This Parker pen is a fine writing instrument. It is difficult to keep track of all the Parker variations, but this model is actually manufactured in France, whereas other Parker pens, even some of the Sonnet models, are built in India or some other location. The quality of French manufacturing shows the minute you see and pick up the pen. It both looks and feels like a quality instrument right from the first moment you start to use it. It is therefore differentiated from other pens that are made in other locations.
The pen is made of a metal alloy top with decorative engraved markings that make for a beautiful presentation. The lower barrel of the pen is a blue acrylic that is weighted properly so that when you are writing, the balance of the pen is just right. And this is when the pen really shows its prowess: when you pick it up and start writing, the quality and weight balance is just apparent. It writes effortlessly across the page and feels just right in the hand.
Note, however, that Parker, like its pens, manufactures its ink replacement cartridges in both France and in other countries. This is undoubtedly what accounts for most negative reviews of this pen, because the non-French ink cartridge, which is a fraction of the price of the French type, is not built to the same quality standards (even though it visibly looks identical). What is the point of purchasing a quality and beautiful writing instrument only to load it with an inferior cartridge that skips and scratches? The French cartridge costs approximately six dollars per cartridge. The non-French cartridge can be found for as little as six cartridges for twelve dollars. And believe me, the difference is substantial when it comes to performance. In fact, the non-French cartridges made in India are clearly marked not for sale outside of India, and so how some sellers are getting around this is an open question, but it is something that any potential buyer of this pen should be aware. The authentic French cartridge glides effortlessly across the page and is a pleasure to use. It makes the writing experience with this pen a delight.
The pen not only is beautiful in its design but also comes in a lovely presentation box that is highly suitable for gifting. An extra cartridge is provided, as well, and can be found underneath the pen’s mounting board (just lift the board out of the box and you’ll find the second cartridge. The combination of the embossed top with the smooth barrel makes it even more interesting and lovely.
As a person who has several pens manufactured in both France and Germany, I can give this pen a high recommendation that puts it up with these other fine writing instruments. It's just important that you purchase the genuine French-manufactured replacement cartridges so that you will continue to have a quality writing experience. It’s a beautiful pen that operates beautifully, and I can highly recommend it.
++ Gorgeous design
++ Excellent weight balance in the hand
++ Superior lay down (when using the authentic French cartridge)
++ Nice size for front shirt pockets
++ Available in multiple colors (this one, blue barrel with a metal top)
++ Presentation box if given as gift
- - Pricey (manufactured in France)
- - Confusion over French cartridges which function very well and others, which do not
- - Confusion over other Parker pens which look similar but are not made in France
- - Authentic cartridges are expensive (and there are no Japanese Pilot G2 substitutions to be found as can be with French Waterman pens; the G2 refills match or exceed the originals and can be had for a dollar or two! Make note of that if you are using a Waterman Expert rollerball pen)
The French refills can be found with a search on B01GPM3HS8
The Indian refills are found with a search on B00HNWHEZW