Fountain pens and Halloween

Okay, so, the final verdict is in: our Halloween party is a Day of the Dead party on November 7. That way we can go to Steamcon and World Fantasy.

I have a fountain pen that got busted when I let somebody else write with it and they pressed down much too hard in a weird direction. Note that I do not mean “busted to the naked eye” I just mean that the alignment of the tines had gone off a bit, enough so that it wouldn’t write. This made me very unhappy because I really liked that pen, and Waterman doesn’t make that model anymore. So I sent it to them for repairs.

Now, Waterman used to be a French company. I believe they still manufacture many of the pens in France, but the company has been bought out a zillion times, with the upshot that they used to be the kind of classy company that gave you a lifetime guarantee on their pens and now they are the kind of normal but irritating company that gives you a one year warranty or whatever.

(The return envelope says “Newell Rubbermaid”)

They sent me the pen back, supposedly as-is, claiming that since they don’t make that model anymore there are no parts for it. I wanted to scream at them. “Of course you don’t make it anymore you idiots! I sent it to you to be repaired, do you even know what that word means?”

They included a letter in which they offer 25% off list price on a new pen, but it’s not just a coupon or whatever, I have to call them or some damn thing, and the wording, “if this offer is acceptable to you please call us” is probably because they know I could take them to court over not honoring the warranty or something, but really, like I’m going to go to court over a fountain pen that, brand new and full price, was less than $200. (I honestly now can’t remember if it was a $160 pen that I paid $80 for, or an $80 pen that I paid $40 for. It was steeply discounted because it was discontinued. I never understood why things go on sale when they are discontinued, doesn’t that make them more valuable?)

Anyway, I’m not sure what I want to do about that. 25% off is pretty good, but I’m really irritated right now and fuming and thinking “what about Mont Blanc, huh? Do they still have a lifetime guarantee? Or have they also been bought out by a company that makes dish tubs?

Also, if anyone out there has any experience actually repairing fountain pens, I would appreciate some info. Thanks!

Update: I had kind of a fit and ordered a replacement on ebay. Take that, stinky new Waterman. The non-repair adventure did get me one thing: the paperwork they sent back told me what model the pen is. A Laureat. I had forgotten the name. So I searched on the name hoping for repair advice and saw shopping listings.

If the pen gets here in a timely manner and works correctly I will stop pouting.

Update 2: If all goes well, that also means that I have a rather nice Waterman Laureat fine point fountain pen which has been permanently tweaked to be optimized for writing with the left hand. I know there are left-handed fountain pen enthusiasts out there, so if you want it, let me know.


  1. I’m sorry to hear your pen got damaged and that Waterman is lame now. That said, I’m a leftie and would be interested in the pen.

    1. Author

      Excellent! You have first dibs (on the nib. heh.). We should arrange a tryout session for one of the days I’m in Seattle to make sure it’ll work for you.

      My guess that it’s been left-hand-icized is based on two things, the fact that the person who pressed down so hard was himself a leftie, and the fact that I seem to get a good smooth line when I use my own left hand, but not my right. But obviously your writing angle or whatever may vary.

    2. Author

      The replacement pen has arrived and I am happy! I’ll be in Seattle Monday and Tuesday evening if either works for you as pen time. I also work in downtown Seattle so can meet for lunch.

  2. Ow, thanks for the warning. My Waterman needs a relatively minor repair (writes fine, but the clip snapped off), and I keep meaning to take it to the Pen Shop downtown. Now I know that if they can’t repair it there, it’s not worth sending it out.

    1. Author

      If it’s a model they still make, they will probably offer a replacement part for a charge — if that interests you. I have also heard rumors that if you can prove you bought it in ye olden days when the lifetime warranty still applied, they will still repair or replace it for free.

  3. Ok, I thought I could offer some help…

    There’s an awesome pen shop in Honolulu run by a crazy pen guy who fixed my cheapo pen for me for free. (the nib had dried out…) He could fix anything.

    OMG!!! The dude passed away! I promised him I would buy a decent pen when I got a better job. Oh man, he was awesome. He even showed me some of his fancy not for sale pens. Oh man! I am so sad.

    1. Author

      Re: Ok, I thought I could offer some help…

      I’m sad too. He sounds like a great guy. I would’ve liked to visit the next time I was in Honolulu.

      I hope somebody keeps the museum open.

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