“ Brand: Waterman / Misc House Type: Pen „
I initially bought this pen as a gift for a friend's leaving gift, wanting to give her a quality ballpoint pen with a bound notebook so that she could enjoy writing in style. I chose to buy both items from John Lewis - I know that they have a very professional dedicated pen sales desk with a variety of well known brands, and I trusted John Lewis to sell me something of good quality.
Not having bought a pen for a while, I initially asked to see Sheaffer and Parker pens, but found that the pens on offer were well out of my price range. I settled on the Waterman Hemisphere at £35 because it was a name that I recognised and also because I like the look.
After taking it home and looking at the quality, I realised that I was so disappointed with my intended gift that I ended up keeping the pen myself as I felt that the feel and look of the pen did not really reflect the price that I had paid for it.
The Waterman pen company was established in 1884, and was one of the Big Four American pen makers for a long time. It is one of the few original pen makers to remain in production and was the undisputed leader until 1920. Unfortunately it failed to keep up with new technology and today is owned by Newell Rubbermaid -an American company who produce the Rubbermaid kitchenware amongst other items.
I remembered the name Waterman from my schooldays and automatically assumed that it was an old and reputable company - perhaps if I had realised that it had been taken over by Rubbermaid, I may have gone for a Shaeffer!
The salesperson told me very firmly that this was a ladies pen - a distinction which surprised me quite a lot. It seems that shorter, fatter pens should only be used by men because of their manly design, whilst women's pens are slimmer and longer. I can't say that any of this sales talk influenced me at all, as I am very happy to use any shape of pen.
The Hemisphere is in fact very slim, and at 13cm - fairly long. It did look very elegant as it sat inside the blue presentation box, which was lined with cream flock. In fact, the presentation box had more of an influence over my buying decision than the pen design, with the words 'Waterman Paris' in gold letters on the inside lid and a very high quality hinged lid.
The pen itself has a brushed stainless steel case. The pen comes in two choices - a chrome trim or a gold trim. I chose the chrome as I thought it looked less showy. The chrome trim consists of a shiny chrome band around the middle of the pen, a chrome nib casing, and a chrome pocket clip. In the hand, the pen feels cool and smooth - and I was very impressed.
When I got the pen home I tested it. The ball point is revealed by twisting open the bottom of the pen casing. Twisting the casing even further reveals the ink cartridge for refill access.
The ink flows very smoothly and evenly, as I would expect. I tested it further by writing on a vertical piece of paper and it continued to write easily even though it was not being held in the upright position. Cheaper pens tend to dry up when this happens - as I often find when writing on my shopping list which is attached to my kitchen wall. I was pleased with the quality of the ink flow, but then I realised that surely this just reflected the quality of the ink cartridge, not the whole pen. I had paid my £35 for the pen casing and the design of the pen, and not the ink cartridge which is cheap.
Looking at the pen casing, I was disappointed that it squeeked loudly when I twisted it to reveal the ball point. I would not have expected this of an expensive pen.
Overall, I was so disappointed with the quality and feel of the pen in my hand that I did not give it to my friend. It did not look or feel like a £35 pen, and I could hardly say 'This pen is really expensive' as I gave it to her.
Although the design is slim and sleek, the pen itself does not feel particularly weighty or well-balanced in the hand. If I did not know I would think it was a much cheaper pen.
I thought that this pen was very poor value for money, and I ended up buying a Parker pen to replace it which was much better in many ways.