Early thoughts (and some vandalism) on the Waterman Allure fountain pen.

A couple of weeks ago, whilst away for a long weekend in North Norfolk and in a happy, holiday mood, I popped into WH Smiths in King’s Lynn, to have a look at their wares. Just a couple of hours earlier, walking around the quays, I had learned that the town was the birth place of Captain George Vancouver (born in 1757), a British officer in the Royal Navy famous for the expedition which explored and charted North America’s northwestern Pacific coast regions.

Finding myself in front of the fountain pen rack, I spotted the Waterman Allure, in a few different pastel colours and at £19.99. I peered through the plastic packaging and admired the nib. I had seen these a few weeks before, in our local branch but had managed to resist them. I almost succeeded again, but when about to leave the shop, spotted a sign which said “Please only handle items that you wish to buy.” A small wave of guilt overtook me and I went back to buy it.

The Waterman Allure

Later, opening the packaging, the first impressions were mixed. The simple design and the matt finish to the pretty lilac barrel and cap were appealing. It is a little on the slim side. There is a shiny metal finial and a sturdy metal pocket clip with the Waterman logo at the top. A narrow chrome cap band simply bears the name Waterman.

Removing the pull-off cap, there is a black plastic section and a very acceptable, steel nib in a Fine. The pen was supplied with one Waterman blue cartridge which I inserted.

Size and weight (approx).

The pen is 133mm long when closed. Uncapped it is 124mm, which is okay to use unposted, although the cap does post well and brings the length up to 157mm.

I measured the weight to be around 23g including a half spent cartridge, comprised as to 14g for the pen uncapped, plus about 9g for the cap.

The writing experience.

The pen wrote without too much initial coaxing. I enjoyed the smooth nib, which is fairly firm and produced a good flow, being neither too wet nor too dry in my opinion. The fine line was pleasing.

Waterman Allure and Waterman Graduate.

Likes and dislikes.

The pen writes very nicely and I enjoy carrying it and using it. It is lightweight and well suited to being clipped into a shirt pocket or a shoulder bag. It seems good value for a metal bodied pen. The finish is attractive. The nib and feed are friction fit and can be removed for cleaning and maintenance quite easily. I might switch to an ink like Pilot Yama-budo or Pelikan Star Ruby for the next fill.

The only real downside, for me, is the material from which the grip section is made. It is a black plastic of some sort but whilst it looks innocent enough, it manages to be very slippery to the touch. The consequence is that the pen felt insecure in my hand.

The modification.

Having pondered this over for a few days I decided that the pen’s section needed some texture or some means to make it more grippy and less slippy. In an ideal world I would like to have machined some attractive regular grooves, perhaps in a diamond cross-hatch pattern like on the Parker Reflex. My late father used to do that with wooden pistol grips in the 1970’s when he bought a new hand-gun and produced beautiful results which looked very professional.

He would not have been impressed at my efforts. I used the saw blade on my Leatherman (which is very sharp) to scratch some random texture all over the section. This resulted in gouging out little bits of plastic which I then had to brush away.

Here is a photo of the result. (Please look away now if you are of a nervous disposition).

The section after scratching some texture into it with a Leatherman saw blade.

This is not a look that I am proud of. Let me be the first to admit that it looks terrible. It does not equal the aesthetically pleasing modification that I made to my Platinum Curidas and which I would rather be remembered for. However, it does serve the purpose and is no longer at all slippy.

Conclusion.

I am happier with the pen now that it does not slip around in my fingers whilst writing. I have been using it every day. However I expect the majority of customers will be happy with the pen just as it is without any butchery.

Inspired by Kimberly of @allthehobbies on Instagram, I have been having a go at transcribing Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.

I had been under the impression that the Allure was a new addition to the Waterman line up. I have since noticed that it is a new finish on the Waterman Graduate which has been around for a long time. I have one to compare.

Waterman Allure, alongside a Waterman Graduate which used an identical nib and section.

Waterman’s website proclaims the Allure to be a first step into the world of Waterman. Clearly they intend this as an entry-level pen but also to be “a symbol of flair and sophistication.”

I think it is great value and a robust and practical pen. A Waterman for under £20.00! As a newcomer to my pen cups, I have been using it a lot and have had no hard starts or other misbehaviour. If I had any say in the matter, I think it could be so much better by using a nicer quality material for the section and then it really would be something. I expect Captain Vancouver would have been very glad of one.

Getting matchy matchy with a Silvine notebook.

