Tag Archives: wonderpens.ca

Waterman Hemisphere

The snow! I can hardly believe how much snow is out there. The dog had a fun romp about outside, while the I had a fun viewing of it from inside with a steaming mug of coffee. The snow makes everything look magical and clean, until you need to go to work…

Even though the shop is closed for retail on Mondays, we normally go in for a few hours to pack up orders, clean up and re-stock – I’m not sure if we’ll make it in today, the way this snow is coming down, so I figured it’s a good time to take a closer look at some of those pens.

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The Waterman Hemisphere is another pen that we brought in right before the holiday season, and which we completely sold out of before I had a chance to take some good photos and put it up on the blog.

Waterman is one of the oldest fountain pen manufacturing companies, founded in New York. It is certainly one of the most well-known fountain pen companies, especially by people who are not as familiar with modern day fountain pens, along with Parker or Sheaffer. Unlike Parker and Sheaffer, however, Waterman tends towards the higher end range of fountain pens.

The Hemisphere is on the lower end of their offerings. We carry this model, in a couple of different flavours – Glossy Black with Gold Trim (pictured here), Matte Black with Silver Trim, and Stainless Steel, available in fine or medium.

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This pen is a classic looking fountain pen – slim, weighty, smooth. It’s still comfortable to hold, but it will be much slimmer in hand than a 580 or Edison, or even the ergonomic grip of the Safari. The pen is more in line with a CP1, although it does still have a bit of curviness to it, unlike the CP1.

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The finish on these pens is really glossy – the lacquer finish is shiny and smooth and reflective.

Waterman is known for its smooth, wet nibs, and the Hemisphere is no different. It’s a stainless steel nib, so it doesn’t have too much spring (although a bit, for a steel nib!), but it’s one smooth writer. I found it to be on the wetter side, with excellent evenness in flow.

The writing sample is with a medium nib, J. Herbin Eclat de Saphir, and Rhodia 90gsm paper.

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You can’t really tell in the photo above, but it says Waterman around the band

It’s a snap cap closure, closing with a secure click.  It’s perfect for quick notes in meetings, without having to worry about the lid popping off accidentally. The angled cap finial is one of the most interesting features of the pen, certainly one of the only things that is a little bit more unique, while still being subtle.

Waterman Hemisphere Fountain Pen at www.wonderpens.ca

The cap of a Waterman fountain pen.

I’m not really one for pen boxes, but the Waterman boxes are some of my favourite boxes. It’s a soft, suede-y inside, and even the outside of the box has a bit of a velvet feel to it. You can lift out the bottom, where you’ll find the pen information, and cartridges. We include a converter with the pen as well. Waterman only takes proprietary cartridges/converter

Waterman Hemisphere Fountain Pen at wonderpens.ca

The trademark split in the clip of Waterman fountain pens.

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This pen, the Waterman Hemisphere, is a classic-looking and reliable pen. Its slim and not too flashy, while still being elegant and classy. It’s a heavy pen, especially for its size, and in the shop, often people who pick it up can tell right away that it’s a good fit for their hand.

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Kaweco Student Fountain Pen

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany moons ago, a customer came into the shop to browse and say hello (mostly to browse). Incidentally, he had purchased from us online, and due to some weird coincidence of pen orders that were very, very similar, and some very minor brouhaha going on at the shop, we thought we may have sent him the wrong pen. Turns out, my pre-emptive email only embarrassed myself because he did get the right pen, but he came by the shop anyways!

While there, he mentioned that we should look into expanding our Kaweco line, specifically the Student, and more specifically the yellow Student, since he had a particular liking for yellow pens.

Now, after extensive planning and coordination, and just because we so highly value the particularities of our very special customers, we have finally brought it in! And it turns out he knew what he was talking about, because our first rave review of this model also happened to be one in yellow, described as a “warm, mellow yellow” – which is exactly right.

 

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We have the Kaweco Student in Vintage Blue, Yellow, Black and Translucent Blue. It’s the acrylic version of the metal Allrounder, and has a friendlier price.

It is available in nibs from extra fine to double broad, or you can upgrade to an italic nib. Nibs are always available as spare units as well. Kaweco nibs are more in line with European thicknesses, so a bit wetter and wider than Japanese nibs, and the writing sample with this Student is with a medium nib.

