So for those that don’t know Kaweco (pronounced Cah-Veh-Co), they’ve been making pens for a while out of Germany, and have come up with some very iconic designs. One such iconic pen is this, the Sport. The Sport is part of a series of like-modelled pens that are primarily designed to be sturdy, comfortable to use, and small enough to lose in your pocket. Not only that, but they look unlike any other pen I’ve ever used, and I’ve used a lot of pens. If you ask anyone that knows Kaweco to name one of their pens, chances are they’d mention the Sport first.
Kaweco got in touch with me and sent a few pens for me to try. The Sport comes in several flavours, with a huge amount of colours, patterns, and designs in each. They don’t just make fountain pens either, there’s also ballpoints and pencils too. The range is pretty widely available, especially from places like JetPens or the Goulet Pen Company, and come in at a rather inexpensive price point (around $30). Of course the premium models, like the AL Sport, will cost you more, but you can expect the same (or similar) writing experience across the range.
So they sound pretty good, right? Well, let’s see.
In the Box
The Sport comes in a small cardboard box, which basically just contains the pen (or pencil) and a couple of small papers. A sticker is also thrown in, which is a nice touch.
Keeping the packaging minimalistic saves money and also makes it cheaper to ship, which is good news for, well, everybody. If you’re going to buy a pen that’s at the lower end of the price bracket, it’s good to know that you’re paying mainly for the pen, and not a fancy box that you won’t use.
There’s a small cartridge included, it comes loose inside the pen body (lead is included with the pencil, as you’d expect). The fountain pen takes a short standard international cartridge, so you should have a bunch of these lying around. You’ll have to pick up a converter separately if you want to use bottled ink, but to be honest I don’t think I’ve seen a $30 pen that comes with a converter as standard, so this is no surprise.
Overall it’s a nice, compact package. Kaweco could probably do a bit more to protect the pen, as the box offers very little structure or rigidity. Perhaps a simple piece of foam to protect against bumps wouldn’t be a bad idea, but that’s not to say my pens arrived in less-than-perfect condition.
The Sport Fountain Pen
The fountain pen is a wonderful tool. EDC (every day carry) enthusiasts will really enjoy (and do, from what I’ve seen) the compact, rugged design of the Sport, even in fountain pen form.
The cap is made to look almost industrial, with a faceted finish that is reminiscent of a metal nut, or perhaps a wooden pencil. This contrasts well with the perfectly smooth cylinder of the pen body. The facets on the cap prevent the pen from rolling, so they serve a function as well. The transition from pen to body is a pleasing gradient, tapering at each end.
Up the top you have the Kaweco logo in metal on the crown, which apart from the nib is the only other non-plastic part on this version (the AL Sport is metal all over, obviously). On the bottom end theres a simple “GERMANY” mark and three dots (no idea what they mean). The bottom end of the body has a rough finish, like the volume dial on an old radio. This lets you get a little more purchase when twisting off the cap or opening the body.
The cap is twist style. It stays on when you want it to, but still comes off easily, as it should. The cap sits symmetrically on the body, that is to say that when you cap it or post it, it meets at the same point on the body. I assume this was intentional, and is a nice touch. The rear end of the body is indented very slightly to stop the cap from being posted too far in. Posting the cap is secure and easy.
In use the fountain pen is very comfortable. Light, and long enough for my hands when posted. The grip is a simple concave curve which is easy to hold onto. I didn’t find my fingers slipping at all when using the pen, and was able to write for long periods without strain.
Kaweco have done wonderfully with these nibs as well. They’re stainless steel, but write with a smoothness you’d often see on much more expensive pens. The sizes range from EF to BB (I don’t have a B sorry), so everyone should be able to find a width they like. Minor complaints over the flow too; a little dry, but easily fixed. Essentially, these are pens that work, and work well despite being so small and light.
The Sport Clutch Pencil
Kaweco also kindly provided me a clutch pencil. This stubby device is equal in length to the fountain pen (capped), and features a very similar look, so they go together very well.
Pressing the button on the back extends the clutch mechanism like a claw, which releases the lead. For those of you that haven’t used one, clutch pencils are simply a piece of graphite lead, and a clamp at the tip to hold it in place. The lead is kept in place if the clamp is, well, clamped, but when released the lead is loose.
You can insert any colour or style of lead that your pencil will take just by feeding it into the end. This means very thick lead can be used, which can make it more useful versus a simple mechanical pencil (especially for designers and artists). You can also make use of the lead even when it is very short as the clamp is at the very tip, unlike mechanical pencils that require a bit of length on the lead to contact the mechanism which sits behind the tip.
This design does mean you need to sharpen the lead manually, as it wont keep a thin point like a mechanical pencil. In this way it’s a sort of halfway point between a mechanical and a standard wooden pencil. You can buy sharpeners that will do this, or you can just shape the point as you draw with it.
I’ve used a few clutch pencils in my time and find them to be my preferred pencil style. This chunky Sport pencil is right up my alley, and the fancy “chess” pattern (as they call it) is quite eye catching too. This black version comes with gold hardware which matches very well.
In terms of writing comfort, I find the design to be very accommodating to many different grip styles. It’s an instrument that is, above all, basic; it gets out of your way and simply lets you do your work, instead of fighting against the pen. The small size is also no big issue for me, even with larger hands, but may annoy some people. I found i had to change my grip a little to accommodate the small size, but it was in no way uncomfortable.
Conclusion, Accessories, and Other Recommendations
I really enjoy the Sport range from Kaweco. They’re incredibly unique, but in a Lamy Safari sort of way, and not a Lamy Dialog sort of way. This means that instead of being unique for the sake of it, they’re unique as a result of their form and function being, by consequence, unlike other pens. However, in many ways they’re exactly like other good pens – light, comfortable, a joy to use.
Some may say that the small size is a turn off, but I say it adds to the versatility. The thick plastic (or metal) means they can be tossed around without worrying about them breaking. They’re inexpensive, so that makes it easier too. This is the chief of EDC pens, and there are only a couple of other pens that I can think of that come close, such as the TWSBI mini or Sailor Pro Gear Mini, but they’re more expensive, not as sleek, and you will want to baby them more than the Kaweco.
This whole review I haven’t really talked about the clip. There isn’t one normally, as you can see, which may make it a little difficult for some people to carry the pen in a pocket, or a bag. Thankfully, Kaweco do make a clip, and it’s rather good.
Just slip it onto the cap, change the position to wherever you want, and that’s it. Although it is an optional extra (and thus, an additional expense), I find this system to be preferable in some ways, namely because the clip is often the first thing to break on a pen.
Being able to choose the clip colour, and even choose the design you want (Kaweco offers a couple) would be a boon to some people, and so you’re given the option. The other option is to leave out the clip entirely, which some people also prefer.
Some other pens I can recommend in the Sport range include the ICE and AL versions. There’s also the:
- AC Sport (carbon fibre)
- Sketch Up (option of a rubber grip)
- AL Sport Touch (which has a stylus tip)
- Stonewashed (which has a rugged, worn look to it)
- Special (similar shape, but longer like a normal pen and comes in a 2.0mm mechanical pencil which is rather unique)
- Special S (shorter version of the Special)
- Calligraphy (1.5mm and 2.3mm calligraphy nibs on a Sport body)
A wide range of pens to suit anyone’s needs. Kaweco has done well here, and I look forward to seeing what else they bring out in the future.