First Impressions - The Kaweco intrigued me from the first I saw it. The practicality of it's design was obvious. And why not try one? They're only about $15 if you can find them. It's a simple plastic pen with a very compact design that truly fits into a pocket or purse. Yet, posted it's a full-sized pen in your hand. I opted for a pair of clear ones with the idea of creating eyedroppers pens. However, I don't fully trust it not to leak as an ED and frankly, I barely get through a converter full before I'm ready to switch inks. So no need to fill the thing full of ink.
Appearance & Finish - Overall, for a cheap pen, the fit and finish is fine. However, don't assume it will hold up to sporty treatment. While not quite as fragile feeling as the Itoya Blade or Platinum Preppy, it's still not something I would trust completely. It is still a molded plastic pen with mold marks and somewhat of a cheap feel. Don't expect it to feel or act like a Taccia Staccato! Why the 3.0? It's very homely. So the finish is fine, but it's certainly an ugly duckling.
Design/ Size/Weight - Somewhere, I read that it's made of makrolon. Whatever the composition, it's not the cheap, brittle styrene of the Platinum Preppy. Instead, it resembles Lucite or Lexan. As you can see, mine is clear. I had thought to make it an eyedroppper pen, but I'm not real comfortable with carrying that in my pocket. So I will wait for the Monteverde converter to arrive. In the mean time, I'm syringe filling the cartridges that came with the pens. Also, notice the clip. That's $1.50 extra. I'm not sure I'll use the clips, but I got them any way. If I get a blue or black one, it won't have clips.
Notice that it has a threaded cap - not typical of pens in this price range. But that's part of the appeal - very practical features in a cheap pen. Also, the number of threads is just right - about a 3/4 turn to remove the cap. When you screw that cap on, it's very secure and any leaks of the nib are caught. Sorry for not posting a picture of it posted, but you can imagine that it's pretty substantial when you do. Closed, it's a mere 4" long. Posted, it's 5 1/4" long. Barrel diameter is 7/16" but the cap is 9/16" in diameter. And the cap is hexagonal - designed to not roll around on your table. Everything about this pen says "practicality"!
Nib Design & Performance - I got the fine nibs and I really like the way these write. Very smooth writers with little to no tooth. Instead, there is a slight amount of feedback typical of even the best fines. I think these are steel nibs with gold plating. I'm not even sure if the tip is rhodium or what. I don't really care, they are very smooth and have a slight bit of flex. Originally, they both wrote smooth and semi-wet. Now, one of them is skipping a bit, so I will clean and re-fill. One is loaded with Noodler's Red-Black while the other has Noodler's Zhivago. Zhivago is skipping.
Just look at that wonderful pool of Zhivago clinging to that nib!
The Filling System - Being compact, this pen doesn't have much room for ink. I hesitate to give it a bad mark because it doesn't try to be more than that. It takes international short cartridges and I'm syringe filling mine as I wait for Monteverde converters from Swisher.
Cost/Value - Let's face it. Any time you can find a truly compact pen that writes well, takes a converter, has a threaded cap and costs $15, you've found a pen that belongs in your collection. This is a backpacking pen - with Noodler's ink and Write-In-The-Rain notepads, it's hardley noticed until you need it. It's a ball game pen - cahiers and Kaweco and you can keep score while not feeling any burden in your pocket. It's a shopping pen - take that cahiers and Kaweco to the chain saw store and write down all the prices and specs. Wherever you need to go, it's easy to take with you. It writes well but doesn't feel like a purse pen. It's substantial enough to write for extended periods. Get the idea?
Overall Opinion/Conclusion - Great little pen for $15. I take one often when I'm going to the store or whatever. A Field Notes and a Kaweco in the pocket and I'm ready to go! There is a similar pen out there called the Kaweco Art Sport that is made of turned resin and even comes in 14kt gold nib if you want to pay for it. However, it's cost kind of ruins the utilitarian spirit that sprang up in me when I saw this pen. (I've seen them in the $100+ range with 14kt nibs.) I also plan to get a non-transparent one as I think it looks better aesthetically.
So why such high marks on such a cheap pen? It's really hard to find a fault with this homely little fellow. It's cheap but substantial enough to carry anywhere and writes well.
Edited by stevo, 16 September 2008 - 01:54.