Waterman: A closer look
France and America enjoy a proud history of collaboration: The Statue of Liberty, working together in search of world peace and countless joint ventures in the arts. One of the most enduring of those began in 1900 and thrives to this day – Waterman.
Famed for their innovative yet classical writing instruments, each pen they produce is handcrafted to perfection. You may recognise the Waterman Carene, Waterman Expert, Waterman Hemisphere and Waterman Perspective. They’re all distinctive for their artisan design characteristics and are available at a range of price points – from the most affordable Waterman Hemisphere (available from £33.00) to the most luxurious Waterman Carene (available from £170.00).
Their inks also come in as one of the world’s best known. The Waterman Fountain Pen Bottled Ink range comes in a variety of striking tones, including Waterman Harmonious Green, Waterman Florida Blue and Waterman Audacious Red. They’re well regarded for their quality, while the bottles themselves are handily shaped with 45-degree bottoms, allowing you to rest the bottle at an angle to get every last drop.
A bit of history
Waterman today is a French manufacturer, but as you would expect, its name has more anglicised roots. Its founder, Lewis Edson Waterman, was a New York- based salesman who in true American entrepreneurial fashion, invented the ‘Three Fissure Feed System’ – an ingenious mechanism that prevented the excessive discharge of ink during use. Waterman took that very system he had developed in 1883, and having established his own company in 1884, soon took his pens across the world to much acclaim.
In 1900, he was finally recognised for his exemplary work, and was awarded the gold medal of Excellence at the “Exposition Universelle.” Despite his passing the following year, the French connection persisted and in 1926, the JIF-Waterman company was founded in Paris by Jules Fagard.
The models so notable today weren’t actually developed until the 1990s, but they can all trace their origins to the Waterman innovations of the early to mid-20th century. The lever supply system developed in 1913 remained pivotal to their design processes until the 1950s, while the characteristics of perhaps their most iconic Carene fountain pen were first paraded in 1953.
A look at their range today
You could be forgiven when looking at a Waterman for thinking its price is considerably higher than what it is in reality. The Waterman Hemisphere is the ‘entry’ level line with a slim, metal bodied pen. Its ultra-slim appearance makes it eye-catching and streamlined – a fantastic gift or pen to show off at the office.
The Waterman Expert is a much more classic design and like the Hemisphere, available as a fountain pen, rollerball and ball pen. The styling is a good combination of modern cues and traditional style to give a pen suitable for all ages. The fountain pen version takes ink cartridges or converters for use with bottled ink.
Building on the slimline approach of the Waterman Hemisphere, the Waterman Perspective is inspired by the purity of modern architecture. It possesses clean lines that interact with unique angles and modern materials while the precision detailing includes large modern rings, finely engraved lines and articulated clip.
Without doubt though, the most impressive of the lot is the Waterman Carene. Complete with an almost seamless, inlaid nib, the cigar shaped barrel ensures this particular fountain pen is a distinct instrument that would take pride of place in any pen collection. It’s at the higher end of Waterman’s price range, but still is an affordable purchase from £170 (the ball pen is available for just £95.)
As I’ve already mentioned, Waterman produce an extensive range of bottled inks, which are certainly up there with other world-renowned inks such as Parker Quink. You can make up a full gift set by purchasing a wonderfully smart Waterman pen case and Waterman small notebook.
- Ross Adams