The name Waterman was a guarantee of quality for five decades and more. It is unnecessary to list the brand’s achievements but from eyedropper fillers to the glories of the ripple pens, then some of the finest celluloid patterns in the thirties, Waterman pens had an immense appeal. The heart of any Waterman pen was the nib. Whether firm fines for accountants or wonderful flexible nibs for those who had the skills to use them, Waterman’s “Ideal” nibs were internationally recognised as among the best.
After World War II Waterman’s business declined but there were still some good pens to come. The “W” series of pens introduced in 1955 employed splendidly patterned celluloid, perhaps the company’s swansong before they, like so many others, began using the cheaper injection-moulded plastics and plated nibs that were but a faint echo of the high-quality gold “Ideal”.
This series retains the Art Deco clip of its predecessors but the box lever has been retired to be replaced by a simpler spatulate lever. I’m not quite sure how to describe this green and black pattern: not so much striated as striped perhaps. The cap band is vertically incised.
This British pen no longer has the Ideal nib. It is an NW3. W3 reflects a number of the pen – I don’t know what the “N” denotes. Nonetheless it’s a good quality 14 carat Waterman nib – in this case a stub. It isn’t flexible but still gives pleasing line variation.
These pens have their failings. The gold plating tends to suffer, especially on the clip – though this example is quite good. Otherwise they are quite robust and this pen, at 63 years old, looks ready to serve another generation or two.
My assistant is very busy today as you can see.