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A Modern Day Waterman 52


Chuasam

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a few days ago, I had the misfortune of being handed a Waterman 52 to try out.

It looked really ordinary until the nib hit the paper.

Whoaaaaaaaaaa....

that is the most extraordinary nib I've ever had the chance to use.

It is what I wanted my Noodler's Ink Ahab to be.

It was perfect.

It was old and kinda...well old.

Now the question is...is there a modern day equivalent to this pen?

Do I have to go vintage? I've seen some mint/NOS Waterman52 going for upwards of $800.

 

Ever since that encounter, I can't think of any other pen. I really really love the perfect feel of that nib.

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I would suggest vintage, but at nowhere near $800.

 

I have… *walks off to count*… about 30 hard rubber, lever-filled Watermans with the most common of nib size (#2, as in 52), and I don't think I've ever paid over $60 for one unless it was a rare color. For black 52s you can expect to see some pretty low prices. Red Ripple models are also common but slightly more expensive. Cardinal, Rose Ripple, BluGreen Ripple, Olive Ripple, etc. all command a large premium.

 

The catch 22 is you'll most certainly need to replace the sac and give it a thorough cleaning, but those are easy.

 

I hope you find a 52 you like!

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Get the 52, many here have one, if they were going for $800 only three or four would have one. Mine is Super-flex (slightly vague in terminology as is Wet Noodle, in there is a fair amount of variance of flex in nibs that can spread their tines 4-5-6 or 7 X a light down stroke... Some are Weak Kneed Wet Noodles.).. My nib goes when using a very, very light hand from XXF to BBB, with heavier hand.

My hand is sort of heavy, normally I am writing it with an F. :blush: :rolleyes:

 

 

 

The first thing one has to get over ..... is the NOS.

Sure if one has a big collection of something....and a big wallet I could see buying a NOS to hang on the wall.

 

If you are going to use it, it will not be NOS... I've had the good fortune of getting a few NOS pens that I used ASAP.

Would I have bought the pens, 'used', sure.

A couple of times I did not realize the pens were NOS, until I got them. Am I to let them rot in the corner?

Cheap NOS is what I got...off the wall brands, still good pens that I have fun with.

Why pay extra, and often a lot more for NOS? When one can get a real nice almost 'new' pen for lots less.

Of course, that's my opinion and I'm known to be cheap....except for Single Malts. B)

In reference to P. T. Barnum; to advise for free is foolish, ........busybodies are ill liked by both factions.

 

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 

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Waterman was pretty consistent in their point-making; you can also find much the same sensations coming out of pens they made right up into the 1950s. The later pens are celluloid, which are somewhat more durable than the hard rubber objects like the 52, so one is a little less concerned about taking them out for a walk around town.

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$60 for a Waterman52? jeeeze! now that's well within the realm of affordable.

ooh spotted one...

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Totally agree about getting the vintage Waterman. I have two of them - one flex and one wet noodle. Love and use each of them all the time.

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I concede, NOS hard rubber Watermans, being as rare as they are, could go for many hundreds of dollars, even with the most basic furniture and finish. But my experience with vintage Watermans is that the majority of restorable examples will write just as beautifully as the NOS pen would. Some of my favorite examples are beat up franken-pens.

 

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I am not sure any modern day pen is even near a vintage Waterman 52 nib, maybe event with flex added by a nib meister. If you are willing to on that kind of money, you could have a look at Romillo pens in Spain. They are doing their own nibs and say they have a "k" nob that is vintage flexible. I didn't try that myself though (sigh...)

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Richard Binder is doing flex nibs for some pens but you can get a lot of Vintage Waterman pens for that money.

 

The best deals are on pens that are cosmetically rough; they write fine but aren't pretty anymore.

 

Get Over It. All the bling in the world will not help a pen write better and may do the opposite.

 

Waterman pens with #2 nibs are the most common and so cheaper than a #3 (it's rare) or a #6 (huge) e.g.

Smaller pens are less desirable than big ones to most collectors so they tend to be cheaper.

Here's a start on Waterman Code; a 5x pen is a screw cap lever filler, with a #2 nib it's a 52, if it's the full length but thin model it's a 52 1/2, if it's a full width but short length model it's a 52V, and if it's short and thin it's a 52 1/2V.

Keep your eyes open for a 52V and use it posted. Ones with a clip will be cheaper than ones with a ring on top since the ring is less common. Black or used-to-be-black pens are cheaper than the Mottled Hard Rubber (random pattern red and black), Woodgrain (red and black in a...woodgrain patern), Ripple, or cardinal or the other colors.

 

Not all Waterman nibs are flexible and some are more flexible than others. Stay away from Account nibs and ones marked Purple or Green; they are rigid. Reputable dealers will give you some idea what the nibs like and may include a writing sample. Their pens will be restored and basically cleaned (but check inside the cap) and will be warrantied for about a year. Unrestored pens will be cheaper but will be fixer uppers.

 

Think of some of the later pens like the 32 or 32V.

Edited by Uncle Red
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Thanks for the ton of advice.

Yeah the pen I was aiming for suddenly shot to about $180 at the last instant :(

I'm new to vintage pens and all I knew was that I was handed a Waterman 52 to test and I loved it.

