Review: Parker Urban

The Numbers:
Weight: 33g
Length (capped): 135mm
Length (uncapped): 125mm
Price: £41 from Executive Pens Direct
Body Material: Metal
Nib Material: Stainless steel
Filling Mechanism: Cartridge/converter
Colours: Various

Intro: My thanks to Executive Pens Direct for sending me the Parker Urban fountain pen for review.

This isn’t the first Parker fountain pen that I’ve reviewed but this is my first experience with a Parker pen that isn’t of the entry level tier.

Parker is a brand known for its long history in fountain pen making. Its vintage fountain pens are much sought after and many still perform well today. Now how does a modern Parker fountain pen fare?

The Parker Urban comes in a very stately box. It starts with a grey sleeve with the Parker logo on it. Its texture feels nice to the touch. That slides out to reveal a nicely printed card, underneath that is the fountain pen securely nestled on a bed of velvet like material.

If I were to judge a pen by its packaging, I have to say I am very impressed.

The Parker Urban from its appearance looks sleek and distinguished, very much inline with my impression of the brand. It has a metal body and a stainless steel nib. The fountain pen is vaguely torpedo shaped. The widest point is where the cap meets the barrel. There is a slow taper to a narrower point towards both ends. The balance of the pen is slightly back heavy because of its metal housing. It would probably work better for people with larger hands than mine.

My Parker Urban is the Vibrant Blue model but it looks turquoise when you hold it in your hand. However, it photographs as a blue colour. It’s really odd that it is this way. So bear that in mind when you look at the photographs.

The strong turquoise colour is accented with chrome trims. Both ends of the pen has a plain polished chrome tips. The clip has Parker’s traditional arrow shape. It has a good tension to keep the pen secure. The cap pulls open easily and closes with a very satisfying click. Plus, the cap can be posted if you so desire.

The grip section is a plain black plastic with a metal lip. It is long enough to fit most hand sizes. There is a slight step between the barrel and the grip but it doesn’t get in the way when I write.

The Parker Urban fountain pen is a cartridge and converter system which makes it easy to fill and clean. And a push converter comes provided with the pen.

The stainless steel nib looks under-sized especially when compared to the body of the pen. I keep thinking there is more nib where I can’t see. I’d prefer if this is a larger nib just to make the entire design of the pen look more balanced. Still, regardless of the size it writes nice and smooth. I was sent a medium nib and it is still fairly useable for me.

Now, comes the problematic part of the Parker Urban. At least for my particular pen. The nib dries up, very, very, very easily. It hard starts without fail every single time. I don’t believe the ink capacity of the Parker converter is a lot less than the other brands of converter I’ve used and even taking into consideration wider nib size, I run through ink on this Parker Urban way faster than usual. Normally, I can fill a pen and use it for an entire month and still have ink left over. With the Parker Urban, I run out in two - three weeks. Putting aside the faster than usual use of ink, the hard start issue is just not acceptable. I am quite sure I got a lemon because from my googling I’ve not found a review where they had the same problem.

As long as you have purchased your Parker Urban from a reputable store. I’m sure you will be able to return the pen and get a replacement easily.

The Parker Urban fits the corporate world with ease. When it writes, it performs well. However the hard starting issue makes me wary to recommend it.


  • Variety of colours
  • Comes with the converter
  • Smooth writer


  • Hard starts
  • Nib looks undersized
Posted on September 21, 2018 and filed under Fountain Pen, review.

Review: Pelikan Edelstein Olivine

This is the Pelikan 2018’s ink of the year. I got this ink initially thinking it will be a dark yellow-green. It does have a faint yellow undertone but Olivine is mostly a dark green with a strong grey undertone in. It shades well in my Japanese SM nib. Shading goes form a muted grey-green to a deep dark green. It feels like a lubricated ink and I really enjoy this colour. Check out Pelikan Edelstein Olivine if you enjoy a dark green ink.

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Posted on September 14, 2018 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: Lamy Nexx

The Numbers:
Weight: 16g
Length (capped): 13.4cm
Length (uncapped): 12.7cm
Price: USD$32 from Goldspot Pens
Body Material: Aluminium
Nib Material: Stainless steel
Filling Mechanism: Cartridge / Converter
Colours: Various

My thanks to Goldspot Pens for sending me the Lamy Nexx for review.

Everyone knowns the Lamy Safari. One look at the Safari there is no mistaking it for any other pen. The Lamy Nexx is a lesser known entry level fountain pen for Lamy. It’s priced lower than the Lamy Safari so this is a good competitor against the Safari.

The Lamy Nexx comes in a variety of different colours and is available in EF, F, M stainless steel nibs right off the shelf. However you can purchase extra nibs in the 14K variety as well as B and stub nibs of different width. This is the versatility of the Lamy fountain pens. Most of them use the same nibs so that makes nib swapping very easy.

If you’re familiar with the Lamy Safari packaging, the Lamy Nexx comes in the exact same box. It’s the dark grey cardboard box that’s compact and small. I really enjoy packaging that didn’t take up so much more space when compared to the pen itself.

The Lamy Nexx seems to have two versions. One with the cap completely made of plastic while there is another version where there is a brushed metal clip.

The version I got has a blue plastic cap. It’s clip is on the large side. There is a satisfying click when I snap the cap on and off. The barrel is rounded, tapering off in a soft triangular shape. This acts a little like a roll stopper if you forgot to cap your pen.

The grip section is long and rubberised. The rubberised section isn’t sticky or tacky. It feels really nice and helps me maintain my grip on this lightweight fountain pen. The grip is a moulded one. It has the triangular shape but it’s a lot more rounded when compared to a Lamy Safari’s grip. For anyone who has trouble using the Lamy Safari’s grip can give the Lamy Nexx’s grip a try.

