Compare and Contrast: Kaweco Classic Sport Liquid Ink Rollerball

In last week’s post, I wrote about the ACME Eames Chairs Rollerball. This week’s pen is ALSO a rollerball, so I thought it might be an interesting exercise to compare the two. While there are a number of similarities, there are also some key differences, so let’s take a look.

While I purchased last week’s pen at a local shop, this “gently used” Kaweco Classic Sport Rollerball was sent to me by JetPens. It happened to arrive close to my birthday— a happy coincidence. It’s not a birthday without a new (or “new to me”) pen!

PACKAGING
Kaweco tin

Each pen comes packaged in a cool tin, which is probably my favorite type of pen box because I know it’ll last virtually forever. Both tins have hinged lids, but the relief graphics and lettering on the Kaweco tin really make it pop. For a relatively inexpensive pen, this is an impressive package that has an appealing, somewhat vintage, look.

MATERIAL
Kaweco Classic Sport Rollerball

The ACME Rollerball is a brass and lacquer pen, while the Kaweco is plain black ABS plastic, with just a bit of accent branding. The plastic is sturdy and durable, great for pockets and purses and backpacks. While I’m very careful with my ACME, the Kaweco is the perfect on-the-go pen. Does the plastic get scuffed up a little bit? Sure, but this is a pen that’s meant to be carried, so if it suffers a ding or scrape, that just means that it’s out doing what it was made to do. I love the ACME, but it’s more likely to live a pampered life than this rough and tumble Kaweco.

CAP and POSTING
Uncapped Kaweco Classic Sport

My ACME Rollerball sports a snap cap, while the Kaweco features a threaded cap. Both caps post deeply and securely by pushing them onto their respective pen bodies. The ACME sports a good-looking clip. The Kaweco is clipless, though an optional slide-on clip can be purchased separately. Since I tend to tuck this “everyday carry” pen in a pocket, I’m fine without a clip. The Kaweco’s faceted body keeps it from rolling away on a desk, so a clip isn’t needed for that purpose. But, as I said, if you’re happier with a clip, there’s one available.

Posted pen

As for posting, it really is a must for the Kaweco as the unposted pen is very compact at a mere four inches. This is, for me, usable in a pinch, but posting the cap makes for a much better writing experience. For those with larger hands, posting is a necessity. The ACME feels a bit top heavy when posted, so I usually use THAT pen unposted.

REFILL
Disassembled Kaweco Classic Sport

The refill in this Kaweco has no branding or markings but it’s the exact size and shape as the ACME 888 Safety Ceramic Rollerball refill in my ACME rollerball, which, incidentally, is also the same as the Retro 51 branded refill (or the Schmidt P8126, for that matter), which means you’ll get the same writing experience in all of these pens. These refills contain liquid ink, not gel, so there’s the potential for a tiny bit of bleed or feathering depending on what paper you’re using. I have to say that I tend to prefer gel ink over liquid ink, but as I rule, I enjoy either one more than ballpoint. Gel is just a bit crisper and predictable, but my qualms with liquid ink are very, very minor.

The one thing that I’m not crazy about with the Kaweco rollerball is that the refill rattles a bit inside the pen. I don’t mean that writing tip wiggles— that’s actually very solid— but that you can hear the actual refill rattling a bit when you move the body of the pen. Hearing this always makes me think that the cap is coming unposted from the back of the pen, but it’s not. Though not a huge deal by any means, it’s something that makes the Kaweco feel less solid.

PRICE
This Kaweco Classic Sport is available for $21.00 at JetPens, while I paid $69.50 locally for the ACME rollerball. Obviously, we’re talking plastic versus brass. Since you get the exact writing experience with either pen, it comes down to a matter of personal taste and intended use.

Kaweco emblem
I’m a sucker for that Kaweco logo!

If you’re looking for a cool, compact solid writer, the Kaweco Classic Sport is a great option. It’s super handy and ready to take on anything the day may throw at you. The ACME is a looker, but not something I want to treat lightly. Some days— actually MANY days— I have so much vying for my attention that the last thing I need is pen angst. So, for me, the ACME is better off at home and in controlled environments, whereas the Kaweco is ready to hit the ground running.

The ACME’s like visiting a museum. You have a good time, and see cool stuff, but there are rules. On the other hand, the Kaweco is like a day at the beach where you boat or swim or play ball. No rules, just fun.

The choice is yours.

Kaweco emblem

I choose…….BOTH.

