Tag: parker fountain pen

Review: Parker Premier Monochrome Black (Medium)

Review: Parker Premier Monochrome Black (Medium)

Gosh darn that’s a long name. Anyway, I’ve been using the Parker Premier Monochrome Black (which I shall call Premier from this point on) since I got it last Tuesday. Since then I managed to use up a converter and a half of ink (yes, I wrote that much in a short period of time). This is, without a doubt, up there in my favorite pens list. I know I love all my pens a lot, but I do have a short list of favorites. Those pens that hardly make it out of rotation. I can tell this one will hold a top spot for a while. I’m getting ahead of myself.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

I got this pen last Tuesday and I can hardly put it down. It’s just a pleasure to write with and to look at. Anybody who knows me well enough will say that I’m not a big fan of modern pens. Least of all modern Parkers. I think they’re devoid of imagination. A shadow of the glory days of a giant brand. When I first came across the Premier online (through Fountain Pen Network Philippines), I was intrigued. It looked nothing like the modern Parker pens that I’m used to seeing at National Bookstore. This one was sleek and eye-catching, in the same way that of all the Lamy pens in all the happy colors, I’m quite drawn to the Lamy 2000 and its decidedly modern design.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

The pen is metal coated with PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) which makes the surface very resistant to corrosion and abrasion. The barrel and the cap has a brushed metal finish, the texture is very pleasant. It does have an overall effect that looks like matte, but it’s more of a soft brushed metal finish that makes it pleasant to hold. It’s not slippery or uncomfortable in the hand, as some metal pens can sometimes be. My pet peeve is metal sections in pens, it makes it nearly impossible to write comfortably because the pen keeps on slipping. The Premier’s PVD coating ensures none of that annoying slippery feel.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

The texture kinda reminds me of Lamy 2000’s makrolon finish. Kinda.

Everything about this pen speaks of a well thought-out modern design. I think this design can be a great template for Parker’s modern pens. The lines are clean and the details are pretty good. The clip looks very different from traditional Parker arrow clips.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black         Parker Premier Monochrome Black

It’s angular, boxy, but gives the pen a very good modern look to it. Of course I’m still partial to vintage Parkers and their art deco clip, but this one has its own style and identity. It certainly beats modern arrow clips with thinly etched quivers.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

The overall effect is pretty nice, and the clip itself is functional– springy but firm. It feels sturdy enough. The cap snaps on, but it doesn’t make that hard snapping sound. It snaps to the section securely but is easy to put on and take off. It has an almost magnetic feel to it, like it glides and clicks easily in place.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

Both ends of the pen are flat, which lends more to that minimalist, modern feel. There’s nothing flashy about this pen. Nothing shiny and ostentatious. Even the finial is a simple black disc.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

The design is tied up by three rings on the top of the cap, cap band, and end of the barrel. I really like that the PARKER logo around the cap band was designed differently from other Parkers, vintage or modern.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

I like the horizontal lines that run through the letters. It’s a nice little detail.  Continue reading “Review: Parker Premier Monochrome Black (Medium)”

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

That’s a mouthful.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

I first saw this pen in person last year, during the first big pen meet that I attended in Makati. The owner is a nice young man, well put-together, with a warm smile and a gorgeous green Vacumatic tucked into his shirt pocket. I asked if I could see his Parker Premier (which he dubbed The Batman Pen), and he happily opened his pen case to let me hold it. Gosh. I recall thinking what a handsome pen! And I carefully handed it back to him.

Modern Parker pens don’t really get my motor going. I find them so lacking in character compared with vintage pens, making it painfully obvious that Parker today isn’t what it used to be. This pen, though, I really liked. It’s perhaps the only modern Parker pen that I liked a lot. So when this nice young man put up this very gently used pen for sale (at half the retail price in National Bookstore), I snapped it up.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

I’ve been using it to write, write, write the entire afternoon and evening yesterday. I’ve been literally writing until way into the wee morning hours. It’s so hard to put this pen down. I’ll take better photos for my upcoming review. 🙂

Review: Parker Vacumatic Debutante

Review: Parker Vacumatic Debutante

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Before the crazy Monday shift starts, I decided to write a short review of this pen I acquired last week. It’s a Parker Vacumatic Debutante in azure blue and it’s been on my wishlist for as long as I’ve been collecting pens. I had a bit of hard time determining what kind of vacumatic this is because some parts of the pen don’t match the documentation available for it.

