I want to start inking up some long neglected pens from my accumulation so I picked the Waterman Liaison Cobra as the pen to get things going. I acquired the pen in 2004 in a Levenger closeout sale. At least that’s what my notes say, it’s not like I remember buying the pen 9 years ago.
[Updated Feb 16, 2013 to add writing sample to gallery]
Why I Bought It
I don’t remember the exact reasons. I suspect I thought it was a cool pen and I really liked the Waterman Edson I already had.
Where I Bought It & What I Bought
I bought it at Levenger from their outlet listings. The pen has an 18ht gold fine nib. The pen dimensions are:
- Capped Length: 5.67″ (144.04 mm)
- Uncapped Length: 5.08″ (129.12 mm)
- Posted Length: 6.47″ (164.33 mm)
- Diameter at Cap Band: 0.539″ (13.69 mm)
- Diameter of Barrel: 0.4925″ (12.50 mm)
The first impression, back in 2004, must not have been very good. The pen sat forgotten and unused for a very long time. I don’t remember the last time I used it. I also don’t remember any bad things about it. So the first impression was that it was a forgettable pen.
This is second impression, based on pulling the pen out of storage and its much better.
The pen is a bit heavier than most of my pens. The pen barrel seems to be made of metal. If not the whole barrel then a significant part of the pen is metal. The pattern is etched into the material, rather than just printed on. The weight and the etched material give the pen a rather unique feel when writing whichI find comfortable to write with.
The pen is a standard Waterman cartridge/convertor but has a unique method of holding the cartridge or convertor in the pen. Twist a blind cap on the top of the pen and the nib & feed unit unscrews so it can drop out of the pen. See the photos for details.
How I Use It
I filled the pen with Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-ryuko (Forest Green) expecting to use it primarily for notations. But the pen was so comfortable to write with that I began to use it for longer writing sessions. These sessions where 30 minutes to an hour.
I also used it for notations and note taking. The pull off cap can be loosely attached for extended pauses while still keeping the pen ready to use. Even when closed completely, the push on cap is easy to remove.
I don’t post my pens and find the Liaison to be large enough for writing without posting the cap.
The pen comes in a nice blue Waterman box. It’s nice and more than just cardboard, but just a box. The box also contained a box of Waterman cartridges, a convertor, an instruction manual and a slip of paper with the serial number. Also included was a black cloth cover for the pen which I thought was a nice touch, even though I never use it.
The Waterman Liaison Cobra has a one piece barrel. Twisting a blind cap unscrews the nib/feed unit which then pulls out of the barrel.
The design is etched into the material, rather than just printed onto it providing a nice tactile feel when writing with the pen. The barrel is long enough to be used without posting the cap.
The push on cap fits securely. It can also be loosly attached during pauses when writing. The cap can be posted, although doing so doesn’t seem ideal. Either the cap would be loosely posted, and potentially come off, or it would have to be pushed down so friction keeps it in place. I’d be afraid it would mare the material over time. Plus it makes the pen even heavier. But keep in mind that these comments come from someone who doesn’t post pens.
Writing With The Pen
The ink flow with Waterman and Pilot Iroshizuku inks is great. It’s one of my wetter fine nibs, but it isn’t a gusher. This time around I’ve only used Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-ryoku (Forest Green) ink.
The 18 kt gold nib is smooth. I’ve seen others complaining about the nib but I haven’t experienced any scratchiness or other issues.
Most of my writing was on Doane pads on which the pens wrote easily without any resistence. Dragging the pen across the paper at a 45 degree angle under just its own weight resulted in a nice solid line across the paper. Better (Rhodia) and worse (generic copy paper) experienced similar results.
Cleaning The Pen
While not difficult to clean, it takes a little longer than expected. There’s a lot of ink left in the feed when the pen runs dry so it takes a few more flushes than other pens would.
Odds & Ends
The pen doesn’t seem to have a very good reputation. Most of the comments I found were negative although generic in nature. I did find a couple positive comments. Overall, not a lot of information about the Waterman Liaison Cobra. The only specific complaints were about the nib, and mine wrote fine out of the box.
The pen is no longer manufactured although I do see some being offered as new but at prices that seem targeted to collectors, not users.
I only used Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-ryoku (Forest Green) this time around. The pen and ink get along well together, putting down a nice, relatively thin line. The nib is one of my wetter fine nibs. It’s not a gusher, but there’s certainly no flow issues. Although I haven’t used this ink in any other pens, so I don’t have anything to compare it with.
I don’t recall any problems with other inks in the past although it has been awhile.
I’m not sure why this pen went unused for several years. It’s a good writer and a pleasure to use. It doesn’t really stand out in a bunch of pens so I just forgot about it and it never caught my eye.
While I wouldn’t pay current prices for the Waterman Liaison Cobra I’m glad I pulled it from storage and inked it up. It’s a good writer that I find comfortable to write with.
The pictures were taken while the pen was inked with Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-ryoku (Forest Green) inkl. That’s what’s on the nib and why the clear convertor looks green in the photos.
Click on any photo for the full size version.