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Sitting Pretty: ACME “Eames Chairs” Rollerball

For Christmas, I received a gift certificate to our local Scandinavian Design store. Despite that fact that the store is packed with a ton of cool stuff, there was no doubt that I was going to put it towards one of the capped ACME rollerball pens— but which one? Even before I stopped at the store, I was mulling over a few options— Nancy Wolff’s “Dogs” and “Cats,” Lurinda Spear’s “Quote,” and Ayse Birsel’s “Write.” Since I had a kitty that was quite ill at the time, I was sort of leaning towards the cat pen. Oh, the mental energy and steam I put into pen decisions! If it could be harnessed, I’m sure I could power a small office building.

Once in the store, though, the choice became even harder. Karim Rashid’s “Orange” spoke to me, and I kind of fell in love with the old-school typewriter key graphic on Michael Doret’s “Qwerty.”

But then I saw the “Eames Chairs.” Hmmmmm. More pondering.

Eames Chairs Rollerball

I have no doubt that the saleswoman— who was outwardly very patient and helpful— was probably ready to scream into a pillow while I fondled pens and mulled over this epic decision. (It’s not a lie to say that I’ve picked out a new car faster than I chose this pen.)

In the end, I couldn’t resist the “Eames Chairs” design. After all, I love to sit. Simple as that.

ACME Eames Chairs Rollerball

The ACME website has this to say about the husband and wife team of Charles and Ray Eames: CHARLES and RAY EAMES are ranked among the finest American designers of the twentieth century. They are best known for their ground-breaking contributions to architecture, furniture design (the Eames Chair), industrial design and manufacturing, and the photographic arts. The legacy of this husband and wife team includes more than 100 films that reflect the breadth and depth of their interests and the integrity of their vision. Theirs was a design collaboration in the deepest sense, and all their work, whether graphics, film or furniture was a product of their collective design process and philosophy. These products are approved and certified by the Eames Office, which is dedicated to communicating, preserving, and extending the work of Charles and Ray Eames.

Once I researched the couple a bit more, I was even more pleased with my choice. They sound like they were really cool people. And, again, CHAIRS.

A couple of special touches made me fall completely for this pen. The center band is etched with the simulated signatures of both Ray and Charles— a sweet little detail.

Ray Eames
Ray Eames

Charles Eames
Charles Eames

The pen’s snap-cap sports a “wheel and spoke” design that adds just a little pop.

Uncapped Eames Chair Rollerball

This rollerball is made from brass that’s silkscreened with the “Chairs” design, then coated in lacquer and clear coat. I do tend to baby it a bit as I’m afraid of scratching the design and that would make me crazy. The pen measures 5-1/3″ when capped, 4-7/8″ unposted, and 6-1/8″ posted. It’s a substantial pen so I tend to use it unposted, though the cap posts solidly and does not shift the balance too drastically.

Chairs

From the “autographed” center band, to the fun little design on the cap, to the “just right” taupey background color, and, of course, THOSE CHAIRS, this was clearly the pen I was meant to take home.

Loaded up with the ACME 888 Safety Ceramic Rollerball refill, you can expect a wet dark solid line that’s very much like writing with the Retro 1951 rollerball. The pen comes packed in a hinged tin, fitted with a dense foam insert, that’s perfect for storage and display. My pen lives in the tin when I’m not using it. (Refer to “scratching phobia” noted above.)

ACME tin

Pen in tin w/ pamphlet
Pen in its tin case, with the included ACME pamphlet

“Take your pleasure seriously,” Charles Eames is quoted as saying. Oh, I do. I surely do.

Just ask that saleswoman.

Eames Chairs

Hocus-Pocus: Delta Fusion 82

Outer box
Outer box

As I mentioned in last week’s post, after typhoons Haiyan and Yolanda devastated the Philippines, Leigh Reyes sprang into action and organized “Pens For Aid”, an online auction that raised funds for the Red Cross relief effort. New and vintage pens were donated by private folks and retailers, and pen lovers placed their bids and crossed their fingers. Leigh, herself a resident of the Philippines, used her passion for pens to help the Red Cross help those who were, and are, hurting. What a super idea.

I’ve wanted a Delta Fusion 82 for some time now— not because of the marketing mumbo-jumbo— but because every review I’ve read or watched makes particular note of the VERY SMOOTH nib. That’ll get me every time. So when a WHITE Delta Fusion 82 popped up in the auction, I settled in for the long haul. The white body isn’t available in the US which made me more determined to win that pen.

And win it, I did.

Hoo boy— what a pen!

Inner box (closed)

Even the packaging is very cool. Inside the outer cardboard box, is a slick inner box with a plastic lid that swivels open to reveal THE PEN.

Swivel lid
The reveal

Delta Fusion 82
The Delta Fusion 82

Let me say that none of my photos do this pen justice. It’s gotta be the whiteness. I just can’t get photos that convey the very cool, cracked ice, look of the body. The acrylic shimmers with depth and is just a little bit translucent. If I look hard, I can catch a hint of the Iroshizuku kon-peki that’s loaded up in the included converter. Because this pen is white does NOT mean that it’s boring. Quite the contrary.