IMG_3830Based on the date code, this was made in the third quarter of 1941. This corresponds with the speedline plunger, double-jewel, and the blue diamond on the clip. However, the cap band was throwing me off. It was a little wider than the usual cap band for debutantes of its era, and it was also smooth, without the usual chevron design of Parker Debutantes. Luckily, there are people in the international FPN group that know way more about vintage Parker pens than I do. There are so many different variations of these pens, it can be so confusing sometimes. Apparently I got a debutante (not a sub-debutante, like I initially thought) that is off-catalog, which is uncommon. Azure blue is the more uncommon color of this small batch of debutantes for that year.

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L-R Parker Vacumatic Major, Junior, Debutante

Here’s a comparison of the clips. Isn’t the clip cute? It’s short and so adorable. I like these old Parker clips and how the arrow shows art deco inspiration. In person, they’re very detailed and elegant. Modern clips just don’t compare with these.

Below is a size comparison with my other Parker pens (debutante is at the rightmost). Considering that none of these are oversized pens, it is really pretty small. It’s even smaller than the Parker 51 special’s pencil, and that’s already small in my hand. I cannot get over the squee-ness of this pen.

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Here are a few close ups of the pen’s details. Look at that gorgeous blue diamond clip. As I mentioned in other Parker-related entries, this is the lifetime guarantee that Parker used to mark its products with until the regulations changed about these guarantees. The speedline filler was eventually replaced with plastic plungers because metals were used for the war effort.

My absolute favorite kind of Parker are the 51’s, but I love the celluloid rings of these vacs too. They are fascinating to look at. This is what I love about these kinds of pen. It’s virtually impossible to find two identical pens because each pen will have unique celluloid rings. I love the nib of Parker pens of this era. They are so sleek and the design really makes you feel like you’re writing with an arrow head. This pen writes so smooth. Like butter! Here’s a video of the writing sample.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xs9JGhbyKjI]
The 14k gold nib is an absolute joy to write with. It’s like when I start writing, I don’t want to stop. It just glides on paper, and the ink it lays down is moderately wet. The nib is springy and wonderful.

Overall, I am so happy to add this to my collection. 🙂 Inner peace. For now.

*Screams silently…*

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I’ve had this pen in my wishlist for two years. I can still remember when I first saw it, it was during a pen meet with one of FPN-P’s nibmeisters, Mr. Pentangeli. It was also around that time when I was only discovering the beauty of vintage pens (especially parkers). It was pen love at first sight. 🙂 It’s a Parker Debutante. From what I understand, it’s a pretty uncommon pen. It’s not a sub-debutante but a debutante, and only a few pop up on the internet. Blue is a rare color for it, and it’s especially rare to find one in good condition.

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I am just to happy to add this little beauty in my collection. I cannot wait to review it. 🙂 It is sooo small. About an inch taller than a Liliput.

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L-R: Parker Vacumatic junior debutante (azure blue), junior (golden brown) , and major (azure blue).

It’s always a thrill to cross something out of your pen wishlist. 🙂 This one’s a keeper.

1930’s to 1980’s

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I took this when I was taking photos of pens that I wanted to use for a comparison of different clips in my review about my newly-acquired cedar blue Parker 51 yesterday. There are pens that are redundant in my collection (two of the same kind) so I just picked out one of each. I’m a Parker gal, and though I find a lot of vintage pens to be very, very beautifully done (and really, the workmanship in many of them is quite superb), I have a soft spot for Parker pens.

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(L-R) Golden Brown Vacumatic, Azure Blue Pearl Vacumatic, 75, 51 Special, Cedar Blue 51 Vac, GF cap 51 Vac, 21, 51 Vac, 88

Here is a closer look at their clips. They’re all different in their own unique ways. I like the clips with the art deco arrows or those that are simpler versions of them. Like the Vacumatics and the 51’s and 75’s. The 88 (rightmost) has a nice clip too. The quiver is longer than usual. I guess my least favorite is the 21’s clip and the modern Parkers’ clips. I have to admit that modern Parkers don’t hold any appeal for me. They just look and feel different from the old Parkers. The clips, especially, look very uninspired and industrial. There’s not much character to them, and not much detail. I love how the old Parker clips’ quivers are detailed and exquisitely-made.

