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Ebay - Waterman Purchase Advice

waterman ebay

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15 replies to this topic

#1 BinaryRun

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Posted 19 May 2020 - 11:02

Good morning,

 

I'm currently looking for my very first vintage flex pen and my second vintage pen in total. My only vintage pen that I currently own is a Parker Vacumatic with a low to medium flex nib. I love the pen and I've recently been on the hunt for a 'true' flex nib. Although I certainly don't have the budget to go for anything crazy, (like a pink nib) there are way too many beautiful options out there to not get excited and a little bit lost. (All my modern pens have a broad nib)

 

I've been eyeing the waterman's in particular, mainly because of the beautiful nibs with the long tines that some of them have, as well as the gorgeous materials.

One of the pens that I've been looking at is this one that I found on ebay. There are some scratches on the material, particularly around the personalization and bite marks at the end, which makes it impossible to read the model.

 

Would this be a good purchase and/or are there any vintage Waterman sellers that you'd recommend? I like the material of this listing and the capabilities of the nib, but I'm not crazy about the condition.

 

https://www.ebay.com...RE/164207465050

 



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#2 Addertooth

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Posted 19 May 2020 - 13:09

Year or model is no guaranty of flex.  You did the smart thing and looked for one with a writing sample with it.  Just a word of caution, I have seen some sellers "push the nib HARD" to get a flexy writing sample which looks great.  When it arrives at your house, you may discover you cannot "comfortably" flex the nib as much as was seen in the writing sample.  But most of the writing samples are accurate.  Even long tines *can* be decieving, if the tines are Also Thick.  Thick tines tend to not flex well.  

 

I tend to like it when they writing sample is on paper which has a dot every 5mm, this gives you a scale.  Barring that, one which has the pen next to the writing (like yours) allows you to have some scale.  

Number 2 Waterman nibs *tend* to be flexy, but some are very stiff. The stiff ones are usually stamped "Manifold" or "purple".   Swan and Conklin tend to be flexy, but I am sure there are exceptions to this as well. Waterman red/pink keyhole tend to be flexy to very flexy.  Wahl "self fitting point" nibs are adjustable, from stiff to very flexy.  

 

Good luck with your hunt.  



#3 Ray-Vigo

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Posted 19 May 2020 - 15:04

I don't see the broken clip mentioned - looks like the rivets blew and the clip was lost. The moss color is desirable and it can be hard to find one without cracks in the cap lip or barrel threads. The 1930s-40s Watermans I've used were all modestly flexible, except for the manifold and account nibs. But by the 1930s, it's kind of a mixed bag in terms of finding a flex nib. If I were looking for a truly flexible nib, I'd go back a little farther to a 1910s-20s era pen. Waterman, Mabie Todd, Conklin, Aikin Lambert, Eclipse, and some of the lesser-known makers are worth mentioning for flex nibs. Sometimes you see pens with "Warranted 14k" labeled nibs that are really, really flexible. They're great for writing letters or whenever you can sit down and devote a little time to writing. Rigid nibs make better note-takers and jotters when speed is important, or when you're trying to write on pad on your lap, or things of that sort.


Edited by Ray-Vigo, 19 May 2020 - 15:06.


#4 BinaryRun

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Posted 19 May 2020 - 16:06

I don't see the broken clip mentioned - looks like the rivets blew and the clip was lost. The moss color is desirable and it can be hard to find one without cracks in the cap lip or barrel threads. The 1930s-40s Watermans I've used were all modestly flexible, except for the manifold and account nibs. But by the 1930s, it's kind of a mixed bag in terms of finding a flex nib. If I were looking for a truly flexible nib, I'd go back a little farther to a 1910s-20s era pen. Waterman, Mabie Todd, Conklin, Aikin Lambert, Eclipse, and some of the lesser-known makers are worth mentioning for flex nibs. Sometimes you see pens with "Warranted 14k" labeled nibs that are really, really flexible. They're great for writing letters or whenever you can sit down and devote a little time to writing. Rigid nibs make better note-takers and jotters when speed is important, or when you're trying to write on pad on your lap, or things of that sort.

That's a great way to explain the differences and what to look for, thank you. I personally have no need for more rigid nibs, which is why I'm looking at the flexible ones while shopping for a vintage pen. I've actually moved from eBay to Mauricio's website (vintagepen.net) because while he might charge a bit more, it's probably better to make sure that the pen is fully checked up and tuned for a starter like myself.

