I have had two Kaweco pens to review in the past – the Kaweco Lilliput and the Kaweco Student; both of which commanded great reviews. The Sport is not exempt from this. I could perhaps sum up the review quite nicely here in saying I definitely enjoy the Sport – I’ve wanted to try one for ages (it seems to be one of those famous pens that even people outside of the hobby have some awareness of). I just couldn’t get on with the nib, and I’m not sure whether that’s because I don’t enjoy stubs or because there’s something wrong with it. They say that pictures paint a thousand words, so I’ll allow them do the explaining on this one so you can make up your own mind based off of the writing samples I’ve provided.
The design just so happens to be the first category that we will explore. The design of the Kaweco Sport is rather iconic. It comes from the 30s and is still being used (take that Lamy 2000). The iconic shape is, I would suggest, due to two reasons, 1) it’s an odd, yet very workable shape; 2) it’s a common pocket pen and occupied that niche with a spotlight. At any rate, even as deep into the fountain pen hobby as I am, I still think that the design is tremendous. I think it’s a little like a pug – cute, but ugly. It doesn’t even look like a pen.
The cap is incredibly long, in part because you need to cap the pen when writing to make it full sized. In comparison to the rest of the pen, it’s wider than the rest of the barrel by a noticeable amount (you wouldn’t say it lies at all flush if the cap were to be a shorter length to cover only the nib). You can see the Kaweco logo on the finial – I don’t mind branding like this, but I do think their logo is horrendous. I don’t think I can explain how much I dislike it.
When you uncap the pen, you have a straight-no-nonsense length of barrel. It’s too small to use un-capped and so you have to cap the pen to make it full size. It seats nicely (as you would expect) and rests nicely in the hand.
Kaweco nibs are a subject on their own. I believe their grades go from EF to BB – the latter of which is becoming increasingly uncommon in the standard lineups of most companies. They offer gold as well as steel nibs (this in particular is a steel nib). What I have on this pen is a stub nib, and even as a left handed over-writer I still get on fine with these nibs, I just prefer others. Like wine. I’m a red wine guy, but I’m fine with a white. So I don’t want to talk down about the nib because it might just be this preference, and I fully appreciate this. The impression I got is that it just lacked a certain amount of flow; it was good enough to get a line out with minimal skipping (i.e. there was some, though this may be due to misalignment of the nib) but it just didn’t feel as enjoyable.
In this instance, I would point you to my review before this, which also featured a stub nib (though it was closer to italic) – the Italix Chaplain’s Tankard review. I was rather taken by the nib, so take that as you may.
Standard international cartridge converter – but due to the size of the pen you can only use smaller cartridge/converters. In my experience, the Kaweco converters are utterly ridiculous, so I would suggest to just ignore these entirely and get a pack of cartridges and a syringe if you want to use different inks.
This pen feels really nice in the hand. It’s also quite light, which makes it great for carrying around (remembering that this is a pocket pen). Capped, you can see it definitely lacks size, but when posted, it becomes a full size pen.
Left to right: Jinhao 1200, Pelikan M620 Piccadilly Circus, Kaweco Sport, TWSBI Eco, Pilot Capes
These are wonderfully priced in my opinion. You can pick one up for £20, which puts it in my “throw in the cart before checkout” range. You see it, it’s nice, worth just throwing in because you’re already getting something but won’t break the bank. There are other models which are more expensive, however. The Frosted Sport is a new model in the lineup, which fits in the same price category of this and they look great, too.
Would I buy it?
I’d buy this pen, on the condition that it had a different nib. These manufactured nibs from Germany are often reliable, but in this case I would want a different grade, but not too fussy on trying before buying. Though, if this was my own pen I would definitely work on it to become something I prefer (either by grinding myself or making it a bit wetter). Do so at your own risk, this isn’t an advertisement to do so willy-nilly to your grail.
If not this, then what?
The Kaweco Lilliput is a good one to go to. I really enjoyed this. In some respects it’s less tactile than the Sport (the posting mechanism: you have to screw the cap to the back, rather than just push-to-cap), but it’s also thinner. For that reason, I think some people may find it a bit more attractive. The Sport does have a wider range of colours to choose from and price points, but so does the Lilliput (though the colours are definitely different to the Sport). Another pen I’d suggest would be the Lamy Safari/Al Star. This is another famous pen that I’ve not tried (mainly through fear of having to collect all the models and that’s not going to end well), but this is another pen you can just pick up, throw in your pocket or bag and go. It’s also reasonably priced (so long as you’re not on eBay searching for the limited edition French editions or whatever).