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It’s a bit of a retro or vintage looking pen. In fact, this model here is in “Vintage Blue”, which actually does look like a vintage blue; it has just a hint of teal in it, just like Rohrer & Klingner Verdigris!). The clip has a bit of styling to it, and Kaweco has also released this as a removable clip for the Sport along with the new Skyline models.

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One of the my favourite things about the Student is actually its balance. It’s a light pen due to its acrylic body, but its grip is made out of a heavy metal. I don’t post most of my pens because I don’t like for my pens to be too back-heavy or top heavy, but having the weight much closer to where my fingers are gripping actually makes it much nicer to write – it’s almost as though the pen is bringing itself to the paper for me.

Sometimes metal grips can get a bit slippery, but the hourglass shape of the grip helps alleviate a bit of that.

While Kaweco is most known for its Sport model, very durable and portable and sporty, the Sport’s biggest downfall is that the converter is difficult to use and tiny, leaving only cartridges or an eyedropper conversion; the Student is a full-sized pen and so it fits a standard international converter, or even two standard short cartridges – one in play, and one spare.

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The Kaweco Student is a great all-around pen – it looks classic without being boring, takes a cartridge or a piston converter, feels great in the hand, and doesn’t break the bank.

Rhodia Premium “R” Paper

With Rhodia’s 80th Anniversary Celebration and Giveaway going on this week at the shop, I figured it might be nice to see some of Rhodia’s greatest hits. Rhodia’s Premium paper is some of my favourite paper out there for fountain pen nuts. 

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Rhodia Premium “R” Paper is the higher end version of their paper, and it’s available in pads or in their Webnotebooks. It is super paper. Back when I was in the store full time, I had a regular customer who came in to buy stacks of Rhodia pads for his research and notes, and every once in a while he would get a Premium pad as a treat, and we would discuss how it’s a bit more luxurious, and how your ideas suddenly become much classier when it’s on the smooth ivory paper. (We are mostly referring to his ideas, as I just doodle, and I am assuming he still comes in.)

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Rhodia Premium Paper is the more expensive and higher quality version of the Rhodia paper that is in most of their pads. We carry the Premium pads in orange and black, and in A4 and A5 size.

Here are some of the key differences:

Premium Standard
Ivory White
90gsm 80gsm
Ruled, Plain* Ruled, Graph, Dot, Plain*
70 sheets 80 sheets
Costs more Costs less

*We normally don’t stock the plain, but let us know if you’d like us to bring it in as a special order.

The cover on the premium paper is also a bit more suede-y.

This stuff is the bee’s knees. It’s creamy, both in colour and texture. It’s super smooth, and there is as close to no feathering or bleed-through as you can get. If you are writing a letter, a note to your boss, or playing around with a flex pen, this is it. It’s heavier and denser, so even though a pad of it is the same thickness as a regular Rhodia pad, it has fewer sheets.

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The writing sample was done with a Noodler’s Ahab and J. Herbin Ambre de Birmanie, which is a great shading ink. With many shading inks or inks with sheen, it shows up best on good paper, like Clairefontaine, Tomoe River or this Rhodia paper here.

The thing about an Ahab or a Noodler’s flex pen is that they’re flexible, but more like an average person flexible, not ballerina flexible, so when you write with it, sometimes your pressure on the tines forces the tines to dig in a bit to the paper. On some paper, this is terrible, and on most paper it’s okay. The digging into the paper with the tines scratches up the fibres, and the ink feathers more as a result. 

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However, I also find that part of being so “ink-resistant”, or so completely anti-feather or bleeding at all, is that if you have a very dry pen, it will seem to write even drier, because there is nothing to help draw the ink out.

While this paper can handle the really wet pens, it also has a noticeably longer dry time – something to be careful of if you’re writing with a super broad or italic nib, or if you’re left-handed. It’s the trade-off for your inks looking crispy crispy.

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There is no bleedthrough at all, even where the tines pressed the hardest. With a regular nib and writing without pressure as you normally would with a fountain pen, you would certainly be hard-pressed to get any bleed through with almost any ink.

Rhodia’s standard line of paper is great for getting the job done, but the premium stuff is when you need to get it done with a little panache. It’s also just…nice to write with.