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Parker Profile (IM) Review

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10 replies to this topic

#1 richardandtracy


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Posted 11 December 2008 - 14:54

This review is of a Parker Profile.

The pen is a fairly recent introduction by Parker as a modernised, slightly up market, version of the Parker Vector. In its design, Parker have addressed some of the weaknesses of the Vector, but have possibly introduced some new flaws. I have seen it referred to as the 'Vector II', which belittles the new design somewhat; It is a pen that is able to stand on its own merits, without need to cross refer to an existing pen. I believe it's called the 'Parker IM' in North America.

First Impressions
The pen comes inside a plastic display case wrapped in one of those infuriating blister packs - the sort that need a knife to open.
Fifteen minutes after first touching the blister pack, I touched the pen for the first time. All anticipation had leached away and had been replaced by irritation and fury, and I wasn't in the best frame of mind for what happened next. I fitted the cartridge that came with the pen, squeezed it a few times to fill the feed and started to write. Twenty words later, it dried up. And continued to do so every 20 words after squeezing the cartridge. This is the point at which my lasting impression of the pen was made. I hated the pen. I hated Parker and most of all, I hated the packaging designer with a loathing that was beyond expression in mere words.

The pen size is:-
    135mm (5.31") capped.
    115mm (4.52") uncapped.
    160mm (6.3") posted.
    11mm (0.43") barrel diameter.
    35mm (1.37") section length (same as the Vector).
    9mm (0.36") max section diameter.

Weight 19g

Mostly injection moulded polystyrene, but with metal parts. The barrel tip and section are deep drawn stainless steel, the clip is formed sheet steel and the non-circular cap tip could well be die cast (guessing here).

Price 3/5
The pen was bought on E-Bay for £5.50 inc postage, but is generally available at High Street Stationers for around £8 to £10, and is the price the value for money rating is based on.

Looks 4/5
The pen is fairly smart. It has a rather fancy black & silver look, and the overall gestalt is well thought through & executed. One area that I will slightly criticise is the silver coloured metal on the pen. The deep drawn stainless steel has a brushed finish, while the cap clip and cap top are bright, nearly mirror finish. I know I'm being a bit picky, but it isn't as if Parker are new to making pens - and this lack of co-ordination is a novice's error.
The Profile is not sleek & curvy like a Parker 100, nor is it minimalist like a Vector, and as a result it doesn't have anything to say stylistically. It's 'Just a Pen', not a fashion statement - something I prefer.

Durability 4/5
Feels rugged, and should last a good few years. The only potential weak spot I can see is the barrel connector thread. This is made of plastic, and gives the feel that it may break more easily than any other part. The biggest bugbear of the Vector was the speed with which the cap retaining clip behind the nib wore away - mine lasted 6 months if I was lucky. The equivalent on the Profile is part of the stainless steel section - as a result the cap will stay on much longer. The barrel thickness is increased over the Vector, and as a result it is unlikely for the barrel to break at the threads.

Writing 3/5
The brushed finish on the section is nice & grippy, unfortunately I think the change in diameter is too close to the nib, and comes where I want to grip the pen. As a result I grip the pen partly on the barrel and partly on the section. This is slightly uncomfortable as the diameter difference is 2mm - I don't find it a problem on the Vector, as the diameter difference is only about 1mm. The weight is good to hold all day, and the balance is acceptable whether posted or unposted. The nib is the usual Vector style nib - not very responsive but does give a little feedback. It polishes nicely and ends up feeling like a smooth nail gliding over the paper.
Well, it would if you could keep the ink getting to the nib.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, is going to put off a new fp user quicker than a pen that won't write from the start. This is the sort of entry level pen that will attract a new fp user and they will not know you need to wash the feed out with detergent and water to get rid of manufacturing residue. Consequently, after 20 words or so, the fp will be thrown in a corner and never used again. Totally unforgivable of Parker. The pen should either write perfectly from the packaging or the QA manager should be fired on the spot. No other options are acceptable.

Value for money 3/5
I don't really know how to answer this. It's better than the Vector and so warrants its higher retail price. However, I remain to be convinced it's worth getting in preference to a Chinese pen like a Jinhao for similar money. The design is more restrained than a Jinhao, but the nib is no better, and I've never heard of a Jinhao not working perfectly out of the box.

Overall 3/5
It is an improvement over the Parker Vector. The Profile is a utility pen that should be suitable as a main pen, a school pen, a handbag pen etc. The finish is good, the overall feel is OK, but there is nothing to engender pride of ownership. Fighting through the packaging takes too long, and the manufacturing residues in the feed do not encourage new fp users. I wish I could like it, but my negative initial impressions are too strong to overcome. These negative impressions are the result of pure carelessness from Parker, and - quite frankly - consumers deserve to give them retribution in the form of poor sales.
I shall not be buying another new Parker for for a long while.



Attached Images

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Edited by richardandtracy, 11 December 2008 - 16:53.

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#2 MYU


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Posted 11 December 2008 - 16:35

Thanks for the review, Richard. There haven't been many reviews of the profile and yours has a lot of useful detail. It's too bad Parker didn't take the Profile more seriously over the Vector. But I guess that works out for people looking for an inexpensive workhorse pen! smile.gif


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#3 J English Smith

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 16:49

Good review! I bought one of these last year. I have not rotated it into use much of late. Mine flows well with the converter in place - yours may just need some flushing to work well. (We give that concession to a new Pelikan 200, we might as well give the same to this Parker - but of course, most people buying at this price point will probably use cartridges and a converter is NOT included). The clip is a nice styling feature that you did not mention - it's jazzy and has a nice spring action. I have a grey version of the IM and the plastics look a bit cheap, though I think in fact they are more durable than the old Vectors. The pen does have a nice hand feel. Fine nibs are tough to find - the Medium is fairly broad. (The IM nib is smoother though than my steel Frontier nibs - they have more tooth whether medium or fine.)

