For experienced calligraphists and typographers, and for greenhorns alike, the fountain pen offers an unrivalled sense of writing freedom. Researching and buying the perfect pen, however, is no mean feat. You’ll need to decide which features (such as the design, color, cartridges) are most important to you, while also considering your budget. Whatever your situation, Dopa recommends you stick to the handful of more reputed brands, like Waterman or Montblanc, that we choose to endorse on this site.
Dopa Recommend's: Our Top Three Waterman Pens
Waterman Expert Fountain Pen
Call us shallow, but the Waterman Expert takes our top spot on looks alone. The 23k gold trim looks fantastic, and even more so peaking out the top of your shirt pocket.
Waterman Perspective Fountain Pen
The Perspective's classic design is second only to the Expert - but that's our opinion. In terms of usability alone the flow and feel of this one could easily take the top spot.
Waterman Hemisphere Fountain Pen
Another fantastic pen from Waterman - an all rounder. Whatever paper or surface you choose, you'll still get a silky-smooth feeling.
If you’re in the market for one of the best Waterman fountain pens of 2020, then the remainder of this post is for you.
Waterman Hemisphere Fountain Pen Review
Outstanding ink fluidity
Attractive display case
The Not So Good
The grip can be slippery with moist hands
For connoisseurs in the field, brand reputation is a factor that could tip the balance on a purchase. Even if it is not the best brand of fountain pens, Waterman strives to satisfy its consumers by offering writing equipment that takes both design and value for money into consideration.
This is certainly the case for the Waterman Hemisphere (we are reviewing the matte black version), elegantly designed with black and silver attributes. But what especially stands out is the fluidity of the ink. The silky smooth feeling of ink leaving the pen is comparable on all types of paper that we tried.
The barrel of the pen is completely smooth which looks fantastic. This does mean however that the grip feels a little less stable than other models. While we didn’t experience any issues, some online reviews report some slipping with wet hands. If you’re prone to sweaty hands, then this is something to consider.
While our model came with a medium nib, a fine nib is also available, allowing all styles of writers to choose a product to match their own style. The product is also supplied with a good quality presentation case which would either make a great gift box or serve as storage between uses (due to its size, we’d recommend looking for something smaller for those looking to take the pen on the move).
Waterman Perspective Fountain Pen Review
Classic, simple design
Good ink flow
Easily refilled with either cartridges or bottled ink
The Not So Good
High price could be off-putting for some
What is the best-looking Waterman pen on the market in 2020? Waterman’s Perspective series certainly seems to be fighting for this crown, with its sleek body and elegant appearance which will be sure to turn heads as it peaks out of a shirt top pocket.
A simple, deep black is combined with 23-carat gold-plated accents. This classic color combination brings a touch of style to any workspace or office desk. On the cap, there’s a 2-prong clip for shirt pockets – perfect for those of us who refuse to move around without a pen handy.
Elsewhere, the fine-sized, stainless-steel nib works particularly well for users with small writing. Ink distribution – as nearly always seems to be the case with Waterman fountain pens – is more than satisfactory. With this model, only the most careless of writers is likely to end up with the nasty ink deposits and stained paper that typify cheaper, more inferior products.
As far as ink goes, the Waterman Perspective supports two filling methods. Either buy cartridges and simply switch out old for new, or follow the simple four-step process for refilling with bottled ink as detailed in the provided instructions.
It’s true the Perspective isn’t the cheapest of pens. Some online commentators have questioned the value for money this pen provides, suggesting that for the price, it should at least include a convertor or ink pump in the box. We’re less convinced: if you want premium, you’ve got to pay for it.
Waterman Kultur Fountain Pen Review
Lightweight at just 18g
Comfortable grip, even for long writing sessions
The Not So Good
Cap’s clip could be stronger
If you’re still undecided which pen is best for you and your writing, continue reading and take a look at this next specimen. The Waterman Kultur stands out to us (and is highly rated by users online) because of its lightness.
Indeed, weighing in at only 18g means the Kultur can comfortably lead you through a marathon writing session with ease. The barrel’s design is easy on the eye but also imparts unbeatable comfort in its grip, considerably reducing the risk of finger fatigue, hand discomfort, and repetitive strain injury.
The fine, stainless-steel point glides effortlessly over the paper and quality of the metal suggests effective protection against physical damage and corrosion.
The light design does come at a small price. The clip system on the cap is somewhat fragile and could be easily damaged with a bit of force. Alas, if given the care and respect this pen truly deserves then this needn’t be an issue.
Waterman Graduate Allure Fountain Pen Review
Robust chrome-plated design
Strong nib for all types of paper
The Not So Good
The ink may dry up when not used for a few days
Our fourth, and also cheapest of our selection of Waterman Fountain pens for 2020 is the Graduate Allure. Despite the price, the pen is still capable of holding its own against some of the more high-end quills and makes an excellent workhorse.
Thick. Solid. Robust. If you’re an intense, heavy-handed writer, or working in a more hands-on environment than an office, this inexpensive model could be for you. The body is coated with chromed steel, offering complete protection for shocks and falls. A rubber grip supports your fingers, reducing the chance of your hold on the pen being compromised due to hand-moisture – even in harsher working environments.
