Monday, 11 November 2013

Parker 5th - a brief encounter

Is it a fountain pen, is it a rollerball, is it a felt tip? Parker 5th is so named, says Parker, because “it offers a genuine fifth way of writing”, the innovation consisting “of a cutting-edge refill tip and an engraved metallic hood.” Palimpsest encountered this 5th wonder of writing technology in Pen Shop’s Edinburgh branch and spent some time deciding whether it was a glorified and extravagantly priced gel pen or a rollerball masquerading as fountain pen. They call it Ingenuity. Although it has been called the “Faux-ntain Pen for Everyone” (and not without reason), I may be perhaps excused if I do not care about its falsity and fountain pen pretensions: because the Parker 5th writes a treat.

The criticisms may abide. Fountain pen lovers are horrified by the nib look-alike the Parker 5 is sporting. Under the engraved metallic hood hides a felt tip which has ridges (ridges!) resembling the feed of a fountain pen. Parker 5th is luxurious enough to look like an exclusive fountain pen, yet it is not – obviously there is no real nib and the selection colour ink refills available is limited. Rolleball lovers will be mortified with its price tag – ranging from £57 for a Premium Shiny Chrome to £145 for the Ingenuity Large Black Rubber Chrome Trim.

And yet. Palimpsest cannot but admit that a strange attraction developed between her and that chimera of a pen. The Parker Ingenuity that she got to handle in the Pen Shop felt very comfortable, its texturized soft touch black rubber barrel was not sticky or sweaty, the design was sleek and she found that she was amused rather than annoyed by the felt tip coming out of the fancy hood. It wrote smoothly and effortlessly, it glided most pleasantly on the paper, leaving clear, smudge-free marks. It felt just write in her hand, it looked good. She could enumerate a dozen reasons why Parker 5th pens are wrong but she does not care to confess that she wouldn't mind one for Christmas.

Some pics of the Parker Ingenuity snapped in the Pen Shop in Edinburgh:


  1. I wrote with this pen at a pen shop once, and I have to say, I loved it. Had a great feel and it wrote very, very well. Then I saw the price tag... What?!?! Great pen though.

  2. I agree. That's why I mentioned Christmas...