KendallJ submitted an excellent review of a silver 100 almost three years ago and rightly observes that "The 100 is its own pen, not a redo of the 51 or any other vintage" but I honestly think it is inevitable that comparisons will be drawn and that some (but not all) people will judge the 100 using the 51 as a yardstick. Put simply I wanted to see the 100 and the great 51 side by side. I have found out from a post by J M Lewertowski (Penseller from France - no affiliation but I got my 100 from him and can recommend his services without hesitation) that the 100 will be discontinued in Europe from the end of the year, so if you have one of these on your shopping list you may be interested in a comparison but more importantly, some pertinent facts.
Having been brought up on the Parker 51 I was initially gratified but slightly suspicious when I first saw that in the Parker 100 a return had been made to a classic styling. I was pleased that there was a new Parker with a hooded nib (something which suits my writing style and that I find aesthetically pleasing) but I couldn't help seeing the new 100 model as something of an upstart, a pretender to the throne of the 51. After a while with the pen I have grown quickly grown to see it for what it is, a stylish modern Parker with a smoothness of writing that I personally consider to be a new benchmark for fountain pens. I think that this pen is wonderful and on the strength of its performance have placed another order.
If you are considering one of these as a gift then it's good to have an idea of how it is packaged. Having removed the traditional white cardboard slipcase we are confronted with a fairly large outer box. Overcome by curiosity this will soon give way to the inner case of a pleasant clamshell design. Open up the inner case and the 100 is revealed in an attractive modern setting (apt as I consider it an attractive modern pen).
So it's time to place the new and the old side by side and have a look at the physical differences. As the 100 in this review is finished in Cobalt Black with Gold Trim, for this comparison I have used a Black Aerometric 51 with Rolled Gold Cap which I have owned for many years.
The lengths capped are similar at 142.5 mm for the Parker 100 and 136.8 mm for the 51. The width around the widest circular section of the cap (ignoring the clip) is also greater for the 100 at 14.0 mm compared to the 12.4 mm of the 51.
The lengths uncapped draw closer together with 126.0 mm for the 100 and 127.5 mm (making the older pen very slightly longer). The difference in barrel widths is also apparent with the 100 being 12.5 mm at its widest point and the 51 slightly slimmer at 11.5 mm. The uncapped inked weights are the single major difference at 21.5 grams for the 100 and 12.6 grams for the 51 making the 100 almost twice as heavy.
Posted the lengths are only 1 mm apart at 151 mm for the newer model and 152 mm for the Parker 51. However the main difference is again in the weights of the two models. The inked 100 with its cap is 35.2 grams which is almost one and a half times the 21.0 grams of the 51 in the same configuration.
The Business End:
The obvious similarity is the hooded nib, but a closer look shows a more modern styling to the newer pen. Those who have had the pleasure of writing with a good 51 will know the feel of the pen, I can only say that after years of 51s, the smoothness of the 100 straight out of the box was a revelation. Every member of this forum has their own preference and writing style, but I honestly believe that if you get an opportunity to try one of these pens before they become a rarity, then you should jump at the chance. The first two pictures are the 100, the third is the 51.
The picture below shows the two pens nib to nib (bearing in mind that the 51 in this case has a fine nib).
The Cap End:
The new styling of the 100 is (in isolation) not quite as pleasing to me as the classic jewel of the 51, but when taken as a part of the whole new styling it becomes an attractive feature.
A Writing Test:
Here is a scan of writing compared to a Pelikan M200, both pens have medium nibs, the paper is 120gsm (32lb) smooth multi-function and the inks are annotated.
Weights and Measurements comparison:
Parker 100 vs. Parker 51 side by side:
Length (Capped) 142.5 mm vs. 136.5 mm
Length (Uncapped) 126.0 mm vs. 127.5 mm
Length (Posted) 151.0 mm 152.0 mm
Width (Widest part of cap) 14.0 mm vs. 12.4 mm
Width (Widest Part of Barrel) 12.5 mm vs. 11.5 mm
Inked Weight (Capped) 35.2 g vs. 21.0 g
Inked Weight (Uncapped) 21.5 g vs. 12.6 g
Cap Weight 13.7 g vs. 8.4 g
It is important to remember that these are two different pens from two different eras. The Parker 51 boasted (justifiably in my opinion) that it was the "World's Most Wanted Pen". At the other end of the scale the Parker 100 has proven to be something of a damp squib in the catalogue. But it must be remembered that we now live in an age where few people are prepared to invest in a fountain pen, especially one that sits between the low-cost everyday user pen and the high end prestige editions. There are so many other consumer items clamouring for our attention and our money that I feel saddened that this pen offers so much to a largely unappreciative market.
Physically there is little difference in length between the two pens, the 100 is slightly wider but the real difference is in weight where the newcomer comes in at just under one and a half times the 51. I am over 6 feet tall and spent many years as an airborne warrior, a solid and substantial pen suits me very well and I am in every sense delighted with the 100 but realise that this will not be the case for all. I also consider that this pen has the smoothest nib that I have ever used and that straight out of the box it was a pleasure to write with.
All I can say is that from my viewpoint, the Parker 100 is a new classic and whilst I wholeheartedly recommend it I also realise that it will not be suitable for all people. For me it will be a trusted friend in the future and I look forward to spending many happy years with another great product from the Parker stable, however only time will tell if this pen will weather the years as robustly as its illustrious predecessor.
Edited by I am not a number, 29 November 2007 - 10:14.