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Fountain Pen Review: Waterman Expert


Introduction

Once one of the biggest and most well known fountain pen's in the world, Waterson have suffered a steep decline in recent years. With the entry level "Expert" fountain pen, Waterman look to reintroduce themselves as prominent forces in the fountain pen market. The "Expert" aims to combine Waterman's luxurious standards with being affordable to the general public. 

Specs

  • Weight: 27g
  • Nib Material: Steel
  • Length (capped): 14cm
  • Length (uncapped): 12.5cm
  • Trim: Chrome
  • Barrel Material: Resin
  • Nib size: Medium
  • Ink refill: Converter & Cartridge
  • Ink colour: Black 
  • Pen colour: Black 

Aesthetics

Despite it's affordability, Waterman have managed to produce a very elegant and premium aesthetic. The classy-looking pen boasts a bold, streamlined shape which tapers towards the bottom, a glossy finial with a Waterman engraving and an engraved clip. The Waterman's barrel sports a matte look whilst the clip is chrome made and the finial is glossy; this results in a sleek, contrasting look. Furthermore, the premium-looking, gold plated trims and the smooth, stainless steel nib add to the luxurious aesthetic of the "Expert".

Subtle details add to the elegant aesthetic of the Expert. For example, the chrome-made, glossy black, centre band is impressively engraved with "Waterman Paris, France". Additionally, the premium packaging that comes with the "Expert" further adds to the elegance surrounding the fountain pen. Similar to the velvet wrapped box, the Expert comes in a bed of silky velvet material resulting in a very satisfying unboxing process. To conclude, the Expert balances being eye catching and bold with having an elegant aesthetic, resulting in a classic yet striking look. 

Construction Quality

Not only does the Expert possess high-end aesthetics, they're fairly-well constructed. The Expert is mostly resin made yet it still feels robust and strong. Similarly, the stainless steel nib feels sturdy and well-made whilst the clip is securely attached and the grip section is far from erodible. Another rare addition for such an entry level fountain pen is a tight-fitted cap that posts and clicks securely; this allows the pen to last longer as the ink is less likely to dry out with a secure cap. 

On the flip side, the Expert is let down by the lacquer coating the barrel being a scratch magnet. Scratches become very prominent very easily and soon begin to remove the coating over time. This results in the Expert looking battered and raggedy much sooner than it should. Another downside to the construction of the Expert is the feed is designed in a shape that often leads to ink blockages, this can be annoying to constantly clean out and maintain.

Ergonomics

Despite the low price tag, the feel of the Expert is superior to the majority of it's competition at this price range. The Expert is on the heavier side of fountain pen's yet it rarely feels too heavy even for the smallest of hands. This is due to the balance of the pen being distributed evenly along the pen, this ensures that writing for extended periods of time is as comfortable as when you begun. Furthermore, because of the lightweight cap, even when the cap is posted the pen still feels balanced and not top-heavy. Views on a grip section largely comes down to personal preference but this grip section should be suitable for most hand sizes due to it's length and thickness. 

Writing Performance

The Waterman Expert sports a stainless steel, medium sized nib. Waterson's engraved nib allows for an above average writing experience. The ink flow is fairly wet but does have a long drying times on most surfaces; this means you may have to be cautious about not smudging and smearing your writing. The nib produces neither a fine or bold line, instead the average nib caters to as many people as possible. 

As expected from the price tag, the nib does provide quite abit of feedback and the occasional hard start and skip. For the most part, the Expert allows for a good writing experience; it produces smooth, clean lines which is becoming increasingly uncommon for fountain pens at this price range. The only major downside of the writing experience is the nib often becomes blocked by ink and requires abit of maintenance to keep cleaning it out. However with some maintenance, you can keep the ink flow wet and consistent. 

Maintenance

The Expert can both be refilled with an ink cartridges or you could use a converter if you have your own bottle of ink that you want to refill from. In addition to the ink that is supplied in the pen, the Expert packaging comes with an additional ink cartridge. therefore you won't have to invest in any cartridges for a long time once purchasing. Annoyingly, the Expert does not come with a Waterman converter. Furthermore, they are not sold at most high-street stationers, instead you will need to resort to the Waterman website or Amazon to get a hold of one. 

Further adding to the longevity of the Expert, Waterman have also included a three year warranty with each pen meaning if there's any problem with the Expert it can be exchanged for another edition. It's also worth noting that the Expert is straightforward to dissemble and reassemble, making it easy to clean inside and out.  

Value for Money & Conclusion

Priced around the £50 mark, the Waterman Expert sits between the luxurious fountain pens and the more budget options. Waterman have tried to justify the price tag with a classic design, a premium feel and providing a decent writing experience. The problem with the Expert is whilst there are no major weaknesses, there's nothing that makes the pen stand out against its competition. 

For those who prefer Waterman or prefer a minimalistic, premium feeling fountain pen, you may want to consider investing in the Waterman Expert. However, there are plenty of other fountain pens at a similar price range which provide a much better writing experience. Therefore for those who are after a top-notch writing performance, you may want to consider other options

 

 

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