I can’t remember what the first fountain pen I used was but I do know that it was from Parker. Why I say “was” is because I was trying my hand at calligraphy and wanted to use this beautiful dark emerald ink actually meant for a dip pen. Now for those of you more familiar with inks and fountain pens, I’m sure you know where this is going.
I’ll leave the details for another time but basically I had to resort to a sonic bath to clean the pen. In any case, my second pen was a Waterman Harmony. I bought it brand new at the time (I wonder if this reveals anything about my age?) and it was with great excitement that I unwrapped and unboxed this chrome plated beauty.
What I loved about it was the finish and the jaunty angle of the finial or the piece at the end of the barrel (body) of the pen. These were completed in stainless steel along with the clip and band. If I am not mistaken they were manufactured in Japan even though Waterman is headquartered in France. This might contribute to the nib size being a little finer than usual but it writes amazingly smoothly.
Amazingly enough, I can’t seem to find it in Waterman stores but eBay still stocks the Waterman Harmony for one of the best available prices out there for those interested to try it out for yourself. I believe it makes a good pen no matter whether you’re new to fountain pens or looking to add something interesting to your collection.
The Waterman story
I started talking about my Waterman Harmony to set the stage for talking about my love affair with the brand. Waterman was founded in 1884 and is one of a few stalwarts in the fountain pen industry to flourish during the heydays of fountain pens and continue to survive till the present.
This is no mean feat as the advent of the ballpoint pen saw the decline in sales of fountain pens. Waterman does however, still enjoy their reputation (rightly deserved) of having high quality, flexible nibs with a wonderfully smooth writing experience.
Waterman Carene fountain pen
In a continuation of their illustrious legacy, Waterman released the Waterman Carene (I’m omitting the accent above the ‘e’ for this article to make it easier to find) roughly 20 years ago but their relatively high production volume for fountain pens even after their foray into the ballpoint pen market means that legacy or earlier pieces are still easy to find and aren’t overly expensive.
The inspiration behind the design of the Waterman Carene series came from the shape of a hull of a luxury yacht or a cruiser. Although the image above shows a modern yacht, I feel that the color and shape of the Waterman Carene series hearkens back to an earlier time, more like the 20s or 30s. If you have seen the film The Great Gatsby, then this is a pen Jay Gatsby would have written with. Carène is french for “hull” and the gentle taper of the Carene series really personifies this very well.
The Carene series has 3 finishes (or pen varieties) and I will talk a bit about design features common to all 3 before highlighting individual features. Of course, all the pens come with a piston converter and a spare ink cartridge as well.
The cap of all 3 finishes or friction fitted. Meaning that they fit snugly onto the section without the need to screw or unscrew them. I personally prefer this as I sometimes feel that it is a bit of a hassle to keep twisting to remove and replace the cap. Though this is largely individual preference.
Something the Carene series all have in common is an inlaid or hooded nib. This enhances their timeless look and nautical feel like that of a bow slicing through water. The 18k gold, rhodium plated nib has the trademark smoothness of a Waterman pen and can surprisingly handle rather swift writing, not what you may expect from all fountain pens.
Pen body or barrel
The barrel is made of brass in all the 3 finishes which translates into a rather pleasant weight for writing. This is also something I personally prefer but for those who would rather a lighter pen, this should feel fairly comfortable as well.
Section or grip
Due to the grip being rather generous, whether holding it close to the nib or a bit higher up are both comfortable. This makes the pen suitable for a wide variety of grip styles. The video below provides very good closeups of the pen from various angles.
Essential Black and Gold Fountain Pen GT
What makes these finishes so unique is the various aspects of attention given to each of them. The Essential Black and Gold GT (GT being gold trim) has a beautiful wave detail on the cap in-line with the nautical theme of the series. Here you can see the Waterman name just visible on the band.
Black and gold is a classic and timeless combination hailing back to the fountain pen’s boom era and whether you have this elegant pen on a desk or carry it in your shirt pocket, the eye-catching gold wave cap would not be easily missed.
You can own this pen by clicking on the image above which would take you to Amazon in a new window or by clicking here if the image does not display correctly for whatever reason. 🙂
Essential Silver Fountain Pen ST
Like the Black and Gold finish, the Essential Silver ST (ST being, you guessed it – silver trim) also has the distinctive wave pattern not just on the cap but rather almost the full length of the pen except the section. This ensures that you won’t need to have the cap on like its cousin the Essential Black and Gold, to have the wave trim mesmerizing you as the pen glides across the paper.
Also, like the Essential Black and Gold, you can add to your collection by clicking the image above or here to add this to your collection.
Contemporary Gunmetal Fountain Pen ST
Last but not least in the Carene series is the Contemporary Gunmetal ST. Some people have mentioned that the cross-hatched pattern on this beauty is reminiscent of pocket squares – like those worn with a tuxedo or to a formal ball. I beg to differ though and think that the squares are more like that of a sail. Whether furled or unfurled waiting for a new journey or embarking on one across the literary seas is up to your imagination.
To own one of these, you can click the image as usual or follow the same link here which both open in a new tab (or window, depending on your settings) and take you to the same place. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. However, it does not affect the fountain pen prices and helps keep me writing!
I’ve never strayed from the sentiment that fountain pens are all things of beauty and if you asked me to choose a favorite from among this particular three I think I would be hard-pressed to respond! If you do have a favorite though, do comment on this post or on Facebook and let me know which one and why.