in Frankfurt Jan 30 and managed to find a couple of spare
hours to pop into Paperworld. Two hours for 10 multi-storey
exhibition halls, thousands of exhibition booths in more than
600 product categories? No way, I just focused on racing through
the two halls showing pens (see picture above of tower and
one of the halls). My overall impression re: pens was that
this event was mainly big business meeting big business, big
time: booths costing hundreds of thousands of dollars (some
on several levels with 30-table restaurants etc), company
representatives in tailored suits, you get the picture....Last
year I went to my first pen show ever in Brussels, Belgium(
where I live); a tiny event in two rooms, but very homely,
informal and conversational and which, unlike Frankfurt, included
vintage pens. Give me Brussels-style shows anytime, but to
find elusive new stuff you have to go to places like Frankfurt
I suppose....I also hope to go back to see things I missed
like paper, calligraphy, inks and zillions of artists materials.....
Did any other Pentracers visit? Here are some subjective impressions,
in no special order. Apologies for the pictures, I'm a novice
with a borrowed camera.
Parker showed two new LEs commemorating 50 years of Queen
Elizabeth's accession: one based on the Duofold, in gold (above
left) and a cheaper one based on the Sonnet (I think) and
with resin body and gold-plated cap (above right). The enthusiastic
rep. told they had been developed "with the Queen herself"
(yeah right, like she needs the extra endorsement income!).
Great looking pens.....if you like shiny, heavy, engraved
gold. There's also a new Sonnet in black with white metal
featured an LE version of the bamboo-shaped Serenite: made
of "Cocobolo" wood, (?), with silver trim (above).
I wanted to ask why they hadn't used bamboo, but held back
(behave, Michael, they're being helpful!). Great looking,
but I've tried the black resin version and find it a little
top heavy for my taste. They confirmed the Edson will now
only be available in blue - a shame, I'd like to see them
develop the Edson concept instead.... Several new colors for
lower range Watermans.
(like Parker and Waterman owned by Sanford). I've been building
up a collection of Art Pens, hoping this would cure me of
"expensive pen syndrome". Great variety of smooth
steel nibs. What do I see here? A dark red LE Art Pen with
gold nib? Help, nurse!
Is it just my impression, or is this company going downmarket?
(see stand pic) Wouldn't a full-blown PFM replica with snorkel
be great? But I did see an interesting Legacy LE called "Black
Pearl", kinda weird color but grows on you.....
5th/last Asian Series LE
green celluloid Souveraen
had a huge but ho-hum booth :-), 98% dedicated to school products,
the Souveraens almost hidden in a corner. But what a corner!
Novelties include two gorgeous Genji Maki-e's (based on M800)
two new Celluloid Souveraeans (blue and green, called Berlin
and another town whose name I don't recall) and the fifth
and last of the Asia LE series (yellow resin) (see pics).
I put on a straight face and asked the rep. when they'll be
issuing another Souveraen color after the red.... perhaps
yellow?......I'll tell Pentracers if you send me $5 each....
Just kidding, I don't know, it's a state secret! :-)
I went into the booth and asked the rep. "So what's new
this year". Answer "Nothing!" One of the most
refreshingly honest responses I've heard in a long time! I
guess the 2000 is pretty timeless.... Their new booth itself
was amazing, something out of Kubrick's Space Odyssey movie,
it's going to win design prizes galore! (see pic)
Castell have a new Graf pen, chain mail finish, a bit like
the Caran d'Ache Ivanhoe. Get this, they also had waitresses
dressed in two piece swimsuits made solely of dangling wood
pencils! My job is to report but Pentrace is a family forum,
so no pictures! :-)
This small German company has been driving people crazy for
years by using proprietary converters and cartridges i.e.
not compatible with other brands. I have a beautiful briar
wood fp bought on vacation in Italy 10 years ago and whose
converter fell apart not long after. Thousands of inky fingers
and 3 unanswered letters later, I gave up and brought it to
Frankfurt. To my delight, they promised to send me a stock
of converters, free-of-charge. One of those great moments
which made the show worthwhile....that is if I get them!
Didn't see them and couldn't find them in the catalog! Afraid
to rub shoulders with the hoi poloi? Shame!
What's a marker producer doing in this distinguished company?
OK, they had a great "Berlin cafe" booth which plied
me with at least 4 drinks. So remember Pentracers, Stabilo
is the marker of choice (slow fade jingle).
Where else could I have seen 10 different Maki-e Emperors
in one showcase? No words suffice.......but I didn't see any
customers either, can anyone afford these $5K puppies?
Bamboo new colors
(separate booth). The Bamboo is now available in Europe in
blue and red, as well as black.
Interesting briar pens, they're getting established in the
US, looking to set up in Europe. A company to watch in future.
This company seems determined to try and move to the highest
part of the high end market...they mainly had solid gold/jewel-encrusted
LE items on display, Randoph Hearst or Ludwig of Bavaria style.
They need to get back to their roots IMHO.....
Not present, don't know the reason....I had been hoping to
finally see and hold a Titanic....and test the ballistic qualities
of their travelling inkpots :-).
Unusual marketing approach. They only showed one pen, the
orange Dolce Vita, in 100 different shapes and sizes. The
booth had orange carpets, the reps orange sweaters and ties.....A
shame, I came to see pens!. Fran, if you're reading this,
I went there for you!!
English library booth, wood panelling/Chesterfield leather
chairs. The new 88 Demonstrators were everywhere; this pen
just moved up several places on my "Wanted" list!
Etruria regular and retracable nib version
Some of you know I have a soft spot for this brand..... What
a great experience! I arrived and was immediately hustled
by two friendly reps to a private back room where I could
pull apart or try any pen I wanted for as long as I liked.
There guys are maniacs.....I love 'em! The Iris replacement
is called Verrazano (like the NYC bridge) in dark blue ebonite
and with a new and improved retractable nib mechanism. Wow!
The art deco Novecentos will be available in dark green ebonite
(like the Hercule Poirot LE); Wow, wow! The amber Etrurias
continue but with modified trim and there is an amber Etruria
version with the same retractable nib mechanism as the Verrazano.
Wow wow wow! :-) (see pics )
Verrazano + new ink
subway back to the hotel I asked myself what's the point of
retractable nibs on these pens which also have caps....? Hmmm....
In case it rolls off your desk while the cap is off? Pentracers
please help, this is keeping me awake at night! They're also
launching Stipula ink, with a "trademark" brown.
I also made my only show purchase, a piston Etruria (black,
discontinued color, but I'm a sumgai!) fine nib, smooth, soft,
seems determined to take on it's British rival Conway Stewart.
A new large resin fp with silver trim, very...ahem...similar....in
design to the CS Churchill. And a new tiny Viceroy Pocket
pen, to compete with the CS Dinkie. Tiny pens, by the way,
were everywhere at the show. My Filofax organizer needs an
Stewart. New versions of the Churchill (I thought this was
an LE or perhaps we're now talking LE of LE?), including in
carbon fiber (!), quite a departure from the original image.
d'Ache. Pushing hard on new retro versions of the timeless,
I ran out of time but on the way out I saw some amazing, multi-colored
fps based on Andy Warhol paintings of Marilyn and Mao. I assume
they are French because the reps. were speaking that language....
Can someone tell me more??