The Kaweco Classic Sport, A Modern Pocket Pen06/24/2012
My pen hiatus ended last week with the arrival of a Kaweco Classic Sport courtesy of David at Jet Pens. With no new additions in over a year, it seemed odd to use a new pen but it also made clear the differences between the Sport and the fountain pens comprising my recent rotation. In the under $25 category, it is no wonder this model makes it on the value-for-money list of so many fountain pen aficionados.
Fast take on the Classic Sport? It’s a well-designed fountain pen that more than meets expectations for its category. With a range of nibs that are easily swapped and the convenience of refilling with international cartridges, this pen would be an easy travel companion even if only to the local coffee shop.
Kaweco is a German manufacturer that can trace its lineage to 1883, impressive by any standards. The current lineup includes a number of models in a variety of styles and finishes. The Classic Sport has been around for decades and is the company’s bestseller. Any kinks in the design have long-since been eliminated and it shows in the fit and finish.
The Sport easily qualifies as a pocket pen at a mere 10.5 cm capped and 13.5 cm posted. Compare that to a 1970’s Pilot Pocket Pen at 11.8 cm capped and 14.7 cm posted. If size matters, this makes the Sport a clear winner in the modern arena.
Like a pocket pen, posting the cap on the end of the barrel will achieve enough length for balance and comfort though for a quick signature or a brief note, it might not be necessary. Writing of greater duration will require posting but you won’t notice a weight difference. It really just affects balance.
The pen body is plastic though solid and as light as air. The octagonal cap keeps it from rolling off a flat surface or out of slippery fingers. You can add an optional nickel or gold clip for a small price if that better suits your needs.
The Sport is a cartridge filler with no converter available. However, any international short cartridge will do including those from J. Herbin. For on-the-go use, this can make life very easy. Of course carts can be refilled with a syringe or narrow-necked pipette and that opens the door to any ink. If more ink per fill is better for your needs, the Classic Sport can be converted to an eye-dropper filler. I haven’t tried this but have heard good reports from several friends. Jet Pens has instructions if this appeals to you. The eye-dropper mod is not recommended for the aluminum Sport.
The nib is 23 KT gold-plated stainless steel with an iridium tip and comes in EF, F, M, and B. The Sport I received is a medium that wrote well without fiddling. It isn’t a rigid nail but has enough give to be easy on the hand. I’ve only used the included cart, but the pen writes smoothly and with average flow, just right for an all-purpose pen. If anything I would say the nib is slightly more narrow than the typical western medium but not in the league of a Japanese nib. Surprisingly, I like the nib better than those on some higher-priced pens but that’s a very subjective evaluation.
In addition to the usual nib sizes, Kaweco offers replacement nibs in BB and calligraphy sizes 1.1, 1.5, and 2.3 mm. Note that the short international cartridge holds a relatively small amount of ink and will empty rather quickly when using a wide nib. This is where the eye-dropper conversion will make a useful performance improvement.
My Classic Sport is black but it also comes in blue, white, green, burgundy, and a transparent demonstrator version. The latter would be fun converted to an eye-dropper for an unobstructed view of the ink. I don’t know if the plastic would stain but many blue or green inks are relatively safe in that regard. Fill at your own risk especially if you use a red-based color.
The single included cartridge contains Kaweco Royal Blue ink. According to Michael R on FPN, “…Kaweco inks are made by Dr. Pflug from Aratrum (who also makes the Caran d’Ache inks).” Colors include Black, Blue-black, Royal Blue, Aubergine, Green, Turquoise, Red, and Sepia. Royal Blue is a pale, unremarkable medium blue that produced clean outlines except on poor quality envelopes. The color won’t offend but neither will it make your writing memorable. Swap for a more saturated ink if you want a truly vivid blue.
There is a lot to be said for an easy to carry pen and the Kaweco Classic Sport fits that description handily. The screw top should keep it secure in purse or pocket while cartridges make refills fast and clean. Swapping nibs is simple and the nib range should provide something suitable for everyone.
Tempted? I am. A demo with a 1.1 nib converted to an eye-dropper and filled with turquoise ink would bring a splash of fun to a hot summer day. Hmmm. Maybe I could pretend my birthday is in July and put the Sport at the top of my wish list…
Note: Images are from Jet Pens as is the pen reviewed. Most of the links are to Jet Pens as well. I have no affiliation with either Kaweco or Jet Pens though I did write one review two years ago of a product sent by the latter. My experience with the company is mainly as a satisfied customer. On that score they rate highly.