Want a Kaweco fountain pen with a size #6 nib? Want a Kaweco with a more traditional look and size? Well as of September this year (2022) Kaweco have you covered with the release of the Original. Two versions of the pen providing two nib options, the ubiquitous size #4 Bock made 060 and the much more common size #6 Bock 250.
These pens were leant to the United Inkdom review group, of which I am a member, by Kaweco. I will be passing them on to the next reviewer once this article is published and a meta review will appear on the group website in time.
Kaweco have partly gone back in time for these pens. The looks very much keep with the style and feel of the Sport, while the size is closer to something of the 1940s or 1950s and not the much larger pens of today. Visually very similar we have a pair of matt black octagonal aluminium pens with the only decorations being the chrome clip, cap finial, and the white branding on the barrel, however not all is as it seems.
The pens are actually slightly different. The 060 is roughly 1-1.3mm narrower, depending on where you measure, resulting in the barrel finial looking more pointed. Capped they are of the same length. Uncapped and it is more obvious. Sure there is just 0.3mm difference between the two from nib tip to barrel end, but the section is much shorter for the 250 due to the larger nib. It is also slightly wider. Unsurprisingly the caps can not be swapped between the two.
The cap finials are the traditional Kaweco metal disk, however I do note that they are at 180 degrees to each other when you compare pens. I do not know if this is by design or accident.
Both pens uncap in just under two turns, though this does depend on how much you tighten them. Reason being if you look closely you will see a black rubber gasket at the end of the threads to help seal the pen. I find you get confidence of a seal at an earlier stage on the larger, 250, pen than the 060, and to tighten the latter does require slightly more of a turn. I do not see this as an issue and suspect that long term this will work well at preventing ink evaporation. Interestingly there is no gasket on the inner barrel threads. Perhaps they did not want users to think they could eye dropper these pens.
The caps do not post. I suspect you might be able to force them on slightly, however almost certainly the finish would scratch. For me this is not an issue, but if you have large hands it may be.
The clip is identical on both pens and is the standard Kaweco shape and branding. It works well, sliding over a pocket seam with no problem and keeping the pen firmly in place.
I do have one quibble with the looks. The branding on the barrel. It does not line up with the nib or feed. Additionally it also will not line up with the clip. As the inner barrel and cap have single threads there is no excuse for this. For many this will be a minor quibble, however if you have a level of OCD … plus it also shows a lack of attention to detail.
In the hand the 250 is slightly heavier, around 2.5g uncapped. Side by side it is noticeable. Neither is a light pen, but then neither is that heavy, presumably due to their being smaller than many modern ‘full sized’ pens. The 250 comes in at 27.7g capped and 17.9g without, the 060 is 24.1g and 14.5g respectively. The caps are very similar for while the one for the 060 is slightly narrower, it is also slightly longer. To my surprise the balance points differ. With the 060 it is further forwards with the result that in the hand the weight feels to be centred in the section, where as with the 250 it is more neutral. The net result is I find the 250 more comfortable to hold.
Now you will note I ended the last paragraph with just hold, not use, for when writing I found the section of the 250 to be bit too short for me and I could feel the threads. Fine at first but I actually started to notice them more over time. The area of the threads is short, but they are thin and as a result, slightly sharp. The longer section on the 060 gave me far more freedom with my grip and the only thing that counted against it was for me I found it to be a little too narrow, but then it was the same for the 250.
As mentioned at the top, the main difference between the two pens is the nib. The number in the name reflects the Bock labelling convention for their nib types. 250 is their ubiquitous size #6 and 060 is the size #4 which is used primarily (maybe only) by Kaweco. Both have identical branding stamped in to them, scaled to the size of the nib, complete with the tipping size. With these specific pens the 060 is an extra fine and the 250 is a broad.
When it comes to writing with the traditional #4 Kaweco nibs I have had mixed experiences in the past, and at no point did I think I had tried a pen I was going to keep using. This left me a little nervous with the 060 as an extra fine nib will really highlight any issues. Imagine my surprise when this one wrote smoothly. Sure it is nail like and dry, this is normal for steel extra fine nibs, however this one did glide across the paper with just a hint of tooth.
Writing with the 250 nib was somewhat unremarkable. You know you are using a Bock size #6 nib, there is nothing unusual about it. You get the usual stiffness but with the ability to safely get a little line variation. Hard to say much more than that I am afraid. Still this does mean you will get a decent writing experience.
The Original uses the standard international cartridge and converter system. Looking on line both types come with a single cartridge, so the converter is extra (I assume in the US local retailers will include one for free, as appears to be the norm). These particular pens came to me with converters installed, both containing Kaweco ink.
Packaging, both pens come in the larger variant of the Kaweco gift tin, which is ‘protected’ by a branded cardboard outer sleeve. As these are loans I received them in a single tin, making postage both to me and to the next reviewer much easier.
Cost wise, the 060 comes in at £95 and the 250 at £115. This is towards the upper end of the Kaweco price range, though these could be considered a premium product for the brand. There are still plenty of steel nibbed pens from other brands out there that cost considerably more.
So my thoughts. These are interesting pens with some character and feel. The only real problem for me is they are too thin for my preference. The 250 is borderline width wise but I struggle to get a comfortable hold and the 060 has a wonderfully long section, but for me is a bit too thin.
Would I recommend these pens to others? Well if you like thinner pens I would possibly put the 060 ahead of the larger nibbed 250, though I may have just got lucky with this extra fine. The longer section gives more flexibility when it comes to find a comfortable grip. Certainly I do not find the price point that bad for what you get. If I were to be honest, if you have to think when a pen is around the £100 mark then you need to try these before buying, just to make sure you are comfortable with the hold, however I personally think they are welcome addition to the Kaweco range.
- 250 takes the standard Bock #6 nib unit.
- 060 section makes it easy to find a comfortable hold (if it is not too thin for you).
- Cap appears to seal very well.
- A Kaweco large enough to take a regular converter.
- Nice heft to the pens.
- Pens may be too thin for some people.
- 250 section may be too short for some people.
- Balance point of 250 may be too far back for some people.
- Only comes with one cartridge and no converter.
- Cap will not post.
- Branding on barrel does not line up with nib or clip.
- Sharp threads (though only over a short area).
- Clumsiness with small details.