In the glory days of the fountain pen Waterman was up there with the best of them. Waterman brought out the spoon feed which I think still does an adequate job. Then there was the 12, the 52, the Patrician, the 94 and a lot more. The CF of 1953 began the modern use of cartridges. Even the post-war pens like the W3 and 513 were good writers and were well-made apart from the poor plating. All that was while they were truly Waterman. Bought out by Bic in nineteen fifty-eight, a series of takeovers followed and today the company is a subsidiary of Sanford/Newell Rubbermaid.
The result, I believe, was a loss of direction. Over the years Waterman has turned out many uninspired pens, probably efficient enough but without the company personality of the years before they were absorbed into the large, diverse organisation of today.
The great exception, to my mind, is the Carene. This is a pen of character. The body is lacquer over brass, making it quite heavy at 33.9 g. Though that doesn’t particularly suit me, heavier pens are popular today. It is quite large at 14.4 cm capped. The slant-cut barrel is unusual enough to identify the pen at a glance, but what makes this pen stand out is the beautiful inlaid nib. It has taken an entirely different approach to inlaying from Sheaffer.
The pen gives the impression of luxury and solidity. The two o-rings at the barrel closure is an indication of the quality of the work that has gone into this pen. I’ve seen it said that the Carene was designed with a luxury yacht in mind. I’m not sure I see that but the design appeals and works well.
Initially quite an expensive pen, Carenes are priced a little lower now, and good examples appear on the second-hand market at affordable prices.