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Which To Buy? Waterman Carène? Or Modern Parker Sonnet?



Mercian

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Hi folks,
I am thinking of buying myself a present (ok, I'll be honest - I mean that I wants a new Shiny Thing I does, oh yes!), and I would like some advice from you before I Succumb to the Temptation to blow what is actually rather lot of money for me.

I am trying to choose between a current production (2019-2020) Parker Sonnet, and a Waterman Carène.
I am (as long as the Mods are happy to let me) putting this thread in to both the Parker forum and the Waterman forum, so that I can get as many well-informed replies as possible.

The Carène that I fancy the look of is (happily for me) the cheapest one available, and so it is ‘only’ the same price as a Sonnet with a gold nib.
The retailer from whom I am thinking of buying my new toy sells both pens, and in every nib width too :)
They also stock spare nibs, so I could buy any colour of Sonnet and also buy a gold nib to put in to it.

 

Background

I already own some Parker Frontiers, so I know that the size and shape of the Sonnet suits my hand (although I don't yet know about the weight).
I also like that their nib units can be unscrewed if necessary, because I like to use Rohrer & Klingner's iron-gall inks „Salix” and „Scabiosa”.
The ease of removing the Sonnet's nib & feed for cleaning reassures me that I would have less to fear in terms of the consequences of letting any ink dry out in a Sonnet.
[i did once let some „Salix” dry-out in a Parker "51", and that was a massive PITA to put right. It took about six weeks! OK, so it has so far only happened on the one occasion, when my mother had to be rushed in to hopsital with acute neurological side-effects from a new heart medication, and was in there for a month. Happily, it hasn't happened since, but since then ease of cleaning is something that I do consider whenever I contemplate a new pen purchase.]

Regardless of my penchant for ‘planning for failure’, I am concerned that I have seen many complaints about Sonnets drying-out whilst capped, and complaints of them ‘writing dry’. Neither of those things sounds like anything I want - especially as I like pens that ‘write wet’.

 

So, have you found modern Sonnets to have a drying-out problem?
Do you think that there is any point in my buying a Sonnet with a gold nib, or are the steel nibs just as good?
Is the gold nib more ‘springy’ than the steel? Are both nibs ‘nails’?

 

With respect to the Carène, I like the look of the beast, and have read many complimetary things about it on here.
I have read the advice on how to avoid the problems that can occur when filling it, and how to adjust the rotation angle of the barrel so that the ‘stern’ end of the pen is oriented correctly when the barrel is screwed back on.
I have not yet held an example of the pen, so intend to try one out so that I can check its girth, heft, and balance before I buy it.
My potential worry with it would be its large and inaccessible feed - if I were to let an ink (but especially an iron-gall ink) dry out in that I expect that it would be a nightmare to clean out. Possibly even worse than the "51"!

 

What are your thoughts, oh Fount of All Wisdom that is FPN? Which of these two pens would you advise me to buy?
Do you think that the Carène is the better pen, and that I should buy the Carène and just leave the iron-gall inks for my Frontiers?
Or that each pen is as good as the other?
Or that the Sonnet is better, and that I should buy one with a gold-nib?
Or that I ought to buy a steel-nibbed Sonnet & also some nice inks with the rest of the money?

Are there any other ‘problems’ with either pen?
Have you found either to have any ‘idiosyncrasies’ that have irked you?

 

My thanks to you all in advance for your answers.

Cheers,
M.

Edited by Mercian

Foul in clear conditions, but handsome in the fog.

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I would agree but over on the Parker forum they are probably saying Sonnet.

 

You should try both in the flesh because nibs are finished by hand so one EF, F, M, ST, B may not = another.

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Nicholas Green

I also have a Sonnet and I really don't like it! (It's ink delivery is nowhere close to that of the Carène's)

 

I've thus placed it back in it's box, and have placed it in my drawer and probably won't use it again. (The plating on the ring closest to the nib has also started to come off due to moisture and this really hasn't impressed me at all.)

 

Not to mention the fact that the pen tends to dry out due to the massive breather hole located at the top of the cap. (Causing you to have to ink this pen weekly!)

 

The Carène is definitely the better pen here!

Edited by Nick_Green
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Not to mention the fact that the pen tends to dry out due to the massive breather hole located at the top of the cap. (Causing you to have to ink this pen weekly!)

 

I’ve been reading all the reviews that I can, and even people who love their Sonnets say that :o

 

Edit to add: My thought about the Sonnet was that I might be safe to use i-g inks in it, because of the screw-in nib/feed.