 

I'm currently looking at several pens including a 100 year pen from the '40s. Which seems very flexible for that time period. (I actually prefer this nib to the other one, as I don't really like anything smaller then medium.)

 

6SMtlUp.png



#5 Addertooth

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Posted 20 May 2020 - 01:35

Here are a couple examples of what super flex looks like...…..

 

One is a Skyline Gold Award, the other is a Waterman Ink-Vue with a red keyhole nib.   The dots are 5mm apart on the paper.  

 

Eversharp Skyline Gold Award.

 

fpn_1589938503__gold_award_with_flex_wri

 

 

 

Waterman Ink-Vue silver ray.

 

fpn_1579146594__waterman_ink_vue_with_wr



#6 BinaryRun

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Posted 20 May 2020 - 08:18

Here are a couple examples of what super flex looks like...…..

 

One is a Skyline Gold Award, the other is a Waterman Ink-Vue with a red keyhole nib.   The dots are 5mm apart on the paper.  

 

Eversharp Skyline Gold Award.

 

fpn_1589938503__gold_award_with_flex_wri

 

 

 

Waterman Ink-Vue silver ray.

 

fpn_1579146594__waterman_ink_vue_with_wr

Thank you for showing me these wonderful pens. Do you have any tips for acquiring pens online? I just keep looking at writing samples, various nibs and designs. But with no idea about value and proper pricing, it's a bit like trying to swim in the middle of the ocean.

 

This is from a 94 on the same website (on 5mm grid), but I'm trying to find other places as well. (It's a shame that a lot of sellers don't post a writing sample.)

 

UeDd5JE.png


Edited by BinaryRun, 20 May 2020 - 08:19.


#7 Addertooth

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Posted 20 May 2020 - 13:18

BinaryRun,

 

  The advice that various people have provided above is solid. There is always a risk associated with purchasing anything which you cannot touch before you send your money.  My only other suggestion is that you buy inexpensive used books on fountain pens, and become familiar with various models.  Price is a funny thing, and when I started collecting, it perplexed me as well.  With vintage pens, well known names (such as Waterman) cost more per feature/function than lesser known brands.  But, well known brands tend to hold their value more consistently too.  Sometimes a "nobody brand" can be a great flex writer.  I have an Eatonia branded pen, which came with a lot of pens.  It ended up being a great writer (to my surprise). 

 

Just keep studying and learning the various models, Ebay has a research tool, which allows you to see what a specific model of pen sold for in the past.  This can provide some comfort for new purchasers.

One book printed, showed expected value, but it is horribly out of date, and no longer reflects current values. 



#8 cunim

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Posted 20 May 2020 - 14:39

Are you buying this to use for flex writing, or are you interested in pen history?  If for use, vintage Waterman's are a (bleep) shoot.  Of the many I have or have tried, only a couple are really good.  They started out well long ago, but the years have not been kind to these nibs.  Just flexing is the easy part.  Retaining good tipping and snapping back from flex - those are harder.  That said, a vintage pen in reasonably good condition is a pleasurable experience and worth seeking out.  Special notice: do not put too much credence into any dealer's descriptions.  That warning includes knowledgeable dealers who charge premium prices.

 

I would get a Zebra G pen (from Desiderata, or one of Flexible Nib Factory's Zebra G nib units).  Write with that for a while to experience good flex.  No vintage pen will match it (though vintage will be smoother).  Once you have a solid appreciation of what you are looking for in a flex pen, then buy the vintage.


Edited by cunim, 20 May 2020 - 17:23.


#9 BinaryRun

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 11:44

I'm currently looking at buying a Waterman's 56, which still has it's original number 6 nib according to the seller.
However the nib itself is stamped with a 5, despite it being a large nib. Could it be wrongly stamped or would there be another explanation for this?
 
(The nib is pictured here next to a Waterman's 7)

 

hZ5XI5E.png



#10 I-am-not-really-here

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 18:13

I'm currently looking at buying a Waterman's 56, which still has it's original number 6 nib according to the seller.

However the nib itself is stamped with a 5, despite it being a large nib. Could it be wrongly stamped or would there be another explanation for this?


A 56 pen would have normally come with a #6 nib but who knows maybe the original buyer liked their #5 nib so much that they had their Waterman dealer swap it in. And there it has stayed for nearly a century. Or maybe someone bought a 56 parts pen without a nib and did not have a #6 to put in. Who can say?

