Flexibility And A Waterman 52

Though I enjoy flexibility and I know many of my customers do, I don’t try to buy flexible pens. Buying from photographs, as I do, it’s impossible to judge what will be flexible and what won’t. I’ve had nibs with long, slender tines that you’d swear had to be superflex and they were hard as nails. Conversely, I’ve had short, stubby nibs that had wonderful line variation. You just can’t tell by looking at ’em.

Of course I buy a lot of pens, and on average somewhere between a third and a half of those I buy will have an appreciable degree of flexibility, so I get to play with lots of interesting nibs. I often see people raising questions about how to buy a flexible-nibbed vintage pen on FPN and I feel sorry for them, because there really isn’t a good answer. They only want to buy one Swan or one Waterman, not four in the hope that one will turn out to be what they want, and the odds are against them. Hope is at hand, though because online sellers are increasingly including writing samples and good descriptions of the attributes of nibs these days.

All of which is a long and wandering preamble to today’s pen, a rather ordinary Waterman 52. It’s clipless and probably one of the earlier ones. It has nice gold trim, hallmarked in the case of the cap band, but it’s quite faded and worn.

None of that matters a bit when you see what the nib is capable of. It’s towards the fine end of medium unflexed and it flexes readily to double broad or more, with instant return. It’s a gem, and it goes to show that there are many superb writers out there awaiting restoration and to be returned to use.

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