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Experience Of Parker Nib Exchange For The U K As Of August 2016


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Thought it might be of interest to post my recent (and first) nib exchange experience. Naturally it will be old news to the more seasoned forum members, but I know I've scoured the boards looking for info on it and always left wondering what the latest is on available nib sizes and so forth. Thus, fwiw:

Short Version. It works, it takes a little over two weeks, the currently available nib sizes chart for the whole range is just below.

Long Version. Very long version.

Aug. 2nd - Took delivery of a Parker Duofold "Classic" International Big Red with medium nib at a ridiculously low price. I mean it was lower than clearance for the previous model kinda price. Did a happy dance and started researching alternative nib sizes. Why? Because, like Mount Everest, they're there, aren't they? The Parker website is big on flashy graphics and telling me about oblique and italic nibs, but the drop down menu and subsequent graphic doesn't want to offer them. Only XXF to EEB. "Alas," I exclaim. "Has the choice been brung so low by these Rubbery Maids?" I take advantage of their offer to "Contact Us" and contact them. I get an email back that very afternoon from Writing Instruments Consumer Services with a courteous note and an attached list of nib possibilities, which I shall likewise attach:


Aug. 3rd - After considerable mulling and combing of the interweb for writing samples and personal experiences, I decide I shall entrust my new baby to the care of strangers, opt for a medium italic, and thus emailed back accordingly. As I was there, so to speak, I also rather cheekily asked if it was possible to get a fine nib exchange for a Vector that was still in its blister pack. The receipt, unfortunately, was lost. Writing Instruments Consumer Services was hot on the case and happy to assist me. Could I send them the following information and they would create a UPS label so that I could send both pens (I'll take that as a yes on the Vector then) to the repair centre:

- Proof of purchase
- Preferred delivery address
- Preferred email address
- Preferred contact number

I could, and did. Well apart from the proof of purchase bit for the Vector, of course.

Writing Instruments Consumer Services were still burning up the interweb wires like Usain Bolt in the 200m and a UPS label appeared accompanied by the assurance that a Return Authority (RMA) # was now in their system. This seems to be the key to unlocking the joys of the Parker Service Centre, or whatever they call it. Area "51" maybe...? I thus packed up my Parker Odd Couple, appending my previously asked-for details to both pens, plus a covering letter, and making it clear again just what nib was wanted where, just to be on the safe side. Stuck on the mailing label, and dropped it off at my nearest UPS drop off point as found via the link provided.

Then I started to obsessively check the tracking number.

Aug. 4th - 9th - UPS took it's sweet time swimming the Channel and kicking the parcel around parts of France. This might be worrying, but luckily France was where it was meant to be going. Meanwhile, on the 5th, Fine Writing Consumer Care emails me to ask me to take a consumer survey. I'm complimentary; they will have my Big Red precious in their hands and I don't want to make them angry. That, and it was also very good consumer care. On the 8th Parker email me to offer me a 2 year warranty extension. (Was I that complimentary?) On the 9th Parker email me to say the warranty extension was a mistake and disregard. (Clearly I wasn't complimentary enough.)

Aug. 10th - UPS claims victory and delivers!


Aug. 13th - The Parker - Rotring - Waterman Global Service Center rumbles into life and declares that it has received my product/request, their technicians are handling it, and they will keep me informed on the follow-up as soon as possible. The attached order acknowledgement only mentions the Vector. I start to worry.

More silence.

I worry a bit more and wonder why on Earth I thought there was any reason not to stick with medium nibs.

Aug. 18th - Parker - Rotring - Waterman Global Service Center rises from the silent depths and declares (twice) that they have shipped my product/order on the 17th and they hope their service will give me total satisfaction. Depends; have they also included chocolates? Two dispatch notices, but one parcel. The UPS tracking number is on the attachment and not clicky copyable. I painstakingly type it out and start tracking...

It's noticeable that the progress is a lot faster coming this way than it was the other. It's already on UK soil.

Aug. 19th - A smiling brown shirt, enjoying the brief burst of sunshine amongst the driving rain, delivers my voyaging chums into my grateful hands. I have to sign for the parcel on an electronic screen with a plastic stick on a string. I think that may be irony.

Open the padded envelope and find two elastic-banded sub-parcels with copious paperwork, a lot of which is the covering stuff I sent them in the first place. In fact I got everything back except the tissue paper the Duofold was wrapped in.


It quickly became clear that pens at opposite ends of the range will get you slightly different results. Thus:


The Vector was happily rolling around its Parker/Waterman tube naked as the day it was assembled, with a new slide convertor. And, happily, its new fine nib.


Whereas the Duofold (and I know it's a terrible picture of it - I'm sorry) was blessed with a twist convertor and royally swaddled in a softly lined canvas-y pouch within its tube. Oh, and a blue cartridge. (I'm not counting the Vector's blue cartridge because it came with one in its packaging.) The medium italic is very lovely and surprisingly wet. Both nibs exhibit evidence of blue ink; might they have actually been tested? Gadzooks.

Anyway, there ya go; the full experience in painful painstaking detail. I'm a happy weevil and give a thumbs up to the Rubbery Maid of the Stair Post*, or the Parker/Waterman employees who still believe in offering such a service despite them, whichever it may be.

*That sounds like a euphemism for something dubious. I refer, of course, to Newell Rubbermaid. Some may argue that is something dubious, but whatever...

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On the 8th Parker email me to offer me a 2 year warranty extension. (Was I that complimentary?) On the 9th Parker email me to say the warranty extension was a mistake and disregard. (Clearly I wasn't complimentary enough.)


I've received the same mail, apparently it was an error...

I had similar experience with Parker Exchange nib for a IM model.

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Thanks for the nib chart. No more guessing what I can exchange for.

San Francisco Pen Show - August 28-30, 2020 - Redwood City, California


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Thanks for the interesting post, and also for the chart. I knew some of the sizes available, but generally the website is quite coy, and some grades are missing from it (obliques).


I am in the middle of an exchange at the moment on a lapis & black /silver trim Centennial, from Medium to Italic Fine. Unfortunately, the IF 'is on back order' (according to a June email) and it was sent away in May :yikes: I am sure it will turn up eventually, but that is a really really long time, considering I had the pen in my hands for approximately three days and didn't even ink it! .... Oh, and they wanted a digital photo of my pen in addition to the other information, which I thought odd.


Given new models with silver trim, which hasn't been seen on a standard model since the Newhaven check pens, I imagine Newell have had to come up with the appropriate rhodium plated nibs for all nib grades, and in two sizes, which is quite a big undertaking - and very encouraging when I come to think about it.


The Writing Desk in the UK have italic nibs in stock, and Anna was saying that Parker had sharpened up their act recently, with regard to returns and exchanges.


Anyway, I am sure it will all be worth it in the end ....I do particularly like the fine italics, which remind me of Conway Stewart's IF - a sort of 'only just' italic, which suits my writing.




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  • 2 years later...

Just an update on this from a customer in California. I bought a Parker Parker Duofold "Classic" International Big Red in late November when Amazon had them at a very good price but only with a fine nib. I went through the process described above and asked for a BBB nib. I got the pen back from Newall in France today with a B nib and a note saying that only EF and B were available. Some beans.


We Are Our Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams

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I got the pen back from Newall in France today with a B nib and a note saying that only EF and B were available.


Urgh. Sorry to hear that indeed. The long term future for Parker's remaining range of nib sizes may be cause for concern as I seem to recall you're not the only one to report lack of availability. :unsure:

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