One of my favourite Disney/Pixar films is “The Incredibles”. In that film of superheroes vs super-villains the chief antagonist, quirkily titled ‘Syndrome’ comes up with a great one liner as he outlines his plan to eventually sell his inventions to everyone giving them all extraordinary powers, he quips, “when everyone’s super… no one will be“. Today I’m reviewing a pen that Itself is called ‘Special’. So my question is, ‘Is it special? Or are all fountain pens special? And if they are all special maybe Syndrome is right, because if they’re all special maybe none of them are?
Description: The Kaweco Special FP is a slim, understated fountain pen with a pleasing octagonal profile. Of all the pens I have it is one of the most minimal in design. Machined from industrial grade aluminium with some brass parts which are then all coated in an anodised matte black finish it could certainly be included in the vague group of pens that epitomise ‘stealth’.
Actually the Special is something of a throwback, a tribute if you will, to an earlier Kaweco model from the 1940’s. The modern version is aesthetically updated and uses more modern materials. This is an extremely sleek pen, its slim profile accentuates its length, often giving the impression that it is longer than it actually is. The barrel is threaded at the base to allow the minimalist clipless cap to be secured. The top of the cap has the Kaweco logo in silver relief and the barrel has, “Kaweco Special FP Germany” printed on one of its faces. The nib on this pen is one of the small steel Bock nib that Kaweco use in many other of their models. These are available in widths from extra fine (EF) all the way through to double broad (BB). The pen takes standard international cartridges or can be fitted with a converter.
Dimensions: The Kaweco Special measures 142mm when capped, 168mm when posted, and has a diameter of only 10mm. The grip section is short, very short, being only 12mm long before coming to the threads. The Special weighs in at 20g all in when fully inked with a converter and a mere 14g without the cap.
On Test: The pleasure gained from writing with this pen depends as always to a great degree on the users own likes and dislikes. It is a slim pen that I would not personally use posted, not due to any balance issue but to me it just looked too long.
This pen was supplied with a B nib, now my preference in writing is to use a finer nib than this. I find that I have to write faster with a broad nib and use a larger hand in terms of the size of the characters I write than I normally like. The Special is also a tad on the slim side for me. I find myself gripping the pen harder than usual because of this which gives me some discomfort ( I have to own up here and say that because of nerve damage to my writing hand that is nothing unusual with any pen at times). But as I get older I find that Im preferring a wider barrel. But if you like a slim pen then this would be ideal particularly if you like the overall aesthetic.
The broad nib I used to test the pen actually performed well. It is smooth but firm, there was no real discernable line variation with this nib but I imagine if I had been using an ink that possessed a more obvious range of shading it would have allowed this.
I have to confess that I also swapped this nib out for a spare fine nib that I have and found the pen was much more suited to my personal style of writing with that set-up. Thankfully this pen allows a swift and easy change of nib and feed.
Summary: Using this pen is no great problem, it will I think stand or fall on its aesthetic value rather than any issues with its performance. I have a soft spot for this pen as it was buying one of these models that rekindled my personal fascination with fountain pens after a couple of lean years. It is a good pen, though perhaps not a truly outstanding one. I think I’ll sum up this pen with a misquote from George Orwell’ s classic book Animal Farm, “All pens are special, but some pens are more special than others” sadly for me this isn’t one of those more special pens.