither of those things sounds like anything I want - especially as I like pens that ‘write wet’.

 

So, have you found modern Sonnets to have a drying-out problem?
Do you think that there is any point in my buying a Sonnet with a gold nib, or are the steel nibs just as good?
Is the gold nib more ‘springy’ than the steel? Are both nibs ‘nails’?

 

With respect to the Carène, I like the look of the beast, and have read many complimetary things about it on here.
I have read the advice on how to avoid the problems that can occur when filling it, and how to adjust the rotation angle of the barrel so that the ‘stern’ end of the pen is oriented correctly when the barrel is screwed back on.
I have not yet held an example of the pen, so intend to try one out so that I can check its girth, heft, and balance before I buy it.
My potential worry with it would be its large and inaccessible feed - if I were to let an ink (but especially an iron-gall ink) dry out in that I expect that it would be a nightmare to clean out. Possibly even worse than the "51"!

 

What are your thoughts, oh Fount of All Wisdom that is FPN? Which of these two pens would you advise me to buy?
Do you think that the Carène is the better pen, and that I should buy the Carène and just leave the iron-gall inks for my Frontiers?
Or that each pen is as good as the other?
Or that the Sonnet is better, and that I should buy one with a gold-nib?
Or that I ought to buy a steel-nibbed Sonnet & also some nice inks with the rest of the money?

Are there  any other ‘problems’ with either pen?
Have you found either to have any ‘idiosyncrasies’ that have irked you?

 

My thanks to you all in advance for your answers.

Cheers,
M.


Edited by Mercian, 22 January 2020 - 00:35.

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#2 PAKMAN

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 16:34

The Carene is a nail for sure! Of the two I like my Sonnet the best. (one man's opinion)


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#3 SenZen

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 16:59

For me, no contest: Carène. Short version: Sonnets punch below their weight, Carènes way above.

 

Longer version: Carènes are my accidental grail pens, Sonnets are a hassle to use.

 

I have two Sonnets which were some of my first pens, they evaporate like crazy and if they end up upside down (in a backpack or whatever) they can discharge their ink on the cap; so they're pens I cannot take to the office or on trips. I now keep them in velvet pouches, stored upright, can't leave them by themselves on a desk, a hassle. Their design is nice, but the Carène is spectacular; as long as I return four drops after filling, I've had no problems. Now that I think about it, I've rotated many inks in both models, the Sonnets have never found "their" ink, because hues changes with evaporation, while my very recent Carènes make Asa Gao and Kon Peki look great - and don't evaporate, in spite of snap on caps.

 

You can probably get a Sonnet for less than $100, but need to watch out for the many knock offs, Carènes are usually at the $160 range, very much worth it and can be found at $135, or used models at around $100, with a little patience. I didn't go for used Carènes because I was afraid some noob might try to flex the inflexible and inlaid nibs.


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#4 jchch1950

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 06:34

Carenes are very confortable pens for every day writing.



#5 pajaro

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 08:25

Both are superb.  I can't manage to get rid of either now.  My Sonnets are older, and I have fixed the drying out issue in a few, dripping epoxy in small amounts in the Sonnet caps.  I like all the nibs available in Sonnet and the ease of changing them out.  The Carene can also dry out, and when a Sonnet or Carene dries out I just fill it again with ink, and it is good to go.  If you like fountain pens, one of each is a good idea.  Both are pleasurable to write with and they are not the same.  I found it interesting to use each and I recommend both of them.  I kind of wish I had bought a Carene with the stub nib, but I am pleased with the extra fine, fine and medium nibs in Carene.  In Sonnet I have left and right obliques, fine and broad italics, and the extra fine, fine, medium and broad nibs, some steel, some gold plated and some gold.  I really like the fine italic gold rhodium plated nib in a black Chrome Trim  Sonnet. 


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#6 Mercian

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 15:49

 I kind of wish I had bought a Carene with the stub nib...

 

...I really like the fine italic gold rhodium plated nib in a black Chrome Trim  Sonnet. 

 

With my ‘Wicked Enabler’ hat on:

 

Do you know that, in addition to the factory ‘St’ stubs, Waterman make the Carène with ‘BO’ & ‘FO’ obliques?

