Monthly Archives: April 2024

Obli Dia (and, in a very real sense, oblida)

A little bit of history  Kaweco was an iconic German pen firm which commenced production in 1883 in Heidelberg, where it remained until closure in 1980. In 1994 the brand was revived by pen enthusiast Michael Gutberlet, and relocated to Nuremburg. Here it has thrived, building on a solid legacy of excellent design and top-quality production standards.

The original Kaweco Dia appeared in 1921 as a traditional small piston-filler equipped with a 14k gold nib. The Kaweco Dia2 shares the look of the original Dia and a no-nonsense functionality. The modern Kaweco Dia2 is produced with computer numerically controlled machine tools and injection moulding of plastic resins and then brought for assembly and finishing at Nuremburg.

How it looks  The Dia2 looks like a reborn classic pen, and comes in a plastic sleeve inside an art deco tin box. Nestled in a foam insert, with a small international cartridge, the pen is accompanied by a postage stamp fold-out history of the company and a Kaweco logo sticker to use, or not, as you please.

How it feels  The pen can be considered a medium-sized pen by current standards. Sleekly black-bodied, it is a mainly resin model but with aluminium and brass parts that give it a comforting feel of durability and a surprisingly hefty solidity in the hand.

How it fills  The pen cap and body finials feature the tricuspid Kaweco logo as well as a knurled band on the cap and end of the body. The latter is reminiscent of the original Dia’s piston filling mechanism. But pistons add cost, so the reborn Dia makes do with the well-tried cartridge/converter set-up.

Crucially, how it writes…  This depends a little upon what nib you chose to fit. As standard, the Dia comes with the diminutive Bock 060 nib better known from the smaller Sport and Lilliput models. That looks a bit titchy with this full-size body, but thankfully there’s a better-proportioned #5 alternative in the shape of the wider-shouldered 076. An 076 was sourced from Beaufort Ink and, even though it lacked the Kaweco branding, it looked a lot happier. Both nibs delivered the ink well and there’s every sign that this will prove a trustworthy ‘daily driver’.

Pen! What is it good for?  This one wants to work in an old-fashioned sort of office, but could handle modern jotting duties just as well.

VFM  You can buy the chrome Dia2 for £75 to £90 from UK pen sellers. The gold-plated fixture version comes with a £15 premium on top. A Kaweco converter is about £5. The 076 Bock nib will set you back another £10. Overall, and in a crowded market segment, we think that represents pretty good value for money.

The only way is ethics  It’s made in factories with decent labour conditions, as far as we can tell, and the packaging isn’t over the top. Fit a converter and there’s a tiny bit less disposable plastic, too.

If this isn’t quite your cup of tea, but almost…  Take a look at the Supra.

Our overall recommendation  If you like the look of the old Dia, you’ll be friends with the Dia2.

Where to get hold of one  All the usual pen retailers; it may resemble an exotic classic but thankfully this is no rarity.

This meta-review references:

Thanks to  Kaweco for the review sample, now well-travelled and happily adopted by one of the reviewing team who just couldn’t let it go.