12 thoughts on “Early thoughts (and some vandalism) on the Waterman Allure fountain pen.

  1. If I recall correctly (from some BBC programme or other), George was cabin boy to Captain Cook (Yorkshireman – just sayin’) in his youth, when he first sailed up these waters off the West Coast (best Coast) of Canada en route to Alaska.
    As an adult he got a bit self-important and there’s actually TWO Vancouvers up here now (One in WA state just over the river from Portland OR).

    Nice little review – I think I’m with you that as it’s the part you mainly interact with (other than indirectly with nib/paper), the material of the section is often under-considered. I wonder if a judicious treatment with rubbing alcohol or turps would dull the surface enough to give more grip. Depending on the plastic it should slightly melt the surface and take off the shine. (Not a test to try on a more expensive example!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and for the added info!
      I had not thought of treating the plastic section with alcohol. That’s worth a try. I am sure that there must be a better method than mine.

      Like

  2. Hail Rupert of Arzeian. Always happy to see the email notification of your new blog, although reading your reviews has been bad news for my bank balance. Your enthusiasm feeds my habit. I like the fact that you are fascinated by fountain pens, whether low cost or expensive. This Waterman review had me salivating as it is in the price range that I prefer. I’m glad you had a good trip to beautiful North Norfolk (You’re Welcome) where I am a native. One small quibble – we residents consider King’s Lynn is in West Norfolk. Wouldn’t want any confusion for your readers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Diane, Thank you for your kind words. Glad to have you aboard! Thanks too for putting me right on King’s Lynn.
      There are some very enjoyable pens around which are low cost and it is good to keep an interest in these as well as the more exotic items!

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  3. Hi. Lovely review and very pretty finish on your Allure; I’m still enjoying my nice sky-blue model. I’m vaguely contemplating a Filofax setup for next year’s diary/planner and the Allure would be a good candidate to carry around in the leather binder. I think the Graduate is a pen which must have escaped my attention, but it’s good to know the Allure is gaining some visibility in the general marketplace. Top marks for the handwriting in the transcription, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much! I have to give you credit for sparking my interest in the Waterman Allure, in your review back in April. (Where did that time go? Oh yes..)
      Regarding the handwriting, I am enjoying the discipline of writing slowly in this sort of Times New Roman print style and the idea of copying out Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, is one that I have brazenly copied/stolen from @allthehobbies, on Instagram, whose beautiful writing puts mine to shame. I make lots of mistakes but don’t mind. Hopefully I will be able to flip back through the pages and see some improvement over time. Being left handed, this is my “underwriter” style whereas I am an overwriter as a rule and so it is a challenge to keep letters to a regular height and spacing. But strangely relaxing!

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  4. Hello, I always love reading your blog and noticed that you mentioned that this pen is in a lilac shade! I love lilac, the pale purple pink flowers, and have been on the hunt for lilac coloured pens and ink for a while. Did you get the pastel pink or pastel purple of this pen? I might consider using it for uni as I recently dropped one of my pens with a fine nib on the floor (cheap chinese safari clone thankfully) and kind of need a fine nib again.
    Also I Just want to mention it, but I find your pictures of your handwriting on posts to be so nice and satisfying and in general love your ink reviews. It’s just very nice to look at, that kind of joy that ink on paper brings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comments.
      Looking at the Waterman official website I see that they do not call the pen lilac. I think mine must be the “pastel pink”.
      I looked again at my photos of the pen in its blister pack before I had opened it. The colour was not stated on the packaging, (whereas a Lamy Safari will tell you the name of the colour).
      I am not sure where you are based. If in the UK you may visit a branch of WH Smiths where they sell the Allure and you may check the colour before you buy. They are good value for £20.00 if you are looking for a fine nib.

      Like

      1. Hello! I ended up ordering the pen from cultpens in pastel pink to have it shipped to Denmark. It appears you might have the pastel purple version as my pastel pink doesn’t really appear lilac at all, but that’s fine it’s still a cute colour! Such a fantastic writer, mine’s is a wet writer and I’d say that the nib feels more like a medium than a fine, but that might just be Waterman. My Carene has a medium nib that’s like a broad stub too!

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  5. Hi Anne, Thank you very much for this follow up. I am very glad to hear that you ordered an Allure and that you are happy with it, even if the colour is not what you had expected.
    And yes, the medium nibs on the Waterman Carene do seem broad and stubby. Mine is one of my favourites.

    Like

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