Parker 100 Review
The Parker 100 made it's first appearance in the 2004 Parker catalogue, the first pens were made at the very end of 2003. The Diamond Blue pen featured was one of the first pens, it carries a date code 'i.iii' for the last quarter of 2003.
Geoff Hollington, designer of the Insignia and Sonnet pens, was tasked with designing a high end pen that acknowledged the Parker 51 heritage but made full use of modern materials, techniques, and up to date design. He achieved his targets remarkably well and came up with the Parker 100. The launch material was, essentially, a restatement of the original aim. It claimed that the Parker 51 demonstrated 'Parker's distinguished legacy and vibrant future, juxtaposing classic and contemporary'. Exactly!
Unfortunately, because of the Parker 100s superficial resemblance to the Parker 51 it has often been seen as a 're-release'. This isn't the case, the Parker 100 is like nothing else created by Parker, it is a 'stand alone' pen of extremely high quality and dazzling good looks that seems to say: 'Yep, I know all about the 51 but this is me'.
So, lets forget the 51 and look at the 100 in it's own right:
At 142mm. capped, 150mm. posted and with a diameter of 13mm., the Parker 100 is certainly a hefty pen that somehow manages to look even larger than it actually is, perhaps this is an illusion created by the design and finish. It's a bit like watching a football match on television, if one team is in white and the opposing team, say, blue, then the white kit players always look larger than the opposition. Similarly, at around 36g. the Parker 100 is on the weightier side but somehow looks and actually feels a fair bit heavier.
The body and section are formed in brass with a multi layered lacquer coating. The finish has a deep lustre, pearlised effect and the two colours shown, Smoked Bronze and diamond Blue, also have a metallic appearance. The clutch ring and curved bezel around the nib section are 23Ct. Gold filled.
The 'tabs' on the clutch ring are 'active' in that they are sprung and move in and out to catch the ring set into the inner cap, hence the pleasing 'click' when the cap is engaged.
The barrel end stud, and that of the cap, are also Gold filled and have an inset Nickel/palladium 'jewel'. The inset arrangement prevents scratching of the highly polished surface.
These are examples of the fine detail in the design that contributes to the overall quality of the design and construction of a top end pen.
The cap is an all metal construction with a 23Ct. Gold 'shimmer' finish and a bright, thin Gold filled cap ring. The clip, also 23 Ct. Gold filled is large and curved and harks back, just, to the familiar 'arrow' clip on previous Parker pens. It is an engineered clip, it is sprung to move away from the cap and return to grip the pocket. Unlike the traditional arrow clip it doesn't bend when used and will not fatigue or sprain with use. At the top of the cap is an inset 'diamond' made from polished Nickel/Palladium, another nod to the Parker 51 'Blue Diamond' of the 1940s. At the end of the cap is a domed, inset cap stud, also in polished Nickel/Palladium. The inner cap contains a polished ring which engages with the tabs on the barrel clutch ring with a pleasing and secure 'click'.
Just about the only thing that is 'standard' on the Parker 100 is the cartridge/converter filling system. It accepts Parker ink cartridges or a Parker ink converter.
The pen has a completely updated 'front end' consisting of a twin channel feed and collector along with an 18Ct. Gold nib. The nib is well set into the hood with only the tip and a millimetre or so of the actual nib visible. The point has a good sized tipping. Parker 100 nibs were made in a limited range of widths for a 'standard' point: extra fine, fine, and medium. The nib size is stamped into the connector, it is visible when the barrel is removed.
Both pens used for this review, a Smoked Bronze GT and a Diamond Blue GT were fitted with medium point nibs. 'GT' indicates 'Gold Trim', the 'Opal Silver' and 'Cobalt Black' versions were 'ST', silver trim.
The substantial cap of the Parker 100 suggests that if it is posted for writing the balance may be 'top heavy'. This is not the case, If the pen is held in a natural position on the section, not too close to the end, then, when released it balances perfectly in the 'jaw' of the thumb and index finger, it is a well balanced pen, not an accident! The pen is easily long enough to write in the unposted configuration, probably preferable for a pen with such a fine finish.
The pen writes very well indeed, although hooded nibs do not allow flex the nib has a quite 'soft' and forgiving feel, it is a very comfortable and 'easy writer'. There are no issues with skipping or inconsistency, the twin channel feed and collector arrangement does its job well. The 'sweet spot' on the point is very wide in that it writes equally well from the full range of reasonable contact angles. It is very smooth in use but manages to retain the feel of a fountain pen and allows character in the writing. The ink flow is good and produces a slightly 'wettish' line.
The Parker 100 is an exceptional pen, even the enthusiasts who insist on comparing it with the Parker 51, sometimes not too favourably, would concede that. It is well engineered and has a host of fine details that combine with the build quality, finish and striking design to produce a pen of the highest calibre.
It writes very well indeed and is a comfortable, easy writer with none of the idiosyncrasies often associated with fountain pens, although some people may find it a little on the heavy side when posted.
In terms of appearance it is simply stunning, a pen that clearly makes a statement!