When I was growing up, the only “high end” pens I knew of were Sheaffer, Waterman, Cross and Parker (which were all available at our local department store). I would ogle at them at the counter and I was determined that I would get one when I was older and working.
When I eventually graduated from University, I had my eye on the Waterman Carene fountain pen. What caught my eye was the beautiful inlaid nib – it looked so sleek and beautiful. I didn’t know whether it was going to be any good, hadn’t seen any reviews or had it in hand. I knew very little about fountain pens at the time and I was going purely on looks at the time. About 10 years or so after that, I finally purchased one on sale, after getting back into fountain pens, and unlike the Waterman Serenite, this one worked extremely well!
The nib is a wet wide writer, made in 18kt gold. I find it a bit bouncy which makes for an enjoyable writing experience, albeit a somewhat slower one. I get the feeling it has a slight stubbish quality to the nib. I think the downstrokes are wider than the side strokes, but I don’t know whether that is due to the bounciness of the nib or that the nib is slightly stubbish itself. I don’t use a lot of pressure when I write so I don’t think I’m pushing it down so much that I spread the tines, but I just can’t tell. The inlaid nib gives me inky fingers sometimes, but I wouldn’t say significantly more so than my non-inlaid nib pens.
The only downside to the nib is that it suffers from minor hard starts. Not frequent enough to be a pain, but often enough to be noticeable. Its better with some inks, like De atramentis (which seems to be the best ink I’ve used for hard starting pens) but worse in others, like Sailor. As you can see, it doesn’t stop me from using these inks though. The problem is very minor.
From an aesthetic point of view, there are two things to note. The plastic on the section seems to get scuffed – I think it may be from something within the cap itself – the scuffed part seems to go all the way around the section in two places, pretty consistently. The back finial decoration (not sure what to call it but the bit of gold at the end of the pen) is angled up towards the rest of the pen barrel, but this doesn’t align to the nib. This second point is minor and I note it because I’m a little bit OCD, but of course makes no impact on how the pen writes.
The converter of the pen though is not fantastic – it gets extremely stiff to use after a few times and the sides seem to gunk up with something. I’m not sure what but it’s happened to two of the Waterman pens I own and I’ve already replaced it a few times.
I’m really happy I ended up picking this one up. It’s very pretty in person and apart from the minor issues I mentioned, it’s a good, reliable writer.
Postscript – after writing this review, I had a look at the nib under a loupe and figured there might be a slight case of baby’s bottom, causing the hard starts. I smoothed it out using some very fine grit buffing pads and it’s much better now. There are still some minor hard starts to the pen, so I may just need to repeat it a bit till it’s just right.
Share this post
- Tags: pen review