Despite Parker being known for their luxurious pens, they also have a lesser known "Vector" series which consists entirely of entry-level fountain pens. In a time where we have a large array of fountain pens to choose from at the click of a button, the Vector series manages to stand out due to its vibrant colours and minimalistic designs. This inexpensive series combines affordability with the reliability and glamour of the Parker brand.
• Price: Usually around £14.99
• Weight: 22g
• Dimensions: 8.5 in. x 4.3 in. x .8 in.
• Nib size: Medium
• Detailing: Arrow clip, ballpoint pen shape, thin, cigar band
• Material: Plastic or steel
• Ink colour: Black
• Pen colour: Numerous vibrant colours from which to choose
• Nib material: Stainless steel
The Vector series consist of slender, lightweight pens with a very minimalistic design consisting of a plastic barrel and a metal accent. The barrels come in a range of vivid colours from luminous green to pumpkin orange with each variant complimented by a chrome clip in the shape of a Parker arrow. Additionally, the grip section is comfortably long and slim whilst the nib is plain stainless steel.
Although, this series is marketed towards the budget-end of the market, surprisingly the pen has a very minimalistic design featuring no wacky additions that you normally see on budget pens. However, this results in the fact that there's nothing that makes the Vector's stand out. The pen has no differentiating design features at all. The nib, barrel, grip are as common as they come, whilst the nib is also the same as every other cheap foundation pen. The only worthwhile aesthetic aspect is the traditional Parker clip. Despite having no engraved fletching's, the clip will always be worth its weight in gold due to the legacy the brand have built.
Despite being rather dull and minimalistic, there are some good aspects of the pen. For example, the contrast between the steel and plastic pens is inconspicuous (it would take a very good eye to notice the difference), this little detail makes the pen a little bit less monotonous. Furthermore, the Parker clip being chrome-made accentuates the Parker design, thus making the branding abit more prominent on the pen.
Overall, there's not too much to say about the pen's aesthetics. Parker have succeeded in producing a minimalistic and functional design, even if it is abit dull and uninspired.
Construction / Quality
Parker have always been renown for their durability over the years, with their longevity being one of the key reasons why they're as successful as they are. The Vector fountain pen serves no surprises, no part of the pen feels fragile or flimsy unlike other budget fountain pens; this pen feels like it was made with durability and functionality in mind.
The plastic and metal barrel is well produced, normally you're able to feel where the materials are combined but to Parker's credit this combination is silky smooth. Furthermore, the chrome clip is going nowhere fast, it's attachment is robust to say the least. And lastly, a key staple of a Parker pen is the cap being airtight and the Vector does not let down, the cap is as secure as it can get. The ink is not going to dry out without any human error.
To conclude, if there was one unique selling point about this pen it would have to be its durability and longevity. Like most Parker pens, this pen is strong and robust; the Vector is perfect for anyone looking for a Parker pen that's not only affordable but durable too.
Size & Ergonomics
As for the size, this fountain pen is extremely light despite half of it being made out of stainless steel. It weighed in at 22 grams meaning it is one of the lightest pens throughout the whole Parker brand. To put this into perspective, If this pen fell out your pocket, there is no way you would feel it drop.
Next, the ergonomics of this pen really come down to personal preference. This pen is very short and narrow, for children or those with small hands this couldn't be a more perfect fit. However, for those with bigger hands, it may become uncomfortable to write with after longer periods due to how narrow it is. Furthermore, the grip section is rather unusual, the shape of the grip section makes it a love it or hate it type of pen.
To conclude, the size and ergonomics of a pen usually comes down to personal preference. If you prefer smaller, lightweight pens then you couldn't pick a better budget Parker pen; however if you prefer a heavier, larger pen then it may be wise to pursue other options.
The writing experience is another reason why this is a prominent force in the budget fountain pen range. The stainless steel nib is smooth and flexible over all surfaces, and the Parker ink that comes with it is as premium as you could find at the price range.
The nib has literally no spring, which is rare for such a cheap fountain pen. The pen is real pleasure to write with, it would not be hard to find fountain pens priced at double the price but perform worse. Furthermore, despite the nib being on the thicker side, the Vector produces a fine standard of writing.
To conclude, this model has no spring, no hard starting, no skipping, a great feed and is just the right level of wetness. Its hard to imagine there's another fountain pen out there that writes better at a similar price point.
As for maintenance, this pen requires barely any maintenance unlike other budget Parker models. The metal end cap is easy to clean and a quick google search is all that is needed if you would need to replace it. Additionally, the barrel is scratch resistant and doesn't attract many smudges. If there was any need to adjust the barrel or nib the Vector is easy enough to dismantle and piece back together.
The ink cartridges add to the low maintenance, due to them being so easy to find at most stationery shops within the UK. This pen also benefits from being compatible with a Parker converter meaning you can use other ink cartridges with the pen, as long as you have the readily available converter.
Value For Money & Conclusion
One of the unique selling points of this Parker fountain pen is how affordable it is. Even if you bought the Vector with a converter and ink, it would still be one of the most affordable fountain pens on the market. Priced at only £15 it is one of the cheapest fountain pens on the market. However, don't mistake its inexpensiveness for low quality. .
For only £15, you are getting a very durable, high performing, decent looking fountain pen, alongside the most premium branding in the pen world. The Parker Vector Fountain series really are a no brainer for those looking for an affordable fountain pen but don't want to sacrifice performance and quality.