Early thoughts on the Waterman Emblème fountain pen.

This is a current but not new model in Waterman’s range. It is one of their lesser spotted models, at least here in the UK. I remember first seeing them online a few years ago and that they were available in a choice of black, red, white or blue. There were also grey and a gold coloured “Deluxe” versions with a more lustrous finish.

I did not buy one at the time, but having spotted a Deluxe grey one online last weekend at a very attractive price, I went for it. It has been with me for only five days and is still within the honeymoon period but I shall try to give a balanced opinion.

Waterman Emblême fountain pen, Deluxe grey.


The pen came in a small and simple cardboard box, with a white protective outer box. Inside is a pen tray where the pen is gripped by an elastic band under a white sash. The tray lifts out and underneath is a sheet with filling instructions and an international 3 year warranty. One Waterman blue cartridge was included but no converter. Full marks for the presentable packaging which can be kept or recycled.

Simple cardboard gift box.


This is a smart, elegant pen with a plastic barrel and a brushed stainless steel cap. The cap finial is flat and plain. The pocket clip is firm and functional with a gap down the middle and the Waterman logo at the top. The glossy polished cap band reads Waterman Paris on the front and France on the back.

Brushed stainless steel cap and finial.

The cap and barrel are almost flush and the transition is smooth and tactile. The barrel tapers gently and ends in a shallow conical point.

The snap cap closes tightly with a reassuring click. It could be carried in a jacket pocket, with confidence that the pen will not drop out of the cap.

The Emblême (left) next to an older-style Waterman Hemisphere.

Removing the cap, you have a stainless steel nib, featuring an Eiffel Tower image and Waterman, Paris, and the nib grade, “F” in my case. There is a black plastic grip section, ridged at the top end and smooth at the lower end with a lip which serves to stop your fingers sliding onto the nib and to secure the pen in the cap. The plastic grip section design is the same as that which was used on the Waterman Phileas and also the Kultur and so is well tried and tested.

Eiffel Tower!

Beneath the barrel, which unscrews on plastic threads, there is a plastic collar in which to insert a Waterman cartridge.

Inside the barrel, a brass liner can be seen, which is a very nice feature and adds a little more heft and strength to the pen. There is still room to fit a Waterman converter in the pen if you prefer.

Brass liner adds weight to the barrel.

The nib.

According to Waterman’s web site, the Emblème has the largest nib in the Waterman range. It is engraved with a unique Eiffel Tower design. There is no breather hole. The tines were even and level. The tipping was smooth and symmetrical. It might have been an ideal set-up for the majority of users with an “underwriting” style, but my personal preference is to have a very slight gap between the tines at the tip, so that ink flows as soon as the nib touches paper, without needing any pressure. This is preferable for an “overwriting” style. I therefore spent a few minutes in flexing the tines up and down a little just enough to get daylight between the tines at the tip. Having checked that the tines were still level, I then smoothed the tipping, with the very minimum of wear, on Micro-mesh pads.

Nib and feed, before adjusting.
And now with a visible tine gap for pressure-less writing.

Writing performance.

The result, once I had tweaked the nib to my preference, was that it wrote wonderfully: smooth and effortless with a fine line and good flow. I was very happy with this outcome.

Size and weight (approximate).

Closed, the pen is 141mm long: uncapped, about 125mm, and posted 152mm. It can be posted quite deeply but I did not like to push the cap on to the back of the barrel too firmly for fear of damaging either the barrel or the inner cap. The result was that the cap when posted soon worked loose. In fact I prefer to use this pen unposted.

It weighs 26.5g in all, as to 15g uncapped and 11.5g for the cap alone.

Likes and dislikes.

I very much like the overall smart look of the pen. I have always liked pens with metal caps, with a Parker 51 vibe. It also makes me happy to think that the nib would be protected in its cap if the pen were to be accidentally dropped or stepped upon. Also I like the Eiffel Tower engraving. The section is of a good width and can be gripped comfortably. The brass liner in the barrel is very nice benefit. You are buying into the Waterman heritage and reputation and even the name harks back to the early Waterman Emblem Pen model, dating from around the 1930’s.

Comparison: Watermans Emblême, Phileas and Kultur.

There is not much that I dislike. The featureless cap finial is perhaps a missed opportunity. A coloured jewel insert to match the barrel would have been lovely but given its modest price there is nothing wrong with the simple steel disc as it is. The same might be said for the barrel finial: a metal finial would look nice but then you are not paying for a Waterman Carène here. For the price I have no complaints.


The pen, at the price I paid, is great value, costing about the same in the UK as a Cross Bailey Light or a Lamy AL-Star. The full price should be around double that. I am delighted with mine and am very glad to have bought it. Whilst at work during the week, I looked forward to coming home to my Waterman Emblème. Perhaps here I am allowing myself to be overly biased in this honeymoon period but honestly my heart did a little leap whenever I thought of it. I have enjoyed letter-writing with it and have written plenty of paragraphs just for the simple and inexplicable pleasure of writing with a smooth, fine, wet nib.