In addition to launching a new Steel Sport fountain pen, Kaweco also released a new Perkeo series that is aiming for budget-minded users. Naturally, I jumped on it. Priced around $16(USD), the Perkeo is poised to be in direct competition with the Pilot Metropolitan, but does it have what it takes to knock down the number one recommendation for an entry level fountain pen? I’ve been putting in my hours with the Perkeo to answer that very question, so let’s take a look.
The pen is available in four colors: Cotton Candy (Pink and Grey), Old Chambray (Soft White and Blue), Bad Taste (Black and Cherry Red), and Indian Summer (Yellowish-Green and Black). The nib options are limited to Fine and Medium, and are not compatible with nib units from the Sport, Liliput, or other Kaweco pens.
The body, grip, and cap are all made of a light-weight resin, giving the Perkeo and overall weight of only twelve grams. For reference, that is five grams lighter than the Lamy Safari, nine grams lighter than the TWSBI Eco, and fourteen grams lighter than the Pilot Metropolitan. This is a very light pen. Even with that its low weight-class, the Perkeo leaves a fairly substantial footprint. The clipless cap has a diameter of around 16mm, which is slightly larger than the Kaweco Sport FP, so it is pretty noticeable when slotted into my Sinclair. Unfortunately, that size means that the currently-available clips for the Sport do not fit on the Perkeo. In my case, the clip is generally only used as a roll-stop, but luckily the faceted surfaces of both the cap and body do well enough to stop the pen from going over the edge of the desk. The flat edges don’t stop at the cap and barrel, though. The grip section features three flat surfaces separated by smooth rounded corners. Similar to the Lamy Safari grip, this design provides a positive grip surface that keeps the nib aligned with the page as you write.
The Perkeo is currently available in Fine and Medium nib sizes. It uses a slightly modified number five size, which is similar to but incompatible with other brands like Bock or JOWO. As you would expect from a German pen manufacturer, the line widths match up with industry average European sizing standards; the Kaweco Fine is the same size as the Lamy Fine, for example. The Fine nib writes fairly smooth and lays down a clean and consistent line. I did experience a small amount of feedback with Rhodia and Tomoe River paper. Some writers may go as far as to describe this as “Scratchy,” but I find the writing experience very comfortable and enjoyable. In fact, I found the incredibly light weight of the pen more distracting than the feedback from the nib. This (very minor and subjective) issue is solved by posting the cap, although I rarely write with the cap posted.
Another interesting feature of this nib is that it has a slight spring in its step. This is by no means a flex-nib but, if you apply a little extra pressure, you can coax out some line variation on the down-stroke. It isn’t much, but it is a nice surprise to notice how resilient this nib can be.
Cleaning and filling
The Perkeo uses standard international cartridges and converters, so filling and emptying the pen will be very familiar. When the time comes to flush and clean the pen, the pressure-fit nib and feed can be pulled out as washed just as you would with any other pen. Then, once everything is clean and dry, you can easily re-align the nib and feed thanks to the flattened sections on the grip. As with most pressure-fit nibs, the Perkeo’s can be a little tight. With a little help from the Goulet Grip, or another tool like it, you shouldn’t have any trouble.
If you’re looking for your first fountain pen, a gift for a new user, or just a pen that sicks out from the others, the Perkeo is a solid choice. Kaweco has been making pens for over a century, and that quality and experience shines throughout their catalog. While the Pilot Metropolitan line seems to look more like a professional or classically-designed fountain pen, Kaweco made a bold and unique choice for their style. As far as budget-friendly fountain pens are concerned, your money would be well spent on the Kaweco Perkeo.
Where to buy:
Jetpens ($14.75. I got mine here.)
Disclaimer: The product discussed in this article was purchased by the author at full retail price. All opinions stated are my own.