Kaweco, as a brand, came to my attention about a year and a half ago mainly through the Sport. I wasn’t much into small pocket pens and I kind of viewed them as a “cheap” pen brand, and not the good definition of cheap. That opinion improved a bit overtime. Finally when I decided to research I pocket fountain pen I saw them as a quality pen maker, although mainly known for their Sport models.. While I decided on the Franklin-Christoph Model 40 Pocket for my first pocket pen it was the custom needlepoint nib that made it the first choice. The Kaweco staid on my want list and soon after the Washington DC show I bought the Kaweco AL Sport Raw Aluminum fountain pen.
Why I Got It
I wanted another durable pocket pen but with a less finicky nib (than the needlepoint). I got the raw aluminum finish because I liked the machined look. The raw aluminum finish lacks any coating or protection against scratches so it will develop its own unique wear pattern which appeals to me.
The extra fine nib, while still thin, would be more forgiving on ever changing paper types than the needlepoint was. At least that was my hope. The nib and feed unit is swappable, although not with the Classic or Ice Sport models.
I also wanted it to be a clip-less pen. Although I did buy the optional clip in case I changed my mind since it was cheap and didn’t require additional shipping.
What I Got
The Kaweco AL Sport in a Raw Aluminum finish and with an extra-fine steel nib. I also ordered the squeeze convertor although I’ve yet to use it. Due to the small pen size it needs a non-standard convertor.
As I mentioned I also bought the optional clip.It’s a slip on clip held on only by friction. I’d be concerned that it could easily slide off if the material it was sliding over was thick. And I’d also be concerned that it would scratch the pen as it moved. While I look forward to wear and tear on the pen I would find regular scratch patterns caused by the clip to be annoying. I want the wear and tear to be chaotic.
The pen itself is shiny silver, with a silver toned stainless steel nib and a silver cap jewel with the Kaweco logo.
The pen has a screw-on cap that takes a couple short twists to cap or uncap. Or, if you’re keeping track, one complete 360° turn of the cap.
The pen came in a retro-looking tin which was a rather nice touch. It’s small and strong enough to be worth saving. It’s also suitable for holding the clip, convertor and any extra cartridges or nibs while not being used as long as the pen doesn’t need to be in there too. The tin is inside a cardboard sleeve which is nice enough but isn’t worth saving.
With some wiggle room to avoid scratching the pen with the calipers.
- Length Capped: 4.213″ (107.1 mm)
- Length Uncapped: 3.864″ (98.16 mm)
- Length Posted: 5.030″ (127.77 mm)
- Section Length: 0.615″ (15.62 mm)
- Section Diameter (near threads): 0.390″ (9.92 mm)
- Section Diameter (near nib): 0.380″ (9.66 mm)
- Barrel Diameter: 0.429″ (10.91 mm)
- Cap Diameter: 0.508″ (12.92 mm)
- Cap Length: 2.764″ (70.21 mm)
Using The Pen
I didn’t flush this pen on arrival. I just inserted the included Kaweco blue cartridge and screwed the section back onto the barrel. The ink was already on the nib when I went to write with it, no coaxing needed, and a good indication that flow wouldn’t be a problem.
I can use the pen without posting (just barely), but this is pen is one of the few that’s more comfortable for me when posted so that’s the way I use it. It is a pocket pen designed to be posted for use. The cap posts deeply so it adds just over an inch to the length.
When I first held the pen it felt uncomfortable in my hand. I can’t really explain it but the cap diameter felt too big compared to my grip on the section. But I quickly got used to it without needing to adjust my grip at all. It may simply have been that I’m not used to posting my pens and this cap posts deeply and the cap was against my hand, not the barrel. So there was a pretty significant difference between the section and cap diameter.
Writing with the pen was surprisingly smooth. Ink flowed effortlessly and consistently from the pen. When dragged across the paper by the end of the pen the nib wrote a consistent line despite having only the weight of the pen to keep it on the paper. At $75 it’s not a cheap pen and it’s the same basic nib as the $24 Classic Sport which had lowered my expectations. Although I have recently added a Classic Sport and though use has been limited the nib/feed performance is less than the AL Sport. I figured the $50 difference was simply the pen material. But it seems the nib and feed assembly provides a better and more consistent flow. I’ve used just over half the ink in the cartridge and haven’t had any hard started or flow issues. When posted, the AL Sport has dimensions comparable to a full size pen, including the section diameter which helps contribute to the comfort.
The pen is comfortable to use, even for long writing sessions. It seems like the smooth aluminum could be a problem with sweaty or oily hands but I haven’t had a problem so far. The pen is light thanks to the aluminum and the design makes it comfortable to hold. I could put the pen down for well over 3 minutes and the nib would still be wet when I picked it up to write, no hard start or skipping. Speaking of of putting the pen down, the octagonal shape keeps the pen from rolling, even without a clip.
It’s fun (if not mesmerizing) to watch the light reflections change with the movement of the pen as I write.
Cleaning The Pen
I’m still on the first ink load so I haven’t needed to clean it. But it should be easy enough to clean with a bulb syringe to flush out the pen.
In a break with tradition I’m using up the ink cartridge that came with the pen. So the only ink used has been Kaweco Blue. As I mentioned, no complaints what so ever about performance.
I really like this raw aluminum Kaweco AL Sport as my pocket pen. The pen does have one noticeable scratch, right across the Kaweco logo. But I knew it would be subject to scratching so I can’t hold that against the pen. A coated pen would probably be more scratch resistant.
This pen has replace the Franklin-Christoph Pocket 40 as the pen always in my pocket. The Pocket 40 would be more scratch resistant but the needlepoint nib was too finicky. (But the Pocket 40 now lives on my office desk and that needlepoint nib gets a daily workout.)
I can see why the Kaweco Sport line is so popular. The smart thing to do, if you’re new to the pen, is to start with the sub $25 Classic Sport. (Do as I say, not as I do.) But I’m glad I started with this one. I did recently get a Classic Sport and while I haven’t used it enough to review, I do find the AL Sport to have a better feed, so I may have hesitated upgrading to AL if I started with the Classic. I’m glad I wasn’t smart.
The Kaweco Sport models are popular pens so there’s a lot of reviews out there. Here are some of the AL Sport.
Edjelly.com reviews the Kaweco AL Sport Black Aluminum.
Mint reviews the AL Sport Raw Aluminum on FPN.
The Clicky Post reviews the AL Sport in blue.
The Pen Addict reviews the AL Sport.