Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Waterman Hemisphere Agnès B. Fountain Pen

A while back Vanity Fair ran a profile on the French fashion designer Agnès B., whose clothes run the gamut from "trad to rad" (take a look at Uma Thurman and John Travolta in the Pulp Fiction Twist competition, they're both wearing Agnès B.).

When Waterman relaunched their Hemisphere pen a year ago they introduced a special edition fountain pen and ballpoint that was commissioned from Agnès B. Who best to showcase a French pen company's classic design that a well-known and admired French fashion designer?

Several shops I visit often had this beauty in their lineup, including Goldspot Pens, and I definitely planned to add one to my collection but didn't put a deadline on it. The 2012 Philadelphia Pen Show seemed like the place to finally make the purchase, and I contacted Tom at Goldspot to see if he could bring one with him. Then came the snow, and my plans changed: no train ride to Philly, and a call to Goldspot to buy the pen over the phone.

(And many thanks to Tom at Goldspot Pens for the reduced price, a courtesy to bloggers/ reviewers and greatly appreciated.)

The pen arrived Saturday, and I've been happily playing with it while waiting for the snow to melt. I love the signature on the end of the barrel, which is in lower case in keeping with the corporate name.

According to the press release, the above sweeping lines are a point d’ironie, a humorous punctuation mark created by 19th century poet Alcanter de Brahm. The lines are shown against a deep black lacquered barrel with complementary blue roundels. The cap and trim offset the black of the barrel with their bright chrome plating.

Finally, this is one of the cutest nibs I've seen and used, reminding me of a Parker Latitude. It's what I'd call snub-nosed or squat, not the tapered, longer look of some of my Japanese pens or a few of my vintage fountain pens.

One thing I didn't think to ask about was a converter, so I had to make do with a MonteVerde that I had in stock. It's not bad, but I have to get one that's a better fit.

Finally, how does it write? It's a medium nib but the line isn't as wide as I would have thought. It's definitely wider than the fine points (Japanese and Western) that I use, but it's not as sloppy as my Faber-Castell Ambition medium (which verges on broad). What also caught my attention was how slim the pen feels in my hand, it's not heavy yet it looks like it might have a bit of weight to it. The cap feels very light, so you don't even notice it.

All together this is an elegant pen and a great way to re-launch the Waterman Hemisphere. Do take a look at Waterman Hemisphere pens if you're looking for the next great pen for your collection.