Kaweco AL Special Fountain Pen Review18 April 2016
Kaweco make some wonderful metal-bodied pens and they make some wonderful small pens. The AL Special is a small metal pen. What’s it like?
Thank you to Kaweco for lending me this pen so I could write this review. These are my own honest opinions.
Nib options: stainless steel extra-fine, fine, medium, broad, extra-broad; stub options available for an extra £9.50; PVD coated black option available for an extra £30; 14k gold options available for an extra £99
Barrel options: matt black anodised aluminium
Filling system: standard sized cartrdige/converter
Size: 14cm long closed, 12cm open, 17cm posted, 1cm diameter
The Special is a slim pen, not a lot wider than the Liliput but hexagonal in cross-section rather than cylindrical. The cap screws closed, sealing with an o-ring. It screws on to post.
Unposted I found the pen to be long enough to be useable. Posted, although the length was good, the balance was thrown out, being too back heavy.
It’s a very slim pen but I don’t mind that. I do mind the very small section, though. If you hold the pen at the section you can’t avoid the threads. If you post the cap then you can get away with holding the pen above the section but then it gets a little weird to write with. It doesn’t suit me at all. (The section is smaller than on the Liliput, which is a much smaller pen.) This seems to be a good example of a pen that was designed to look good but without enough thought being put into how it would be used.
My pen came with an extra-fine stainless steel nib. This is a great nib: Kaweco’s extra-fine, fine and medium nibs tend to be smooth and consistent. Kaweco were kind enough to lend me an extra-fine gold nib too. This is certainly a step above the steel nib: just a little smoother, just a tiny bit of spring to it. Kaweco’s problem with their gold nibs is they’re new, to them, and they’re only able to have them manufactured in small batches. This makes them very expensive. If you have a few Kaweco pens then once you’ve bought one gold nib you can move it around from pen to pen which (they’re all the same size except the Elite) but if it’s just the one pen you’re buying it for then you’d have to be really into gold nibs to want to spend significantly more on the nib than on the pen itself.
Inside, the AL Special uses standard international cartridges or converters.
Overall the AL Special is a fine looking pen that feels good in the hand when you pick it up. Unfortunately when you unscrew the cap and start to write with it, the size interferes with your enjoyment. It might just suit you but I’d recommend you try it out before you buy.
Good solid construction
Great nib (steel or gold)
Section far too small
Unbalanced when the cap is posted
Gold nib is a very expensive option