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What's wrong with Waterman?



dparker999
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I have to admit that I am completely underwhelmed with Waterman lately so was wondering if it is just me or is it a consensus among FP collectors?   I have approx 15 Watermans going back to the late 80's.   I haven't seen anything I want from Waterman since the Edson!   I have a Carene that I love but my gosh, relying on the Expert, etc in mainstream catalogs?    So many great companies have gone out of business but there is still some awesome designs coming out from so many companies.   Parker has even come out with new designs and redesigns of historic pens.   Where is Waterman?

 

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Sheaffer, Parker and WATERMAN  were the three "big Companies" in pen´s golden age...NOW they are most boring and decadent companies..a real sadness.

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inkstainedruth

What Mr.Rene said, pretty much.  I don't know much about Waterman pens (I have a Waterman Exclusive that I think is from the 1980s -- for which I had trouble finding a converter to fit and work, even with *Waterman* converters :o; and some unknown model vintage one with the lever broken off (the guy in the place I found it gave it to me, probably because he figured he couldn't sell it...).

But I would CERTAINLY say the same as Mr.Rene about modern Parkers (other than Parker Vectors, which are cheap little workhorses, especially the UK production pens).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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13 minutes ago, sciumbasci said:

Waterman has always been very conservative. 

Yes - they've been conservative but they made some stunning pens.   I have some Olivewood and Burlwood pens with beautiful nibs from the late 80's / early 90's that were stunning.   Some of the Edsons were beautiful.   They were an industry leader who seems to fall like Kodak did to Photograph!

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On 12/29/2020 at 2:54 PM, inkstainedruth said:

What Mr.Rene said, pretty much.  I don't know much about Waterman pens (I have a Waterman Exclusive that I think is from the 1980s -- for which I had trouble finding a converter to fit and work, even with *Waterman* converters :o; and some unknown model vintage one with the lever broken off (the guy in the place I found it gave it to me, probably because he figured he couldn't sell it...).

But I would CERTAINLY say the same as Mr.Rene about modern Parkers (other than Parker Vectors, which are cheap little workhorses, especially the UK production pens).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

Howdy.

 

I use Waterman cartridges in my Waterman Exclusive. I don't bother with the converter because I have a box of Waterman cartridges. (When my cartridges are empty I refill them using a syringe.)

Peace, LuLu www.lulu-too-beaucoup.com

 

  • My dream FP: Pelican M1000 Soveran Maki-E Ginko & Maple
  • Waterman FP: Ideal Exclusive Black Lacquer 18K. Waterman RB: Le Man 200 Rhapsody Rollerball Fiber Tip Mineral Green
  • '71 Parker 75 Arrow. '41 Parker Vacumatic Blue Diamond Double Jewel. Sheaffer 2d & 3d Gen Pens.

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inkstainedruth

I did that with empty Quink cartridges when I started here.  But I'd rather use bottled ink -- there's generally a better range of colors, it's more cost effective per ml (plus a converter will cost roughly the same price as a pack of cartridges, and can be flushed and refilled MUCH more easily), and there's less in the way of environmental issues (glass is recyclable, and -- at least where I live -- only a limited range of plastic types  now can be recycled).  Also, it's a PITA to try and figure out a "safe" way to re-seal refilled cartridges until they're needed.  

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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It's a small miracle that they even still exist; they need to understand a different business model would probably work, e.g. entice and gather all potential buyers and produce only once you have enough of them, but the parent company probably only sees a risk. That said, I love Carènes.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

 

B. Russell

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Paul-in-SF

According to Wikipedia, Waterman was acquired by Gillette in 1987, "which grew overall sales by 40% with its aggressive North American sales" and "later" (they don't say when) it was sold to Sanford LP, which also owns Parker. I would say that the current owner doesn't understand much or anything at all about the fountain pen market, and they aren't cultivating any more knowledge than they already have. 

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I suspect the problem is that it isn't obviously profitable to put money into R&D to make pens that are appealing to fountain pen enthusiasts. Their current line-up is full of workhorse pens that offer some of the smoothest nibs around, but it's sad to say that the Carene is the most "fun" Waterman left.

 

At the high end, the Edson was great, except the cap lining made contact with the shroud in such a way that they were highly likely to pull ink onto the section, making them pretty irritating to use if you don't like inky fingers and don't want your big fancy pen to look like a mess when you uncap it. Maybe petty to complain about it, but you don't need to carry a cloth to wipe down your Montblanc 149 or Pelikan M1000.

 

From my perspective, all they need to do is re-release the Waterman 7 Color Band line-up and they can instantly regain huge credibility. Of course, businesspeople wanting to put their mark on the project would inevitably change things and vintage fans would rightly just keep on using their 100 year old models that are more reliable and are better writers than anything the company has made since Eisenhower was in office.

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21 hours ago, inkstainedruth said:

I did that with empty Quink cartridges when I started here.  But I'd rather use bottled ink -- there's generally a better range of colors, it's more cost effective per ml (plus a converter will cost roughly the same price as a pack of cartridges, and can be flushed and refilled MUCH more easily), and there's less in the way of environmental issues (glass is recyclable, and -- at least where I live -- only a limited range of plastic types  now can be recycled).  Also, it's a PITA to try and figure out a "safe" way to re-seal refilled cartridges until they're needed.  

