I recently got a hold of three different Kaweco fountain pens so I thought it would be appropriate to review them side-by-side-by-side. The pens in question are a Kaweco Skyline Sport (~$25; F nib), a Kaweco AL Sport (~$75; M nib) and a Kaweco Student (~$55; B nib). The AL Sport I have here is the raw aluminum finish. I reviewed, positively, an AL Sport in blue several months ago. I have not done many multiple pen reviews, so to make this process a bit more streamlined I’ve come up with a few categories (build quality, balance in hand, nib experience, overall) to guide the comparison.
In first place we have the AL Sport. Of course, being made out of aluminum gives the AL Sport a serious advantage. This is not to say that the other pens are poorly made. In fact, the Kaweco Student, with its thick plastic walls and solid clip, comes in a close second with respect to build quality. The Skyline Sport is an all plastic pen with somewhat thinner walls than the Student. As a result, the Sport is noticeably lighter. I won’t say the Skyline Sport has a cheap feel to it, but of the three pens it does have the least confidence-inducing build.
Kaweco AL Sport
I was unable to find the perfect porridge between these three pens when it comes to balance. The closest to perfect would be the AL Sport but it has to be posted in order to feel balanced in the hand. Unposted, the Sport and AL Sport are just too short to feel comfortable for anything more than a quick note. Also, with its all plastic build, the Skyline Sport (~0.4 ounces) is just too light for me. I prefer to notice that I’m holding onto something when it comes to my pens, especially fountain pens. I don’t have great penmanship to start with and pens that are too light feel like they get away from me when I write. The AL Sport gives a nice ride when posted but I’m not a big fan of the raw aluminum finish as it feels a bit too slippery. My blue AL Sport doesn’t feel nearly as slippery to me so I’m guessing the anodized finish adds something to the grip.
When it comes to balance, the Kaweco Student is an interesting pen. Unposted, it was too short and the metal grip section too slippery. Posted, the pen was quite a bit longer so my grip naturally moved further back on the grip section and more towards the body of the pen. Either way, I couldn’t get it to sit in my hand nicely. But, and this is an important but, if you hold your pens somewhat higher up on the grip then I suspect a posted Kaweco Student could really work nicely for you. Helpfully, the threads on the body of the Student are not sharp in the least so they make a suitable gripping location.
Save for the line width, all three pens appear to use identical steel nibs. My experience with these pens and their different nib sizes is identical to my previous interactions with Kaweco nibs. The fine nib rocks! I’ve never had skipping issues with Kaweco’s fine nibs. They write smoothly and lay down a consistent line. The broad nib isn’t my thing but that’s not Kaweco’s problem. It’s just that I’m not a broad nib kind of guy. I’ve tried. I’ve tried multiple times. There’s just no getting around it – I don’t dig broad nibs. Please send your hate mail to email@example.com :-). Now for the medium nib. Maybe it’s the way I hold my fountain pens, but I have yet to meet a Kaweco medium nib that works well for me. They don’t start readily and they constantly skip. I’m willing to take all the blame for this issue with medium nibs but that’s just the way it is. In short, medium nib – yuk, broad nib – not me, fine nib – yes, yes, yes!
Kaweco Skyline Sport
If I were to recommend a Kaweco fountain pen it would be an AL Sport with a fine nib in a colored finish. Hold on, I already recommended that pen. The regular Sport doesn’t float my boat. It’s too light and there are other inexpensive alternatives that give a better ride. The Kaweco Student is very well made and the blue color of the pen I got is a real looker. I do think you need to naturally hold your pen further away from the nib than I tend to otherwise you may find the balance of the Student a bit off. The AL Sport in raw aluminum looks great and has an nice balance when posted but I like my aluminum pens to be anodized for that extra bit of grip.
If you’d like a chance to nab a Skyline Sport or Student for yourself, stay tuned. These two pens will be part of a giveaway in the near future.
Kaweco was kind enough to send these three pens to me at no expense. I’m human so their kindness may have influenced my perspective but I attempted to give an honest review nonetheless.