In its heyday, Parker was on top of the pen and pencil world. Anyone who was anyone owned a Parker, with many of their classic designs still highly sought after to this day. The last couple of decades haven't been so nice to this once elite brand though. Their offerings have been mostly mediocre in my view, and are getting lapped by competitors who offer more for less.
I was honestly not excited when I heard about the latest Parker fountain pen releases, but one thing caught my eye: They used the word Vacumatic in the product description. Along with the Duofold and the 51, the Vacumatic is classic Parker design at its best. I own a Vacumatic and it remains one of the most intriguing and beautiful pens I own. Just that one little mention had me anxious to see what Parker had up its sleeve.
The Parker IM Premium pays homage to the original Vacumatic's horizontal stripe design, and they pulled it off well. The Emerald Pearl model I received from JetPens shares a bit of the color scheme with my classic Vac, but the materials and functionality are completely different.
First off, this is an aluminum barrel pen, unlike the resin barrels of yesteryear. So, no translucency through the barrel, but rather a solid, lightweight metal replacement. Secondly, this is a cartridge/coverter filler, meaning no fancy vacumatic filling action, which is likely a cost issue. This is not your grandfathers Vacumatic, and based on the naming, it isn't supposed to be.
The IM Premium is a good quality entry level fountain pen - that's what it is designed to be. I think Parker pulled it off well here, too. It has a classic look while retaining a modern style. The traditional Parker arrow clip is there, but they mix in a brushed metal section to give it an up to date feel.
One thing that caught my eye when first unboxing it was the scale of the nib compared to the pen body. It is small - smaller visually than I am used to. Once I inked it up with the provided blue ink cartridge it wrote so well I no longer noticed the size. The medium stainless steel nib is smooth and the line width is controlled and just the proper width. The ink flow was spot on. And the blue ink color itself? Really, really nice, which was another surprise.
I didn't think it would happen, but I am enjoying this pen. Either Parker has been doing a better job of late (I dig their Jotter 60th Anniversary Edition), or I am turning into my grandfather. Neither of those would be a bad thing.
(JetPens is a sponsor of The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)