Saturday, August 7, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 236

"Vacation Dreams" Pens ~ Part 1

Since I knew I wouldn't be doing any international traveling this summer because of the global pandemic, I decided to take some of the sting out of that disappointment by acquiring a few pens related to places around the world I'd love to visit (and re-visit)...

(please click on images to enlarge)

The first "Vacation Dreams" pen I bought is one that reminds me of my visits to a historic, culturally-vibrant, endlessly-fascinating European destination - my glossy black Parker 'Urban' fountain pen in the "London Cab" colour!

I got the pen for $26.68 CAD via Amazon's Warehouse where its condition was described as "Used - Acceptable - Cosmetic imperfection(s) bigger than 1" on top, front or sides of item. Item will come repackaged." I've had really good luck with used Warehouse pens that were described as being in much worse shape than they really were, so I decided to take a chance on this one. Full retail for it on was $54.20 CAD, so at less than half the price, the used one was a great deal...but only if it was in decent shape. I patiently waited for my parcel to arrive....

It turned out that my instincts were correct as the pen arrived in undamaged condition! I couldn't believe that the pen was damage-free, so I thoroughly inspected it twice--once in the early evening (after it arrived at the Amazon locker), and then the next day in bright sunlight. I found no scratches, no scuffs, and no damage to the nib or the pen's lacquer finish, clip or trim. Whew!


The 'Urban' is a handsome all-metal (lacquered brass) fountain pen that feels really good in the hand, posted or unposted. I like to post most of my pens and I tend to grip them higher up the barrel, so I was happy to discover how well-balanced and comfortable it was to for me use posted (the total weight of the pen, by the way, is 32 grams without a converter or cartridge in place). There's always the possibility that you'll wind up with a fountain pen that doesn't fit your hand/grip when you "buy blindly" as I did, so I'd highly recommend checking online pen reviews (as I did) for feedback from people who have actually used the pens for an extended period of time.

My Urban's crosshatched steel nib is a Medium (the nib width is marked on the back of the feed) and it wrote quite well out of the box. After a quick and simple nib adjustment ("fingernail tweak"), though, it wrote much more smoothly. The pen is a cartridge/converter-filler that only accepts proprietary Parker cartridges* or converters (* = I believe Aurora's ink cartridges might work, too). The pen didn't come with a converter, though, just a blue Parker ink cartridge.

Parker 'Urban' design changes:

I bought a Parker 'Urban' ballpoint not long after they first came out in 2007, and I loved it so much that I immediately looked into getting the matching fountain pen. When I saw the nib on the 'Urban' fountain pen, however, I quickly decided against it as I didn't like its tubular shape or its size. 

Fast-forward to 2016 when Parker decided to change many of its nib designs (see chart directly below, courtesy of the Goulet Pens' blog ). I much preferred the look of the new 'Urban' nib (even though I still think it's a little small for the pen), so that played a big part in me deciding to buy the pen from Amazon a few weeks ago.

When the 'Urban's' nib was changed in 2016, Parker also changed several other aspects of the pen's design (see chart below, also courtesy of Goulet Pens). Although I liked the curvy shape of the old-style 'Urban' fountain pen, I couldn't get past the appearance of its nib...and, in retrospect, I don't know if the pen would have been as well-balanced when posted, with a big, heavy cap like that.

The new 'Urban' fountain pen is available in seven different colours, including a "Muted Black" version that looks like a matte black version of my pen. There's also an 'Urban Premium' fountain pen line consisting of nine 'Urban' pens with fancier caps and barrels. Both models have the same steel nib, which comes in Fine and Medium nib widths.

So, there you have it - part one of my little travel-through-pen-buying adventure! Part two will be posted here on Monday August 9th. Hope you are enjoying your summer however (and wherever) you're spending it! :)

~ Review & photos (except where noted) by Maja ~

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