But if the pen were to dry out whilst capped, that idea’s a non-starter - the i-g ink would just dry out and oxidise on or around the feed & threads, and trying to unscrew the nib/feed might then damage it.

 

So, being a notoriously paranoid old Hector, with the Sonnet at least I am starting to think hic sunt Dracones... :o

Edited by Mercian

Foul in clear conditions, but handsome in the fog.

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The Sonnet is an awfully nice pen, both in appearance and writing quality, but it dries up famously quickly. If you don't use it every 6 hours, there will be histrionics involved in getting it started once you pick it up.

 

I like the Frontier and I like the Sonnet, so it's quite possible that you will feel similarly.

 

I've read that newer editions don't have this issue, so I suggest that you purchase yours from somewhere where it can be returned within 30 days (even if inked), make sure that its date code is recent, and see if it works for you.

 

Having said this, as far as quality goes, I believe, based on the drying issue, if it hasn't been solved, that the Carene is a much better pen, but with completely different ergonomics (the section is very different from most pens and even though I haven't used one in years, I remember that it became a bit slippery with sweat from my fingers).

 

Alex

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We use our phones more than our pens.....

and the world is a worse place for it. - markh

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I would agree but over on the Parker forum they are probably saying Sonnet.

 

You should try both in the flesh because nibs are finished by hand so one EF, F, M, ST, B may not = another.

 

I would have some reservations as to whether in the Parker forum they would say Sonnet. I have a couple of dozen Sonnets, and most are a pain in the neck to keep writing. They dry out. Even after the epoxy in the cap fix, and even on post-Refresh pens.

 

Carene. Easier to remedy dryout. A more distinctive style.

 

Even though I have Sonnets with interesting italic and oblique nibs, Klingon Ptagh.

"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.

 

 

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I would have some reservations as to whether in the Parker forum they would say Sonnet. I have a couple of dozen Sonnets, and most are a pain in the neck to keep writing. They dry out. Even after the epoxy in the cap fix, and even on post-Refresh pens.

 

Carene. Easier to remedy dryout. A more distinctive style.

 

Even though I have Sonnets with interesting italic and oblique nibs, Klingon Ptagh.

 

Hi Pájaro,

 

Could you post a close-up picture of your epoxy fix (preferably as a new topic)? I'd like to see what you did, as I'd like to give that a shot. Where the clip meets the top of the cap there's also space, so I'm trying to figure a way to apply epoxy there as well. Either that or drop some silicone glue inside the cap to seal around the rivet. The only trouble with the latter is that the clearance between the tip of the nib and the cap is about 1mm (at least on my P - 1997 model that I measured).

 

Thanks!

 

Alex

---------------------------------------------------------

We use our phones more than our pens.....

and the world is a worse place for it. - markh

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Sonnet is a nice pen. I no longer have any but presented a couple of those to a friend. The size is nice, so is the nib. The drying out is absurdly awful - it's due to the design of the cap. For instance even modern Duofold dries out though nowhere near as quickly as Sonnet.

Overall I would say Carene is way more beautiful and while you can't disassemble it... in fact you really needn't to (you can't disassemble Edson either, yet most of us love it).

Edited by aurore
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Let me preface this by saying I have more Parkers than any other brand, so I'm a Parker fan.

 

I've owned a Sonnet, and while it felt OK,it was a lousy writer. I moved it on. I've also had a Carene. A great pen in the hand, and a nice writer, but I returned it as it leaked badly.

 

Having said that, I'd never buy another Sonnet as I've heard too many stories just like mine. I would however consider another Carene.Get the Carene.

=====================================
Mario Mirabile
Melbourne, Australia

www.miralightimaging.com

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Hi Pájaro,

 

Could you post a close-up picture of your epoxy fix (preferably as a new topic)? I'd like to see what you did, as I'd like to give that a shot. Where the clip meets the top of the cap there's also space, so I'm trying to figure a way to apply epoxy there as well. Either that or drop some silicone glue inside the cap to seal around the rivet. The only trouble with the latter is that the clearance between the tip of the nib and the cap is about 1mm (at least on my P - 1997 model that I measured).

 

Thanks!

 

Alex

 

 

Hi Pájaro,

 

Could you post a close-up picture of your epoxy fix (preferably as a new topic)? I'd like to see what you did, as I'd like to give that a shot. Where the clip meets the top of the cap there's also space, so I'm trying to figure a way to apply epoxy there as well. Either that or drop some silicone glue inside the cap to seal around the rivet. The only trouble with the latter is that the clearance between the tip of the nib and the cap is about 1mm (at least on my P - 1997 model that I measured).

