In an article asking why vintage pens aren’t more popular, Jonathon Deans suggested the Parker 45 might be a good starter pen. I agree: they’re good value and easily found on eBay, they’re simply made and therefore reliable, and they use Parker’s cartridges and converters, still available to buy new.
I have three and wrote about two of them a while ago. This is a quick look at my latest acquisition, the gorgeous Harlequin model.
According to the excellent parkerpens.net, the Harlequin was introduced in the 1970s but was soon discontinued due to difficulties with production. There are two versions of this steel model, one with a circlet pattern and one, like this, with a shield pattern, and there are also rarer versions in different colours.
This pattern is quite special and the effect is gorgeous. The barrel seems alive when you twirl it and it makes what is, inside, a fairly ordinary steel-nibbed cartridge/converter pen, seem rather luxurious.
There’s something to be said for that filling mechanism, though. It’s a simple and therefore pretty robust system and Parker still use the same cartridges so you can easily pick up new cartridges or converters. It’s substantially reduced the risk involved in purchasing a second-hand pen.
There is a risk with the nib, though. The medium nib on my pen needed a little smoothing when it arrived but that’s actually nothing to be scared of and it nows writes beautifully.
The clip is a little weak, a common problem with this model in particular.
I’d wanted a Harlequin for quite a while but they can sometimes be rather expensive. This one wasn’t, it cost little more than a Lamy Safari, and it’s a really lovely pen. I can highly recommend the Parker 45, in whichever variety you like best.