VISITING with an Old Friend – Waterman Expert Fountain Pen

Waterman Expert Fountain Pen
Waterman Expert Fountain Pen (c.1988)

There she is – my very first fountain pen.

The dentist I worked for at the time took our only other employee and me shopping for Christmas prezzies. He pushed thick envelopes filled with crisp bills into our hands and said the only condition was that we had to get something 100% for ourselves, “something you wouldn’t normally buy.” Lisa and I each knew exactly what we wanted and set off in opposite directions. She ran off to the Coach handbags and I, on the other hand, wandered over to men’s accessories in search of a fountain pen.

Months before, the doctor had received a check for some personal transaction. I immediately honed in on the handwriting. “How did he do that? Look at that – can you see it??” I had no idea what to call it, but I knew I needed to figure it out.  “It’s probably a fountain pen.”

A who? A what? I was clueless. A fountain pen! That’s what I wanted needed.

Choosing my first fountain pen was a breeeeze. I knew nothing.

“Would you like a medium nib?” Sure!
“Does that feel balanced in your hand?”  Uh huh.
“Do you like the grip? Is it to heavy?” I love it! I’ll take it!
“Do you need some cartridges to go with it?” Yes!

I got the pen home, tossed the box, the paperwork, and whatever that weird twisty thing was over my shoulder and into the trash. I have a fountain pen! How do I make it go?

A whole bunch of years, and inks, and pens later, and I find myself returning to my old friend: the Waterman Expert.

I snapped a few quick pictures, hastily scribbled some notes, and finally it was time to ink her up for the first time in at least eight years. I chose one of my current favorite inks – Noodler’s Lexington Gray and (seriously) when I put pen to paper, it gave me goosies (as J Lo would say).

Balanced. Comfortable grip. Not too heavy, not too light. An oh-so-satisfying click when the cap was posted. This was going to be great. I was practically giddy.

Then I started to worry that I’d remembered this old pen with a little too much fondness. That perhaps now that I’ve experienced other wonderful writing instruments that this one wouldn’t quite measure up. I had nothing to worry about.

Waterman Expert Fountain Pen
A bit of shading.
A generous medium nib, so smooth over the Rhodia paper. Wonderful shading (that thing I’d seen, but didn’t have the words to describe all of those years ago). No skipping or false starts (maybe one).  Just. Beautiful.

Enough of my gushing – let me show you what I’m talking about. (If I’ve done all of this right, you should be able to click on the pictures to see them larger and see more detail. If that doesn’t work, you will have learned that I’m not perfect, yo.)

Waterman Expert on Rhodia Pad
Rich burgundy color.

Waterman Expert Two-Toned Nib - some pitting
Some pitting on the two-toned gold nib. See the separation between the tines? That is some goodness right there, folks.

You notice that I didn’t call it an Expert in my writing? That’s because I had to do some sleuthing to figure it out.
This has been fun – remembering and writing about how I first fell in love with fountain pens. Do you remember your first love? I’d love to hear all about it.

7 thoughts on “VISITING with an Old Friend – Waterman Expert Fountain Pen

  1. I have the same model Expert 1 pen, in burgundy, in the original box, as new!
    I bought mine in 1994 – but thought that they were first introduced in 1993, but if you got yours in 1987, I must be wrong.

    I can't say how they write, because I've never used mine!

  2. Thanks for stopping by! Crazy/cool that you still have yours in the box unused! I love mine – love. I moved away from that job before 1993 – so I'm sure it dates before then. I want to think I got it before my son was born and that was 1989. I'll need to see if I can research a bit and pin it down. Thank you again for commenting.

  3. I was just looking these up, because I too rediscovered mine. It turns out what you and I have is the Expert I. There's also an Expert II and III being made now. Although they look somewhat similar, the bodies are laquer over brass (instead of all plastic) and the nib is different. They don't feel or write the same from what I understand. And it seems that folks who have the different versions often prefer the first version.

    I bought mine because it was practical and cheap at the time. But it has outperformed my more expensive pens as a daily writer, including a Waterman Opera and even my Mont Blank Meisterstuck.

  4. Thank you so much for posting! I've not seen other pens like this one – and no one really talks about having it as early as I believe I had mine.

    Do you remember what yours cost? My guess is around $150-200, but I can't be sure.

    Now I want to ink it again.

    Thank you, thank you 🙂

  5. I have the same model as well, which I received as a gift, along with the matching mechanical pencil, in 1999. Mine is still perfect, with absolutely no corrosion on the nib. It performs flawlessly. I can’t imagine why even a complete pen novice would merely “toss” the cartridge converter. Pretty dumb.

  6. I have an identical Expert I that I purchased from a realtor who used it to sign contracts. I also have a Waterman Expert City Line which I believe is an Expert II in brown. It was given to me buy a co-worker who found it in a parking lot it had been run over by a vehicle but still functions perfectly just is bent and beat up. Because of it I purchased the one like yours. Both have M nibs. But the Expert I writes more like a broad nib very wide not to my liking at all. Beautiful pen just not my liking and nibs are hard to find for replacing. The Expert II is heavier with it having a brass body in my opinion it just feels like a better built pen. The Expert I seems to feel cheaper after using the other but both are great everyday writers. Only issue that I have with them is using Waterman ink they seem to dry up faster. Noodlers on the other hand stays in good shape.

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