Narwhal Key West Fountain Pen - First Look

Narwhal Key West Fountain Pen Review

Coming ashore in late spring 2021, the newest Narwhal fountain pen hits on the meta-design trend of sparkling fountain pens. The Key West complements Narwhal's nautically-themed collections by taking inspiration from beautiful tropical vistas. Let's take a closer look at the two colors that comprise this new collection.

Color Variants of the Narwhal Key West Fountain Pen

Key Largo has a deep, translucent ocean blue hue with glittering azure sparkles that seem to rise to the surface. The cool blue is matched with a polished chrome clip, Greek key decorated cap band, and barrel threads.

Islamorada Gold is for "land lovers" that enjoy the sand and sun. The gold translucent resin has multicolored sparkles that shine in green, yellow, red, and blue highlights. To match the warmth of the resin, Narwhal plated all the metal appointments of this pen in gold.

Design of the Narwhal Key West

The design of the Key West takes on a traditional cigar shape that tapers toward the rounded ends of the barrel and cap. The only design similarity with other Narwhal models is the art deco-style clip.

Comparing the Narwhal Key West Fountain Pen with Other Sparkling Fountain Pens

To get a sense of this pen's size, let's compare it to other sparkling fountain pens like the Sailor Pro Gear Slim Blue Green Nebula, Edison Newark Satellite Diamondcast, Pelikan M205 Moonstone, and Esterbrook Estie Gold Rush fountain pen.

*Measurement* Sailor Pro Gear Slim Edison Newark Narwhal Key West Esterbrook Estie Pelikan M205

Length Closed

4.88 in. / 124mm

5.43 in / 138mm

5.62 in. / 143mm

5.875 in. / 149mm

5.00 in. / 126mm

Length Uncapped

4.33 in. / 110mm

5.07 in. / 129mm

4.96 in. / 126mm

5.00 in. / 127mm

4.80 in. / 121mm

Length Cap Posted

5.63 in. / 143mm

6.10 in. / 155mm

6.53 in. / 166mm

6.75 in. / 171.5mm

5.90 in. / 149mm

Barrel Max Diameter

0.55 in. / 14mm

0.48 in. / 12.3mm

0.49 in. / 12.5 mm

0.52 in. / 13.3mm

0.5 in. / 12.7mm

Section Grip Dia.

0.39 in. / 10mm

0.39 in. / 10mm

0.43 in. / 10.5mm

0.4375 in. / 11mm

0.35 in. / 9mm

Pen Weight

0.5 oz / 14.2g

0.5 oz / 14.17g

0.9 oz. / 25.5g

0.8 oz / 22.7g

0.5 oz. / 14g

The Nib and Filling System of the Narwhal Key West Pen

Unscrewing the cap one-and-a-half turns reveals the Key West's tapered grip section and stainless steel, number 6 size nib. The section has a gentle taper that flares out slightly at the end to give your fingers purchase.

Narwhal makes their nibs in-house with a custom design that features the only branding on the entire pen. The Narwhal logo is right below the breather hole, surrounded by delicate scrollwork. The nib and plastic feed are friction fit into a nib unit housing that can be unscrewed from the section.

Ink Compatibility and Writing Experience

To fill the Key West, you may use the included converter that is already installed in the pen. It looks a lot like a Lamy Safari converter and it is actually compatible with an LZ28 converter as well as international ink cartridges or converters like the Schmidt K5. As Narwhal is already well known for its piston-fill mechanism pens, the Key West design provides the convenience of a cartridge/converter system for those who prefer it.

And who might prefer a cartridge/converter system, you ask? Well, I normally shy away from using shimmer inks in my piston fill fountain pens because they tend to be difficult to clean, especially with demonstrator pens. For this writing sample, I inked the Key West Islamorada Gold with Diamine Gold Star shimmer ink.

The medium point lays down a line that is thicker than most European broad nibs and has a decent flow that keeps up. The bolder line width allows you to see the ink color and shimmer better than smaller nib sizes. The nib's feedback is pleasantly smooth with little-to-no flexibility.

The fine point on the Key Largo Blue is inked with Sailor Ink Studio 741. While having slightly more feedback than the medium point, the tighter line is more accessible for general writing.

The cigar-shaped profile of the Key West fits nicely in hand. It is narrower in girth compared to the Narwhal Schuylkill model but still carries a comparable weight thanks to the metal section assembly and barrel threads. The sparkling resin has a slight texture to the surface, which adds more grip to your fingers.

Posting the cap on the back end of the Key West extends the length of the pen to a size that is still well-balanced to write comfortably. The edge of the metal cap band and the metal barrel threads are not sharp or intrusive. Overall, the Narwhal Key West has a pleasant writing experience that complements its bubbly personality.

If you look at the size comparison earlier and overlay the prices of each sparkly fountain pen, you'll find a huge difference between the Narwhal Key West and the other pens. At only $55, the Key West is nearly a third of the price of a Pelikan M205 Moonstone. Or, you can buy 5 of these pens for every Esterbrook Gold Rush fountain pen. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that the competition's pens are overpriced - I'm emphasizing the point that the Narwhal Key West is one of the best values for a sparkling resin fountain pen. I hope to see more colors of this edition in the future. Comment below and let us know which color you would love to see in a future Key West pen.

Back to blog