Fountain Pen Review: Kaweco Special FP

There aren’t a lot of fountain pens on the market, within a certain price range (under $200) that, if I like them, I haven’t purchased at some point. That said, when I saw the new Kaweco Special Fountain Pen in Collectors Edition Blue ($97.50), I was reminded that I have never purchased this particular pen despite having always liked the look and feel of the Kaweco Special line. While I decided not to buy the Collector’s Edition Blue for reasons that will become apparent as you read this review, I did decide to purchase the Kaweco Special FP in Matte Black ($92.75) with a fine nib.

The Packaging:

I don’t know how much other people care about how their pens are packaged. It’s something that, after I accumulated 20 or 50 or 100 pens, has lead me to continually thinking about the reusability, recyclability and just general waste in packaging. Specifically in regards to Kaweco boxes, I am inclined to like their packaging. There is a paperboard oversleeve (totally recyclable like a cereal box) that covers an embossed, tin box.

Inside the box is a molded plastic liner that holds the pen and accessories.

The plastic liner can be removed and the tin can be reused for keeping your treasures. Useful. Of course, since its metal, it can also be recycled. Yeah! This makes the Kaweco packaging some of my favorites of all. While packaging won’t make or break anyone’s pen buying decision, it might affect a decision to make a second or third pen purchase.

The Pen:

The Kaweco Special FP is a soft hexagonal shape. So, even though it doesn’t have a clip, the hex shape keeps it from rolling away. The grip section is round but very short. Luckily, the pen is not very widde so there is not a big step up to the barrel making it easy to move your hand up or down the body of the pen as needed for gripping. The ridges of the threads are a bit crisp but they are close together so they feel more grippy like knurling than sharp or painful. They are noticeable if you stop and think about it.

The length of this pen allows for a full length converter or a cartridge-and-a-spare making this a great office option. Kaweco pens take standard international converters and cartridges which adds to the ease of use in an office environment. Who doesn’t have a drawer of cartridges?

On the cap end is an engraved Kaweco badge in silver. It’s the only silver besides the nib on the pen. (Psst! Hey, Kaweco, black nib, black badge…. Blackout Edition. You’re welcome.)

There are threads at the end of the pen that allow cap to be posted securely.

At the point where the threads meet, there is a black rubber ring to help keep the threads from untwisting unexpectedly. (pardon the dust, when I zoom in this close, it seems inevitable.)

The nib is a standard steel nib but is a smooth writer. Kaweco’s EF and F nibs seem to be excellent out of the box.

The most surprising thing about the Kaweco Special is how well it writes when posted. It makes it a really long pen but it is light and well-weighted. I did end gripping the pen a bit further back than other pens but the slim shape makes that an easy, comfortable transition. The cap screws onto to the end so using it posted is definitely something to do for longer writing sessions and not an activity you’d want to do for every single line entry in an on-going to-do list.

The Comparison:

When compared to other pens, the Kaweco Special is slimmer than many recognizable pens while being similar in length. In this line-up, all the pens are almost the same length when capped. From left to right, Lamy AL-Star, Caran d’Ache 849, Kaweco Special FP, YStudio, YStudio Resin, Faber-Castell Grip, Diplomat Traveler and TWSBI ECO. Of the four hex-shaped pens, the Kaweco Special is the slimmest. I don’t have a caliper but it is closer in width to a thick drawing pencil (like a pastel pencil) than the others. The Kaweco Special is the only one with a screw cap. The other three hex-shaped pens are snap caps.

When uncapped/posted, it’s easy to see a much wider variation in lengths. The Caran d’Ache reaches record lengths when posted.The Kaweco Special is shorter than the AL-Star when posted but not by a huge margin. It’s comparable, when posted to the TWSBI, Traveler and Grip. The Kaweco Special’s closest competitor, the YStudio in brass doesn’t post at all. (The YStudio Resin cap does post. My mistake when photographing it here. It’s not a tight fit, but it will sit on the end of the pen).

The overall weight of the pen is 20gms posted/capped and 15gms uncapped with a full length converter. The length is 5.5″ (142mm) capped, 4.875″ (122mm) uncapped and 6.6875″ (170mm) posted.

The Kaweco Special Line-Up:

I told you it would become apparent why I chose the Matte Black over the Collector’s Edition Blue. As you can see from the photo above, over the years, I’ve acquired the Kaweco Special Nib Holder ($40.50) and the  Kaweco Special 0.7mm Pencil ($44.25), both in Matte Black. I have the earliest version of the Nib Holder which does not have a removable tail end. The white streak is evidence of me trying to wrench the end off as demonstrated by a fellow pen friend who has one of the more recent models which does allow for the end to be removed for easier storage or to keep nibs in the body.

So, while the Collector’s Edition Blue is lovely, I needed to complete my triumvirate. (Why yes, I am a member of the Black Pen Society, thanks for asking!)

Tools:

The ink used in this review is the new Papier Plume Le Héron Bleu. It’s created as a fundraiser for the Coalition to Restore and Protect the Louisiana Wetlands. Each bottle sells for $12. The ink will go live later this week. Follow Papier Plume on Instagram to find out when it is available.


DISCLAIMER: Items included in this review were provided free of charge for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.


In the writing of this review, Ollie required petting:

My job is very demanding.

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2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Ana,

    First, allow me to send my sympathy on the onerous nature of your job and the demanding nature of your co-worker. Stiff-upper lip, though; we need you to soldier on and keep providing us with important reviews and up-lifting posts.

    On the other hand, I did NOT need a new temptation. All this staying-at-home leaves me too much time to contemplate how many pens I want to try. I do like a slender pen, and that Kaweco looks like it would feel lovely in the hand.

  2. Ditto – what Ruth said.

    Love your co-worker! He looks just like my Buddy boy, who now lives in my heart. I still have an all-black kitty girl named BittyKitty. I’m a cat and dog person; I now have one of each. My dog is an English Bulldog named Buster. We’re all retirees now.

    Thanks for the great review!

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