The sturdy stainless-steel nib can easily accommodate all types of paper and is the only one out of our selection that offers a choice of blue ink. While we’re yet to experience this problem, some users have reported ink-blockages when the pen isn’t used for a few days – although this should easily be resolved with a few seconds of scribbling.
Waterman Expert Fountain Pen Review
Can be used with adapters to change ink
Elegant gold-plated accents
The Not So Good
Cartridges tend to get stuck inside the body when empty
Our final pick for the top Waterman Fountain Pens of 2020 is the Expert. This model also has a stainless-steel nib, which is available in either fine or medium varieties, just make a choice based on your writing style. As far as fluidity and the transfer of ink to paper go, this model sits firmly in the middle of the pack.
Where it does stand out is in its design. The body has a black, lacquered structure emboldened with Watermans’s signature 23-carat gold-plated pattern. The edges are rounded: easy on both the eye and the hand.
Ink is supplied by Waterman’s small universal cartridges, so if you’re not a fan of potentially messy bottled ink this ticks a box for you. It’s compatible with Waterman’s converters (sold separately) and you can change the color of the ink easily if so desired. When changing the cartridges you might find that they’re a little difficult to remove, although a few firm taps on the table should have you writing again in no time.
Waterman Fountain Pen Purchasing Guide
The invention of ballpoint pens marked the end of an era of the famous Lewis Edson Waterman’s fountain models. However, with a revisited concept, they seem to have come back into the spotlight. They now benefit from a more beautiful design while being available with several colors and refillable cartridges. Here is a short buying guide for the best Waterman fountain pens.
To answer the question of how to buy a Waterman fountain pen while also getting value for money, you will first need to know the history of this timeless accessory. The first model created by Waterman in 1884, which bears his name today, was called “The Regular”. Its design is quite complex and is not as simple as a ballpoint or gel pen.
The pen is assembled by combining several elements that can still be found on ballpoint pens. First of all the cylindrical body which is adjoined to the injection nozzle. Inside you will find the pen and the conduit connected to an ink cartridge.
Nibs, of course, are no longer made of feather. These days, the Waterman nib is reinforced with a variety of platinum and iridium. Now, you can understand why this design is better, and therefore much more expensive than the classic ball.
Waterman pens are admired for their precision and fine lines, but also for the quality and variety of ink offered. Before asking yourself where to buy a new Waterman fountain pen when the ink runs out, know that it is possible to refill the cartridge with inspiring and original shades.
You can personalize your writing if you so wish, of course, black is the most used. Moreover, this tone remains a reference for all types, brands, or generations of pens, for the simple reason that it goes very well with the standard white of sheets of paper.
For the other color variants, Waterman has its own easily recognizable assortment of colors like Serenity Blue, which gives the sparkle to those who wish to indulge in some poetic stanzas. Each ink is in fact intended to evoke a particular sensation or emotion such as Mysterious Blue, Harmonic Green, or even Violet tenderness.
Cartridges or bottles
Like the majority of fountain pens, the Waterman brand uses ink refills.
Firstly there are standard cartridges obeying international standards. This means that they correspond to other references. If this is not the case, there are a number of adapters or converters available. If you prefer, you can refill the old-fashioned way and use bottled ink.
Tips for Using Waterman Fountain Pens
The Waterman fountain pen has been around for almost 133 years and is constantly being updated. Today it is recognized by its ink cartridge reservoir for most cases, earning it its qualifier as refillable. But its use remains the same as it was years ago with just a few small changes.
Clean your pen before use and regularly thereafter
Before the first use, decongest the duct by introducing a water/dishwashing liquid mixture with a hearing aid bulb pump – if you don’t have one of these to hand, you can easily get one at your local pharmacy. Gently wipe with a damp cloth to remove the marks left at the factory and make the pen look better. Then rinse and dry the pen block using absorbent paper. If water droplets remain, vacuum them using the hearing aid pump.
Go easy on the soaking
To remove ink traces on the pen made from normal use, as part of your regular maintenance we recommend you soak your fountain pen in a soapy solution, then rinse. However, this advice does come with a word of warning: if you soak your pen for too long, you risk weakening the alloy. Don’t exceed 30 to 60 minutes with each soak.
Be very careful not to block the pen conduits
Always remember that next to nothing could affect the ink flow given the tiny diameter of the fountain pen’s conduits. For maintenance, be sure to use water that is low in calcium, or that does not contain any at all. Avoid soap which may leave tiny deposits inside. Always prefer liquid and slightly corrosive degreasers for regular cleaning, or even demineralized water and pen flush if you can afford it.
Get a case
It is always more pleasant to walk around with a pen supplied with a well-designed case than it is in your pocket, instead of finding a place to hang your pen in the pocket of your shirt or jacket (and of course, risking the cap falling off and staining your shirt). Some of the cases that come with the pens haven’t been designed for portability, so finding something suitable on Amazon is a great alternative. And then, in its case, it will be safer and will accompany you through your writing life for that much longer.