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Parker 100, Cobalt Black


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28 replies to this topic

#1 asamsky

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 19:27

The Parker 100 obviously, and perhaps unfairly, lives in the shadow of its venerated older brother, the "51". I compare it to the "51" pretty frequently in this review. The 100 is like a humble "51" who became an investment banker and now has a huge BMW - bigger, golder, and more expensive looking. Someone who didn't know fountain pens would probably assume that the 100 was much more valuable than even a very nice "51". All that aside, it's a great writer, and a well-designed pen in general. Parker phased the pen out in 2007, so I suppose they might become difficult to find. Right now Pam Braun is blowing them out at a very reasonable price, so if you have any interest it's a perfect time.



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.

Appearance (5/5)
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.

Design/Size/Weight (4/5)
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.

Nib (5/5)
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.

Conclusion (5/5)
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.


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#2 Renzhe

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 19:41

Thanks for the review.
The 100 is one of the best looking pens I've seen. I'd get one ($99 is a steal!) if it were not for the cartridge/converter filling system.
Renzhe

#3 FrankB

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 21:08

Thanks for a good review.

asamsky wrote:

" ... It has a hard, modern, glassy smoothness. ... "

Thank you. I have yet to find the language to describe the feel of the 100's nib and your expression comes closer than any thought I have had myself.

I have eleventy zillion Parker "51's" but only one 100. I agree it is a different writing experience (than a "51"), yet it is a good one. The pen is wider and heavier than a "51" and it does feel good in my hand. I have a M nib and it is a Japanese-type B for all intents and purposes, so I use dryer inks in it. I cannot recall how long I have had mine. I believe I got one of the first manufactured. I have not had a single problem with mine, so I have no complaints in that regard.

At $99, I might have to consider a second one.

#4 System of Adam

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 21:49

This is a pen that I haven't seen before and frankly it's beautiful!!! Something like a cross between a carene and the 51. I'm going to have to break the piggy bank...http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/style_emoticons/default/cloud9.gif
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#5 goodguy

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 13:14

Thank you for the nice review.
I had one and it was a very nice pen but I guess just a bit too heavy for me.
Respect to all

#6 asamsky

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 14:37

A little update - the 100 is not really writing as well as I would like. It's a hard starter and has some skipping issues. I assumed this was just because of the converter, but a switch to a broken-in Parker converter hasn't fixed things. It's writing very dry, and skipping very badly - it will miss an entire word, and I'll have to draw circles in the margins for a while to get it restarted. This is a shame, because it's a lovely pen and the nib is amazing when it's writing correctly. Anyone have any advice for fixing this, or should I send it to Parker?

#7 blackranger63

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 15:20

I had the same problem with my Honey White (purchase from Good Guy BTW). I flushed it with the water ammonia mix and it now writes like a dream cloud9.gif I may have to buy another one at the $99 price. I am using mine today as a matter of fact side by side with a 1946 India Black "51". Yes they are different but the lineage is definitely there.

Give it a good rinse with the ammonia and you should be good to go. If that doesn't work you may have a bad converter. I had to replace a bad converter on a Platinum 3776 and it now writes just fine.

Hope this helps thumbup.gif

QUOTE(asamsky @ May 1 2008, 10:37 AM) View Post
A little update - the 100 is not really writing as well as I would like. It's a hard starter and has some skipping issues. I assumed this was just because of the converter, but a switch to a broken-in Parker converter hasn't fixed things. It's writing very dry, and skipping very badly - it will miss an entire word, and I'll have to draw circles in the margins for a while to get it restarted. This is a shame, because it's a lovely pen and the nib is amazing when it's writing correctly. Anyone have any advice for fixing this, or should I send it to Parker?


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#8 ethernautrix

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 16:09

Good review, asamsky!

Someone else wrote a review of this same pen. Now who was that... (goes off to search).

Here it is.


I like F and XF nibs, but I tried this Parker 100 with a medium nib, and that, along with Pam Braun's price, convinced me to buy one (F, of course).

I don't know. I like the heft and other aspects of the pen, but the F is thicker than I like... and maybe I have to break in the nib or something. (I don't know if I believe that breaking in the nib is necessary or even possible.) Maybe I acquired too many pens at the same time and got confused.... Eventually, I'll spend some quality time with the 100 (cos I really, really want to love it!). Right now, the Sheaffer Tuckaway and the Lamy 2000 (XF) are my dailies (along with a handful of others, but these are the ones clipped to my collar).

I think I need to try different inks with the 100. Eventually I'll set aside the time to experiment.

