Guest Review: Kaweco Liliput Al Fine Nib Fountain Pen

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(This is a guest review by Ben Dahl. You can follow Ben on Twitter @TheBenDahl)

Between show reviews for Lost in Concert, posts for Cool Material and a general desire not to forget any brilliant ideas (upon reexamination most of them are anything but, but I wouldn'€™t know that if I didn'€™t write them down), my list of demands when it comes to pens includes everything but a jet fueled and waiting on the tarmac.

It has to be convenient enough that I won'€™t mind carry it all night, but durable enough to take a beating without it also serving as a paperweight. Reliable enough that I don't have to worry about turning it into a Shake Weight in the middle of a performance. Comfortable enough that I won't mind filling a few Field Notes with chicken scratch over the course of a day. Other bonuses include, but aren't limited to: not having a cap I have to hold and/or lose, not looking like a weapon (you'€™d be surprised how anal retentive security guards are), affordable and good looking. In other words, I'€™m asking for a lot in a single writing implement. When Brad suggested a fountain pen I thought he was crazy, but the Kaweco Liliput Al delivers.

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The first thing everyone notices about the Liliput Al is its size. It'€™s tiny. Closed, it's about as long as a standard wallet and only slightly longer than a cigarette. With the cap screwed onto the end for writing purposes it'€™s barely longer than an iPhone. It fits into every place I can think of to put a pen: pockets, bags, pen slots, cups and office organizers. In fact, I'm having difficulty thinking of a place that this pen won't fit. That's fantastic, but it's also the only real flaw with this pen. If you're not careful, there's about a 75% chance you will lose this pen. It's ended up in the washer on more than one occasion simply because I didn'€™t realize it was still in a pants pocket. Obviously it'€™s tiny, but what about everything else?

In case a few trips through with the dirty laundry isn't enough of an inclination, the Liliput Al is built like a tank. The full aluminum body and stainless steel nib (F in this case) make it all but impervious to trips down stairs, being thrown at a wall (What? I had to test it!) and getting stepped on. I did everything short of running this thing over with a car and none of it even marred the gorgeous matte black finish.

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You can beat it up however you want and nothing bad will happen, but there'€™s only one real way to write with it. If you don'€™t screw the cap on the back of the pen it'€™s about as comfortable and easy to operate as a stylus on a Palm Treo. It's as fun as Calculus so not at all. Once you put the cap where it belongs, though, writing is a breeze. There's no drag on the page, no tearing and no ink seepage. Once the ink's on the page, it doesn't bleed and dries quickly enough that you don'€™t have to worry about everything turning into a blob if you use a notebook that closes. It'€™s not beer resistant, but that's to be expected with liquid ink (standard cartridge).

All things considered, the Kaweco Liliput Al is a fantastic little fountain pen. I would happily spend $55 on one of these pens and recommend it to anyone looking for something a little out of the ordinary. You can take it with you everywhere without worrying about it, and you'€™ll always know it'€™s ready for service … as long as you don't lose it in your pocket.

Posted on May 2, 2012 and filed under Fountain Pens, Guest Post, Kaweco, Liliput, Pen Reviews.