Monday, June 12, 2023

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 501

And now, a review of another modern pen inspired by a famous location in a major European city--Christopher's new Parker '88' fountain pen in lacquer blue!

(photo courtesy of Christopher ~ please click on image to enlarge)

Christopher writes:
"I was not familiar with the Parker 88 fountain pen until recently. It is a pen with a lot to say for itself. Actually, it's a French design for Parker in England, with a definite European styling. Strangely enough, the concept comes from the famous French Place Vendôme Square in the city of Paris. Dating back to the 18th century-- the 1700s-- Napoleon himself erected a column to commemorate his victory at Austerlitz in 1805. This pen mirrors everything about this French column, save the statue of Napoleon Bonaparte at its top. The Square is the home of the world's greatest jewelers and, indeed, a tribute to this fine Parker pen. The Parker 88 was introduced in 1987, but Parker found more marketing merit in a double digit model name, so the 88 became the branding of choice. Still, in 2004, the 88 became the Rialto, named for a district in Venice, Italy. Basically, it's the same pen, which carried on quite successfully, until Parker discontinued it in 2007.

The general make up of this pen is quite different and, at the same time, equally attractive. The long cylindrical design is complemented with a high luster lacquer finish. The deep mirror luster is achieved by layer upon layer of coloured lacquer being applied to a base metal, such as copper or brass. This gorgeous finish is duly complemented with 14K Gold filled fittings. Both barrel end and cap top have a round flat 14K gold filled disk, inset into their surfaces. The ring cap clip is a very long feathered Parker arrow design and between the cap and the barrel is a banding with the UK, country of origin, imprinted around it. There is also a thinner banding near the end of the barrel. The pen had a somewhat long matching grip section sporting a 14K Gold Parker nib. This nib is about 50 percent covered with a black inset tube that is part of the section. 

Needless to say, the pen is a superb writer and extremely smooth and consistent in the laying down of ink on paper. Since the original filler was not available, I purchased a converter which handles the filling responsibly. This pen posts at 6 ¼ inches onto a special posting peg at the end of the barrel, but it caps back to a very reasonable 5 ¼ inches that suits me just fine. I have to ask myself, what is there not to like about this brilliant Parker pen? Not really anything to keep it out of my vintage pen collection."

Our thanks to Christopher for this review, and all the other reviews he's sent in over the past 3+ years :) We'll be featuring a couple of other reviews of his (two more Parkers--one vintage and one modern-ish) later this month!

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