Canadian Waterman 52V

In the bad old protectionist days (as opposed to the bad new global days) Britain used tariffs to favour its own national production, as did every other country. As Commonwealth countries were exempt from these taxes, Parker and Waterman were quick to establish manufacturing plants in Canada to exploit the British market, hence the large numbers of Canadian pens we find today, some of them interestingly different from their American equivalents.


This 52V is, I think, identical to the American version except for the imprints. At 10.7cm capped, it’s a short pen, but not so short as to be uncomfortable to write with when it’s posted, for me at least.


And that’s a very good thing, because this is a writer’s pen par excellence. The beautiful Canadian Ideal No 2 is a generous medium and flexes at a touch. It snaps back instantly to its default width and the spoon feed keeps up effortlessly with a supply of ink. It’s a joy to write with.


Waterman may have been a little late in the day in getting into celluloid, due to its commitment to patterned and plain hard rubber, but by the nineteen thirties it was using some of the loveliest patterns ever seen. This grey and russet pattern has great clarity and almost seems to shine from within.


Flat-topped and with the metal of the clip at the top of the cap, it has a slight resemblance to the contemporaneous Parker Moderne in that respect. The pierced clip is instantly recognisable.

These pens are not uncommon and they’re almost invariably fitted with a flexible nib. As half-sized pens, they tend to sell quite a bit cheaper than their full-sized brethren. If you want flex and you don’t find a short pen uncomfortable to write with, the 52V is a pen to look out for.


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