 

Thanks!

 

Alex

 

There are threads in the Repair and Parker forums on the subject of somehow sealing the cap. As I recall there are multiple threads on the subject, with the threads concerning dripping epoxy into the cap being later threads, but I think they are about a year old. I have tried this on four or five pens with mixed success, some being fixed and some drying out more slowly as a result. So, I can't claim to have mastered this repair. I will research it again, because I need to fix a couple of dozen more Sonnets. The Sonnets are beautiful, and their history is interesting. If it were not for the drying out issue, I would have said Sonnet, because it is smaller and lighter, and has lots of nibs, left oblique, right oblique, fine and broad italics and others. In steel, gold plated and solid gold. I was hooked on Sonnet for a while.

"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.

 

 

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Go for the Carene. There are few pens that feel as good in the hand and are more pleasurable to write with. Plus, they look great. Medium nibs seem to work best for me. I prefer more free flowing, non clogging inks for these pens and clean them regularly.
you should have at least one of them.

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Go for the Carene. There are few pens that feel as good in the hand and are more pleasurable to write with. Plus, they look great. Medium nibs seem to work best for me. I prefer more free flowing, non clogging inks for these pens and clean them regularly.

you should have at least one of them.

 

+1.

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Googling PS nibs reveals some have the slit meeting the breather (mouse hole*) and some not.

 

This MUST be poor manufacturing and quality control.

 

* When in engineering, we termed stress relieving holes Mouse Holes.

 

The Carene far exceeds PS in all aspects.

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Nicholas Green

Googling PS nibs reveals some have the slit meeting the breather (mouse hole*) and some not.

 

This MUST be poor manufacturing and quality control.

 

* When in engineering, we termed stress relieving holes Mouse Holes.

 

The Carene far exceeds PS in all aspects.

 

 

That's a pretty big fault, if it is indeed as a result of poor quality control!

 

The really crazy thing here is that these are produced in Waterman's plant in Nantes, France!

 

Did the designers of these things ever test the design before releasing it for production?

Edited by Nick_Green
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I don’t think that the ‘mouse hole’ not meeting the tines slit on current-production Sonnet nibs can be a result of poor QC.

 

I know that all the former production runs of Sonnet nibs had the hole meeting the slit, but none of the modern ones appear to have it, even on Parker’s own marketing photos. If it were meant to meet the slit then their marketing photos would surely show it meeting the slit, no?
There’s also the fact that the nibs of the Parker Premier don’t even have the hole at all.

In short, IMO it simply must be a deliberate design choice - to borrow a saying from another industry, ‘it’s not a bug, it’s a feature’.

 

I am by no means any kind of Engineer - let alone any kind of specialist Metallurgist - but I presume that the stress-reduction function of that hole (allowing the tines to flex slightly relative to the rest of the nib during writing, in order to prevent the ‘structural damage’ that is the tine slit from gradually spreading up towards the feed as the metal ‘fatigues’) must now be being facilitated by the incised geometrically-patterned lines on both pens’ nibs.

Or that the nibs are now made from an alloy that is far less susceptible to metal fatigue than traditional ones were, and so the designers are no longer necessarily required to have that hole, or to have it meet the slit.

Foul in clear conditions, but handsome in the fog.

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Nicholas Green

I'm a pilot and have come across stop drilling many times in my career, as when stress fractures occur in the engine cowlings, etc, the only way to stop the crack from spreading is to stop drill it or put a *mouse hole in place.

 

Very few metals, besides very good steel or some exotic alloys are immune to fatigue due to continual flexing. The nib of this pen is made of 18K gold, so the nib material isn't much different from that used in most other nibs.

 

Every high end pen that I own, including all of my Waterman's (except maybe for the Expert II) have a *mouse hole in place.

 

It writes terribly, period! Even my Waterman Expert II, with it's stainless steel nib would run circles around it!

 

By the way, I wrote all of my aviation exams with the Expert II back in the day, and it didn't skip a beat! :) (Hours and hours of continuous writing, sometimes requiring cartridge changes while writing my exams!)

 

This is a great pity as the Sonnet's a beautiful looking pen. (I wouldn't have ordered it if I didn't like it's looks) It just needs some serious re-engineering!

Edited by Nick_Green
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