(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)
The Kaweco Skyline Sport is one of Kaweco's many diminutive fountain pens. Only 4.1 inches long when capped, the pen lengthens to 5.2 inches posted which makes it comfortable for writing. The pen's body is made of plastic, and the nib is steel. The Skyline Sport comes in three colors: gray, black, and mint. I chose mint because it is an unusual color and reminds me of spring. I don't really see much of a difference between the Skyline Sport and the Classic Sport. JetPens says that the Classic is 5.3 inches posted vs. the Skyline at 5.2 inches, but they look the same length to me. The only other difference I could find is that the Classic comes with gold-plated nibs and the Skyline with chrome-plated.
The packaging is nothing special--just a simple black, cardboard box with the pen in a plastic sleeve. The pen comes with one blue cartridge, so if you buy a Kaweco, plan on ordering additional cartridges and/or purchasing a converter to use your own bottled ink.
The pen is simple but beautiful, with clean lines and minimal adornments. The cap has a metal medallion on top with the Kaweco logo, and "Kaweco Sport" is engraved on the pen's body.
The pen does not come with a clip, though you can purchase one for $6.75. The clip I bought for my original Kaweco Sport isn't very functional. If you exert any pressure to clip it to a notebook or a pocket, it slips right off the barrel. I like the design of Kaweco's new deco clips, so I might buy one just to enhance the Skyline's appearance.
Because I don't like being limited to cartridges, I purchased Kaweco's squeeze converter ($3.00).
The converter is tiny and is impossible to fill without a huge mess. I tried filling the converter first, dipping its opening into the ink and squeezing, and I wound up with Diamine Mint all over my hands. Then I attached the converter to the nib unit and tried filling through the nib. No matter how many times I squeezed the converter, I could only get a tiny amount of ink to go in the sac. So, I resorted to squeezing, pulling the nib out, turning the tip up, tapping on the sac to get the ink to go to the bottom, and quickly dipping and squeezing again. After several attempts and very inky fingers, I was able to get the converter mostly full.
To put it bluntly, the converter is a pain to use. It might be better to purchase a syringe to fill the converter or to fill empty cartridges. Or you can easily convert the Kaweco into an eyedropper by putting silicone grease on the threads and filling the body of the pen with ink. One other thing I discovered about the converter: dark inks stain the plastic sac.
I was looking forward to trying Kaweco's broad nib. My Kaweco Sport has a fine nib that writes quite well. I wanted to see if the broad nib offered more line variation. Unfortunately, I'm disappointed with the broad nib.
After writing with it for a day, my hand grew tired because I had to put a good amount of pressure on the nib to get the ink to flow. I soaked the nib and feed in some pen wash while I was at work, rinsed, reassembled, and let the pen sit for a while, nib down, to let the ink soak into the feed. This seemed to help, at first. I got good ink flow and the pen wrote smoothly. But after a few pages, the flow petered out, and I was having to use some pressure again. The nib probably needs adjusting.
I don't really expect much from a $23.75 pen with a steel nib. But my other Kaweco writes quite well, and I don't have to use any pressure at all. From what I've read on the fountain pen forums, Kaweco nibs vary in quality from pen to pen, which is unfortunate.
Interestingly, the difference between the fine and broad nibs isn't all that noticeable. I expected the broad nib to be much wider than it is. When put side-by-side with a fine nib, the broad nib looks substantially larger.
But when you write with it, the portion of the broad nib that actually touches the paper is small.
Writing samples from the broad and the fine nib just don't look very different. The broad nib seems more like a medium, if that.
The Skyline Sport is made of plastic, and it feels rather cheap in the hand. The plastic has a few rough spots, but overall the grip is smooth and the threads aren't annoying.
However, as you can see in the photo of my older Kaweco Sport, the plastic scratches easily with everyday use. Posting the cap leaves indentations in the barrel.
One advantage of the Kaweco Skyline's small size, is that it fits easily into a pocket or purse. My Kaweco Sport kept getting lost in the depths of my bag, so now I keep it in the zippered plastic pocket of my small Midori notebook (it won't fit in the pen loop because the cap is too big).
- Small, convenient size
- The Skyline model comes a unique mint color as well as black and gray
- Inexpensive. but you get what you pay for
- If you are lucky enough to get a decent nib, the Kaweco writes quite smoothly
- The pen seems cheaply made, has some rough spots, and the body scratches easily
- The cartridges hold a small amount of ink
- The converter is fiddly and messy to use
- The broad nib, so far, writes dry and requires pressure to keep the ink flowing