#11 Addertooth

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 20:37

Nib sizes are like "serving suggestions" on TV dinners.  They are a "general indication" of size, but not an absolute metric for size.  I have number 17 nibs, which are about the same size as some of my number 7s.  I have some size 3 nibs, which are about the size of a #5 nib of another brand.  Take numbers with a grain of salt.  



#12 BinaryRun

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 22:54

Nib sizes are like "serving suggestions" on TV dinners.  They are a "general indication" of size, but not an absolute metric for size.  I have number 17 nibs, which are about the same size as some of my number 7s.  I have some size 3 nibs, which are about the size of a #5 nib of another brand.  Take numbers with a grain of salt.  

So you are saying that even within the same model there was still such a high level of inconsistency between nibs that were stamped as the same size to a point where one could be significantly larger then the other? That's certainly an interesting thing to find out, but not totally unexpected I suppose, given the similar inconsistencies with the tuning and flex capabilities between all nibs from that era.



#13 sidthecat

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Posted 24 May 2020 - 02:00

I’ve been rather bad during the lockdown and I’ve bought a bunch of pens in essentially unrestored condition. Some nice ones, including a gold Pansy Panel ringtop and a silver Vine that hasn’t arrived yet. You honestly don’t know until you get it into your hands. I’ve bought loose nibs and broken pen pens I could harvest nibs from...you do what you must if you develop a taste for flex.

#14 Addertooth

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Posted 24 May 2020 - 12:59

BinaryRun,

 

Perhaps what I meant, but said unartfully, nib sizes between manufactures  are extremely variable, and some manufactures have some pretty big variability as well.  However, most pens *do* have a specific nib (or families of nibs) which they came off the production floor with.  A dyed in the wool collector will want the specific nib the pen was produced with.  A flex-fan will simply want flex.  For a flex fan, any nib which fits properly and flexes is a winner.  Some pens had a long production run, and had a lot of variability in nib sizes produced for the same pen (Eversharp Skyline being an example of a pen which started with a smaller nib in the beginning, and the later model nib was physically bigger).  I tend towards preferring the original nib in a vintage pen, but have made exceptions where it was merited.  

 

There are some pens which are known for "generally being flexy", there are nibs which are known for "always being flexy".  I would describe about half of my Waterman 52 family pens as flexy.  I would describe 100 percent of my Waterman red/pink keyhole nibs as flexy, 100 percent of my Wahl/Eversharp Self-fitting points as flexy.  You often pay much more for a pen if it has a nib which is certain to flex.  i.e. A waterman with a Pink Keyhole nib will normally set you back about $500 to $1500 dollars (depending upon model and condition). Red Keyhole nibs, which are typically less flexy than Pink, bring a lower premium; but, I have never seen a Red Keyhole devoid of flex.  A Wahl/Eversharp pen with a Self-fitting nib will normally start around $200, and go up from there depending upon model.  

 

Most feeds and sections in pens can deal with a shift in one size number in nibs.  If you squeeze too small or too large of a nib into a section/feed combination, you may invite a crack in the section or the nib itself. This is another reason why people often prefer the original nib.  Some swaps affect reliability of the pen. 



#15 BinaryRun

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Posted 24 May 2020 - 14:27

It is most certainly an interesting venture and I continue to learn more about Waterman's every day. For example, what you are saying about how it's important that not only the nib & feed fit together, but that they should also match the pen body is very important. What makes it interesting in this case is that both the 55 and the 56 use the same pen body, just a different nib/feed. Which would mean that as long as the nib & feed are both either a #5 or a #6 then it doesn't matter if the barrel is stamped as a Waterman's 55 or 56, since they are both the same aside from that nib.

 

I should hear back from the seller with more information on what the imprint of the pen actually says together with better pictures of the nib/feed, but it's all very interesting to me. I was looking up some pictures of Waterman's 55's yesterday and the variant between different nib shapes and imprints, despite them all being branded as a nr 5 nib was both surprising and a fun thing to find out.

 

Update: I just got a message that it's indeed a Waterman's 55 with a nr 5 nib.


Edited by BinaryRun, 24 May 2020 - 19:50.


#16 Scrawler

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Posted 21 June 2020 - 17:13

In the video you can observe the amount of pressure his finger pushes the pen to get the flex. This is a semi-flex nib. This Persian celluloid is very nice and on this pen it has not deteriorated much. On my Persian the celluloid on the barrel has discoloured much more. My pocket clip is also missing. I wonder if the rivets popped easily.







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