Friday, 12 October 2012

Review of the Parker Esprit fountain pen

I am waaay behind with my stationery reviews! Not only have I promised reviews of this pen, but I still haven’t reviewed the Moleskine diary yet and then… for my birthday, I got another fountain pen and some J Herbin inks from my DH, so I will be reviewing them too soon.

But, let’s start with this pen. I bought it because I wanted a fine-nibbed fountain pen. I seem to be the only person in the world who doesn’t like Lamy pens, so I was on the hunt for something else. Anyway, I have always liked Parker pens, this came up and I decided I would give it a whirl. I bought a Parker converter too but, as you will see below, it doesn’t fit (but has been put to good use elsewhere!).

small cartridge, collapsed pen, pen carrier

It came in the carrier (on the right of the picture above). I doubt if I will ever use the carrier on a day to day basis. It’s a bit too big and chunky and I wouldn’t really carry a fountain pen around in my handbag. They tend to all live on my desk/in my desk drawer. Inside the carrier is some foam padding with a hole in the middle to slot the pen into and it holds the pen very snugly. The dimensions of the carrier are 12.5cm length with the three sides of the triangle each about 3.25 cm.

The pen itself collapses, which is why it takes the small cartridges and why the piston converter didn’t fit! Whilst this is nifty and all that, it’s not really why I bought it (and if you used the enormous carrier, it would hardly be space-saving either). However, having said all that, in the collapsed size, it is a perfect fit in the pen loop of the Mulberry! The length of the pen (collapsed) is 11.4cm; its length (uncollapsed but still capped) is 13.2cm. End to nib point is 11.8cm.

Uncollapsed but still capped

Uncollapsed; uncapped

Feel of the pen:
The pen itself is a comfortable fit in my hand. It’s quite light and the weight distribution feels good, though I never post the cap. With the cap posted, it would feel too tipped towards the back and not the nib, for my taste.

The nib:
The nib is described as fine and it does lay a much narrower line than most of the rest of my pens but possibly not as fine as some might expect. I have a Japanese fine-nibbed pen (I have no idea of the make) which lays down a significantly finer line than this one and is also merely labelled as Fine. I also find that the thickness of the line depends enormously on the paper used.

This is what the line looks like on Cartesio (aka blotting!!) paper:

But this is the same pen and ink combination on Basildon Bond writing paper:

Huge difference!

Ink supplied:
I’m not a big fan of Parker blue ink – I find it a little bleugh in colour – neither vivid enough blue to dazzle, nor serious enough to demand respect. The cartridge fitted is one of the two blue ones that came with the pen, merely because I wanted to use the pen and also use up the ink so I can refill the cartridge with better stuff. When the ink runs out, I will use the J Herbin sapphire blue ink (using a syringe and needle-type filler to refill the cartridge).

Writing with it:
I have used this pen to write a few long letters and some notes etc. It’s light in my hand, doesn’t need a tight grip, the ink flows easily without applying pressure and my hand doesn’t cramp. I couldn’t really ask for more.

The cap closes with such a firm click that this is one of the few pens I would actually trust in my Mulberry! Most of my other pens have a less positive closure and I would always fear that they were spilling their insides whilst I wasn’t watching. This one has an extremely satisfying closing. It collapses down first, then clicks shut very securely.

Very nice fit in the Mulberry

Overall, I am really pleased with the pen. My handwriting always looks better with an italic nibbed pen, but this pen is very smooth to write with.


  1. You're not alone, I don't like Lamy pens either. I own a Sheaffer, a Cross and a Parker. The Parker is the only one that performs consistently every time I use it, if I'm not sure about a new ink or new paper, the Parker comes out. Annoyingly, its the cheapest of the three! Definately going to get some more Parkers, I'm thinking of getting a Sonnet, had have you had any experience with them?

    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who prefers Parkers! I do have a Sonnet and it's a lovely pen. Lays down a slightly wetter and thicker line than some of my other pens but that might be the ink and nib combo rather then just the nib. The ink in it is a Parker cartridge. The pen is a lovely feel in the hand. There is a rubberised grip which I know some people might not like, but I do. It's a good reliable pen for me. I've just this moment taken it out of the drawer to remind myself what it's like (yes, I have that many fountain pens...) and it wrote immediately - no drying out or anything.
      Hope that helps - feel free to get in touch again if you need more info/help/advice.

  2. Thanks for the mini review Amanda, it sounds lovely. I'm definitely tempted now! Though I'll be good and wait til after Christmas to treat myself :)