When it comes to fine pens, there is a tendency for some to focus exclusively on fountain pens, and since starting my little office supply blog here, that is something I have been guilty of. All of the “fine” pens that I have reviewed have been fountain pens, so I wanted to take a break from that and focus on another type of pen that can also provide a great writing experience.
This review will look at the Waterman Expert City Line Roller Ball, which I purchased from my local Paradise Pens retail store back in October of 2008. This is a great pen, and I hope to be able to convey that through the following review.Before I get too into the review, I want to quickly mention that my shopping experience when I bought the pen was fantastic. I went into the Paradise Pens store near my office, with a pretty good idea in my head of what I was looking for, and I was met with a very courteous and helpful staff. There was no pressure to purchase anything, just a very helpful group of people willing to let me try any writing instrument I wanted and able to answer just about any question I had. There was no discount given or any recognition for this review from Paradise Pens, I just had a great experience there and thought it was worth sharing here.
So on to the review. When I first saw the Waterman Expert City Line online I was quickly impressed by its simple classic look, and wide variety of colors and other variations that the pen comes in. The more I looked at other roller balls, the more I kept coming back to the classic and appealing look of this one. I decided that I would need to head out to the store and get the Waterman Expert City Line in my hands so I could see if it felt as great as it looked.
Once I got the pen in my hands I was immediately impressed by the solid feel. The full metal body (excluding the grip section) gives it a nice heft that lets you know you are holding a quality writing instrument. Everything from the way that the cap makes a confident “snick” sound when you post it on the top to the way that the grip tapers out towards the base to allow for just the right amount of pressure while writing immediately made me feel like this pen went beyond just looking nice, and was really designed to be an everyday workhorse that you could rely on and be comfortable writing with all day long.
The above writing sample was done on a blank slate of quality Levenger unlined paper. I felt like this paper was a good choice for the bold (although technically fine) line of this pen. For some reason, writing with this pen just “feels big” so I didnt want to be constrained by the lines of my normal Levenger paper. As you can see the standard Waterman refill cartridge that comes with this pen is a nice and fairly solid black. I do get the occasional skip or light spot when writing with the Waterman Expert City Line, but for the most part it writes very smoothly, and as I said before, it just feels great in your hand. The good thing about this pen, and many other roller balls is the variety of different refills that you can buy that will fit it to create a writing experience that is just right for you. I have a bunch of different refills that will fit in this, so at some point I will probably do a comparison of those. I think the Waterman refill that came with it would probably rate about an 8 out of 10 in terms of a smooth solid and reliable writer. I might be a bit biased in that because I do have a very specific and favorite roller ball refill that I will have to write up one day, but as I said, the Waterman version is more than acceptable.
One thing that was unclear to me when I first saw the Waterman Expert City Line online had to do with the black chevron pattern on the barrel. It was hard to tell from most of the photos if the chevron pattern was just printed on the barrel, or if it was a raised or textured addition to provide some grip. As you might be able to tell by now from my description, it is just a printed on pattern that is not at all raised or textured.
The last photo that I wanted to include in this review of the Waterman City Line Expert is of the cap. At the top of the pen embedded in the black tip that you see there, you will find a small flat chrome disc that puts a nice finishing touch on the cap without coming off as being too flashy.