The Lamy Nexx is a cartridge converter fountain pen. It takes the regular Lamy cartridges and their Z-24 converter Z 24.

The stainless steel EF nib it came with is writes nicely. It is not the butter smooth writing experience but I am not expecting it. This is an EF nib, it writes with a little bit of feedback. It is not unpleasant, in fact I quite enjoy this aspect of the nib.

The Lamy Nexx is a worthy alternative to the Lamy Safari. It’s more rounded triangular grip makes it an easier grip to use for those who cannot get used to the Lamy Safari’s grip.

Once again, my thanks to Goldspot Pens for sending me the Lamy Nexx for review.


  • Affordable
  • Grip is moulded but rounder
  • Lightweight


  • Nothing that I can think of

Posted on September 7, 2018 and filed under Fountain Pen, review.

Review: Bookbinders Everglade Ratsnake

My thanks to Glenn for the ink sample.

Wow Bookbinder’s Everglade Ratsnake, what a mouthful. This is an Australian made ink that I’ve not tried before. Everglade Ratsnake is a dry eye-searingly bright orange ink. I made the initial mistake of filling it in a dry F nib. Never again. That particular combination was unusable. Given its dryness, I tried it again in a B nib and it was way better. In a B nib, it shades very subtly but it is mostly a flat colour. I enjoy the way the ink pops but given its dryness I’d advise to choose the pen you fill this ink up in carefully.

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Posted on August 31, 2018 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: Caran d’Ache 849

The Numbers:
Weight: 17g
Length (capped): 14.1cm
Length (uncapped): 12.3cm
Price: USD$51.95 from Goldspot Pens
Body Material: Aluminum
Nib Material: Steel
Filling Mechanism: Cartridge/Converter
Colours: White, Fluorescent Yellow, Fluorescent Green, Fluorescent Orange, Fluorescent Pink, Sapphire Blue, Black

My thanks to Goldspot Pens for sending me the Caran d’Ache 849 for review.

Caran d’Ache is a Swiss manufacturer of art supplies and luxury writing instruments. Personally, it is a brand that belonged on the high end of things due to the price of their products. But here comes the 849, it is Caran d’Ache’s entry level fountain pen. Priced at USD$51.95, it is a lot more affordable than what Caran d’Ache is traditionally known for.

The 849 comes in an eye-catching red box with the Caran d’Ache logo printed in white. Opening it you’ll find the pen inside. It’s a very simple packaging but for its price point, I am not expecting anything more than this. It is functional and it is compact, exactly what I’d prefer from packaging in general.

The Caran d’Ache 849 is a slim hexagonal shaped fountain pen. Mine came in bright fluorescent yellow, or what I’d call highlighter yellow. The bright yellow is accented by a silver coloured metal clip that hugs the side of the cap. It has a polished silver coloured end and a finial. The finial has a hexagon emblem on it.

The tension on the clip is of the right amount of tension. It’s not so tight you can’t lift it with a finger or so loose you’d not trust your pen to the clip.

The snap cap popped open and close easily. It has a particularly satisfying snap on closing. The cap spins around on its barrel easily. It is not particularly anything inherently negative about it but personally I’d prefer that it doesn’t do that.

Once the cap is off the first thing I notice is the long slim grip section. It is slimmer than anything I am used to. It is not uncomfortable per se but it does take some getting used to. I know this grip section will not be comfortable for everyone so I’d advise buyers to test before buying. There is a significant step between the barrel and grip. And I’ve noticed something about the grip especially when I let my friends and colleagues try the pen.

I tend to push fountain pens to my friends and colleagues to try. That way I can see what people who are not particularly stationary inclined tend to prefer. One thing I’ve noticed for the Caran d’Ache 849, people tend to consistently choose this over any other fountain pens I might have on hand. Price is not the determining factor when they try it out. Many have cited the narrow grip as one of the main factor, other than the writing experience. My theory is the narrow is very similar to the traditional Redleaf style ballpoint pens than tend to be what’s supplied in offices and purchased for school because they’re cheap.

The Caran d’Ache 849 takes a standard international cartridge or converter but it doesn’t ship with a converter so I popped in one of the many standard international converter I have. The pen takes it without any problems.

Now comes the nib. The Caran d’Ache 849’s stainless steel nib is tiny and leaf shaped. Even though it is small, it sort of fits the slim profile of the fountain pen. It comes in EF, F and M nib sizes. I was provided a F nib which writes wonderfully. I really enjoyed the writing experience it provides.

Conclusion: The Caran d’Ache 849 is an excellent introduction to Caran d’Ache pens. The slim grip is something to get used to but with the writing experience it provides it is well worth the effort to seek out a 849 to try out.

Once again, my thanks to Goldspot Pens for sending me the Caran d’Ache 849 for review.


  • Smooth writing experience
  • Cap can be posted
  • Affordable


  • Slim grip can be a hit or miss

Posted on August 24, 2018 and filed under Fountain Pen, review.

Review: Scribes’ Ink Macallan Scottish Whisky

My thanks to Straits Pen for the ink sample.

Scribes’ Ink Macallan Scottish Whisky is a scented ink. Obviously it’s made to smell like Macallan Whisky but how accurate it is, I have no idea. It’s a brown ink on the yellow end of things. It shades well going from a light yellow-brown to a saturated soil like brown. Scribes’ Ink Macallan Scottish Whisky is really similar to Pilot Iroshizuku Ina-Ho and you all know my thoughts on that ink and that family of colours. It’s safe to say Scribes’ Ink Macallan Scottish Whisky isn’t my favourite ink in terms of colour but this is a completely serviceable ink.

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  • Louis Vuitton Or Audacieux
Posted on August 17, 2018 and filed under Ink, review.