The Dia2 is a full sized fountain pen towards the top end of the Kaweco range. Heavily inspired by their pens of old, it brings a more refined and classical design than much of the rest of the pens in their portfolio.
First off caveat time. This pen has been leant to me by Kaweco through the United Inkdom review group. It arrived both with its standard 060 nib (as I’m using) plus a Bock 076 #5 nib and Schmidt converter. I know many of the other reviewers are using the latter nib, however aside from for a photo later in the piece, I will be using this pen as you would receive it from a retailer.
The above picture from Mick McKigney’s review shows the pen along side an original Kaweco Dia from the 1930s. There certainly is a lot in common, though the Dia2 is a lot larger than the pen originally released in 1921. There are some touches as well not on the original which add to the vintage feel. The knurling around the cap and barrel finials being the key part.
Some may consider this to be on the smaller size, but I think that is more down to the increasing availability of oversized pens. At the end of this article you will see comparison photos with a Lamy 2000 and a Montblanc 146, which are both actually comparable in size.
In the hand the pen is surprisingly heavy when you consider it is made from resin and non-metal Kawecos are normally rather light. Look inside the barrel and all is explained. It is brass lined. In addition there appears to be more metal inside the cap beyond the inner seal. Personally I find the Dia2 has a decent heft and is nicely balanced. Weight wise it is 26.4g with the barrel being 17.4g and the cap 9.1g. The pen also feels solid and well made, even the cap where there is no lining, feels far stronger than other acrylic Kawecos.
The cap takes just one turn to remove to reveal the standard Kaweco nib. Some find this visually to be a little small, however it can be replaced with any Bock #5 nib with there being enough space in the cap to fit the replacement. Visually it is appealing with two chromed bands just above the opening and the clip ring near the top. The clip is the standard Kaweco shape, little changed from the original, though with modern branding. To the rear you have Kaweco-Dia and GERMANY in silver. This looks and feels printed on, which means in time this could wear off depending on how the pen is stored and carried. Above the clip you have a knurled ring, then the traditional Kaweco metal disk at the centre of the top of the finial.
The clip is of the sprung type and rather stiff, though the nub shape does mean it slides easily over pocket seams, while there is enough pressure to keep the pen safely in place.
The section and barrel are a mildly curvaceous affair. The section pinches in gently in the middle with a chrome ring at each end. The barrel side one is actually part of the inner threads component. You then have the short capping threads at the start of the barrel. Move your finger over them and they might feel a little ‘hard’, but in reality you’re unlikely to notice them. The barrel then curves gently outwards towards towards the centre, then back in again towards a chrome band just before the barrel finial. This is one area I’m undecided about. Certainly the look matches the vintage character of the pen, however the band is raised and the knurled part appears to be slightly smaller than the smooth barrel before this piece of bright work. The final stretch angles in rather than curves, again not in line with the barrel, before you reach the finial with a branded metal disk. This does appear to be identical to the one on the cap and I do like the fact when capped the two finials and the clip line up with each other. A nice touch and hopefully purposely done.
In the hand the pen is comfortable to hold. The section is possibly a little too narrow for my personal tastes, but there are plenty of options on how to hold the pen and as previously mentioned, the threads are barely noticeable. The cap will post securely, though it does have a little lateral play, and while this does move the balance point backwards it’s not as far back as you may have expected, probably due to the comparative weight of the body.
The nib is the standard Kaweco branded short size #5 steel Bock item, a screw in 060 unit. This can be replaced by any Bock #5, as was done by a number of the other reviewers. Certainly the pen looks better proportioned with this in rather than the original, and to be honest with the pen as it is sold, the nib does look too small, certainly too short. Having said that, this is a reasonable writer with decent ink flow and the experience is little different from when the Dia2 arrived with the larger 180 nib installed.
