Fountain Pen Review: Narwhal Key West

Back at the end of May, I got caught up in a discussion of the Narhwal Key West fountain pens ($55). I browsed a few sites, and then saw they were on sale at Pen Chalet. The sparkle got me and I pulled the trigger!

The Narwhal Key West is a pen with a rounded silhouette, a bit cigar shaped. The barrel, pen and cap are made of sparkly resin in your choice of two colorways: Kay Largo (a bright blue) and Islamorada (a caramel gold). The hardware is all silver including the Narwhal-stamped in house #6 steel nib, which is available in Fine or Medium.  The pen takes standard international cartridges or converters.

The cap is a screw cap, and is postable. Overall, the pen comes in fairly standard in length. Closed it is 5 5/8″ (14cm), and when writing it measures 4 7/8″ (12.5cm) from end to nib point. It’s also fairly lightweight, which I would expect for resin, coming in at around 27g.

Left to Right: Esterbrook Estie, Narwhal Key West, Carolina Pen Co. Charleston, TWSBI ECO

The obvious appeal of this pen to me are the aesthetics, but how does it stack up? It took a little while get the ink flowing smoothly through the nib, but once I got it there it writes pretty well. I got the fine nib and while not as fine as a Japanese fine, it’s no Pelikan either. It puts down a nice amount of ink. I filled it with Colorverse Supernova which I thought might be a nice match for that blue! The nib didn’t bounce or give much feedback and there’s no real line variation. There’s a bit of shading if you look closely.

I’ll be honest, I wanted to rave about this pen, and I’m not going to. It’s a nice pen and it writes well enough. At $55, if you’re a beginning collector and want to get a fun resin pen, I think it’s a pretty good deal. But I’m not going to lie – I missed the touches that I love on some of my other pens. For instance – when I went to open the pen, the metal ring made me think of of the magnetic closure on my Pineider Avatar. To be fair the Avatar was more than twice the price of the Key West, but I kept wishing the Narwhal had a bit more to it.

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

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3 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I ordered one, and thought it was beautiful and wrote well for the first 20 minutes I had it! Then, while I was moving a notebook around with the posted pen in my hand, the cap came loose and fell off onto the floor protector under my desk chair. When that happened, the top of the cap broke off right where the clip was. And drops aren’t covered under their warranty. And the maker didn’t even say “sorry that happened,” just “Nope, not covered.”

    Yeah, it was my fault, but it was still a big disappointment. I’ve never had a pen break like that because of one drop. Broke my heart too.

  2. I had the exact same thing happen! It’s not a cheap pen, and I’m so disappointed that it broke so easily. I’ve never spent this much on writing instruments (bought 2 diff Norwahl styles) and I will NOT buy this brand again – I’ve dropped plenty of pens and never had a cap break like this.

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