Fountain Pen Review: Kaweco Supra

I purchased the Kaweco Supra for ~$100 at CultPens.com. I liked the idea of Kaweco’s smaller Lilliput line, but found it too thin and small for my tastes. So when I saw that Kaweco had made a grande-sized Liliput, I quickly put in my order. International shipping from the UK to the east coast United States took ~7-8 business days.

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Design (4/5):

The Supra is an all-brass pen that, as mentioned above, is basically a larger version of Kaweco’s Liliput. The pen has threads on the back that let you post the cap by securely twisting it in place. The distinguishing feature about the Supra is that it also includes a ~3 cm extender that can be added between the section and the barrel to make it more of a normal sized pen. In this setup, the pen can be comfortably used un-posted and can even accept standard international converters.

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My main complaint is that when the 3 cm extender is included, it gives the pen a relatively awkward bulge to the barrel and adds a sharp step that is a bit uncomfortable to touch and hold. I’d like it better if they somehow made this step shallower, or rounded off the edges just a bit. The threads on the pen are also a bit sharp, but not too uncomfortable.

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Without the extender, the Supra has about the same length as the Liliput, but with more girth (~10 mm section diameter vs. the 7-8mm section of the Liliput). Overall, I think this is a great feature that makes the pen more accessible for a wider variety of people.

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Fit & Finish (5/5):

The fit & finish on the Supra is spectacular. All of the pieces screw together perfectly and the tolerances are nice and tight. The pen came to me glistening and gradually developed a patina over the next few days. Overall, the pen is well-machined and feels like it’d survive a bumpy fall down a stairwell.

Nib (3.5/5):

Another key feature about the Supra is that it uses the larger #6-sized screw-in Bock nib units. So any pens that accept #6 Bock nib units (e.g. Karas Kustoms Ink, etc.) can be easily swapped into this pen. Of course, the nib and feed are friction fit into the nib unit itself, so with a little DIY, the pen will still accept any other #6 nibs that you purchase separately (e.g. Goulet nibs, Franklin-Christoph nibs, etc.).

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Unfortunately, the medium steel nib that came with the pen had a lot of issues. It was dry, had hard starting, and often times would not write. I struggled for an hour trying to tune the nib, but ended up just swapping in a working #6 nib that I had in storage. In all, if you don’t have any extra nibs laying around, just know that you may need to do a little tuning upon arrival to get it to write properly. Honestly, not ideal when you’re paying $100 plus for a pen, but it is what it is.

Writing Experience (4/5):

The (new) nib writes perfectly well, but for the overall writing experience, the pen’s balance and weight are just as important.

I admit that a key reason why I got the Supra was for the additional 3 cm extender. I typically don’t post my pens, mostly to avoid potentially scratching my more expensive and delicate pens, but in the case of the Supra, I wanted to avoid the 5 seconds of twist-action needed to secure the cap to the end of the barrel. Similar to the the Liliput, the Supra’s smallest form can only really be used posted, as the body is just 94 mm in length. I also wanted the option of using the pen with a converter.

In practice, however, the extender makes the Supra a bit too heavy for me, even though I typically enjoy heavier pens. It’s fine for jotting down a few sentences, but one page in and you’ll really start feeling the fatigue. Without the extender, however, the pen is way more comfortable. It’s not perfect—a tiny bit top heavy—but still much more comfortable to use than the alternative. I’ve since put the extender in storage and now solely use the Supra with cartridges in its smaller pocket form. And after some practice, I’ve learned to more naturally and effortlessly twist-post the pen.

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Overall Impression (16.5/20):

The Kaweco Supra is the perfect EDC pocket/travel pen for people with larger hands that like a heavier pen. It’s durable and made of high-quality brass that will show a great patina over time. In my opinion, it’s much too heavy to use for long writing sessions, though to be fair, that’s not what it’s made for. I recommend the Supra for those looking for a portable and durable pocket pen to use while on-the-go.

*Photos shot and edited on iPhone 6

*****
Measurements:
With Extender:
Length Uncapped (nib tip to end of barrel): 124 mm
Length Capped: 129 mm
Length Posted: 163 mm
Weight Uncapped: 40 g
Total Weight: 50 g

Section Diameter: 9.7-10.4 mm
Barrel Diameter: 11-11.9 mm

Without Extender:
Length Uncapped (nib tip to end of barrel): 94 mm
Length Capped: 99 mm
Length Posted: 133 mm
Weight Uncapped: 28 g
Total Weight: 38 g
*****

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