Friday, 6 June 2014

Why I loathe the Wyvern 303

Fountain pen aesthetics are funny things. Some people love the MB 149, some find it boring. Some people love Chinese bling pens, as much abalone and gold plate and shiny glittery blingy razzmatazz as you can load on a five inch stick, other hate them.

Me, I loathe the Wyvern 303.

Actually from the outside, this pen doesn't look bad. It looks a bit like some of the Waterman Taperite, Crusader, Dauntless, Garland - well, most, like the Taperite Citation, with its great big cap band. That's really striking, and I rather like it. The torpedo shape and the simple clip are classical. I could quite like this pen, which is why when I saw one on a stall at a London antiques market, I took a closer look.

But as soon as I took the cap off - oh, yuk.

I don't like pens with convex sections, for a start. A section should either be straight, or concave, that is, gently flared, or it should have a lip, like the early Parker Duofolds, to prevent your fingers sliding into the inky zone or off the pen completely. Convex section - wrong. And though it has a little rolled lip, it's so small that it's completely useless.

I don't like meanness. The Wyvern 303 is not a small pen, but it has a itsy bitsy teeny weeny absolutely bloody minuscule nib. Just economising on the amount of gold. Such a big, positive, butch pen, and when it comes to the business end ... I know they say "size isn't important", but in this case it is. Or as Horace says, Parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. (JFGI.) This is a Superman pen with a Walter Mitty nib.

And then that step between the section and the barrel. No need for that at all in a torpedo shaped pen with a metal cap. Look at the Parker 51 - smooth, smooth lines hardly disturbed by the gleam of the clutch ring. Waterman Taperite - stubbier, less elegant, but still with those smooth lines. ~Aerodynamic, streamlined, modern, like a decent sports car. The 303_ Oh dear. Wants to be a Jaguar and ends up more of a Trabant.

Which is why I hastily put the pen back without enquiring about its price. Even for a quid, I didn't want it. I positively loathed it. And that's why there's no photo on this blog post, though if you want to see a picture, I can point you to a post on that excellent blog, Goodwriterspens

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