There was a time when I believed a single fountain pen was enough to keep me happy. I figured one pen would happily satisfy my pretentious writing needs at the office or at home.
That time came and went a long time ago.
Quite clearly, there are pens for every occasion. I keep my Lamy 2000 at the ready for any significant signatures or for writing occasionally on beautiful Tomoe River paper. I also adore my Pilot Vanishing Point; retracting the nib like you do a cheap Bic ballpoint still keeps me smiling.
But I didn’t have a fountain pen for my pocket. No matter how hard I tried, the Pilot Vanishing Point nor the Lamy 2000 would comfortably fit in my pocket for quick, on-the-spot use.
Enter Kaweco’s storied line of Sport pens. Kaweco’s Sport pens range from less expensive, plastic-barrelled fountain pens through to carbon fiber and aluminum pens. The foundation of the Sport line, though, is in their overall shape and size. No matter which Sport pen you have in your collection, it’s sure to be small enough to fit in your pocket.
The latest Sport pen is no different.
The Kaweco BRASS Sport is the eighth pen in the Kaweco Sport series and features a beautifully constructed brass body in the traditionally small Sport package.
There’s very little more than meets the eye with this Sport, but it’s what meets the eye which is of utmost importance.
Build & Design
Kaweco’s Sport pens all share the same small, compact design. The pens have an octagonal shaped cap which unscrews from the small cylindrical body. When posted, Sport pens extend long enough to provide a comfortable length for writing.
When closed, Sport pens have a length of 10.5 centimeters (about 4.13 inches) and extend to 13.5 centimeters (about 5.31 inches) when the cap is posted.
At about 4”, any Sport pen fits easily in a front pocket, a back pocket, or a messenger bag pocket for quick toting.
Sport pens have screw-on caps, leaving threads in the grip section where your fingers rest. Often, pen companies fail to buff and smooth the threads, causing an uncomfortable writing experience after extensive use. Kaweco has executed the threads perfectly on this BRASS Sport though, as the threads are more subdued and smoothed out. While I’ve been hesitant to purchase a screw-on pen because of these threads, Kaweco’s work has reinsured me.
Unscrewing and rescrewing the cap is no more or less difficult than one would expect. It generally takes two hands to unscrew the cap from the body, but this is to be expected. Further, I prefer the security the screw-on cap gives in regards to ink-leaking; by having to use two hands to unscrew the cap, I can rest assured knowing no extra ink will end up in my pants or shirt pocket.
Where the BRASS Sport differs from the rest of the Sport line is in its durable, high-quality brass body. Out of the funky tin box — which reminds me a lot of a tin of Altoids — the BRASS Sport has a brilliantly polished body and is smooth to the touch. The brass is well buffed out of the box and far from the steel-y feeling I expected.
However, upon first touch, the brass body begins to pick up your skin’s natural oils and develops a patina over time. This patina quickly makes your BRASS Sport different than any other BRASS Sport. You can easily spot where your fingers normally hold the pen and where the pen rests in the webbing between your index finger and your thumb. Any sun-kissed point on the pen gives off a unique character and makes any BRASS Sport one-of-a-kind.
Along with the brilliant patina comes brass’ natural smell. Raising the BRASS Sport to your nose reveals a metallic scent. More importantly, when writing, the BRASS Sport’s smell rubs off on your finger tips and leaves your hands smelling metallic and oily. It’s a unique characteristic of any brass instrument and is very present with the BRASS Sport.
The bottom of the BRASS Sport is uneventful and hardly worth noting. Close inspection shows a well executed milling and a perfectly circular end.
In contrast, the BRASS Sport’s finial is more intricate. The Kaweco logo on top of the cap is made of metal and is durable enough to throw around in your pocket or your bag without worry of scratching or marking it up.
The finial’s durability extends throughout the body and, overall, allows the BRASS Sport to be a fantastic pocket pen. Kaweco’s Sport line has always been small and compact, so in that regard the BRASS Sport is no different. However, the brass’ natural characteristic of developing a patina makes the BRASS Sport one of the prettiest pens on the market right now. Everybody’s BRASS Sport will look and feel different, although they will all leave a metallic smell on your hands.
Nib & Writing Experience
Kaweco has been known for having quality control issues with its nibs. The first time I read about a Sport pen, the pen was known for an issue known as “Baby’s Bottom”. Jeff Abbott explained Baby’s Bottom over at the Pen Addict:
Basically, baby’s bottom is a problem with the nib in which the tines come together and form a small inverse pool instead of a flat surface where the nib meets the paper. Since the part of the nib that delivers the ink isn’t really touching the paper, the result is bad starts and inconsistent ink flow.
As such, after reading Jeff’s article, I had been very hesitant to purchase a Kaweco pen of any kind. The AL Sport and the BRASS Sport are largely the same pen, so the worry of a poor nib loomed over a potential Kaweco purchase.
Luckily, I’ve had no such problems with my BRASS Sport nib.
