Tag Archives: Sport

The Bronze Medal Goes To…

A little bit of history  Having started out as a hard rubber writing device, then become near ubiquitous in its modern plastic incarnation, the Sport has also diversified into a dizzying range of metals in recent years. The aluminium version is still fairly light, but the brass, steel, and silver (yes, it exists, but we can’t afford to review it) versions exude heavyweight confidence – literally. To that collection of cheeky chonksters we can now add one of the earliest metals worked for tools by humans; bronze. An alloy of readily available copper and slightly rarer tin which made Cornwall the most famous part of these islands in the, err, Bronze Age, bronze has a relatively low melting point but sets heavy and hard enough to make most tools from. It doesn’t hold an edge terribly well, so bronze swords were superseded quite quickly once the Iron Age came about, but as we all know the pen is mightier.

How it looks  Like a slightly rosier version of the brass Sport, in short. That doesn’t really do it justice, though. In the modern world there’s not so much bronze to be encountered in every day life so this looks special, unusual, and maybe even a bit other-worldly – or perhaps an object from another time. That Nuremberg Tardis has been busy! Opinion is divided on whether to polish or tarnish, and adherents of either camp regard their opposites as absolute barbarians, so perhaps it is best to observe simply that if you buy one, the choice is yours.

How it feels  Hefty, but warm. As long as you don’t mind a bit of extra weight, it’s more friendly in the hand than aluminium any day.

How it fills  As with all Sports, syringe-filling a cartridge is the most cost-effective way to get a usable quantity of ink in to the diminutive barrel. It’s not too tricky once you get used to it.

Crucially, how it writes…  Now that depends what nib you put it, of course. Like most ‘premium’ Sports it’s designed for Bock’s shorter #5 nib, the 060, and the steel versions of these fitted by Kaweco as standard usually work pretty well. With a bit of careful feed surgery, trimming the tops of a few fins, it will take the slightly longer 180, which allows for a rose-gold-plated steel nib, as worn by our test unit. We think it looks beautiful, and writes accordingly too.

Pen! What is it good for?  As originally intended, it’s a classic pocket pen and does that job mightily well too. But with a bit of work with Brasso, it will look the business on display on your desk too.

VFM  At around £140 this is one of the pricier Sports, but if you like the alloy, you’ll love using this. It might be worth trying a more affordable Sport first in order to be sure that the fairly small nib and short barrel suits your grip, though.

The only way is ethics  Made in Germany, with minimal packaging, there are no major worries on this count.

If this isn’t quite your cup of tea, but almost…  The brass or steel Sports are the closest alternative. For other bronze pens… you might be hunting for quite a while!

Our overall recommendation  The Sport is a robust workhorse beloved of many of a fountain pen fan. If you like a weighty pen, and the look of bronze appeals, go for it.

Where to get hold of one  Thankfully this is not a limited edition, so most of the fountain pen specialists will be stocking it.

This meta-review references:

Thanks to  Kaweco for the review sample.

Collection Fever

A little bit of history  Every fountain pen fan tries a Sport eventually, often fairly on, and for many of us the convenience of the venerable pocket performer reels us in to the point where different flavours start to appeal too – and Kaweco does a fine job of feeding the frenzy, with colour-matched limited editions like this. The Kaweco Collection serves up both an affordable plastic Sport and a posher aluminium version this time, and luckily we got to try both!

How it looks  It looks much like any other Sport but in a pair of rather sophisticated colours, and with ‘Kaweco Collection’ proudly displayed on the side of the barrel. No complaints there; if you’re a Sport fan, you probably want already simply after looking at these pictures – and that’s rather the brand’s plan.

How it feels  Small, and light. As usual, the aluminium version feels a touch more robust, but far from heavy. Like you’d expect a Sport to feel, really; the difference is all visual.

How it fills  As ever, syringe-filling a small international cartridge would be our tip. There is a tiny push-rod converter, but the ink runs out so quickly that scope for frustration is considerable.

Crucially, how it writes…  Generally, pretty well. The quality control on the steel nibs has improved in recent years, and for the pricier aluminium version any Bock 060 nib can be screwed in if you fancy a change. There’s even a gold option, should pushing the boat out that far be on the agenda. We stuck with the standard steel M, probably the most popular option, for this test and the results were encouraging.

Pen! What is it good for?  The Sport’s natural home is in your pocket, of course, but these two specials were also made for showing off, so it’s up to you. Generally we’d suggest these are for leisure use rather than business, but who are we to dictate?

VFM  The plastic Mellow Blue will set you back about £25, which is quite fair value, and the swisher aluminium Iguana Blue more like £70 – not crazy money at all, but it makes sense to try an ‘entry level’ Sport to check out whether the format works for you first.

The only way is ethics  These are made in Germany with decent labour conditions, and Kaweco haven’t gone crazy with the packaging, so things look healthy on the ethical front.

If this isn’t quite your cup of tea, but almost…  There are plenty of other Sports to try if you prefer a different colour or a heavier metal, for instance. Or, if that modest-sized nib irks you but the octagonal barrel is just your cup of tea, try the larger, #6-nibbed Original.

Our overall recommendation  These will sell like the proverbial hot cakes; if either takes your fancy, get it quickly!

Where to get hold of one  All your favourite fountain pen specialists are likely to have these in stock – as long as they last.

This meta-review references:

Thanks to  Kaweco for the samples.

Kaweco Deep Red AL Sport fountain pen review

A little bit of history  If you’re a regular reader, you probably already know that we’re quite keen on the Kaweco Sport. It’s a classic design, and works well in a bewilderingly wide range of different materials. Between the mighty heft of the steel and brass versions, and the featherweight lightness of the plastic entry-level models, the pen is also available in sturdy, solid yet far from unwieldy aluminium – and when this Deep Red version hit the shops, we had to give it a go. Kaweco very kindly let us play with the fountain pen along with its mechanical pencil cousin.

How it looks  Very deep red, matt, lustrous and slightly shiny. Paired with the pencil and popped into a ‘chilli red’ sleeve, it looks irresistibly good.

How it feels  Light but tactile. Unless you specifically prefer heavier pens like the brass Sport (as some of us do!), this is a good mid-point on the mass spectrum.

How it fills  As with all Sports this is a straightforward short international cartridge number. There is a converter, and it does work, but the fluid capacity is so limited that investing in a syringe is often the best tactic for long-term cohabitation with this petite performer. The pencil takes 0.7mm lead, and there’s plenty of that around.Crucially, how it writes…  We rather decadently dropped a gold nib into the test pen, and it wrote very nicely; not much springiness, but just a touch of softness. The standard nibs are getting better these days, too!

Pen! What is it good for?  This is one for showing off with, and why not? It gets a lot of envious looks …

VFM  Middling, honestly.  At around £60 this is not a cheap pen, and it will probably cost you more than that on top to get the gold nib. Having said that, this is not a crazily overpriced pen either.

If this isn’t quite your cup of tea, but almost…  One of the hundred or so other Sport finishes might well be. Have a browse…

Our overall recommendation  If you’re taken with this finish, get one while you can; although we think it’s excellent, it was a special edition so it may not be available forever.

Where to get hold of one  Kaweco has a good dealership network and the pen and pencil aren’t too difficult to find from your retailer of choice. To get the whole set, with pouch and gold nib, may take a more specialist seller, and for that our tip is to try Most Wanted.

This meta-review references:

Thanks to  Kaweco for the rather tempting review sample pack; our calligrapher couldn’t bear to let it go!