 

If you did not know that, I apologise to your significant other and to your wallet  ;)


Edited by Mercian, 25 January 2020 - 00:27.

Foul in clear conditions, but handsome in the fog.

 

mini-postcard-exc.png
 


#7 TSherbs

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 22:51

I have finally used a Carene in a store. Wow! I just couldn't afford it. I found Sonnets to be rather humdrum.

#8 pajaro

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Posted 25 January 2020 - 04:34

Having tried obliques from Esterbrook, Parker and Montblanc, I find them less pleasant to use than a nib cut straight across, like an italic.


"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.

 

They took the blue from the skies and the pretty girls' eyes and a touch of Old Glory too . . .


#9 amk

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Posted 25 January 2020 - 14:26

My vote goes to the Carene. I have a couple, and I absolutely adore them. One of these days I'll get a stub nib for mine - I tried one in Selfridges and it was absolutely marvellous, wet, smooth and with great line variation.

 

Lurk around ebay and you may find an older Carene going for a rather lower budget than buying new. 


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#10 langere

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Posted 25 January 2020 - 18:00

Both are really good pens. I have five Sonnets and two Carenes.  

 

I do not have the drying-out problem with my Sonnets, but perhaps that is because they are older - I purchased most of mine new around 2007.  They are the classic expression of a full nib fountain pen and tend to write nice and juicy (mine are all F or M nibs).

 

The Carene is also a great pen and well worth it, just for the inlaid nib and the shape of the pen.  However, one of my Carenes has had some oxidation problem on the metal cap and on the end of the barrel.  The other issue is that my fingers sometimes descend too far down and then the inlaid nib transfers ink onto my fingers.  

 

I suggest you try both and see what you like most.  I also suspect that, if you like both to a certain extent, that you will end up getting one (or some) of each.

 

Hope this helps -

 

Erick


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#11 corniche

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Posted 25 January 2020 - 20:10

Hi Mercian,

I have an 18k nibbed Sonnet and it's a nice enough pen, but I prefer the Duofolds.

But, between the two models you ask about, I think the Carene is the better option, IMHO.


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#12 pajaro

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Posted 31 January 2020 - 05:46

Compare the cost of extra nibs. 

 

The Carene is a better fit with today's apparent buying model.  Follow the herd? 


Edited by pajaro, 31 January 2020 - 05:46.

"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.

 

They took the blue from the skies and the pretty girls' eyes and a touch of Old Glory too . . .


#13 vojtahlad

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Posted 31 January 2020 - 08:57

Carène is much more hefty - it is heavier and the section diameter is significantly larger. If Frontier fits your hand, Carène may be uncomfortable for you.

 

I absolutely love the design od Carène. This was my favourite pen. Unfortunately, it started to drool ink into the cap after some two years of usage. The necessity to start a day by wiping out the section and washing the cap was really annoying (the pen was stored horizontally on my desk) so I abandoned its usage.

 

In my experience, Carène is a great looking pen with a serious flaw.

 

I own the previous generaion of Sonnet and this is a workhorse. The design is not spectacular but the pen simply does its job. No complaints here.



#14 Mercian

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Posted 31 January 2020 - 22:39

Compare the cost of extra nibs. 

 

The Carene is a better fit with today's apparent buying model.  Follow the herd? 

If I were to buy one and feel the need for another nib, I have no doubt that the spendthrift pleasure-centre of my brain would tell me ‘Ooh, you should TOTALLY get another example of the pen, just in another finish! That way you can swap the sections bewteen them, and effectively have four pens instead of just two - what a great way to save money!’ :headsmack:

Temet nosce....


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#15 pajaro

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Posted 01 February 2020 - 19:03

If I were to buy one and feel the need for another nib, I have no doubt that the spendthrift pleasure-centre of my brain would tell me ‘Ooh, you should TOTALLY get another example of the pen, just in another finish! That way you can swap the sections bewteen them, and effectively have four pens instead of just two - what a great way to save money!’ :headsmack:

Temet nosce....

 

I have done this.  It is satisfying.


"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.

 

They took the blue from the skies and the pretty girls' eyes and a touch of Old Glory too . . .






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