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.

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