I have just a few more Parker 51 and Vacumatics’ colors on my wishlist and I’ll be quite happy with my collection. 🙂

Review: Cedar Blue Parker 51, F-M

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Last year, I set up an appointment with one of Fountain Pen Network Philippines’ nibmeisters so that I can get my Waterman Hemisphere which I handed to him at a pen meet for flow adjustment. At that time I was anxious about meeting him outside of a big pen meet because I was extremely shy. My husband and I went to Magnum Opus early to get a seat. A few minutes after, JP arrived. He gave me my Waterman Hemisphere which, of course, wrote perfectly after he adjusted the ink flow (it was gushing like a squealing teen in a Justin Bieber concert) and made it write like the wet medium that it was supposed to. Instead of heading home immediately after, I was pleasantly surprised that he brought along some of his vintage pens. He opened up his pen case and showed me each of them, explaining what they were, what era they came from, what materials they were made of, etcetera. It was my first mini pen meet. 🙂

At that time, I was only beginning to discover vintage Parker pens. I had a grey aerometric Parker 51 demi which I adored, but I haven’t seen any other vintage pens yet. Of the lot that he showed me, two stood out as the most beautiful (for me, at least)–a Parker Vacumatic Junior in golden brown and a cedar blue Parker 51. I enjoyed that meet a lot. JP was like a cool uncle showing me wonderful treasures that I previously only read about.

Fast forward to a few months after. These two pens (the brown Vacumatic and the cedar blue 51) are now part of my permanent collection of vintage Parkers. I am a happy camper. 🙂

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The first time I saw this pen, I already thought that it was beautiful. The second look still gave me the butterflies in my stomach. Parker 51s are so understated and classic in their beauty. This one is pretty different from the ones that I have, though, because it has a blue diamond. Design clues tell me that this pen was manufactured in the second quarter of 1946. During that time, the FCC hasn’t yet banned the use of lifetime guarantees for Parker’s pens. That’s what the blue diamond stood for–the commitment of Parker to make pens that will last a lifetime. Since somehow this pen found its way to my hands almost 70 years after and it’s still working perfectly, I’d say that Parker’s guarantee is spot on.

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(L to R) Parker 88 Rialo, 51 aerometric, 21, 51 gold-filled vacumatic, cedar blue 51 vac, 51 special, 75, Vacumatic Major in Azure Blue Pearl, Vacumatic Junior in Golden Brown

This particular generation of Parker 51 is pretty interesting because you can see how it transitioned to a different clip design used by the later 51s.

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(L-R) Vacumatic Azure Blue Pearl, Cedar Blue Parker 51, Parker 51 Vacumatic

As you can see in a photo above, the clip sports the arrow that is reminiscent of the art deco movement. The pen in the middle and the right are both Parker 51s but the clip of the Cedar Blue P51 (middle) is more similar to the clip of the Azure Blue Pearl, which was from a completely different generation of pens.

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These two pens, even if they come from different generations have very similar clip designs. The Parker 51 was transitioning from the era of the blue vacumatic.

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This pen is filled through a vacumatic filling system. In the early 1940s, Parker stopped using metal components in their plungers and instead used celluloid plungers with no metal trims on the threaded collar. Metal was scarce during those times because of the war effort. This pen has a metal thread because by the time it was manufactured, the war was already over.  Continue reading “Review: Cedar Blue Parker 51, F-M”

Parker 75’s Nifty Feature

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I’ve only been using my Parker 75s for a few days and it’s already one of my favorite pens. Fountain pens have made long writing sessions not just comfortable but a joyful experience for me. Parker 75 has a nifty feature that makes it even more enjoyable to use.

I tend to rotate my grip, which sometimes misaligns the tines of my pens ever so slightly. Parker 75 has a triangle grip section which lets me hold my pen in one place. Then I rotate the nib to the best angle that suits my grip.

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As you can see in the photo above, the “0” on the ring at the end of the section is the center marker, and the slit of the nib tines is not aligned with it. I adjusted it to how I hold my pen. This way, even if my grip is rotated, the triangle section helps me keep the pen in place, and the nib is rotated to make sure the tines are still aligned properly with the paper. I really wish more pens have a triangular grip and a rotating nib and feed (Lamy’s triangular grip is a little annoying for me).

It makes a big difference, and I’ve been enjoying these pens a lot because of it. The downside, though, is that it gives me an excuse not to correct myself when I rotate my grip. Eh. YOLO.

