In February I asked if you have heard the fountain pen myth “don’t lend out your fountain pen to others because the way a person writes can cause changes to the nib.” At the time I was referring to my Waterman Laureat. The pen wrote well with one exception – the sweet spot. Unless I held the pen at a 45-degree angle to the writing surface followed by a half-turned to the left, the pen tended to skip. Must be some truth to the myth.
The Waterman Laureat was introduced circa 1985, enjoying a 15-year production as a midline pen, not a top-shelf model but not a pen to off-handedly dismiss. The pen is reasonably close in looks to their Le Man series – a top-shelf model from the same era.
Is a sleek thin, brass body pen in black lacquer with gold-plated trim. There are 4 equal-sized gold bands on the pen, one at the top. The typical era-specific Waterman clip is attached to the cap just below this ring. Another at the bottom of the cap, one at the end of the section with the phrase “Waterman Made in France,” etched into it, and another at the bottom of the barrel. Returning to the cap, it has a plain gold plate flat top. The clip and the jewel at the post end of the barrel are embossed with the signature “W” logo.
The section is black plastic with a unique design of tapered concentric rings creating a grip that fits well in hand. I was skeptical when I saw the section. After writing with the pen, I was surprised that my fingers did not feel like they were slipping.
The nib is a gold-plated steel nib, writing MEDIUM. An interesting feature is the lack of a breather hole, welp there is a faux breather hole imprinted as a circle on the nib. A breather hole has two purposes, 1) to improve airflow and 2) to relieve pressure at the base of the slit. Be sure to review my post detailing nib mechanics for more information.
Breather holes are sometimes dispensed with firm nibs stiff enough to resist the bending forces imposed during use. Resulting in finer written lines lacking some variation (sounds like a future topic). Anyway, this nib is stiff, just add fins and use it in a game of darts.
Let’s ink it up and give it a go. I spent some time with the nib and a micromesh cloth, trying to smooth the writing surface. I can happily say I was successful.
The Waterman Lauteat is a fantastic pen, an equal to the Hemisphere. I know fountain pen users either love or hate the Hemisphere – I love it. It fits very well in my hand and is a lovely writer. If you notice this model at your local flea market or antique store, don’t pass it by.
- Capped Length, 130 mm
- Uncapped Length, 124 mm
- Barrel Diameter, 10.5 mm
- Cap Diameter, 10.5 mm
- Weighs in at 26g