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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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’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.