Wednesday, August 2, 2017

KAWECO PERKEO FOUNTAIN PEN REVIEW

Kaweco Perkeo fountain pen review
Lamy has the Safari, Pilot has the Metropolitan, Kaweco has the classic Sport. All extremely popular pens, all -not coincidentally- extremely affordable pens. But one of these pens is not like the others: The Kaweco Sport is a pocket pen, unlike the other two, full-sized pens. Kaweco, up until this point, didn't offer an affordable non-pocket fountain pen.

A pocket pen can be nice and useful, but it's not always ideal and it's definitely not everyone's cup of tea. That's why they now finally decided to up their game, expanding their entry-level offerings with a full-sized fountain pen: the Kaweco Perkeo. My thanks to Papier & Stift, for sending these over for review!
Kaweco Perkeo fountain pen review
No tin box packaging this time, just a plastic sleeve
Going up against something like the uber-popular Lamy Safari or Pilot Metropolitan obviously isn't an easy task. Especially because the entry-level market is small, with a select group of products that have an established position (some of them for decades, like the Safari). I personally think there are three things an affordable fountain pen should have: good size, good price, and good nib. Those three things combined are the recipe for success (at least if you ask me). 
Kaweco Perkeo fountain pen review
I'm a big fan of the subtle raised branding on the cap
Apart from those three 'vital' aspects, of course having a good design doesn't hurt. And it just so happens that Kaweco did an excellent job on designing the Perkeo! Kaweco is very loyal to their distinct design philosophy, which is good because it makes their pens recogniseable. The Perkeo is extra recogniseable because they incorporated a lot of design elements from the Sport into a full-sized pen. The cap seems like it's taken right off the Sport and placed on a longer, sixteen-sided (hexadecagonal) barrel.

Only that's not the case, the cap has the same overall shape, but the dimensions are completely different. As for the body, the hexadecagonal profile is interesting. I wasn't sure about it at first (would be interesting to see how a normal round body would look on this pen), but it adds some visual effect to the pen. Apart from the design aspect, the profile of the body also helps to prevent it from rolling around when uncapped.

One design aspect I haven't discussed yet are the color schemes. The Perkeo is available in four different two-tone color schemes, of which two are shown here: 'old chambray' (blue/white) and 'indian summer' (black/yellow). The other two available colorways are 'bad taste' (black/pink) and 'cotton candy' (grey/salmon pink). I like what they did with the colors, but they all are quite in-your-face. I think there should be at least one subtle color option available to make the Perkeo appealing to a wider audience, maybe all black would be cool (a bit like what Ana from Well-Appointed Desk did in her review of the Perkeo). Of course further color options might be an idea for yearly special editions, similar to what Lamy does with the Safari.
Kaweco Perkeo fountain pen review
The Perkeo has a clipless design, which is not that unusual with Kaweco pens. However, most other clipless Kaweco models can be 'upgraded' with a removable clip. The cap of the Perkeo has a completely different cap diameter, so any of the available removable clips won't fit. 

Personally, I'm not a clip person, I don't attach my pens to a shirt pocket or notebook so I generally quite like clipless designs because it makes the pen sleeker, and the clip is obsolete for my use anyway. However, on an inexpensive pen like this, I would've liked to see one anyway. It would make the Perkeo slightly more versatile and enjoyable for people that do use clips.

Speaking about versatility, there's a lot of disagreement about the triangular shaped section on the Lamy Safari. It's ideal for beginner fountain pen enthusiasts, but it's a nuisance for most others. Kaweco chose middle ground for their section design. It's still triangular in shape, but the profile is less pronounced, and thus slightly more comfortable if you don't have an 'ideal' grip. 
Kaweco Perkeo fountain pen review
L to R: Kaweco Ice Sport, TWSBI Eco, Pilot Metropolitan, Kaweco Perkeo, Lamy Safari, Lamy 2000
Kaweco Perkeo fountain pen review
The Kaweco Perkeo is without a doubt a comfortable full-sized pen, measuring in at 13.9 cm (5.47") closed, and 12.9 cm (5.07") without cap. It's a completely plastic pen, which explains the low 14 g total weight (the Lamy Safari is 2 grams heavier, probably from the metal clip). The cap can be posted, which changes absolutely nothing in terms of balance because the cap is so light. 

Despite being really light, Kaweco sure knows how to make a sturdy pen. My Kaweco classic Sport (one of my first fountain pens I ever bought) has always been a testimony to Kaweco's excellent build quality, and I think the Perkeo won't be any different. 
Kaweco Perkeo fountain pen review
Comparison of the smaller regular #5 kaweco nib (bottom), and larger Perkeo nib (top)
The Perkeo has a really cool trick up its sleeve... Ok maybe it's not a real trick, but nevertheless I was quite suprised when I found out that the Perkeo nibs are slightly larger than the regular small nibs (as seen on the Sport, and most other Kaweco models), which means they aren't interchangeable. To make things even more surprising: the nibs on the Perkeo even seems to be better than the regular nibs!

Why would the nib on Kaweco's cheapest pen be better than all other -more expensive- models? It makes no sense, but I did find both nibs (a polished steel F and black-coated M) surprisingly consistent and even a slight bit springy (both characteristics the other Kaweco nibs don't have). They really are quite good writers. The flow is on the wet side, and the nibs are well-polished. Available nib sizes seem to be limited to F and M for now.

I'm sincerely fascinated by how good these pens are. Kaweco nibs occasionally have some issues regarding consistency, but these were great out of the box (I didn't use a particularly wet or lubricated ink). A beginner fountain pen has to have a reliable and hassle-free nib, the Perkeo delivers.

Oh, BTW: have you noticed from the pictures that the black-coated nib looks kind of blue? Yeah, I don't know what's up with that either. I don't know if it's normal, or just a one-off mistake, but it doesn't seem to influence the performance so I don't really mind it too much (it just looks odd).
Kaweco Perkeo fountain pen review
It's not an easy task to take on established pens like the Lamy Safari, but I think the Perkeo could be Kaweco's chance. It's a solid, decent writer, with a great Kaweco-esque design, and it's very affordable. At just 13 EUR / 16 USD (prices vary between retailers), it's priced very competitive compared to the Safari and Metropolitan (the Metro is slightly less expensive in the states, but here in Europe it's priced higher). 

Note: this pen was sent to me by Papier und Stift, free of charge, so I could write this review.  I was in no way influenced in the making of this review, the opinions shared in this review are completely my own! This post does not contain affilate links.
Kaweco Perkeo fountain pen review

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