Delta Fusion 82

The clip’s a pretty tight one, but has a lovely profile.

Fusion 82 clip

But where this pen REALLY SHINES is in the nib. Oh my, that nib.

Delta Fusion 82 nib

Here’s how this “Revolution nib” is described in the accompanying booklet:
Thanks to the production characteristics, the ink is made more fluid in the vicinity of the tip of the nib, because Fusion features a “plate” of precious material (gold, palladium, or other noble alloys), that due to its high thermal conductivity, will tend to heat the underlying metal (steel, titanium, or other) and the underlying metal, in turn, transfers heat to the ink in transit between the conductor and the tip of the nib. The higher temperature makes the ink flow more smoothly. At the same time, the nib has characteristics of strength and durability for long writing sessions, higher than those of nibs completely in gold.

Delta Fusion 82

Truth? Proven? Who knows. I DO know that this is one of the sweetest, smoothest nibs I’ve ever used. So maybe, just maybe, they’re onto something. I’ve been using this pen every night to write in my journal— a new habit for 2014, and one that I’m enjoying— and can’t seem to make myself use a different pen. It’s crazy good.

Is there anything I don’t particularly like? Well, as I said, the clip is quite tight, but since I’m storing the pen in its very distinctive box, not in a pocket or case, this isn’t an issue for me. Also, the cap doesn’t post, but it’s perfectly fine in my hand unposted, so no worries there (for me). The crackly cool look of the body and the juicy flow from this heavenly nib easily override what could be seen as “flaws” by some.

Is there hocus-pocus going on between the gold and steel and ink? Maybe. Maybe not. Does this pen write like a dream? Absolutely.

P1030331

I thank Leigh for organizing and handling all aspects of the “Pens For Aid” auction, and for throwing in the amazing goodies that I showed you in last week’s post. She is a generous soul, and an inspiration for pen lovers everywhere.

P1030318

Community

When I won the stunning white Delta Fusion 82 in Leigh Reyes’s “Pens For Aid” online auction to benefit Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda victims, I won much more than a beautiful pen.

Leigh included an assortment of her own goodies, along with the pen, as her way of saying “thank you.” The notebooks, nibs, and case are very cool, but what I appreciate most is her original artwork- especially the piece that proclaims “You are stronger than you can imagine.”

Extra goodies

Nibbage!

It’s been a trying week— a difficult week— and it’s only Wednesday. Yesterday afternoon I was present while one of my beloved 14-year old kitties was put to sleep. It was horrible— as these things always are— but sweet Sophie and I both knew that it was time. And now, a day later, we’re both in a better place.

As I’ve stepped away from the raw awfulness of that experience, Leigh’s artful, colorful, and inspiring words have been looping through my head.

“You are stronger than you can imagine.”

"You are stronger..."

I guess I am. And so are you. And so are we.

The pen community— our pen community— never ceases to amaze me for the way we encourage, entertain, care for, and comfort each other.

Pens are great, but pen people are greater.

With deep appreciation, to Leigh, and to all of you.

Mary

Fresh Start

Bath night

I’m lucky. The college I work for chooses to close down from Christmas Eve though January 1st, and that break is something I anticipate all year. I look forward to relaxing (after the Christmas hub-bub is over) and catching up on tasks and chores. This year I didn’t do as much relaxing as I’d hoped, but it was still a great break— despite one of my dogs chewing on a menthol cough drop Christmas morning which forced me to Google “Will menthol kill my dog?”, and discovering that my husband accidentally washed and DRIED one of my favorite wool sweaters. Ouch.

I like to kick back a little. Read for pleasure. See a movie or two. AND ORGANIZE THINGS. The urge to straighten up, toss what’s outdated (hello, pantry!), and give my address book a good hard look/purge kicks in strong at the start of the new year. So it’s not surprising that I recently spent some time cleaning out almost all of my currently inked pens.

Ready for the new year and new ink
Ready for the new year and new ink

I had way too many inked and knowing that bothered me. So I spent a couple of evenings getting things under control and it feels great. Now I can ink some new pens, and actually use the ones that ARE inked. I keep my pen/ink list updated in Evernote and right now I only have four or five pens in use. Which is plenty.

Looking ahead to the new year, I plan to maintain this low number of inked pens, while rotating different pens in and out, and to use them more thoughtfully, more intentionally— less like I have pen ADD. I’ve also lined up a couple of pen pals to make sure that I regularly WRITE THINGS. Which is important when you…you know…hoard collect pens.

I’m not planning to reduce my collection. They’re all dear to me. But I feel better knowing that I’m treating my pens well; knowing that they’re clean, well cared for, and intentionally inked.

Well cared for

Here’s to a fresh start. Happy 2014 to you and your pens!