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.
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 All anticipation had leached away and had been replaced by irritation and fury, and I wasn't in the best frame of mind for what happened next.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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Edited by richardandtracy, 11 December 2008 - 16:53.