Review: Kaweco Supra

The Numbers:
Weight: 39g (without extender) / 51g (with extender)
Length (capped): 103mm (without extender) / 134mm (with extender)
Length (uncapped): 93mm (without extender) / 124mm (with extender)
Price: USD$140 from Pen Chalet
Body Material: Brass
Nib Material: Stainless steel
Filling Mechanism: Cartridge converter
Colours: Brass

Tarnished vs not.

Intro:
I didn’t have any luck with my first Kaweco fountain pen which incidentally was my very first big girl fountain pen. It was a Kaweco ICE Sport that burped on me randomly. Tests were conducted and it was concluded that it was user problem, not the pen at fault. However, I was still rather apprehensive in purchasing another Kaweco fountain pen until I saw the Kaweco Supra.

Kaweco is known for their Sport and ICE Sport lines. These are pocket fountain pens that take standard international short cartridge and converter. There is also the Lilliput which epitomises the pocket fountain pen. This is where the Kaweco Supra comes in. The Supra is the bigger sibling of the Lilliput. Unlike the Lilliput, the Supra comes only in plain brass. The main difference other than size, the Supra comes with an extender. This allows the pen to transform into a full length fountain pen, no need to fuss around with posting the cap. This also enables the pen to take full length standard international cartridges and converters.

Personally I found the pen too heavy in its fully extended form so this will be a review for the Kaweco Supra used mostly in the pocket form.

Packaging:
The Kaweco Supra comes in a vintage metal box that reminds me very much of the box which contained Mathematics instruments I used as a student. Opening the box, the pen rest inside a plastic insert with moulded slots to keep the pen from rolling about. The metal box can easily be reused to hold a variety of knick knacks. This is a packaging I appreciate.

Performance:
It goes without saying that the Kaweco Supra is a heavy pen. Being made of full eco brass (meaning it is lead-free), it is to be expected. Hence my preference to use without the extender. Though heavy, the Supra isn’t unbalanced. The weight helps the pen to centre itself in my hand. I don’t have to “hang” on to it, it settles itself in the web of my hand and there it stays. I use the pen unposted without any trouble, in part due to my small hands and in part due to the weight.

One special note, the Kaweco Supra is a brass pen. That also means that the pen would tarnish and the colour would change as it comes in contact with the natural oil that our hands produce. It doesn’t take long for that to happen. If you don’t like the tarnished, weathered look of brass, buy a non-abrasive polish and clean your pen. The pen will look as good as new again.

The Kaweco Supra is a plain and simple fountain pen. It is shaped like an elongated bullet. The only adornment on the exterior is the logo on the top of the cap and on the finial. The cap is long. I had hoped that the cap would be flushed with the barrel once capped but there is a slight difference in diameter. This is the same if the extender was used. The end of the extender isn’t flushed to the barrel that it is attached to. Maybe this is something that Kaweco can look into in the next iteration of the pen. It will be a sleeker silhouette if it is all flushed. There are threads at the end of barrel for the cap to be threaded in.

It takes about 3 and 3/4 turns to uncap the pen. Once uncapped, you will see a big ass #6 size stainless steel nib in its full glory. For a pen of this size, it is surprising to find a full size nib on it. This is my favourite part about the Kaweco Supra. The nib takes to the stage, front and centre. I don’t think I’ve ever complain about the nib being too large for the pen body and I am not about to start now.

The grip section has a slight hourglass shape to it. It guides my fingers to the middle. Though the grip section is small (It can’t be helped since it is a smaller than usual pen.), I have no trouble with it. I find myself resting only one finger on the grip while the others are placed higher on the barrel. You will definitely feel the threads but they are not hostile to your fingers. If you use the extender, there is a very slight step between the grip and the barrel due to the slight difference in diameter.

The Kaweco Supra takes a standard international short cartridge in it’s pocket form while it is able to take a standard international long cartridge or converter if the extender is used. This is where my complains about the Kaweco converter comes in. I’ve used two Kaweco converters in my Kaweco ICE Sport, namely the squeeze converter that doesn’t have a metal casing on the exterior and one that has. Both do not fit the Supra when I am not using the extender and both don’t work well anyway. I opted to refill my short international cartridge and use it that way. I have no problems with burping or ink flow issues using it this way.

I went with a F nib for the Supra. The stainless steel nib provides a smooth writing experience right out of the box. Paired with a wet ink, the writing experience is truly enjoyable. Kaweco only sells the Supra in EF, F, M and B stainless steel nibs but given that it’s a #6 size Bock nib, I can easily interchange it with a nib that comes with my Tactile Turn Gist. All it takes is a twist to unscrew the nib unit, take care to have a firm grip on both the nib and feed while doing this. This unlocks a world of possibilities for the Supra. Titanium nib on your Supra anyone?

Conclusion:
The Kaweco Supra isn’t a pen for everyone. The weight would put off some but for those who enjoy a hefty pen the Supra is an excellent EDC fountain pen. The brass body would be able to take the vigour of living in the pocket. Couple with the ability to turn it into a full size fountain pen and pair it with a #6 size nib, the Kaweco Supra is a great pen.

Pros:

  • It transforms!
  • Interchangeable #6 size Bock nib
  • Nice weight

Cons:

  • Only takes short cartridge when not using the extender
  • Wished the pen would have been flushed between cap and barrel

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Posted on October 28, 2016 and filed under Fountain Pen, review.