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Richard Binder is doing flex nibs for some pens but you can get a lot of Vintage Waterman pens for that money.

 

The best deals are on pens that are cosmetically rough; they write fine but aren't pretty anymore.

 

Get Over It. All the bling in the world will not help a pen write better and may do the opposite.

 

Waterman pens with #2 nibs are the most common and so cheaper than a #3 (it's rare) or a #6 (huge) e.g.

Smaller pens are less desirable than big ones to most collectors so they tend to be cheaper.

Here's a start on Waterman Code; a 5x pen is a screw cap lever filler, with a #2 nib it's a 52, if it's the full length but thin model it's a 52 1/2, if it's a full width but short length model it's a 52V, and if it's short and thin it's a 52 1/2V.

Keep your eyes open for a 52V and use it posted. Ones with a clip will be cheaper than ones with a ring on top since the ring is less common. Black or used-to-be-black pens are cheaper than the Mottled Hard Rubber (random pattern red and black), Woodgrain (red and black in a...woodgrain patern), Ripple, or cardinal or the other colors.

 

Not all Waterman nibs are flexible and some are more flexible than others. Stay away from Account nibs and ones marked Purple or Green; they are rigid. Reputable dealers will give you some idea what the nibs like and may include a writing sample. Their pens will be restored and basically cleaned (but check inside the cap) and will be warrantied for about a year. Unrestored pens will be cheaper but will be fixer uppers.

 

Think of some of the later pens like the 32 or 32V.

Now that is one info-packed post. :)

 

I have around five or six of the later 3/3V/32/92/92V type pens and they all have very flexible nibs. The wettest wet noodle I have is currently on a little silver overlay model, but it originally came on a very old 12. And the account nibs are indeed boring.

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I bought a Waterman 55 for $49 on ebay the other day. It flexes from super needlepoint (0.10mm) all the way up to 1.90-2mm without efforts, it's right on full flex.

 

I also got a Waterman 52 for about $52 shipped, it goes from 0.20mm up to 1.20mm and is also full flex.

 

Ebay hunting can definitely get you nice, cheap flex; just be ready to go through a lot of blurry pictures, sketchy listings and pens with no mention of flex anywhere in the listing. Those two above were gambles that turned out great.

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No, Waterman used the #2 nib with different pens. They ID'd the pen type with the number in the tens place so

 

1x is an eyedropper filled pen with a slip on (cone) cap

 

4x is a safety pen

 

5x is a screw cap lever filler (there was a cone cap lever filler but they're rare)

 

7x is a screw cap eyedropper filled pen

 

those are just the common ones. The #2 nib on any of these would be a 12 or 72 e.g.

 

Can you tell I like Waterman pens

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Whatever you can afford, get one, you wont regret it. Flex writing is so easy with the 52!

If you look carefully there are a lot of good ones at affordable prices, $60 to $150 should get you a good working one. Look for ones where they show a writing sample of the flex and preferably with the ink sac replaced.

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There are a lot of 52's out there with rigid nibs, so don't count on them being flexible. Others will flex, but take more effort to do so than is comfortable for any length of time. I have bought a number of them, still haven't found a wet noodle.

 

Dan

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i second checking out the waterman 3/3V/32/92/92V i think you are as likely to get a good nib on one of these as on a 52

 

if you are deadset on a 52 and can deal will a smaller pen, getting a 52 1/2v or a 52v will cut down a bit on the price. keep an eye out for waterman 12's as well. they usually go for more than a 52 unless the cap is broken but they are more likely to have a more flexible nib.

 

there are old watermans out there that will take as much pressure to flex as an unmodified noodlers pen. if you have not yet done the ease my flex mod for your noodlers pen i would recommend that.

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A wet noodle may not be for everyone. The Waterman #2 nib, the flex ones, are practical for normal writing and still give full flex with a little more pressure. The ability of the feed to keep up with the flex is another aspect that vintage flex pens seem to do better. Stephen Brown's review of the modern noodlers and other low cost modern flex pens show they tend to rail road easily. That's put me off in getting them even though they dont cost much. I am hard pressed to get my 52 to rail road, only when the ink sac gets really low and it's time to refill the ink. Just a newbies observations so far from what I've seen of the Ahab and Conrads on you tube. Perhaps there are other modern low cost flex pens that perform much better.

 

 

Edited by max dog
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A wet noodle may not be for everyone. The Waterman #2 nib, the flex ones, are practical for normal writing and still give full flex with a little more pressure. The ability of the feed to keep up with the flex is another aspect that vintage flex pens seem to do better. Stephen Brown's review of the modern noodlers and other low cost modern flex pens show they tend to rail road easily. That's put me off in getting them even though they dont cost much. I am hard pressed to get my 52 to rail road, only when the ink sac gets really low and it's time to refill the ink. Just a newbies observations so far from what I've seen of the Ahab and Conrads on you tube. Perhaps there are other modern low cost flex pens that perform much better.

 

 

 

this is a big problem with modern pens but if the feed is ebonite the channels should be carved out deeper to keep up with the thirsty nibs. i dont know why they don't come this way to begin with. it seems odd that we can't get good modern flex feeds when the old ones are all in the public domain now.

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