The pen comes with a single ink cartridge, no converter, and here I am actually using one of my own Kaweco carts. Supposedly the box says the ink is Midnight Blue, the Kaweco blue-black, however I am certain what I am using is actually Smoky Grey. Whether it is just this cartridge, or the whole box I do not know. I will partly find out next time, though with the cap sealing well I know it will not be with this particular pen. I know in the USA it is expected for most cartridge using pens to come with a converter, but this is not so in the UK, Europe and Japan, where ink cartridges are more commonly used than bottled ink.
Packaging wise the Dia2 presently comes in the larger of the Kaweco tin box options. I quite like these as they can easily be used to carry the pen around, and if you were to pull out the insert, can act just like a tin pencil box, such as we occasionally used at school (if you are old enough). Based on experience I assume there will be an outer cardboard sleeve, but this was presumably put aside by the initial reviewer to stop it being damaged (as the pen will be returned to Kaweco).
So my thoughts. I am actually quite impressed by this pen. The nib is nothing special, but it works well and is smooth, in fact this is possibly the nicest writing Kaweco I’ve used. An odd statement, maybe, but then I have found their nibs to be so inconsistent, generally good but not always, and no two quite the same. The Dia2 is a little too thin for my tastes, but it will be a decent enough size for most. The weight and balance are good and the pen feels strong and solid. I also rather like the retro looks, and while I personally am not bothered, if you feel you need a suitably sombre pen to use when signing forms or in a meeting, then the Dia2 will fit the bill nicely. In fact I think this is a better pen than the other retro offerings from Kaweco, the Original Black Chrome. Compared to that pair it is slightly lighter (but not as much as you would expect due to the brass barrel lining), more comfortable to hold, and also cheaper in chrome trim at £80 compared to £95 for the Black Chrome Original 060 (though the gold trim Dia2 jumps to £95 for no apparent reason).
Would I recommend this pen to others. Now this is always a tricky one as it is a crowded market place at this price point, both from other pens from within the brand and also from many a rival. I normally sit on the fence with Kaweco pens, however if the Dia2 is not too small/thin for your personal preferences, then it could be a good pen for you. Having said that I’m not sure I would want to consider the gold trimmed version, partly because I feel chrome and black work better, but also because it is presently £15 more expensive. Additionally if you feel the nib looks to be too small you can always unscrew it and replace it with a stock Bock 076 #5 or 180 #5 for just over a tenner.
As with all pens I would still recommend trying one before you buy, especially if you consider £100 to be a lot for a fountain pen. Alas many brick and mortar places selling Kaweco products in the UK seem to only sell the Sports model.
- Retro vibes in a modern pen.
- Looks smart and respectable.
- Nicely balanced.
- Can swap in any other Bock #5 nib unit.
- Packaging is reusable (if that’s your thing).
- Could be too thin for some.
- Might be a little heavy for some.
- Only comes with a single cartridge and no converter.
- Nib looks small compared to the rest of the pen (I’m being a little picky).
- Barrel finial does not quite match the rest of the pen (again being a little picky).
First off, rather than the usual side by side shots with the ubiquitous Lamy Safari/Al-Star, here we have the Dia2 with two fellow Germans which are higher end heavy weights. The Lamy 2000 and the Montblanc 146.
The regular comparison photos with the Lamy Al-Star/Safari…
And now the family shot (well just one of my sports)
mick mckigney said:
Excellent and thorough review, as well as balanced.
Theresa Stuart said:
So, this pen is pretty much the same size as the Kaweco Student pen I see.
Would there be any difference between the Dia2, and say, an all black Kaweco Student pen? They look identical. I own the black Kaweco Student.
The Dia2 is a little heavier and for me better balanced as the weight is more spread, where as in the Student it is in the section. Additionally the Student is slightly wider with a longer section. Dia2 section is not metal (if you find your fingers slipping). I would suggest the Dia2 is better made, but again that could be due to the barrel being brass lined, and the thickness and type of plastic could be identical.
I think a lot of it just comes down to personal preferences – there are various small touches on the Dia2 that are not on the Student, such as the knurling on the cap and before the end of the barrel, plus a few other decorative rings.
Pingback: Sunday Reading for May 28, 2023 - Madcity Supplies