Kaweco is a company from Germany that’s been manufacturing pens since 1833. I was actually aware of Kaweco long before I was in the pen hobby; the Kaweco Sport was a pen I was as familiar with as the Montblanc 149. However, due to aesthetic I was put off. The Liliput, in contrast, did catch my eye. Because of my love for other German pens, such as from Pelikan, I was eager to have a play with a Kaweco. This was my chance.
I knew that the Liliput was a small pen. However, when I opened the package, I think that I truly did underestimate its size because I thought it would be a bit bigger. There’s probably some Freudian remark to be had there. I wasn’t put off by this – I was nevertheless expecting a less than average pen. Thankfully this is a grower (last one. I promise) as Kaweco thought ahead by putting threads on the end of the barrel so that you can screw the cap on to make it a full size pen; by using threads it means the cap stays on firmly.
Ensuring the cap stays on by threads does have its drawbacks as well as advantages – it takes longer to unscrew the cap and then screw it back on the end when you write. As an assumption, you will want to use this on occasion for quick writing, but compare the effort of this with a Pilot Capless which uses a simple click mechanism. You also have to make sure the threads are aligned which surprisingly can be somewhat time consuming, and it also means you can’t post using friction.
Preventing the pens from rolling became too much, so I decided to stick with just a comparison to the Eco uncapped (of which needs to be cleaned it seems!)
This certainly is a pen that needs to be posted. I can write without the cap posted, but it’s very small and gets uncomfortable during long writing sessions. I’m not someone who enjoys posting pens, but because the cap and body seem to look well integrated (though don’t be fooled, it isn’t as flush as, for example, the Lamy 2000 with its piston knob), it doesn’t look as offending when I post. Which is my issue with the Sport that I mentioned in the introduction. Perhaps this is the result of there being no clip which makes it look as though the cap is part of the barrel (I am aware you can take the clip off the Sport, but the cap bulges out and doesn’t look as well integrated).
I won’t moan about there not being a clip, just highlight that it’s slightly annoying. Thankfully you can buy a clip separately. I refer to this as the “spaghetti argument”: I once had a customer at a restaurant I worked at who asked me why there was “spaghetti in [their] spaghetti bolognese” (thankfully they realised what they had just said after saying it out loud). Being that this is such a small pen, the lack of a clip is a double edged sword. On the one hand it’s annoying because you can’t clip it to a blazer or shirt or even trouser pocket. At the same time I think it makes the pen more compact and makes it more of a ‘pocket pen’. In addition, I feel it accentuates the aesthetic, which I shall get onto next.
The Liliput comes in various colours and finishes – perhaps the most iconic recently is the ‘Fireblue’ which is head treated using a blowtorch to give a blue/brown finish. There is also the brass with its multiple finishes, but I was concerned with the brass making my hand smell of metal, which was also the issue with the copper. I opted for the black because together with the black nib, it makes the pen look so stealthy! In my opinion, that’s what a pocket pen should be – stealthy. Anyone reading the handwritten review or looking at the images, yes – using Kaweco Pearl Black ink is intentional.
The Kaweco Liliput is a cartridge converter pen. A standard international converter is over half the size of this pen; It can only take short international cartridges. I get nothing for plugging this, but I highly recommend the Kaweco ink cartridges – for two reasons. The first is that you might be able to find a selection that comes in this super awesome dispenser which, if done correctly, becomes a weapon for firing cartridges at potential FP converts. The second, and most important, reason is that the cartridges are resistant little buggers. It took me a good week or so to empty one of them (as a student, a full SI converter will last a day, maybe two at a push). Admittedly, this wasn’t constant use but I probably did use it just about daily. I wrote two English literature essays using this pen amongst other things and it still had ink in it by the time I came to write this review (I did change the ink though. I was using Summer Purple which I just can’t recommend enough – it’s beautiful). You cannot use the Kaweco converter with this pen. After reading numerous reviews of it, I wouldn’t recommend it anyway, but because the pen is so short, when screwing on the barrel you will actually decompress the sac and squirt ink out of the pen.
Back on to the nib, it is very pleasant. It’s smooth but with a hint of feedback, which is how I like it. However, it is also rather dry, which is not how I like my nibs. The ink probably plays a part in this as well though, as I remember Summer Purple being far drier than Black Pearl. This may be seen as a positive given that this is a pocket pen and may be used on the fly on cheaper paper and perhaps part of the contributing factor as to why the cartridges last so damn long. I know I can adjust the nib myself to make it write wetter, but doing this will void any warranty on any pen, so beware before you try! I also didn’t want to adjust the nib for the writing samples so that you can see how the nib writes out of the box (or, rather, tin). Kaweco are notorious for having baby’s bottom on some of their wider nibs, so I’d recommend to go for medium/below or if you’re feeling lucky a broad, but probably best to avoid double broad if you’re apprehensive about working on your own nib.
Reverse writing isn’t too fantastic. It becomes drier and it lasts a word or two. There seems to be a surprisingly decent amount of line variation for a steel nib, which is nice. If you don’t want a stock steel nib then you can buy a replacement gold nib for £100-120 depending on finishes. If you’re buying from a company you might be able to ask for a little discount if you buy the pen with the gold nib and not be sent the steel, but I’m doubtful they’ll be able to do that for logistic reasons or if it’ll even be worth it. Don’t ask don’t get though, eh? The nib units for many Kaweco pens can be changed between models.
I do enjoy this dainty little pen. Do I think it’s essential? Ehh, no. It’s a nice little thing to have, but you’re not going to live every day regretting not purchasing it. For roughly £40 (for this finish) here in the UK, it falls nicely in the price range between starter pens and more expensive ‘pre-gold nib’ pens. £40 can be seen as a little steep but once owning it, I think it certainly earns its value. Don’t rush out to get this pen, but if you have the means and happen to stumble across it, I certainly wouldn’t say you should pass up the opportunity without a second thought!
- Capped: 96.4mm
- Uncapped: 87.5mm
- Posted: 125.7mm
- Body: 6g
- Cap: 4g
- Total: 10g
The Liliput fountain pen and ink cartridges/dispenser were supplied by Kaweco in exchange for an honest review. All views expressed are my own.