Kaweco AL Sport Stonewashed
Fountain Pen Review
This is another review by new contributor Tim Pockett. Tim is an EDC and stationery enthusiast from the South West U.K. with a background in copywriting. You can follow his Instagram account here for some awesome pen, paper, watch, and EDC shots. To read more reviews by Tim, click his author page next to the little pencil icon above.
Review Ink: Kaweco Pearl Black
Review Paper: Rhodia 90 gsm
Description: Extraordinarily compact, easy carry pocket fountain pen.
Nib: Stainless Steel #4 Bock nib, Fine
Filling Mechanism: International short cartridge
Weight: 22g (capped)
Measurements: 10.6 cm (4.2”) capped, 12.9 cm (5.1”) posted, 10.1 cm (4.0”) unposted.
Color Options: Black Stonewashed & Blue Stonewashed (Available from Pen Heaven, Pen Chalet)
The Kaweco AL Sport Stonewashed offers classic good looks, a solid build, and a remarkable design that shrinks it to just 10.6 cm when capped. These traits, coupled with the rugged finish, make it a natural contender for a great pocket fountain pen. Let’s take a closer look to see if this writing instrument lives up to expectation.
Appearance & Packaging:
The unusual look of the Sport Stonewashed is mainly thanks to its function-led design. Proportions are a departure from the typical fountain pen, with the Sport’s cap making up two thirds of the overall length when closed. The substantial lid adds plenty of length to this stubby pen when posted, making it comfortable to hold when writing. But more about that later.
A tasteful finial crowns the eight-sided cap with the Kaweco logo. This shiny detail adds a nice contrast to the pen’s matt, tool-like aesthetic. The pen’s body tucks snugly into the lid, with a stepped barrel which allows the elongated cap to post securely when writing. Capped, the overall look is extremely compact – and I love the pen’s short, fat look which sets it aside from conventional ink pens.
The great aesthetics are a little thrown by the jumble of fonts and capitalisation of “Kaweco AL Sport Germany”, engraved into the lid (with the ‘AL’ denoting the pen’s aluminum build). On a very minimalist and cohesive design, this flurry of styles seems a little out of place – but that’s just my view.
This isn’t a completely different model from the rest of the AL Sport line, but more of a variation on the finish. Essentially, the pen’s black anodising has been worn away on every exposed edge or surface by an industrial tumbling process. It’s a look that may divide opinion, but I love it. Kaweco have done a great job, and the end result looks very natural. The pen’s vintage design really lends itself to the distressed look, with the bare metal emphasising the hard edges of the cap and other prominent details. This finish is a great option for those looking for something with character – but it’s also a practical choice for a pen that’s going to potentially be sharing a pocket with metal stuff like keys and other items.
The Kaweco AL Sport comes packaged in a gold colored tin that bears the brand’s logo and a retro style graphic. This is actually Kaweco’s ‘gift tin’, which can be purchased separately – presumably for the less expensive plastic Sport models. An instruction manual and sticker, as well as two blue ink cartridges are also included. Interestingly, the tin’s plastic insert allows the pen to be stored three different ways, and can also take an additional writing instrument such as the Sport ball-point or mechanical pencil.
One thing worth noting is that the Kaweco Sport models are clip-less. I personally like the extra security of pocket clips, and was disappointed to find that the optional extra Sport clips from Kaweco seemed to really only be for show – sliding off the pen’s cap when any real pressure was applied. This was almost a deal-breaker for me… but after carrying the pen a while I found that it did stay put in my pocket rather well. That said, I would love to see Kaweco release a version with a permanent clip.
Nib Performance & Filling System:
The Kaweco Sport line use a Bock nib unit and feed system, as used by various other brands. The Kaweco logo, pattern and lettering decoration which adorn the nib are a nice touch, and what I would expect at this price-point. The nib itself can be very easily unscrewed, should you wish to replace it.
Nib size is always subjective – but in my view the Kaweco Fine is closer to a Medium.
Straight out the box, it did take a little while to get going, with minor skipping on upward strokes which improved after a few paragraphs. It’s still one of my drier writers, but I like that characteristic in a pocket pen, where notes on the move can have a tendency to get smudged. The Kaweco Sport takes short international cartridges which are available in various colors from a number of brands.
Feel is perhaps one of the most interesting considerations when it comes to the Kaweco AL Sport. The aluminum construction feels very solid whilst being surprisingly lightweight; it’s a great choice of metal for a pen that will be carried and used away from the desk where there’s a greater potential for dropping or knocks.
The cap’s screw threads are nice and smooth to tighten, and unscrew in about one and three-quarter turns. I’ve owned more expensive pens with clip-on caps, so I’m glad Kaweco chose a screw-down cap, which is in my view is essential for a pocket pen.
Writing with the Kaweco is certainly a different experience when compared to more conventionally-sized pens. Posted, the pen gains a lot of length and balance from the substantial cap. The balance is centered comfortably between the thumb and index finger. This pen is definitely designed to be used posted. Uncapped, there is very little weight behind the nib and it is almost too short to write with. Normally, I never post my pens, but writing with the Kaweco posted is certainly not an issue for me. However, I did notice that my grip tended to move back on to the screw threads for a better hold. The pen’s section is quite short and narrow due to the tapering middle, and feels a little cramped after longer periods of use. But for the kind of quick writing this compact pen was designed for, it’s fine.
- Great looking, compact pocket pen.
- Design ensures it is easy and pleasant to write with, despite pen’s small size.
- Quality is instantly noticeable in the appearance and construction.
- Section can be a little cramped for those with big hands – but your mileage may vary.
- No clip – and the optional clip is pretty useless, which may bug those who want one.
- The engraving on the cap doesn’t feel very consistent with the pen’s minimalist aesthetics.
Fountain pens aren’t the most practical choice for an Every Day Carry writing instrument. The possibility of caps removing during carry, leaking, as well as the danger of delicate finishes getting scratched means many remain on the desk or require a larger pouch or case for transport. The Kaweco Sport seems to address all these concerns, creating a vault-safe, robust little pen that’s small enough to slip into a pocket or handbag alongside a phone, wallet/purse and other essentials. For me, this particular version’s stonewashed finish is just the perfect choice for a pen that’ll inevitably end up sharing a confined space with keys and coins – not to mention boosting the tool-like aesthetics to industrial levels.
The Kaweco AL Sport Stonewashed is definitely one of my favorite ink pens, for both its form and function. At around $75 (£60 U.K.) it’s certainly not cheap – but feels reasonably priced for the fit, finish and well executed design. And, whilst it may not the most comfortable or perhaps even the most elegant of fountain pens, the best pen is of course the one you have on you when you need it. The slight ergonomic challenges of the Sport are hugely outweighed by its effortless portability, which ensures no matter how far from your desk you may be, you never have to sacrifice your penmanship.
If you’re interested in picking one up from yourself, you can do so here: