First Impressions (5/5)
The 100 comes in a very nice, modern presentation box. Even this conservative black model looked very luxurious in its oversized packaging.
The Parker 100 looks like a slick, futuristic "51". The barrel is practically identical to the 51, although it has a recessed metal jewel on the end. This is quite subdued looking, but the gold trim around the jewel adds understated luxury. The clutch band is quite similar to a Sheaffer Imperial's, and is nicely appointed in gold. The hooded nib has gold trim and a rather interesting closed feed that makes it look very self-contained. The cap is, I suppose, a little confused from a pen history point of view; it features a sleekly minimal Parker arrow clip with an equally modern metal jewel, but it also has a very old-fashioned narrow gold band near the lip. I think it looks excellent as it is. It has a matte finish which contrasts with the pen body.
This is much heavier than most of my other pens - in fact it's the only metal pen I've had since a Colibri rollerball I used in the 1990s. With the cap posted it seems a little back heavy, although I'm sure I'll get used to it. This is also the largest pen I have. The many FPN users who talk about their big hands may enjoy its substantial size. The fit and finish are excellent. The only thing I can complain about is the sleeve that screws the section to the barrel - it's plastic, and seems a little flimsy. Probably that's only because the rest of the pen is so very substantial.
This is the most interesting part for me. This pen obviously invites comparison to the "51", but This feels nothing like a "51" nib. It has a hard, modern, glassy smoothness. This gives it a very precise feel, with absolutely no give. It actually makes the legendarily hard "51" feel a little bit soft in comparison. Nonetheless, it's completely smooth and a delight to write with. Like many modern Fs this tends towards a wider line, maybe some people's medium. Mine skipped a few times on the initial fill, but this was almost certainly a converter problem. A cleaning fixed it right up - I've been going around FPN telling people not to bother with rinsing new pens, but it looks like I'll be eating my words.
Filling System (2/5)
Cartridge/converter, unsurprisingly. A pity given how well thought out the rest of this pen is. A permanent filling system would have made it much more attractive to me. The included Parker converter doesn't even screw in like Visconti or Mont Blanc.
Cost and Value (5/5)
Get 'em while they're hot - Pam Braun is selling these in a variety of points and colors for $99. I had been eyeing them at Fountain Pen Hospital for quite a while, and when I saw Pam's excellent price I couldn't pass it up. This pen is richly appointed and looks like it will last as long as the 51s to which it pays homage.
If you like modern C/C pens, this is a must have - beautiful, an excellent writer, and a bargain price. Fans of flex or soft nibs need not apply, and if you prefer vintage filling systems you won't much care for it. If you need a subdued, elegant pen with a hassle-free filling system, then this is an excellent choice.
Edited by asamsky, 30 April 2008 - 19:31.