I sold a Parker 25 this week. I’ve written about this pen before. I didn’t like it and I said so, only to be rightly rebuked by several people who not only appreciate the 25 but hold it in high regard.
That forced me to reassess my own ideas about the pen. There are two things I can never force myself to like: the squashed appearance of the nib and the strange shape of the barrel. Against that I must say that the pen writes adequately well and just because no-one else made a suddenly tapering, narrowing barrel is no reason why Parker shouldn’t do it.
I have to accept that the 25 is a pen that is almost entirely problem-free and it sold in numbers that reflected that. This flighter is so robust that it could be used as an illustration for the word “robust”. It uses the cartridge/converter system that I don’t really like but most of the rest of the world does. In timely fashion, someone reminded me* that the filling system is of little consequence; what really matters is what happens when the ink is in the pen and the 25 is faultless in that regard. Not admirable, outstanding or inspiring, you understand, but faultless.
What about the barrel? Why does it have that sudden taper followed by a narrower part of the barrel? Does it serve a purpose? You may say that it enables secure posting but the Swan Leverless 1060 I am drafting this with posts perfectly securely without this abrupt taper. Like many, many other pens, the rear of the barrel of the 1060 tapers gently to reflect the shape of the cap, making a pleasantly balanced design. The 25 is not balanced, pleasantly or any other way.
Not everything has to be balanced, as the great builders of the Gothic period celebrated, but the Parker 25 isn’t Chartres Cathedral. It’s an inexpensive fountain pen that many people like and which will still be writing in the 22nd century. I won’t be around then and even if I was I still wouldn’t like it.
*Thank you, Jens!