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

Howdy.

Re-sealing the the refilled cartridges for later  is something I never even considered! Hmmm. Now you got me thinking.... I'm with you about all the colors available in bottles. As for my Waterman Exclusive, I'm good with the blue color inks in it - so the cartridges seem adequate. Also, I don't think I have ever thrown out a used cartridge since the '70s- I just keep reusing them!

 

I do use the different bottled ink colors in my other FPs though. Thanks for the tip, Ruth. and glad to meet you!

 

Peace,

LuLu Haynes

Peace, LuLu www.lulu-too-beaucoup.com

 

  • My dream FP: Pelican M1000 Soveran Maki-E Ginko & Maple
  • Waterman FP: Ideal Exclusive Black Lacquer 18K. Waterman RB: Le Man 200 Rhapsody Rollerball Fiber Tip Mineral Green
  • '71 Parker 75 Arrow. '41 Parker Vacumatic Blue Diamond Double Jewel. Sheaffer 2d & 3d Gen Pens.

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On 12/29/2020 at 6:41 PM, dparker999 said:

So many great companies have gone out of business but there is still some awesome designs coming out from so many companies.   Parker has even come out with new designs and redesigns of historic pens.   Where is Waterman?

 

What's wrong with Waterman? Just like with Parker: al lot. Most Waterman pens are overpriced for what they are (cheaply made steel nibbed cartridge-converter pens), product quality leaves a lot to be desired to, warranty is not a lifetime warranty (just a minimal two year limited warranty), and with many models a non standard (standard=international standard) converter has to be bought seperately. The only current Waterman product that is interesting and competitive is bottled ink. For less money than a Waterman converter one can buy a decent Chinese pen (with an added standard international converter most of the time) that writes as well if not better.

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sansenri

I'm not sure that would be the answer. What they need is a new top of the line pen with all the bells and whistles, to compete with so many $600 pens out there. A reissue of the Man 100 would look nice, they can still make nice nibs and that is where the strength of that pen was, together with ergonomics. Some nice finishes (a marine amber?) and it might work... but no cutting corners on quality, otherwise it's a lost battle.

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dparker999
1 hour ago, sansenri said:

I'm not sure that would be the answer. What they need is a new top of the line pen with all the bells and whistles, to compete with so many $600 pens out there. A reissue of the Man 100 would look nice, they can still make nice nibs and that is where the strength of that pen was, together with ergonomics. Some nice finishes (a marine amber?) and it might work... but no cutting corners on quality, otherwise it's a lost battle.

 

These are some great observations but where is the product manager at Waterman who has the guts to go out on a limb and make an argument for such a creative effort when 99% of Newall Products sell for under $10?   Wrong ownership!

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A Smug Dill

Waterman, along with Parker and Sheaffer, are brands that have been dying slow deaths for a while now, but will yet linger on for years to come as pale shadows of themselves, in my opinion.

 

Brands come and go. There's nothing wrong per se with some well-known brands dying and/or fading away long past its heyday, without proper corporate care and direction, irrespective of having eight years' or eighty years' (or longer) history. The fountain pen industry and hobby are not necessarily poorer for that. If their demise creates an imagined void in terms of things to attract and capture consumer revenue, some other company, whether young or established, will eventually come in to fill the void and take market share; and I doubt the overall level of interest in the pen user community will noticeably dwindle as a result of such shifts. Some other producer could be making beautiful or innovative pens that Waterman isn't making, and selling them successfully without the Waterman name.

 

Why isn't it OK — even for fans of the brand — to regard such brands as iconic and/or having great legacy, but no place today's landscape in a market that has moved on to other names, perhaps dominated by brands of some other origin (Italy, Germany, Japan, China, whatever)?

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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9 hours ago, dparker999 said:

 

These are some great observations but where is the product manager at Waterman who has the guts to go out on a limb and make an argument for such a creative effort when 99% of Newall Products sell for under $10?   Wrong ownership!

If you look at the mass market, yes.

But Waterman has a place in the realm of some of the best pens ever made, so if I were the product manager (:)) I'd suggest we need an effort to show we still hold a place up there... which then is what makes us sell all the other stuff through an image of prestige (unless we gradually want to lose that too).

Waterman has it in their blood, besides the Edson, think of the Man 100, the Liason, the Exception.

They just need to adjust and update one of these projects, without any excessive design effort (it makes sense to build on tradition, anyway).

Look what Aurora is doing with the Internazionale... Waterman could even offer a new 52...(although that might be too daring)

 

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On 1/10/2021 at 12:33 AM, sansenri said:

What they need is a new top of the line pen with all the bells and whistles, to compete with so many $600 pens out there. 

What is needed is a decent distribution network. A lot of (online) retailers don't sell Waterman (or Parker) or offer only  a very limited range. 

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dparker999
12 hours ago, mr T. said:

What is needed is a decent distribution network. A lot of (online) retailers don't sell Waterman (or Parker) or offer only  a very limited range. 

 

Why would a bricks and mortar retailer want to give any space except consumable space to that?   Doesn't make sense?  

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On 12/29/2020 at 5:30 PM, sciumbasci said:

Waterman has always been very conservative. 

 

At this point, and considering what other companies have done and are still doing, "boring" is probably a more appropriate word.

 

Alex

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

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

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

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