A little bit of history Once upon a time there was a little birdy, and it flew away. We refer of course to the Pilot Birdie fountain pen, which by all accounts positively flew off the shelves, and which has sadly now flapped off into oblivion. But that missing link in the fountain pen family tree has now been filled, thanks to a remarkable collaborative effort by Cult Pens and Kaweco. With two names we know and love already involved, we naturally had to check it out.
How it looks The current version has a brushed grey aluminium finish which, as Ian points out, is more than faintly reminiscent of 1970s design, but in a good way. If it wouldn’t look out of place clipped into a boiler-suit pocket donned by one of Blake’s Seven, well who are we to complain?
How it feels Solid, and well-screwed-together – but small. There’s no getting away from that issue; it is big enough for scribbling quick notes, but most people will find it just a bit too petite for extended writing sessions. That suits its function, though; this is a pocket back-up pen, and it does that supremely well.
How it fills A small international cartridge is the most sensible option. In principle, the short Kaweco squeeze converter also fits, but we recommend syringe-filling cartridges rather than bothering with the latter option – the diminutive ink capacity doesn’t justify the inconvenience.
Crucially, how it writes… That depends upon the nib, and there’s quite a choice; all of the smaller Kaweco units screw in (or out) as suits your requirements. The wider italics have a habit of running rather dry, but the standard round nibs are usually pretty good. You could even go crazy and bolt on a gold nib, if you want to!
Pen! What is it good for? Keeping in the pocket as a back-up, of course. Oh, and looking cool – although of course that’s never a consideration for us deadly-serious fountain pen connoisseurs, ‘honest Guv.
VFM Pretty good. It’s not dirt-cheap, but the components are well-engineered and it will take a good bit of knocking-about – so decent value, in our view.
If this isn’t quite your cup of tea, but almost… One of Kaweco’s own small models may be worthy of consideration; this is somewhere between the Lilliput and the Sport in size.
Our overall recommendation If you need a metal pocket pen and don’t want to spend a fortune, give this a try!
Where to get hold of one Cult Pens, obviously – and until the end of March, you can get 10% off with this code: CULT10 (make sure you enter it in capitals). Incidentally, that code also works for Cult Pens’ other ‘own-brand’ specials, including the Deep Dark inks which we’ll be turning our attention to next week.
This meta-reviews references:
- Scribble Monboddo’s hand-written review
- Ian Hedley’s text-and-photos review
- Ruth Hanson’s video review
- Stuart Hazley’s text-and-photos review
Thanks to Cult Pens, for providing review samples and that handy discount code.