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Fountain Pen Review: Parker Urban Fountain Pen


Introduction

With a stunning aesthetics, unrivalled writing performances and top-notch construction quality, Parker have been dominating the fountain pen industry for decades. With the Parker Urban fountain pen, they look to continue to impose their presence but this time in the mid-tier market. The Parker Urban aims to combine affordability with the premium aesthetics and functionality that Parker is known for. 

Specs

 

• Price: Usually around £20-£30
• Weight: 33g
• Dimensions: 8.5 in. x 4.3 in. x .8 in.
• Nib size: Medium
• Detailing: Arrow clip, ballpoint pen shape, thin, cigar band
• Material: steel
• Ink colour: Black
• Pen colour: Numerous sophisticated colours from which to choose
• Nib material: Stainless steel

    Aesthetics

    Simply put, the Parker Urban is beautiful. Parker have released the Urban in a range of luxurious colours including "Golden Pearl" and "Amethyst Pearl", each as elegant-looking as the next. Besides the actual pen's aesthetics, the Parker Urban is delivered in some high-end packaging that could justify the price tag alone. Similar to the pen, the packaging is made from premium materials such as velvet making it ideal if you were planning on it being a gift. 

    With the Urban series, Parker have decided to replace their traditional hourglass shape with a more tapered, torpedo design; the result is not only a pen that is more comfortable to hold but it also looks superior to the old design. The new design leaves a sleek and smooth aesthetic which previous models lacked. To further add to the sleek aesthetic, Parker have implemented a plain chrome tip alongside the premium-looking, traditional Parker arrow clip. 

    All of the subtle details that Parker pay attention to is the reason why the Parker Urban is so aesthetically pleasing. For example, one minor detail that really emphasises this point is the nib has its own pattern with the Parker logo engraved; this helps contribute to the unique yet classy look of the Urban. To conclude, if you're after an elegant, graceful looking fountain pen, you may want to seriously consider this pen. 

    Construction quality

    As for the construction quality, the Parker Urban largely meets the standards that Parker have set for themselves. The Urban is mostly metal made, the body is made out of brass, the clip out of metal, the tips are metal and the grip section is also brass-made. This results in a pen that not only feels robust but also a pen that has a premium feel to it. Unlike the previous Urban series, the new additions have a cap which posts properly, has no wriggle room and even makes the satisfying pop once put on. 

    Despite, the construction quality being up to scratch in most departments, there are a few areas where it could improve. Firstly, the coating of the Urban attracts scratches very easily and due to the material of the coating they can be pretty prominent. Additionally, these scratches tend to take the coating off, this results in the pen looking worn and raggedy sooner than it should. Another downside of the construction of the Parker Urban is the attachment of the clip. Due to the clip only bending in one direction, it feels like it could come off at any moment when bent in the wrong direction; however, if you're mindful of which way the clip bends you should be able to negate this problem. 

    Ergonomics

    This pen is on the heavier side of the fountain pen spectrum but the weight is balanced perfectly, therefore making writing with it for extended periods fairly comfortable and untroublesome. As previously mentioned, the weight of the pen also contributes to the premium feel that this pen provides. Your views on the grip section is primarily down to personal preference; having said that, the grip section is long and thick enough to fit most hand sizes. 

    Writing Performance

    As usual Parker deliver a great writing experience. However, bear in mind he Parker Urban has switched out its usual nib for a finer nib size so those who are looking for a bold result may want to look elsewhere. Unlike most fountain pens at this price range, the Urban has a quick drying time meaning you don't have to be scared of your writing getting smudged or spoiled. Furthermore, there's no skipping, no hard-starting and very little spring; the Urban provides one of the best writing experience's you can get at this price range.

    Similar to the ballpoint variant of the Urban,  the one negative in this department it is how quick the Urban run through ink. Ink cartridges which last up to three months in other pens, only last two to three weeks with this model. However, you could say that's the price you pay for such a graceful writing experience.

    Maintenance

    The maintenance for the Urban is a mixed bag. On the negative side, strangely the Urban does not come with a converter. Considering you're paying a decent price for a premium fountain pen, you would expect a converter to switch out ink; instead you have to buy it separately and Parker's converters aren't exactly cheap. Furthermore, the ink cartridge supplied is barely even half full. Therefore, it may be wise to invest in a new ink cartridge as well. Both of these problems mean you have to spend more than the price tag suggests to maintain the pen. 

    However, once you move past the lack of accessories provided, the ink cartridge and converter process is as simple as it gets. The whole procedure only takes a few seconds and it's surprisingly not that messy. Additionally, the urban is also very easy to take apart, therefore making it easy to clean inside to out.

    Conclusion

    The Parker Urban fountain pen series is priced between £20 and £30 depending on where you look. They are available at most high-street stationery shops and big online retailer such as Amazon. Their price tag is well justified by the Urban's beautiful aesthetics, graceful writing experience, satisfactory construction quality and it's premium feel.   

    It'd be wise to consider the Urban if you're looking for a mid-range fountain pen that is as beautiful as it is functional. However, if you're looking for a pen with longevity primarily in mind, you may want to explore other options because the Urban runs through ink like you wouldn't believe and it attracts scratches like a magnet.

     

     

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