I saw this pen a few months ago and was intrigued. To be honest, I saw it in another retailer’s catalog. I have heard of Kaweco in the vintage sense, and am aware of their high quality pens. Had I ever seen one in person or used one? No, but I admit to having a bit of pen envy when I saw the Kaweco AL Sport.
Lisa and I discussed it for months actually, and for whatever reason never got around to getting them. Hindsight is always 20/20 as they say, and I don’t know why we waited so long.
Kaweco makes a number of “Sport” pens. The Classic Sport (we’ll save that for a separate review), and the AL Sport are the two main models. There is also an Ice Sport, Art Sport, AC Sport, and a Luxe model. The AL Sport is as the name implies, made of Aluminum. All are considered “pocket” sized, and at 4-3/16″ capped and about 5-1/4″ posted, definitely is a smaller pen. As a man with large hands, I was a bit unsure whether or not this pen would work for me. With a barrel length of 4″, this pen needs to be posted for me to even conceive of using it. Now for those with small hands you may be able to use it unposted, but I can’t imagine you’d want to do that for any extended length of time.
If I’m used to larger pens why would I even consider such a small pen you ask? For one very good reason. The size of my shirt pocket. Most modern pens tend to be larger than their vintage counterparts, and most modern shirt pockets tend to be fairly shallow. This often leads to a pen not sitting in the pocket very well as it will bottom out without fully engaging the clip. So either it sticks awkwardly out of the top of the pocket or it sits at an angle. Neither solution is graceful nor acceptable in my opinion. The AL Sport will fit in pretty much any pocket, guaranteed.
The cap is octagonal which is nice as the pen won’t roll off the desk. Out of the box (A nice tin with room for two Sport pens), this pen comes without a clip, but for an extra $4, a slip on clip (and a nice one at that) can be purchased separately. The clip is available in either silver or gold tone, has a nice firm grip, and the Kaweco logo on the side of the clip. I chose the clip as that is how I carry most of my pens. On the top of the cap is the Kaweco logo, which has adorned the top of nearly every Kaweco writing instrument since 1929. It is a very attractive logo that lets you know exactly what brand is in your pocket. The imprint is laser etched on the cap and I think is very tasteful. The cap takes about a full turn plus a quarter to release, and posts snugly on the barrel. You won’t have to worry about the cap accidentally falling off on this pen. The threads of this pen are quite far up into the cap, so you have to put the cap on the barrel a long way before the threads engage. I like this design very much as it keeps the threads away from the barrel end when posting. No possibility of scratching is going to happen.
The AL Sport comes in several different finishes, including Matte Black, and a very cool Dark Blue. I chose the silver for my test pen, but having seen the grey, may have changed my mind had I known how cool that finish was.
The pen is a cartridge filling pen primarily. The pen takes the standard short international cartridge and there is no room for a second cartridge in the barrel. There is a Kaweco squeeze style converter available for the pen to allow use of bottle inks, but the capacity is quite small, although one probably wouldn’t have this as their only pen. To unscrew the section from the barrel requires a lengthy six and a half turns, and again, the threads are quite far down on the section. The nib, a stainless steel version made for Kaweco by Bock, shows the Kaweco logo, and says Germany, Since 1883 and the nib size (In my case a Medium or M) prominently above the section. The feed is plastic, but appears to be well thought out and is elegantly sloped towards the nib tip with the Kaweco logo on the front portion. This whole nib-feed unit does unscrew from the section, but make sure the cartridge has been unscrewed first. This makes it easy to soak or throw in your ultrasonic if you need to clean it.
All this talk about how the AL sport looks, but how does it perform? After the ink started flowing from the cartridge, I was pretty impressed. The firm nib is certainly smooth and has started first time, every time. No hesitating or skipping. While the pen may be a bit on the short size, the aluminum gives it enough heft to make it just the right weight in my hand. Do I still wish it were a bit longer? Yes, but if I’m using it for short notes or as a quick carry pen, I’m not worried about it. If I were to take extended notes, I’d probably grab something a bit longer. The girth is sufficient, It can’t possibly be too short and too skinny, and I’m good with where it is. The cap really seals the pen well, and thus far no matter how long I’ve left the pen without using it, it has started up right away. This has been upwards of a couple of days even. I’ve stayed with the Kaweco ink in the included cartridge for now, but will either go with refiling the cartridge when done, or perhaps some of the J. Herbin short cartridges for some infusion of color.
In the end the one thing I can say about the AL Sport is that it is a well made pen that won’t disappoint. If you’re looking for a smaller pen for your purse, pocket, car or other small space, this is a pen that should seriously be considered. I can only wonder how other full sized pens in the Kaweco lineup will perform and find myself looking through the catalog debating which will be my next. So, go ahead, try the AL Sport. You won’t come up…short.