The Kaweco Supra is a fascinating pen – a pen that not only transforms from a pocket-sized pen to a full sized pen, but can also be arranged to fit nearly every hand size.
I received a Kaweco Supra Fireblue on loan a few weeks ago. Thank you to Appelboom for lending it to Well-Appointed Desk!
Like most Kaweco pens, the Supra came in a lightweight metal box nestled inside a paper sleeve. Out of all pens that I have purchased over the years, Kaweco boxes are the only ones I have reused for other purposes – nib storage, puffy sticker storage, paint box, pencil carrying case, even a hair tie case. I would love it if more companies followed this thinking – I have stacks of empty boxes that only take up space until I sell the pen.
Anyway, to get to the inside of the box – Fireblue! This is actually a steel pen that has been treated with an open flame to produce a bluish finish. I don’t have insight into the process for this bluing, but I like the result. Every pen is unique in pattern and colors. The Fireblue Liliput that I own seems to have changed slightly over time, although much of that is from keeping the pen in a pocket most of its life. I’ve owned mine since 2015 and the tempered steel still has a great finish.
The pen was surprisingly heavy when I first picked it up. When the full pen is assembled, it weighs in at 50 grams. Nearly twice the weight of a Pilot Metro! If you enjoy heavy pens, this may be one you want to check out.
A better pen for comparison would be a Schon Pocket 6 pen in brass (38 grams) or in copper (48 grams).
The Supra uses a Standard International cartridge or converter in its fully assembled state and uses a #6 Kaweco nib. Since the nib on the Supra is a standard nib, I haven’t included a look at the nib performance here – mainly because the pen has so many other features to cover.
The length of the Supra when closed is about 13cm (5.25 inches), approximately the length of a Frankiln-Christoph Model 45L. At this length it is too big for my pocket (when they exist on my clothing) but fits well in any pen case of mine. When the pen is posted, however, it is long.
Posting the full Supra pen makes it the same length as a Pilot Parallel pen – a bit over 15cm (6.5 inches). While the pen still felt balanced at this point, it felt incredible awkward.
But the unposted pen feels much nicer. Unposted, the Supra weighs 42g (1.48 ounces) so it still feels hefty, but the length is cut down to around 12.5cm (5.25 inches).
The unposted Supra is the same length as the posted Liliput.
But that isn’t the end of the Supra’s options. This pen consists of the cap, the nib section, and two body sections. The pen can be used without the middle section. In this configuration, only a Kaweco Sport converter or a short cartridge will fit.
This allows more flexibility in size. So far I’ve shown the Supra closed, open and posted, open and unposted. The fourth size is closed with only one body section.
This brings the size down to close to Liliput size.
From here, the pen can be posted without the middle section, making it 13.5cm (5.25 inches). Just slightly longer than the pen with the middle section, unposted. This was my favorite setup – the pen weighs 39 g, so most of the weight remains, but the length is great for my hand.
Finally, the pen can be used without the middle section, unposted. This gives a pen that is just 9.5 cm (3.75 inches) long and weighs 31 g (1.1 ounces). This was by far my least favorite setup.
Holding the pen with no middle section and unposted made my hand feel cramped and awkward. Not something I would ever enjoy using.
Because hands come in so many sizes and preferences vary so widely, I can see the Supra being an attractive option to a wider audience. Perhaps a couple sharing the pen? A growing child? Someone who likes both very long and very short pens? I can’t think of many situations where it would be necessary. Rather, the Supra is an impressive looking pen that can transform into several different pens.
If the fully assembled Supra could fit in my pocket, I think it would be a great pen for me. As it is, I would probably only use it without the middle section but I’m not excited to have a pen that has a piece of it floating around my desk, just waiting to disappear. Without the center section, the pen also loses the ability to use a standard converter, further cutting back its desirability to me. My preference is to use the smaller Liliput or other pocket pen options.
However, I do see the Supra as being a great pen for individuals who like the aesthetic of Kaweco but are turned off by the length of the current offerings. The Supra is like a big brother version of the Liliput – definitely in the same family, but with heftier proportions. For these individuals (who hopefully have larger pockets than mine), I would recommend looking into the Supra. Appelboom is currently selling it for €152.89 ($182 as of 3/4/2021) with free shipping using DHL if you are in the states. Right now DHL is by far the fastest shipping option!
Closed: 50 g (1.75 ounces)
Unposted: 42 g (1.5 ounces)
short: 31 g (1.16 ounces)
back most section: 21g (.75 ounces)
cap: 9g (3/8 ounces)
middle section: 11g (3/8 ounces)
nib, section, converter: 12 g (ounces)
Full pen, closed: 13cm ( 5.25 inches)
Full pen, posted: 15cm (5.5 inches)
Full pen, unposted: 12.5cm ( 5.25 inches)
Pen, no middle section, closed: 10cm (4 inches)
Pen, no middle section, posted: 13.5cm (5.25 inches)
Pen, no middle section, unposted: 9.5 cm (3.75 inches)
Diameter: 11mm (.75 inches)
Kaweco Supra Fire Blue (€152.89) at Appelboom
DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by Appeloom for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.
6 comments / Add your comment below
I’m confused as to what to order(!). You say “Kaweco Supra” v/s “Kaweco Lilliput”, but the store has “Kaweco Supra Lilliput”. What’s going on?
The small Liliput should be around $60-$100 and the Supra will be priced closer to $135 – $200 depending on the material and finishing. So, I would make the decision about the purchase based on the price. Or email the shop and ask about the pen and size. Also, verify their return policy if you get the wrong one.
K.I.A (Know-it-all) ALERT!
So, what’s actually happening with the bluing is that the steel is oxidizing and changing how light reflects off of it. If the steel is hardened beforehand, you can actually use the color to tell you what temper the steel has. if you polish the steel and clean it before hand, then evenly heat it then you can get a really pretty blue out of it. There’s a youtuber called ClickSpring who uses this process on steel screws in his projects.
That said, the pen certainly looks unique, but I’d prefer a cleaner, more brilliant blue.
Thanks, Mr. KIA! I love learning more about how things like this are actually created.
I have wanted this pen since Kaweco first introduced the Lilliput back in….? 2016…? I even wrote to the Kaweco folks and asked when we might expect a full size version. At the time, they told me it was definitely not on their radar, as it was incredibly difficult to produce, one at a time! So I waited and waited and ~ Voila ~ they offered it a few months ago… and I didnt pull the trigger. DUH!
SO ~ thank you for throwing this out there, I finally ordered one, it arrived, and it is EVERY. BIT. AS. SPECIAL. as I knew it would be! And I do believe the M nib is really made of buttah! It glides.
Who makes the hammered finish pen? Thanks for the review.