It’s been a surprisingly busy time here for the last few months, despite Covid. As usual, I am spreading myself thinner than a bungee rope at full stretch, albeit with considerably less bounce. Consequently, I have rather neglected this blog and the posts I had been planning to write. However, as part of the United Inkdom revival, I have found myself with a Kaweco Supra to play with and so here is my review.
The Supra comes in a two variants, brass and steel, and this review is for the Stainless Steel version. Looking like a big brother to the Lilliput, the Kaweco Supra is a beautifully engineered pen. You can barely see the join between cap and barrel on this futuristic-looking cylinder. There is no clip and it could easily be mistaken for a Sci-Fi or Bond movie gadget. It is everything we have come to expect from German pens: precision made, functional aesthetic and minimalist styling. It’s a very solid piece of kit too, weighing in at 49g. And by solid, I mean it gives the impression that it would probably survive the apocalypse (zombie or otherwise), which could come in handy given how 2020 has gone so far.
This is not a pen for lovers of frills, froth and frippery. The wow-factor here is more for those who like gadgets and gimmicks. For this is something of a gimmicky pen, with a split barrel that allows you to convert it into a pocket pen. The cap screws onto end of the barrel, which in full length mode makes it top heavy. In pocket pen mode, however, posting not only makes the it a comfortable length, but also improves the balance.
Naturally. shortening the barrel means that you can’t use a standard sized converter. Nor is the Kaweco mini plunge converter long enough. Unless you are religious about only filling it half way, you will end up squirting ink everywhere if you attempt it. Kaweco do make a mini squeeze converter, so presumably this is an option, otherwise you will have to stick to cartridges.
The Supra is available in a range of 5 standard nib sizes from EF to BB, all in steel, so you should find something to suit your preference. It is worth noting, that the nib units for the Supra are not interchangeable with other Kaweco units. This is not a problem for me as I don’t own any Kaweco pens. However, if you had a mind to switch your nib units across from your other Kaweco pens, then think again. This pen was supplied with a Medium nib.
I find steel nibs can often be quite stiff. I have recently been using some of my vintage gold-nibbed pens and had a little difficulty readjusting. So I parked testing out this pen for a while to avoid any negative biased on that score. However, I needn’t have worried. It is a lovely, smooth writer and glides across the page effortlessly. Although, I would be interested to try out the EF and Fine nibs, my personal preference, to see if they are as smooth.
Lovely as it is to write with, this is quite a heavy pen and I can’t see myself using it for long periods. Also, the section is quite short and the thread for the cap rubs uncomfortably on my fingers, though this is down to how I hold my pens and may not be an issue for others.
Generally, the comfort levels for use are a bit of a Goldilocks scenario (after a fashion) and vary depending on how you have the pen configured and how you like your porr…er…pen. At full length and posted, it is slightly top heavy, too long and I felt the weight of the pen through the threads leaning against my supporting finger. Unposted, it wasn’t entirely comfortable either as it felt a little on the short side, which is probably less to do with the actual length than the weight distribution. It’s not actually too short, it just doesn’t feel quite right. In “pocket” mode and posted, however, the balance and length was just right. Even the weight felt better and the threads between the section and barrel less pronounced.
I love the idea of this pen – I like gadgets and gimmicks – and I can’t fault the build quality or style, but it’s very much a “close but no cigar (pen)” from my point of view. Pocket mode is my preferred setup, but there is the drawback of the barrel being too short for a decent converter. Given that I have a number of pocket pens that do not have this problem, whilst also having a clip and being lighter, I can’t see myself opting for this one. The section length is also an issue for me personally, due to how and where I hold my pen. If you prefer to hold yours closer to the nib, or with a different grip, you may not find this a problem. Similarly, the weight and length only really feel comfortable for me in pocket mode, but not be a issue for someone else.
Who is it for
- Q – Bond’s gadget and gimmick meister (modifications may be required)
- Pocket pen collectors
- Heavy pen fanciers
- Close to the nib grippers
- Wannabe Sci-Fi Death Ray Wand owners
Available at the usual specialist pen outlets**, the Steel Kaweco Supra falls into the mid-range price bracket. It retails at around £100* (between £85 and £105, depending on where you shop). If you like gadgets and want a stylish, solid, well-engineered and versatile pen, this one won’t break the bank.
It’s a super little, medium, or long pen, but mainly due to the short section length, alas, it’s not one for me.
*The Brass version is usually slightly cheaper