Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Waterman Exclusive: true love that I nearly passed over

I came across this Waterman Exclusive at a car boot sale. It's suffered: there's corrosion on the gold plated ring around the end of the section, the lacquer is not spotless (not missing anywhere, but dinged a bit), there was crud stuck to it that I wasn't sure would come off without damaging the pen, and it was a bit expensive.

I was just about to walk away when I took a look at the nib. Blimey. This pen was coming with me!

It's a 'large', the little L stamped on the underside of the feed informs me. Yes, a nice fat broad nib. 18k gold, as always in France. It writes like a dream. Bags of tipping and a nice smooth grind.

The Exclusive's not one of my favourite modern Waterman pens. It's one of the series of tubular styles that came out in the 1980s to 1990s, like the Laureat, Man 100, Gentleman, Executive, the Lady Elsa/Agathe/Patricia/Anastasia versions, and at the cheap end of the range, the Forum. I find the Exclusive slightly too slim, with a section only 7mm across; it feels a bit anorexic. And I don't like the hand-grenade finish of the section, because it looks as if it should be uncomfortable, though in fact it's not at all uncomfortable to write with.

But I have to admit that with those caveats out of the way, it's a good looking pen. Black lacquer and yellow metal; metal end caps, totally plain, and three metal rings each end ofthe tubular cap, and a simple split clip (similar to the one on the Laureat) with the 'looped W' Waterman logo. There's no other branding, just a tiny 'Made in France' between the two outside rings at the base of the cap. It is elegant, striking, and just elegant enough not to seem austere. There are no distractions.

Open up the pen and there's a quite wide ring at the nib end of the section - unfortunately this is the weak spot on so many Watermans of the period, as it seems to corrode at the least provocation (just like the 'wings' on the Waterman CF). And there's a rounded clutch ring, where (invisible from the outside) we find the words 'Waterman France'. I particularly like the clutch ring, as it is the only rounded element on the pen and gives it a properly finished feeling.

The lacquer, on polishing up, turns out not to be quite a solid black, but slightly dappled. Waterman really, really knows how to do lacquer and that's one of the great appeal of modern Watermans like the 'marine amber' Carene and the Laureat series. 

And that nib! I've been loving it ever since.

I have tried quite a few modern Parkers, but most of the nibs have been 'meh'. Waterman on the other hand really has great nibs, from the cheapie Kultur all the way to the Man 100. Even so, occasionally a Waterman nib will surprise me further on the upside. I tried a Carene with a stub nib in Selfridge's once; that was a really wicked little bugger. And this Exclusive has provided me with very great delight.

So I'm glad it joined my collection, even if it was a bit more than I'd usually pay for a car boot find.

I even managed to beat the seller down a few euros, in the end.

The Exclusive. Cleaned up.

Recognising the Exclusive
  • Thin tubular pen - tubular cap and slightly tapered barrel
  • Metal disks at both ends of the pen
  • Two sets of triple cap rings
  • Flat split clip
  • Hand-grenade textured section

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