Review: A Pair of Parker 75s (Fine and Extra Fine)

Yesterday I wrote about a couple of Parker 75s that my friend gave me. The first time I saw them, I was curious about whether I could fix them or whether I can still have my nibmeister friend fix it for me. They were really rough-looking, but no amount of grime and oxidation can hide the classic beauty that is a Parker 75. Read about my restoration efforts here.

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Parker introduced this pen back in 1963. Some design clues point to the production years of 1965-1967 for these specific pens. The sterling silver cisele finish was introduced first in 1965, and so was the all-plastic section. I believe pre-1965 sections had metal threads. The end of the section also still had the “0” inscribed on it as the center marker for the rotating nib, which was discontinued in 1968. The body of the pen looks really classy. I’ve had this pen in my wishlist since I saw it posted on the FPN-P forum. I think the cisele finish is very beautiful and it ages well. As long as it’s not neglected, the patina will look spectacular.

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I’ve seen this same finish in Sonnets too, though the cisele Sonnets felt lighter in my hand. The 75 has some heft to it. It’s very pleasant to hold, not too light and not too heavy either. It is a thin pen, so if you favor fatter pens, you might find this a bit difficult to hold. The size is just perfect for me, though. It sits comfortably in my hand, and I love its balance. The cap posts at the end of the pen, and although it feels good even when unposted, posting it makes the pen feel more solid. The finish does not feel delicate at all, so I don’t mind posting the cap. This is one of the very few pens I prefer to use while posted.

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A quick research of the pen’s history shows the little design changes that the 75 went through over the years. Since this has been in my wishlist for quite some time, I really was hoping to find one in a cisele finish because it looked very classic. I am so grateful for this pleasant surprise. 🙂

My only gripe about a sterling silver pen is that if your hand is sweaty, it tends to make it smell like you’ve been clutching coins. Anyway, I don’t really have sweaty hands so that’s not much of a problem for me.

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I found it fascinating that even in its oxidized and grimy state, the clip still shone, almost untarnished. I must say that this pen cleans up pretty well. There’s still some tarnished spots on it at the moment, but I’m sure they will polish off over time.

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The section of this pen is quite a nifty innovation by Parker. I’m wondering why they discontinued it, it seems very useful. The section has a triangle-shaped grip and the nib can be rotated to a different angle. This is good if you have a very specific way of gripping the pen which makes it hard for you to use a fountain pen. This rotating nib made it easier to write at different angles. I’ve adjusted mine to make it easier to hold even if my grip rotates.

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The “0” at the end of the section indicates the center, if you want the nib positioned like how it normally would be in non-rotating nib/feed units. That’s quite a nice touch, and it’s a shame it’s not available in modern Parker pens anymore.

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The cap has the usual Parker brand and logo on it and an inscription that says it’s Sterling Silver. The details on the arrow clip reminds me of Parker 51 clips except that the quiver of the 75 is shorter.

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I just love vintage Parker clips. Especially the clips of the 51, Vacumatics and 75s. They’re simple but very distinctive. The details are gorgeous. I can’t say the same for modern Parker clips, I’m afraid.

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The filling system is through an aerometric squeeze converter. It’s a good thing the 75’s converter is easily removable and can be replaced with modern converters. One of the pens’ converters already have an ossified sac which fell apart as soon as I opened the pen. The one above is intact, though. The rubber is pliant and has no leaks or holes.

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I was surprised to find that the nibs required very little work, relatively speaking. One of them was virtually unused so all I had to do was to clean up the pen and load it up with ink and it’s good to go. That’s a #65 nib, which is Parker’s nib code for 14k Fine. It writes really well, though there’s feedback I’m not used to because I always use European fine and medium nibs. The other nib is a #63 (14k Extra Fine) and it was previously used and stored while inked so this took a lot of soaking to get rid of the dried ink in the nib and feed. However, once I cleaned it out, it writes perfectly. Not like how an extra fine would write but more like a European fine.

Below is a video of the writing sample of both pens:

Both write really well. Especially the #63. That it still writes perfectly after ink dried up in it for several decades is a testament of just how well-made these vintage Parker pens are.

Overall, I find these pens to be reliable writers. They don’t hard start, they don’t skip and is virtually no-frills. They’re not finicky or high maintenance. They look good and the weight is pleasantly substantial. I even love the tripod grip and the rotating nib unit. I love everything about this pen. That it came from somebody super special to me makes this pen invaluable, irreplaceable.

