Here we have a limited edition pocket pen made in a very special and hard-wearing material: bronze. Bronze shares with brass and copper the very welcome property of being anti-microbial at a time when such might seem quite a boon in an age of plague.
Heidelberg to Nuremberg
Kaweco is a German pen manufacturer that commenced production in 1883 in the city of Heidelberg, in the state of Baden-Württemberg where it remained until closure in 1980. Then the brand was revived by pen enthusiast and entrepreneur Michael Gutberlet in 1994 in the city of Nuremberg, in the state of Bavaria. The revived enterprise is set in a very modern building and a much revived and vibrant tourist and cultural regional hub. (Nuremberg is very definitely worth a visit and not just for the museum of the post WWII trials. The city has a number of pens shops too.)
The move from Heidelberg to Nuremberg has not seen any diminution in design and build quality. In the 1930s Kaweco pens came with a 10 year, or a lifetime warranty which underscored the company’s belief in the reliability of its manufactory. This Kaweco Bronze Sport model will probably last as long and as well as the vintage Kaweco Dia that it is compared, contrasted with below. (See pictures and dimension details below.)
The Pen Itself
The Kaweco Bronze Sport is a limited edition fountain pen. (It is also available in rollerball, mechanical pencil and ballpoint versions.) Typically the pen comes in a cardboard-sleeved beautiful and ornate art deco tin with the legend: License to Write and the familiar fountain pen finial tricuspid logo KA/WE/CO gracing the lower right corner. Inside the tin there is a mini leaflet in German and English of the firm’s history and a holographic logo sticker to use as you wish. The tin itself is made in China but everything in the tin is made in Germany.
The substantial hexagonal cap (70mm long and 18.5g) is as heavy as some pens and would suit a full sized pen. The cap’s finial features the classic tricuspid logo. However, it comes off in less than one full turn to reveal a cylindrical body with a small (15mm in length) concave section and about 3.5mm of threads that did not feel sharp or noticeable to my grip.
The shape and design of the body echo the vintage Kaweco Dia but the Bronze Sport ends in a concave dimple rather than a convex pimple. Unscrewing the body from the nib section revealed a mini cartridge filled with a purplish ink. (Standard longer international cartridges will not fit.)
As a compact pocket pen the ink filling options are on the small side. You can fuel your Kaweco Bronze Sport via mini international cartridges, or using Kaweco’s unique mini converters, one is a plunger type mechanism and other a simple plastic squeeze bulb version. All three options are of very limited capacity, about 0.5ml. Both of the converter options are a little tricky to fill. The pen does not come with a converter; you have to order one with the pen. Similarly, if you require a pocket clip such as the lovely vintage looking bronze one to match the pen then this also needs to be bought separately, and at additional cost. (The Kaweco Brass Sport has a antique bronze clip on it – see below in the dimensions section.)
This new edition in bronze is a lovely addition to the long-standing model of the Kaweco Sport, which goes back to a 1911 design for use by sportsmen. The design of a hefty hexagonal cap holding a cylindrical body has been a constant over a century and remains perennially popular. Previous limited or special edition versions of the Kaweco Sport have included brass and steel versions.
Bronze is an almost perfect material for a portable pocket fountain pen instruments; it is hard-wearing and also sports anti-bacterial properties. As with brass and copper, in time surface oxidisation will render a beautiful and unique patina to your pen. (See below the picture of Gravitas, Namisu and Ystudio pens of these ‘aged’ pens.)
Bronze is an historic material that has been used by human beings for almost 6 millennia. Older and ancient bronze was composed of a very wide range of metals, including in some instances high proportions of silver (over 20%). Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bronze
Modern bronze alloy typically consists of 88% copper, mixed with about 12% of tin but also often with other metals (chiefly: aluminium, manganese, nickel, or zinc) and sometimes non-metals, such as phosphorus to convey specialist qualities for use in marine environments (for example, for making ship propellers). Pen makers such as Gravitas, Namisu and Ystudio have all produced ‘normal-size’ variety of bronze and copper fountain pens. These are heavy beasts. The Gravitas is just short of 100g, the Namisu Naos: 80.6g, and the slimmer (12mm) copper Ystudio Classic (styled as a portable fountain pen): 48.25g.
How Does it Feel, How Does it Write?
Sitting snug and very substantial ‘between finger and thumb’, capped or uncapped, it is a pleasure to hold and to use. The former weighs in at just under 30g and capped the heft is almost 50g.This is some two times the heft of the fountain pen yardstick of the capped Lamy Al-star’s 24g. The texture of the pen in the hand is silky smooth; it is tactile joy.
In its own right this is a great little writer. Writing with it uncapped worked fine for me, but I have a small hand and most folk might prefer to write with the cap posted.
The pen came with a lush looking rose gold plated Bock 180 (which looks bronze-coloured and complements the pen) medium steel nib, but EF, M, B and BB size nibs are also available. (Just to note that in the Writing Sample below it erroneously describes the nib as fine.) The nib units are screw in and come out clean and easy. (I have a Bock 076 No.5 nib unit and whilst this wider shouldered version of the No.5 screwed in nicely it appeared to catch in the cap innards so I did not push my luck.)
|Pen||Length mm||Width mm||Uncapped mm||Weight g|
|Kaweco Bronze Sport||107||13||101||48.2|
|Kaweco Dia (1930s vintage)||115||10.5||108||11.4|
As noted above the Kaweco Bronze Sport came with an almost full mini-cartridge of a brick red ink, chiefly Diamine Burgundy Rose, and I really enjoyed the full combination of nib, pen and ink. The pen leaves a lovely line on the page and looks and feels very comfortable in the hand. Posting the cap made the pen feel much more heavy and slightly unbalanced in the hand. I think that my preference would be to use this bronze edition unposted. I have a Kaweco Brass Sport which is a mere few grams less than the bronze version and always use it unposted. (The images below do not do justice to the ink’s colour.)
Kaweco is well-known and has a strong reputation for its compact pocket pens. This one is well-made. It looks and feels good in the hand. Over time as it gets roughed and scuffed in your pocket, or bag it will gain a range of scratches and patina unique to its experiences with you.
It is not a cheap pocket pen and going for bronze will typically set you back between: £130 to £160, depending on which retailer that you go for. Some of these retailers offer a discount to Facebook group: Fountain Pens UK members, or have periodic bank holiday offers so you could get it for about £117 or so.
If you want a mini converter or a bronze clip to go with the pen then those will be extra. A mini plunger converter should cost about £6 and the bronze pen clip about £6.
It is certainly a classy pen with a classic look and feel to it and its excellent production standards and values strike me as value for money. Intrinsically it works for me and I am definitely enthused and inspired to get one and this is despite already possessing five Kaweco Sport fountain pens.
Disclaimer: The pen was kindly provided on loan by Kaweco. This review was written solely for personal satisfaction, freely and without favour.