I musty admit I had been contemplating trying a Kaweco Student for quite a while, though always from afar as I knew no one who owned one (as far as I am aware) and at pen shows traders just brought variations on the Sport and Lilliput models. Fountain Pen Day and a discount at Cult Pens gave me the excuse I had been looking for and while the ‘music’ range was more expensive than the base two pens, the 20s Jazz ticked all the right boxes.
I am not sure if the cream and brown look of the 20s Jazz was intended to reflect an age of Art Deco, but it works. Confusing part about the range is the colours do seem slightly random. Yes orange might suite 70s Soul, but why have red for 60s Blues and blue for 50s Rock. Surely blue for Blues? But then Kaweco have a green 60s model labelled Swing !! Surely it should have been 20s Swing, 30s Jazz, 50s Blues, 60s Rock and 70s Soul, but I digress.
I must admit I was surprised when it arrived. I knew it would be coming in a Kaweco gift tin as standard, however I did not realise how small the Student is. We’re talking not much larger than a classic Esterbrook, so almost keeping with the 20s or vintage theme in more ways than one. I did wonder if this would prove an issue for me, but I’m happy to say I was able to use the pen with no problems, including not needing to post the cap.
With the cap on, the pen looks smart and is well proportioned. The large cap band and classical clip work well with the appearance and also the 1920’s theme, though the latter is coincidental considering the same look is used for the whole range, special editions et al. In addition there is the standard Kaweco metal disk in the finial. The body is unadorned though there is an injection dimple on the bottom, which is neat but I am in two minds about.
The cap removes in a single turn, which will please those who want to take quick notes, and also it seals the Student well. I’ve not noticed any real ink evaporation in the few weeks I’ve owned this pen.
The cap band has Kaweco on one side and Made in Germany on the other, with a pair of four dots between. On the reverse, at the top is printed “Kaweco-Student Germany” across two lines. The clip has the Kaweco script on it, expanding along to become the start of the feathers of a quill just at the tip. Functionally it works well, feeling strong and with the nub locking the pen neatly in place in a pocket.
The section is metal and plated in the same gold colouring as the clip, finial disk, and cap band. While it tapers in to the middle to form a pinch point, I find I can hold the pen quite comfortably further back, where the section meets the body and the capping threads. Whilst not slippery, in the temperatures of winter (ok English weather) it is cold to touch at first. The threads, while hard, are shallow so you do not really feel them.
Despite the metal section, the pen is actually relatively light and the balance point is actually further back than you may think. Looking at the barrel threads (part of the metal converter/cartridge housing) they look to be a separate piece from the grip part of the section and I do wonder with the lightness of the Student if the grip is actually plastic with a metallic finish.
I do not need to post this pen, however it does so securely and someone with larger hands might need to do this. The cap does add a fair bit of weight to the back and while that does not seem to affect the balance much, I do feel the increase of weight and pressure on the nib as a result.
The nib looks to be the same size as on a Sport, so a #4. It is identical in markings, shape and feed to the one on my Orangina Sport, meaning it is a Bock made nib, which does surprise me as I know Kaweco moved to JoWo a number of years ago. Perhaps it has just taken time for the new nibs to circulate as the Student still uses the old removable nib unit, which is no longer available for the Sport. Since moving to JoWo you can only switch the nib on a Sport by swapping the whole section.
Alas writing also reminds me too much of the Sport. The nibs have always been some what if an Achilles heal for Kaweco and here is no different. There are no specific issues with the nib, but it is stiff, dry and pencil like, complete with a little noise. It lays down a line just fine and does work, but just not in a way that would make me want to grab this pen. Mine came with the fine nib, but I would suggest it writes closer to a European extra-fine.
The pen uses standard internal cartridges, though with the barrel being on the narrows side you are restricted in which converters you can use. Certainly the ubiquitous Schmidt K5 will not fit, however the cheaper K2 does, as well as the converter from Faber-Castell. The Student comes with just a single cartridge plus an empty dummy/spacer, but then this is a cheap pen so you can not expect much, especially when considering it comes with the tin, which Kaweco often charge extra for.
The present cost for the Student in the UK is £42 with the ‘Music’ specials being £60. This puts it between the Perkeo and Dia, so fitting neatly in the Kaweco range of full size pens. Bring the Sport and Lilliput in to the equation and you’re in for a world of mental hurt due to the sheer number of variations of those models. The net result is the pen is reasonably priced for what you get, and at a similar price point to which Kaweco’s main German rivals are selling part or all metal cartridge converter pens (Lamy Studio/Aion, Pelikan Pura, Diplomat Esteem, etc).
Am I glad I bought this pen? Bit of a mixed bag I’m afraid. The purchase scratched an itch but I am left feeling slightly unsatisfied. It is a well made pen and once I became used to the size it was comfortable to use, however it is let down by a lacklustre nib, and how often have we heard that about Kaweco pens, so much so that they now offer optional ‘premium’ nibs for the sport.
Would I recommend this pen to others. If you are a fan of the Sport and want a larger, more usable pen, then the Student is a good option. It is well made and you will be used to the nib. It could also make a good starter pen, though personally I think there are better options out there. Problem for me is with the nib. There is nothing wrong with it, but at the same time it is hard to say there is anything right with it either. Net result is I am going to sit on the fence with this pen.
- Well proportioned pen.
- Just 1 turn to remove cap.
- Attractive ‘retro’ look to the pen (for me).
- Decent price.
- On the small size.
- Needs a slightly narrower converter, though the Schmidt K2 is one of the cheapest on the market.
- Lot of similarly priced rivals out there.
- Lacklustre nib.