After a less-than-favorable review of the Parker Latitude fountain pen that was done over a month ago, it was decided that Parker should have another shot at redeeming themselves with a higher-end Sonnet review.
Parker refreshed its versatile Sonnet line back in summer 2008, introducing slight changes to the arrow clip, the cap band and to the nib graphics on every fountain pen. Along with the subtle design mods came this new line of chiseled pens called the Sonnet Premium. There are four different finishes : Gold Lustre, Silver Lustre, Chocolate and Carbon. Gold Lustre seemed to be the most attractive for this review.
As with each of the new Sonnets, every pen is sold with a black, suede-like, tri-fold pen pouch, which is way more useful than the clamshell box that older Sonnets were sold in. The pouch features a magnetic closure and has a loop in the middle to fit your pen, along with loops for two additional pens and two narrow "pockets" for refills.
The Sonnet Premium fountain pen has an 18ct sold gold nib that is available in either fine or medium point. It can be filled via cartridge or converter.
As the close-up shot can tell you, the attention to detail in the chevron-pattern design is top-notch. This pen is radiant with a sophisticated demure. You can run your fingertip over the barrel and cap to feel the ribbing produced by the intricate engraving.
Although the pen is mostly metal, the weight in-hand is not heavy. The size is average (5 1/4" capped, 5 7/8" open, with cap posted on back). Posting is a big deal for me, and this pen posts securely without adding too much weight to the back-end.
Inked up with the Parker blue ink cartridge that came with the pen, I grabbed my designated scratch pages and went to town.
The flow is smooth with no scratching, but a bit thicker than I am used to with a fine point. The issues I had with the Latitude were not as apparent with the Sonnet. Every now and then, it did not register a downstroke, usually on the first letter of a new word. It wrote better while holding the pen at a more acute angle to the paper. I don't know about everyone else out there, but the more perpendicular, the better for my handwriting.
Overall, it worked much better than the Latitude, but had the occasional hiccup. Some steel nibs perform better than this particular Sonnet gold nib, which should tell you where you're money is going to when you buy this pen.
- Writing Quality : 18ct gold nib performed up to the quality standard of a normal steel nib. Smooth, good flow, and it did pick up writing right away after being inked on the shelf for a week or so. However, you paid for gold and should get a better quality nib for the price. (grade B-)
- Aesthetic Quality : Classy, sophisticated, yet sparkling appeal that would impress at formal affairs. The engraving detail is executed very well and shines beautifully in the light. (grade A+)
- Utility : Cap posts securely on the back-end and writes well posted. The famous "arrow" clip attaches and detaches smoothly from the shirt pocket. Lightweight design makes long writing sessions easy and relatively cramp-free. The included pen case is extremely useful. (grade A)
- Price : At $240 retail (on sale for $191.95 at Goldspot.com), the price level does seem like a bargain for the aesthetic value of the pen and the solid gold nib. However, the nib does not write any better than high-quality steel, and there is a lack of luxury presentation (like a hardwood box or leather pen case). (grade B-)
Final Grade : A-
Parker does redeem themselves from my last review. Although there is more to be desired from the nib, this pen's aesthetic value overpowers the slight shortcoming.