So as mentioned in a previous post the Waterman Carene is a pen I’ve been wanting to sell, but for some reason can’t quite bring myself to. As such I’ve decided to review it, either in the hope that I suddenly realise I have a valid reason for keeping it, or to push me over the edge in selling it. To those of you who think I’ve spoiled the surprise and that as I’m selling it I must therefore hate it, hold on, the Carene is a pen I have confusing feelings about.
I think the Waterman Carene is one of the only Black Friday purchases I’ve ever made, I bought it from Amazon a couple of years ago and I vaguely recall the plain black model was down to about £70, although looking at prices now it seems like they normally sell for more like double that at the moment. As an aside, I wouldn’t really recommend buying pens from Amazon, they often aren’t much more than a few pounds cheaper (if that) and pen retailers could definitely do with your money more. Anyway, that may be a rant for another day, for the moment, back to the Carene.
The design of the Carene is, in my opinion, one of its strongest points. I’ve heard that Waterman designed it to look like a classic speedboat of the thirties, and surprisingly I can kind of see it. It has lots of swooping lines that do sort of remind me of that aesthetic. Everything is very swept, from the cap design to the nib to the end finial, it looks like it was designed for a mix of speed and elegance. It also deserves credit for being a bit different, I haven’t seen very many other pens that look like this, there are a few which might have a similar sort of overall style, but nothing that actually looks exactly like this. The inlaid nib is a nice, genuinely unusual touch. This is particularly nice to see from a brand like Waterman, which often gets some flak for being a ‘legacy’ brand that doesn’t really innovate anymore. I think the Carene definitely ticks the innovative box, especially if you look at some of the more interesting finishes it comes in, and there are a lot. The cartridge converter filling system isn’t anything too radical, but it works well and makes cleaning and maintenance easy.
In the hand this pen is quite nice and well balanced, it is lacquered brass, which makes it slightly heavier than I usually like, but it’s still perfectly usable and far from ridiculously heavy. There are lots of nice examples of attention to detail, the sloped end finnial is threaded so it lines up with the nib, the section-barrel threads have a couple of O rings on so everything seats down nicely. However there is one problem I have with the Carene, it’s a bit too ‘swept’ I find the section quite slippery and combined with the inlaid nib it’s quite easy for me to find my fingers down around the nib and covered in ink. I’m not sure if this is my fault or the pen’s, but it is something I’ve noticed happening consistently and it does get a bit annoying.
The nib is 18ct gold and inlaid and aesthetically really works with the design and in it’s own right just looks amazing, I mean look at it. The nib on mine is a medium and writes a super smooth line, it’s actually a little too smooth for me personally, but if you like smooth nibs I’m sure this would be your cup of tea. It’s a complete nail, there’s not a hint of line variation, although apparently there is a stub available, although I haven’t had any experience with it. It’s a nice nib, although nothing massively unusual, although I don’t mean that to say it’s not a good nib, just be prepared for it to be extra rigid. That being said it is nice to see an in-house nib rather than another #6 Bock or JoWo (not that I have anything against them, it’s just nice to see something a bit more adventurous)
So my overall thoughts on the Carene? It’s a nice pen, and it’s something a bit different at it’s normal retail price it’s up there with some pretty stiff competition (Lamy 2000, Platinum 3776, Edison Pens ect.) But I do think it is sufficiently different from what is already out there to be worthy of consideration, in fact I would say the fact that it is a bit different is it’s main selling point, Waterman did something a bit different with the Carene and I think it’s worked. There are some features which don’t work for me, but despite that this is a pen I like, and one that I do think deserves a bit more recognition.