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#9 asamsky

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 16:52

QUOTE(blackranger63 @ May 1 2008, 11:20 AM) View Post
I had the same problem with my Honey White (purchase from Good Guy BTW). I flushed it with the water ammonia mix and it now writes like a dream cloud9.gif I may have to buy another one at the $99 price. I am using mine today as a matter of fact side by side with a 1946 India Black "51". Yes they are different but the lineage is definitely there.

Give it a good rinse with the ammonia and you should be good to go. If that doesn't work you may have a bad converter. I had to replace a bad converter on a Platinum 3776 and it now writes just fine.

Hope this helps thumbup.gif


A few more rinses with ammonia and it seems to be doing fine. I switched it to Aurora black, away from Waterman Florida Blue, which didn't seem to agree with it anyway.

#10 encremental

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 18:17

I've had exactly the same skipping and balking problems with my Honey White. Considering this is a comparatively expensive pen, why on earth should we have to go through any sort of a rigmarole to get the thing to write? I've flushed it out a couple of times with washing up liquid, but have not tried ammonia yet (not a common or garden thing in the UK). Also, looking through a loupe, I see that the tipping material is unevenly applied - a big gob of it on the left, and a much smaller lump on the right.

It's the last modern Parker I'll be buying, that's for certain. My most disappointing pen purchase in the last two years.

(grumpy) John

#11 asamsky

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 20:28

QUOTE(encremental @ May 1 2008, 02:17 PM) View Post
I've had exactly the same skipping and balking problems with my Honey White. Considering this is a comparatively expensive pen, why on earth should we have to go through any sort of a rigmarole to get the thing to write? I've flushed it out a couple of times with washing up liquid, but have not tried ammonia yet (not a common or garden thing in the UK). Also, looking through a loupe, I see that the tipping material is unevenly applied - a big gob of it on the left, and a much smaller lump on the right.

It's the last modern Parker I'll be buying, that's for certain. My most disappointing pen purchase in the last two years.

(grumpy) John


I feel much the same way. If I had paid $300 for this I would be livid. Never had this kind of problem with vintage.

#12 churl

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 19:39

I was turned off of this pen because it is twice the size and twice as heavy as a 51. It's probably just as heavy as my Cross Apogee, but my Apogee wrote perfect out of the box. I have to agree with previous sentiments. For a mid $200 MSRP, I'd expect this pen to be a better performer.

#13 FrankB

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 21:36

My 100 is cobalt black, too, by the way. I have a M nib on mine and it is a very wet writer, putting down a line like a Japanese B. I use dryer inks in it for a crisper line. It is interesting how differently our pens treat us. Mine has never skipped. It always flows generously, sometimes too much so.

#14 SquelchB

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 21:38

Very nice review. I agree with cutting down the score on C/C filling. It's a shame..

#15 asamsky

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 21:44

Another update - I've sent the pen for an exchange with Pam. I think the nib was defective - it seemed to be "baby-bottomed" (is there any alternative to that phrase?), in that it would write smoothly but then suddenly dry up completely, like the ink wasn't touching the paper. Pretty disappointing in a $100 pen. It's really baffling that a company that's been making pens for most of a century can't get it right consistently on a very expensive model. I'm hoping the exchange will work properly, because when it actually wrote I really liked it.

#16 I am not a number

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 20:33

Mine is still silky with Noodler's Black.
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#17 asamsky

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 22:48

Final Update - Pam graciously exchanged the pen. Round two had no skipping problems but a very rough nib, nothing like the first one. Pam again graciously agreed to give me a refund. So the 100 is a nicely designed pen if you can get one with a working nib. And Oscar Braun pens has amazing customer service.

#18 leftnose

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 02:00

Mine has an M nib that writes like a B with Noodler's Upper Ganges Blue. This combo absolutely will not write on Office Max branded legal pads but on everything else it is as smooth as slik with excellent flow.

My main complaint is that it uses ink like crazy! If I were smart, I would change for a dryer ink but I really like the color of UGB with this nib. It's a nice dark blue with some texture to it.

Edited by leftnose, 09 May 2008 - 02:01.


#19 blackranger63

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 02:31

So sorry to hear about your problems. My Honey White is simply fantastic. I have not had a single issue. Once I did the ammonia rinse my problems disolved. Leads me to believe it was a converter issue and not a pen. My Medium nib is super sweet. I normally carry one vintage and one modern. The Parker 100 is working hard to stay at the top of the modern rotation. thumbup.gif
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#20 Stylo

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 02:54

It's hard to tell from pictures, but is the difference in texture between the cap and the barrel a distraction or a pleasing contrasting effect?






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