When I look at the Index of pen posts in this blog’s menu, I see that there are some glaring omissions, of pens that I own and like but have not got around to reviewing. It is remiss of me not to have covered the Waterman Expert in the years since this blog was launched. This is a consequence of the ad hoc nature of these posts, not from any decision to give the pen the cold shoulder.
It is sometimes said that the Waterman Expert is an under-rated pen. Certainly it is not one of those that gets reviewed and talked about very often. Perhaps this is due to it being an old model and from one of the mainstream brands, like Cross, Parker and Sheaffer that can be found in department stores here, without the cachet of having to be sourced from an online dealer in Spain or the Netherlands or being the latest new thing.
I remember where I was when I bought my first one. It was in John Lewis, at London’s Brent Cross shopping centre whose pen counter I never tired of checking out. This would have been in about the early 1990’s. They had a selection of colours and I chose the marbled blue one. I remember being impressed by its heft, being a metal pen with a lacquered coat. I cannot remember the price any longer but it was a not insignificant amount to me at that time, for a fountain pen.
I was to use that pen as a daily carry and in my office, for several years.
The Expert was, and is, a good solid pen, of a decent medium size which should be comfortable for the majority of people and nothing particularly fancy. It is a cartridge converter pen, with a pull-off cap, that can be posted deeply and securely (with a little click). It has a steel, bicolour nib, a grip section which is of a sensible girth, no irritating facets, and no uncomfortable cap threads or step to spoil the comfort.
I found it an ideal pen to use for work, as being reliable and well-behaved, but not too precious and ostentatious.
My first Expert came with a medium nib, which suited me very well. I went on to buy two more, (one red also with a medium nib and one black, with a fine nib). For some reason these were not able to match the success of my first blue model for its smooth writing performance. However I am glad to have kept them all as the steel nibs need only a bit of tuning, perhaps a slight opening of the tine gap and a little smoothing with micromesh pads, which in recent years I have discovered how to do and am now equipped with the necessary tools: a set of micromesh pads of different grades and a set of brass shims of various thicknesses.
In recent days I have been reminded of my secondary school for several reasons (including an invitation to an old boys’ lunch next month) which set me thinking again about the pens that I used at school. I recall using mostly Parker 45’s as they were available at the time and not totally out of reach cost wise. I wondered what pen I would take back with me from my present accumulation, if I had to be 11 years old again. Leaving aside the risk of loss, I think perhaps a Waterman Expert would have made a good pen for school lessons: durable, comfortable, suitable for long writing sessions, a great steel nib and a quick release snap cap.
I tend to associate different pens with different stages of my life. After leaving school, I went to college and entered the Sheaffer No Nonsense era. Then in my early professional life, you would find me using the Waterman Expert.
It is a testament to their good design, that Waterman Experts are still sold and largely unchanged except for some cosmetic changes. Perhaps it was partly out of nostalgia, as well as being a bargain, but in January 2019, I found myself again in John Lewis Brent Cross where I bought a new Expert in light blue with a shiny chrome cap. It came in a gift set with a carrying pouch but was reduced in the January sales to around half of its previous price and so once again I was in the right place at the right time.
I have this pen inked at the moment, with a Waterman Serenity Blue cartridge. Its rounded tipping writes very nicely with a good medium line, which is not distinctive but smooth and easy. In September, (traditionally the back to school month) I used it every day for my journal.
I am very glad that I do not have to go back to being 11 years old again, but if I did, having a Waterman Expert this time round would be some consolation.
6 thoughts on “Showing some love to the Waterman Expert fountain pen.”
Whilst I have come to favour the Waterman Hemisphere over the years, I have fond memories of the Expert which I owned back in 2009/2010 and dropped on the office floor nib-first. I never bothered to replace the nib, probably because the black body of the pen didn’t appeal to me, but I would have no qualms over buying a new one in a nicer colour if I happened across one at a bargain price. If I could go back to being 11 again I’d keep all the fountain pens I disposed of in those early years.
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I think the Hemisphere has many of these same qualities but in a slimmer body.
I still seem to have almost every pen I have ever bought, and it is good to revisit some of these older ones from time to time. But the thought of starting again from age 11 is giving me the jitters.
I love the Waterman Expert too. I think your blue, red and black models must be Expert II models, while the blue with the chrome cap is probably an Expert III. I have two Expert I and three Expert II, in F, M and L (as in Large, French for Broad). The L is not too different from the M.
If you have the opportunity to get an Expert I in good condition, I would not hesitate. It is slightly bigger that the II and III, but at the same time lighter, because the body is all plastic. The nib is one of the most original I’ve seen, folded in three planes rather than curved and with a very big breather hole, filled by a plastic plug. It is difficult to describle, maybe you can search for pictures online. And mostly, the M is truly delicious.
Once again, thanks for your blog, that I truly enjoy.
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Thanks for this information and for your kind comments. I would be interested to see the Expert I version and will keep a lookout for one, next time I visit a Penshaw.
I have six (6) Waterman Experts, with nibs M, F, EF. I guess that says it all.
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I am addicted to fountain pens and need to replace my old (purchased in the 1980s) Waterman, In the course of several cross continent moves, it was damaged beyond repair. Sigh,
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