Although the popularity of the Waterman brand has definitely faded over the last five to ten years with previously being a top three fountain pen brand to now barely being in the top ten, we still see a large number of people reaching out and asking if Waterman pens are good. With so many people reaching out to ask this as well as sales of Waterman pens still being strong although not at the same level they used to be, we have decided to publish this dedicated article.
Our goal is that we will be able to help any of our readers who are considering adding any pen from the Waterman range to their stationary collection. That said though, the majority of people we do see asking if Waterman pens are still good or not are usually specifically looking for a fountain pen or ballpoint pen from their range so we may lean more towards focusing on them at times.
Now, just like many of the other pen titans of the past, the Waterman brand seems to have begun to rest on their laurels rather than innovate and push their range forward as they used to. This is a common feeling within the penthusiast community and many of the older brands have done this causing them to drop market share to new pen brands.
Are Waterman Pens Good?
Although this has definitely lead to a decline in sales for their more recent additions to their pen ranges, the vintage Waterman range of pens can still be sought after and hold their value very well with many fountain pen collectors paying a premium for certain models and colors. Although the more modern pens from the waterman range don’t sell as well as they once did, they are still a very popular choice.
Build Quality Of Waterman Pens
One thing that we have to say right off the bat about the Waterman pen range is that they have kept their manufacturing in France and England to ensure that their fountain pens are of the highest possible standard. Competing legacy pen brands such as Cross have off-shored their production to China and are having a totally different issue with their declining sales.
This ensures that the build quality of the Waterman range is up there with the best of them and that they produce a tough yet very lightweight pen that performs very well. The tough nature of the pens barrels and caps serve them well as they can be dropped or involved in accidents and not break or take serious damage.
The lightweight of the pens offers a number of benefits to people who choose Waterman pens with the main one being that the pens are not heavy and do not cause fatigue to build up in your hand quickly. The second main benefit of the cap being lightweight is that it will not cause any problems with back weighting if you do want to write with the pen when having the cap posted.
Design Of Waterman Pens
The design of the Waterman pen range is one area where they have definitely become stagnant with minimal innovation coming from the brand for decades. This does seem to be a popular opinion when it comes to Waterman pens with people on social media and on pen related forums often saying that the stagnant designs are one of the main reasons they purchase pens from other brands.
This has resulted in small innovations such as the CON 70 cartridge convertor system from Pilot helping them rapidly expand their marketshare in Europe and North America that we previously dominated by brands such as Waterman, Parker, and Cross. With the Pelikan range improving their entry-level, intermediate-level, and premium-level pen range and nib designs they have also started to dominate and gain a huge market share over the last few years too.
Although it is hard to say considering how much of a powerhouse the Waterman range used to be, if they don’t start to innovate again and pull something out of the bag we can definitely see them running into financial trouble in the near future and potentially being bought out by another brand. This is a double edged sword as it forced brands to keep pushing their pens forward and ensuring that the consumer gets the best bang for their buck but it also means that the older brands that helped to build the initial quality and standards are fading away.
What Sets Waterman Pens Apart From Other Pens?
As you may be able to guess from everything that we have said above, very little sets the Waterman pen range apart from other pens from competing brands in this day and age. Unfortunately, one of the best things about the Waterman brand is their vintage pens that really did set the bar for their time but there is little to nothing going for their modern pen models.
This is why their sales seem to be slowing down and their reputation amongst the penthusiast community declining as you can almost always get more for your money from a competing pen model, especially from any of the larger Japanese pen brands that are gaining a huge amount of ground in the west. As we mentioned above, we doubt that this trend is going to change any time soon and can’t help feel that Waterman have to do something and fast to try and start growing their reputation again before too much damage has been done.
Can Waterman Turn It Around
In our opinion, Waterman are able to turn everything around and restore their brand to their former glory but it will be far from easy and has a high chance of failure so we doubt that Waterman will even try it. With the Lamy Safari absolutely dominating the entry-level pen range and the Lamy 2000 doing the same for the intermediate-level price point, this really does narrow the options they could take.
When it comes to the premium price point range, the Pelikan m800 and Montblanc 149 are so established at their relevant price points that it will be extremely difficult for Waterman to gain market share back. If Waterman started to try and grow three to five years back then they may have had a much easier job to turn everything around and the longer that they leave it, the less likely their chance of making it work will be.
That brings our article going over if Waterman pens are still good to a close. Unfortunately, it definitely does seem that the glory days of the Waterman pen range are over and as much as we would love to see them make a come back, it is doubtful that they will ever manage to push themselves back into the top three again.