During one of the special Pen Addict sales on Pen Chalet, I picked up the Eclipse as an add on with the on-sale Sailor Pro Gear. That was right before the 2014 Dallas Pen Show, so it came during the great pen purchasing fall of 2014, where somewhere around 12 pens entered my arsenal in a four month period. I quite enjoyed my time with this pen, but now it is time to part as it has been given away to Joe Kardia. Before it left my hands, I wanted to share with you my thoughts.
To be honest, Waterford isn't a company most associate with fountain pens. The mother with the Waterford crystal in her China cabinet was always the envy of her neighbors. (To brag) that was my mother, and due, in no small part, to me. At the age of 16, I joined a student ambassador program called People to People, which gave high school students international experience to broaden their perception of the world, which for teenagers prior to social media was quite small. People to People has programs all around the world. It took me to the British Isles: England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Our first night in Ireland was spent in Waterford. We took a tour through the crystal factory and ended in the 'gift shop,' i.e. how much can you spend in one purchase without breaking the bank. I was on a mission to get some crystal for my parents, so my mom could be the envy of the neighborhood (my estimation at 16, not her express intent). I searched around the entire show floor for various possibilities that would fit the budget. I settled on a while wine glass for her and a martini glass for my dad.
At the time my pen collecting was merely in advertisement pens from businesses and hotels. Fountain pens existed merely in cartoonish form to me. As I return to that memory of searching for the best gift for my parents, I do remember seeing a case with pens in them. I know I would have only glanced over them after seeing their prices, which were around $100 and higher. I might have, channeling my father, asked, "Who would pay so much for a pen?"
Things are different now that I'm a pen addict. Had I the full Waterford offering before me now, I'm not sure which pen I would have chosen. Nonetheless, I'm glad this one came before my desk, reminding me of a great and memorable trip.
In the pen community, I have perceived a small bias against black pens, with the exception of the Lamy 2000. Black pens are seen as overly simple and don't hold the popularity of the dazzling acrylics you find in many pens today. The black pen subconsciously reveals that the user is unfamiliar with the best of what fountain pens can offer in pen body materials. The 2k is the exception, in part, due to its macrolon body. Many people will overlook a black bodied pen because they assume it's marketed toward the executive rather than the aficionado (I grant some people like shiny things). Black is simple, elegant, and professional. I don't say all ths because I wear black most days. I think most would overlook this pen simply because it's black. If you have this bias ( I have my own biases) I ask you to suspend it and take this pen for what it is.
What it is not, is cheap looking. It would easily look comfortable in the hand of business executive, if Montblanc hadn't cornered that status symbol market. It is a classy looking pen using the simple color scheme of chrome and black, reminiscent of the silver cufflinks and black suit of a smartly dressed man, or the silver necklace, bracelet, and earrings paired with an elegant black dress of the chic woman. If only Bond were Irish! It's classy yet simple. It desires no ostentation.
The barrel is black lacquered brass, polished to a shine. The butt of the pen a has chrome cap, which looks like it could be a piston mechanism, but alas it isn't. I don't mind this little deception because it fits in well, giving some symmetry with the cap.
The cap is the most interesting part of the pen. I know Waterford isn't foreign to engraving design as I remember seeing on some of their crystal fourteen years ago. None of my pens have this kind of design work on them, making this a unique pen. I would call the design metallic plaid (after further research I found that it's called guilloche but metallic plaid sounds more manly). The pattern is set into the chrome giving the cap an interesting tactile experience. The clip looks like an elongated shield with a concave indentation in the upper half.
"Waterford" is engraved on the bottom band of the cap. It would have been nice to also have a pen model engraved as well. On the finial is something reminiscent of Montblanc, a star. It seems this pen will live in the shadow of its French rival. Deeply engraved is a sea star keeping with the aquatic theme of the company's branding. I bet it would look awesome with different color inks sitting in each of the reservoirs.
When uncapped, you can see the chrome threads. It helps distinguish the grip section from the body. I've always loved the little flair at the end of the section. The Eclipse has a larger one than most, but it doesn't detract from the sleek look of the pen.
I would have preferred an all silver colored nib as opposed to the two-tone. The injection of gold seems out of place. Engraved on the nib is the date Waterford was founded, 1783, under which is the Waterford seahorse logo. I like the seahorse. It reminds me of my short time in the crystal factory as well as the symbol of nurturing fatherhood.
The brass body gives the pen a subtle weight, not as heavy as a brass pen from Karas Kustoms though. It balances well in my hand when it isn't posted. When I post it, it become too top heavy. I'm okay with not posting. Even though my hands are small, I think it would fit unposted in larger hands as well.
The cap screws onto the body without any hiccup. In fact, it's a pleasure to cap this pen because it feels so smooth. After I showed it to a pen friend, he said it seemed to be triple threaded. I can neither corroborate or deny and only speak as the plebeian who enjoys capping and uncapping this pen.
It is a cartridge/converter pen. The accompanied converter fits well without any leakage. If you like large ink capacities, this isn't your pen. Personally I don't mind converters. It means I can rotate through all of my pens quicker.
The clip isn't very springy, but I've never had a problem putting it in or taking it out of my breast pocket. It did have trouble clipping to thicker materials, though.
Like I said earlier, it's weighted well when uncapped, and it feels great in my hand. It's never gotten uncomfortable or weighty with long writing sessions. I really like the grip lip as a place to rest my fingers; it's both my style and my practical preference.
The nib is smooth and wet. Even on rougher paper it retains its smoothness. The wetness is an opportunity to show off a more shaded ink (which after writing this whole review, I wished I'd used a more shaded ink). It breaks up the dark color my fine nibs put down.
I purchased this pen at Pen Chalet for $97.20, but they no longer have it in stock. You can find it on Amazon for $95.99, sitting right below $100. It's certainly classier than your cheaper TWSBI's, and Waterford produces a finer materialed pen than the Pilot Metropolitan or Lamy AL-Star, or even the Conklin Duragraph. It sits below the price of cheap, gold nibbed pens. I think this is a great and more cost effective version of the style of Montblanc. Yes, it doesn't have the gold nib or the piston fill, but it fits in well with the executive look without breaking the bank. If someone wanted a Montblanc, but cheaper, I would send them towards the Eclipse.
Is the Writing Reverenced?
I'm smitten with black pens. This is one is no different. I love to look at and run my fingers over the guilloche pattern on the cap (metallic plaid still sounds better). It's weighted well and writes wet and smooth.
Paper: Nock Co. A4 Notebooks
Ink: De Atramentis Charles Dickens