Used in this review:
Parker 75s (fine and extra fine)
Sailor Jentle Miruai
Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-Yo
Elias Notebook

Diamonds in the Rough

Today my friend gave me a couple of pens that she found while cleaning her office. At first glance, the pens are super-rough and hardly held out any hope that they’re still working. A cursory inspection showed them to be Parker 75s (gasp). I opened up one of them to check out the squeeze converter; one of them was intact and still soft. The other crumbled as soon as we opened the pen. Here’s a photo of how rough they both looked. (The ballpoint pen is my friend’s, she asked if I could clean it out and see if it still works. It does.)

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I can understand why my friend thought she should just throw these out, but I said that I could see if I can still do something with them. She graciously just gave them as a gift. Perhaps a little bit weirded out that I was so excited about such dirty-looking pens.

Fast forward to a few hours later…

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Tadaaaa! A lot of rubbing with a damp jeweler’s cloth revealed the beautiful pens hiding underneath all that grime and oxidation. From the design clues of the pen, the fountain pens were manufactured sometime between 1965-1967.

The sterling silver cisele pattern and the all-plastic section was introduced in 1965. The end of the section’s nib angle indicator still has the number “0” inscribed on it to show the pen’s center mark. This “0” was removed on 1968.

One of the nibs worked well and did not need to be cleaned. The other one was in a rougher state. It was obviously inked and then kept without cleaning because the ink dried up. The nib was fused in place and there seemed to be the beginnings of brassing around the collar.

I soaked the nib and section for an hour, gave it several ultrasonic baths to take out the (stubborn and highly saturated) blue ink that dried up in it until I could turn the nib in the section again. I pulled out the nib and feed and gave it a few more rounds in the ultrasonic cleaner. I reassembled the pen, popped in a modern Parker converter and loaded it with ink.

I now have two perfectly-working Parker 75s! I am a happy camper. ^_^ It’s a great feeling to see these pens restored and used again. I’ll write a review about them soon. They’re both superb writers. The nibs are fine and extra fine, but they’re wet writers so I don’t really mind. 🙂 What a wonderful gift from a wonderful friend.

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Now my vintage Parker pen wishlist has been reduced to:
1. Big Red
2. Green Vacumatic
3. Burgundy or Blue Parker 51

Review: Parker Vacumatic Junior, Golden Brown

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Eversince I got my first Parker 51 Demi, I’ve developed a hankering for vintage Parker pens. I’m not keen in collecting a whole lot of them, just a few of the pretty colors. My first vacumatic was an Azure Pearl and that was gorgeous. I loved how it wrote and how it looked, I like everything about it. I first saw this very same pen during a pen meet with JP of Pentangeli Pen Spa and Nib Works and fell in love with it. So when he put it up for sale, it was a no-brainer.

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This pen is a gorgeous specimen of a Vacumatic Junior. It’s slightly shorter than a Major and has a pearl-colored jewel on the cap. While the blue vac major has a wide cap band, this one has two slim bands around the cap.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis pen also has no blue diamond on it. JP said that this pen was manufactured some time in the 1940’s. The size difference from the Vacumatic Major isn’t really noticeable. Except for the small details you’ll see when you look closer, you’d think they’re the same pens, just with different colors. The weight is pleasant, the section is smooth and it’s a great pen to use for long writing periods.

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I have to say that the celluloid rings on this pen are gorgeous. The golden brown hues have so much depth and character to them. I think this pair needs a emerald colored vac to round it off nicely. 🙂

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As the name implies, it is a vacumatic filler. It has a clear plastic plunger and, since it came from Mr. Pentangeli himself, the sac is healthy and the mechanism is working perfectly well.

The pen’s nib if very pretty. It seems to have wide wings that taper off to a slim point, giving you the feel that it’s almost like you’re writing with a quill. I think that Parker’s vacumatic nibs are elegantly designed and beautiful in their simplicity.

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I was already enjoying myself immensely while turning this beauty over and over in my hand, but the best part was when I inked it. The nib just glides over paper with a wet, fine line. It’s a beautiful writer. Probably one of the best in my collection. Here’s a video of the writing sample below:

Of course, I inked it with a lovely, rich brown ink–Pilot Iroshizuku Yama-Guri. It is a perfect match. 🙂 For a seventy-something year old pen, this is in great condition and it writes even better than the modern pens that I have. I’m happy to add it to my collection.