The blister packs - yes, ugh, but they are just a fact of life now. It didn't wreck the pen for me but I would say that this is an undistinuished offering from Parker. A little easier to grip than the Vector, but for an entry level modern Parker, I'd still give the nod to a NOS Vector or a Frontier Luna or all-steel model.
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#4 Ondina


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Posted 13 December 2008 - 11:21

Thanks for the review, not so common pen around here and very valuable opinions.

#5 Big Bob

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 20:01

good review!!!
i had ones of these not too long ago and never had any problems with it
so sorry to hear about the problem wiht yours

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#6 mr T.

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 22:34

All anticipation had leached away and had been replaced by irritation and fury, and I wasn't in the best frame of mind for what happened next. I fitted the cartridge that came with the pen, squeezed it a few times to fill the feed and started to write. Twenty words later, it dried up. And continued to do so every 20 words after squeezing the cartridge. This is the point at which my lasting impression of the pen was made. I hated the pen.

Thanks for the review. The one I have has similar problems. Even after washing the feed out with detergent and water a couple of times, the IM still skips regularly (or doesn't even start). The used plastics are prone to scratch and the metal parts are also far from scratch resistant. The IM is in my opinion a horrible pen and not worth buying.

#7 diplomat


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Posted 14 December 2008 - 22:44

I have a Profile and I enjoy the size (bigger than a Frontier) and the look of the pen.
I don't like the nib, they should've put in the ss Frontier nib, not the Vector nib! In this body it is small and incoherent. Plus the Vector nib is not the "state of the art" for ss nibs. Often is a hard starter and skipper.
Another flaw is the plastic section threads. A downgrade from the Vector that had them in metal.

Thanks for the review!


#8 Silvermink


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Posted 16 December 2008 - 01:09

Oh, I have one of these - honestly wasn't quite sure what it was as I bought it with a few others for the Lamy 27e the seller had in there.

I've never been terribly impressed with mine, either - it's a hard starter and writes averagely at best, certainly not up to the standard of even the least-expensive Jinhaos I've bought (one of which cost me about $1 including shipping).

Maybe I'll flush it out one of these days.
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#9 FP Writing

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Posted 16 December 2008 - 02:44

The Parker IM is well designed
i almost bought one, but somehow hold back and bought hero 616 instead.

DO not have parker yet, but heard some flow problem associated with it.
The hero pens are gd performance for the price

thanks for the review

#10 returnofpenguy



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Posted 17 November 2009 - 15:54

I bought mine for $15 which didn't come with a converter. I am not interested in using a cartridge, because it defeats the purpose of using FP over a ballpoint pen (plastic waste). When I purchased the pen, I also purchased a Parker converter with it for about $5. When it arrived, I was bit disappointed, because of the plastic body of the pen.

I flush the converter by following the standard procedure, filled with ink and it has been working fine ever since. I have used three separate inks, and has worked fine for all except one, the Chesterfield Ink. That ink has given me problem with every pen I have got, so it is the ink not the pen. I have used Parker Quink Black, and Waterman Royal Blue in this pen and it works well with both. I just took it out yesterday to go with me, and end up using to fill out some paper work. It worked well without any trouble, even after many days of inactive storage in a pen cover.

I have a Vector which I got as a gift, felt too thin for my fingers. The Profile is a right size. When I was purchasing, I talk to the sales person over the phone and he mentioned it is bit wider than Vector, so I bought it. And he was correct. The pen I got is classified as Parker IM. I looked for its review and didn't find it because the review has been posted with its other name Profile.

Not bad for a price. If you are having a problem with your pen, I would suggest to flush it out and use Parker Quink or other reputed ink. It is a good pen to carry around in your shirt pocket just to write stuff, but not to impress others. :)

#11 dan in montreal

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 03:16

As these are more and more common in the marketplace, I just thought I'd add my grain of salt to the discussion.

Have to agree with returnofpenguy.

I just got one of these with a fine nib and my initial experience with it was much like Richard's. I popped in the the black Quink cartridge it came with and it was slow to start. When I actually started writing, it skipped badly. Once the ink started flowing, it was alright for a while, then it started to skip again. Removed the cartridge (I don't enjoy black Quink anyways, as it is too gray for my taste) and filled a Parker converter with Private Reserve Black Magic Blue and it's been fine since ("since" being two days of rather intense writing). Curious, as I've had flow issues with this ink in other pens...

It has to be compared to a Vector or a Reflex or to other cheap (Chinese) entry level pens, although I got mine for 12.00, whereas the Chinese pens are much cheaper. Before they actually can write, I have to flush them with water - same goes for the IM. It is a better pen than a Hero 616, 329 or 331 as far as materials are concerned and I actually like it. Not that I would be sad if I lost it, which is why I got it after all - to grade papers, to keep in my photo bag on hikes and the like.

My leanings are also a little political. They are made in the UK. As unfair Chinese trade practices are more and more apparent (i.e. currency manipulation), I'm trying to cut back on goods made in China (which is a pretty difficult thing to do I might add). That includes fountain pens. If you're looking for an inexpensive no-frills pen that does the job, I think the IM fits the bill. Just my two cents.

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