My BRASS Sport came with a fine nib and I’ve been very pleased with the result. The fine nib leaves wider lines than my Pilot Vanishing Point’s extra-fine nib and thinner strokes than my Lamy 2000’s medium nib. While this seems obvious, I am often surprised to find nibs which don’t fit properly in the scale.
I’ve used the BRASS Sport almost exclusively inside my Hobonichi Techo. The Hobonichi’s Tomoe River paper is known for its incredibly smooth characteristics and the Kaweco BRASS Sport’s nib works beautifully on this paper. The BRASS Sport’s fine nib has yet to skip and leaves a very generic amount of ink on the paper — not too much ink, so as to bleed or take a long time to dry, and not too little ink, causing a scratchy feeling.
The Kaweco’s fine nib is nowhere near as smooth as the Lamy 2000’s medium nib, but I wouldn’t stray too far by saying the Kaweco’s fine nib is smoother than the Pilot Vanishing Point’s extra-fine nib. I may be comparing apples to oranges here, but if I had to rank those three pens, the Kaweco would find itself smack in the middle.
The BRASS Sport comes with a cartridge of Kaweco’s blue ink and I haven’t been disappointed with the ink so far. It’s a bit purple-y for my tastes, but it’s a nice variety beside my excessive use of Iroshizuku Kon-Peki and Iroshizuku Shin-Kai. Kon-Peki is considerably more vibrant and light, while Shin-Kai is more subdued and neutral.
But most importantly, I’m a fan of the line the Kaweco nib creates. The steel nib doesn’t have much flex and I’m pleasantly surprised with the small amount of line variation in my writing. Unlike the flexier Lamy 2000 nib, I find the BRASS Sport gives me stronger, more distinct lines. It may be my imagination, but I prefer the look of the BRASS Sport’s writing.
I also ordered one of Kaweco’s squeeze converters so I could use my own inks in the future. The converter is very small and has been a bit of a letdown, especially in comparison to the wonderful converters found in the Pilot Vanishing Point. When inserted into the nib, you squeeze the converter a few times to suck ink from the bottle, through the nib, and into the converter. Like the Kaweco cartridge, there isn’t much ink sucked into the converter, so I expect to be changing inks and cleaning the BRASS Sport quite often.
Value & Everyday Use
The BRASS Sport hit the fountain pen market with much excitement. As a result, it’s been a difficult pen to get your hands on and commands a higher price than other Kaweco Sport pens. The BRASS Sport retails for $100, while the aluminum Sport variety hovers around the $80 mark.
Evidently, this isn’t a cheap pen by any stretch. Kaweco’s AL Sport pens are often one of the first “premium” pens a budding pen connoisseur purchases, so having the BRASS Sport’s price coming in higher may cause an eyebrow to be raised.
But any Kaweco Sport pen serves a different purpose than your standard “premium” fountain pen. Kaweco Sports, and the BRASS Sport in particular, are meant to be thrown into your pocket and ready at a moment’s notice. This pen most likely won’t hold your desk down at the office, nor will it be your go-to pen for signing important documents. The BRASS Sport is meant to be your everyday carry, no-harm-no-foul pen. Sitting in that use-case demands certain materials, and the BRASS Sport’s body alone will cost significantly more to manufacture than a plastic Sport.
Is $100 expensive for this pen? It might be. In fact, it probably is. When you can pick up a Lamy 2000 for only a few dollars more than the Kaweco BRASS Sport, it’s hard to argue in favour of the BRASS Sport’s pricing.
But the Lamy 2000 is a desk pen — an “I’m signing a confidential document” sort of pen. The Kaweco BRASS Sport is an entirely different animal. And the unmistakeable aura of a brass pen isn’t worthless either. This pen looks and feels premium, without a doubt. Overall, I’m left happy with my purchase. The durability of the brass body also leaves nothing to be desired, so the only worry I have about the lifetime of this pen is my own clumsiness and half-minded doings. The only time this pen will let me down is if I lose it.
I look at my growing collection and can no longer find any holes. I have a wonderful — and historical — Lamy 2000 at the ready. I have a masterfully executed Pilot Vanishing Point sitting in my messenger bag for use at the office. And I now have a magnificent pocket fountain pen for use everywhere.
The BRASS Sport, being Kaweco’s latest in its line of popular Sport pens, could be Kaweco’s most well executed Sport pen. The aluminum Sports have always held a special place in people’s hearts, but there’s something about the beautiful brass patina which makes the BRASS Sport my favourite pen in the Sport line. The patina’s specific finger placements and the fine nib’s distinct lines give the BRASS Sport an unprecedented amount of personality — at least in relation to the rest of my collection.
For now, the only thing I’m holding out for is a copper Sport. Since the price of such a pen would be completely unrealistic, I’ll happily pull my BRASS Sport from my pocket until my out-of-this-world dream comes true.
My thanks to Pen Chalet for the opportunity to review this pen. I did purchase this pen, but at a discounted rate for the purposes of review. Regardless of how this pen was acquired, the thoughts above were not affected.