Sunday, December 26, 2010

AL-Sport

The Kaweco Sport is a pen with a long history. The first model with this name dates back from 1918, and the present shape can be recognized as early as in 1934.

But at the same time, the mother company has suffered a number of crises including a bankruptcy file and what at the time looked like a total cease in activities in 1986. Some years later, in 1995, the entrepreneur and pen collector Michael Gutberlet bought the rights to use the company name and resumed the pen production. Apparently, all this came as a result of his fascination for the Sport model.

The object of this review is the current Sport model, albeit in the more upscale variation made in aluminum—the AL-Sport.

The pen, capped.

1. Appearance and design. (8.5/10)
This is a small metal pen. The cap is faceted and looks rather thick. The barrel, on the other hand, is almost perfectly cylindrical, and connects smoothly with the section. There is a subtle curvature close on the section to ease the grip.

This is a clipless pen, although in the case of the aluminum Sport, the ad-hoc clip is included (not the case in the regular plastic pen), and can easily be detached.


2. Construction and quality. (9.0/10)
Everything in this pen seem to fit properly. The cap screws to the barrel to close the pen, and the posted configuration relies on a tight fitting that does not show any problem. Ditto for the clip.

The posted configuration is especially important in a short pen like this, as most users need the extra length provided by cap for a comfortable grip.

The clip is easily detachable.

3. Weight and dimensions. (6.0/10)
Short pen, I said, but on the heavy side—23 grams. On top of this, the weight of the cap makes this pen uncomfortable when posted despite the fact that the pen does not really become that long. And if unposted, it is a bit too short.

The regular Kaweco Sport made in plastic, posted.

The cheaper plastic version of this pen works a lot better—lighter and better balanced.

Dimensions:
Length capped: 104 mm
Length open: 100 mm
Length posted: 130 mm
Diameter: 13 mm
Weight: 23 g


4. Nib and writing performance. (7.0/10)
Kaweco was the first German company to produce its own nibs. That was in 1914, when the company purchased the former American supplier J. Morton. But after the resurrection of the company in 1995, the nibs are supplied by Peter Bock.

The Bock nib in M.

The Kaweco Sport can implement three different points—F, M and B. There also exist a Kaweco Calligraphy pen with four italic nibs with widths between 1.1 and 2.3 mm. However, finding one of them in particular can be difficult as distributors not always know what the options are.

These are rigid nibs and lack character. The ink flow is correct and generates no problem. Occasionally, the nib becomes dry and does not start promptly.

All in all, correct but boring nibs.

Nib and feed and section.


5. Filling system and maintenance. (8.5/10)
The Kaweco Sport uses short international cartridges, but Kaweco does not sell small converters to fit inside the barrel. But they exist!

Although previous versions of this pen were piston fillers, it could be argued whether we should sacrifice the convenience of the portable cartridge over the romanticism of the old inkwell. Small pens are easy to carry around, in a pocket or in a rucksack—for that, I rather use cartridges.

Cleaning this pen is no problem, as is the case with most cartridge/converter pens.


6. Cost and value. (5.0/10)
This is not an expensive pen –around €50—, but it is remarkably more expensive than the plastic version, and its heavier weight makes it uncomfortably unbalanced.


7. Conclusion. (44/60=73/100)
Attractive pen, but better go for the cheaper and lighter and equally convenient plastic version of the Kaweco Sport.

(Kaweco AL-Sport – Waterman Havana)

Bruno Taut
(In exile, December 22th, 2010)
[labels: Kaweco]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For a pants-pocket pen, especially for tighter trousers such as jeans, the AL Sport is a perfect pen, strong enough in construction to never break when capped. Agreed that otherwise, the cheaper plastic Sport is preferred. Not the most stylish or impressive pen around, but charming in a 1930s way.

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