Parker has just released a new line of ink pens that it describes as an "innovative new writing system" that will "revolutionize the look and feel of putting pen to paper."
The upshot is that the new Parker Ingenuity uses a metallic hood and flexibile polypropylene tip to approximate the easy glide and varying lines of a fountain pen, but has a disposable tip/ink cartridge that can be replaced as easily as a rollerball or gel pen refill.
Parker is calling it 5th Technology, combining "the classic beauty of the fountain pen, the smoothness and precision of the rollerball, the ease and longevity of the ball point pen and the smudge-free, fluid experience of the porous point."
The collection comes in two styles – Classic and Daring – and either large or thin sizes. Finishes range from the usual black lacquer that Parker does so well to a soft black rubberized barrel trimmed in chrome. The pens go for about US$160 to US$190 and the refills run about US$8 each.
So far, it doesn't seem to be impressing the collectors at the Fountain Pen Network, who generally have dismissed it as an overpriced felt-tip fineliner pen dressed up like a fountain pen. And, at Fountain Pen Geeks, it was dubbed the "Parker Poser" and the "Edsel of writing instruments."
However, at least one user had pretty positive feedback after trying one of the Ingenuity line.
According to Dave M. at FPN:
My experience with the Parker was quite satisfactory. The writing is extremely smooth. There is some variability in line thickness depending on the pressure that is applied. It does not have the same range as a fountain pen, but it is more expressive than a ballpoint or rollerball. Very little pressure was required to put down a consistent line with no skipping. I have no experience with any felt tip pens or any other tip. I felt the pen was well balanced and writing was effortless. Ink flow was excellent and there was no smearing; although I am right handed. I wrote a few words and tried to smear the ink; no smearing. I will use this pen on a daily basis. My model is the all rubber version which I found to be very comfortable. I'm not thrilled about the cost of the refill; however it is very easy to change. It's the same process as a ballpoint or rollerball. Lastly, this is not a fountain pen; however it is a different instrument in comparison to a ballpoint or rollerball.
There's no denying it's a great-looking pen, and the idea of being able to write like you're using a fountain pen without having to contend with ink spills and the rest of the mess is attractive. But, in the end, do you really want to pay that much money for just another plastic-tipped pen?
Let us know what you think.