The first fountain pen I bought was a navy blue Kaweco Sport Chess, which, with its EF nib, instantly became my favorite go-to pen. I loved it so much that when I lost the body of the pen, I bought a replacement immediately. I still love it so much that when I saw that the Goulet Pen Co. had put its AL Sports on close-out sale, I jumped out of bed, bleary-eyed at 5am, to place an order before they sold out. Fifteen minutes later I was back in bed and looking forward to the arrival of this beauty.
And a beauty it is. Its dimensions are the same as the classic Sport, but it’s a touch heavier and its furnishings are chrome-plated rather than the admittedly garish faux gold of the classic model. Like the rest of the Sports, it comes without a clip to keep the cost down. Clips are available for $3 to $4 depending on where you shop; if you check EBay, you might even find the new “N” clip — “N” for “nostalgia,” apparently. For the record: the design of this pen dates back to the original Sport that was first manufactured in the ’30s.
And now that it’s made out of aluminum, one of these pens might last you another 90+ years (though the anodized finish will eventually scuff and scratch if you use it well). Far from being slick and cold and impersonal, the aluminum body has a matte finish that gives it a friendly, rough feel, and it quickly warms to your hand. I didn’t expect that, nor the sense of solidness and security that the weight imparts.
I also didn’t expect to be disappointed — for a second time – by the M nib. It, like the nib on my Student, has a very narrow sweet spot, and if you don’t hold it at exactly the right angle, it skips at nearly every opening stroke. (In the writing sample for this post, I went back and touched up skips, unlike that of my Student review.) What I thought to excuse as an anomaly in my Student seems more like an inherent quality to Kaweco’s M nib. Now, I deliberately avoided the B and BB nibs because I’ve heard they cause problems, but I thought I’d dodge that bullet with the M. Apparently not.
So it looks like I’ll be shopping out my AL Sport to a nibmeister before I can start singing its praises. It’s a real shame and a big disappointment because I’ve been looking forward to owning an AL Sport for a while. I’m just glad I didn’t pay full price for it. But you know what? As much of a bummer this M nib is, it’s incredibly easy to swap out nibs on the Sports, so if I’m too lazy (and/or broke) to get it to a nibmeister, I can perform a pretty quick fix for $10.50 at JetPens.