As I have written elsewhere, a fountain pen or other high quality writing instrument is crucial for improving your penmanship. Those who are new to the world of fountain pens, however, face the difficulty of choosing a high quality fountain pen that is also suitable for beginners. I have extensive experience with the Waterman brand Phileas fountain pens, and I believe that the Waterman Phileas is the best all-around fountain pen for the beginner pen enthusiast.
The Waterman Phileas fountain pen has many advantages to it, as far as fountain pens go. When I first became interested in writing with a fountain pen several years ago, I originally chose the Waterman Phileas for my first fountain pen due to its very reasonable price. One can usually find a Waterman Phileas fountain pen for under forty dollars, and sometimes as low as twenty five dollars. This low price point allows the beginning fountain pen user to get a feel for writing with a quality writing instrument without worrying about breaking the proverbial bank. Adding in a bottle of fountain pen ink or a pack of ink cartridges will bring the total cost to just under fifty dollars, which is a very reasonable investment for a new hobby or interest.
As for the Waterman Phileas fountain pen itself, the pen has several advantages. One think that I particularly like about the Waterman Phileas fountain pen is the fact that the ink flows liberally from the fountain pen’s nib. This lubricates the pen as it glides over the paper and prevents one from pressing too hard and bending the pen’s nib. The result of this relatively wet nib is that the Waterman Phileas fountain pen produces a fairly wide line on the paper, but I find this aesthetically pleasing due to the subtlety of the color depth in the ink on the paper when using a fountain pen. The thick line gives one’s writing some character over that done with the average ballpoint pen.
One feature of the Waterman Phileas fountain pen that I particularly like is the fact that one can use either bottled fountain pen ink or fountain pen ink cartridges with the Waterman Phileas fountain pen. Waterman sells ink cartridges in a variety of colors, but I find that I prefer to use bottled ink from producers such as Noodler’s Ink or Pelikan Ink. The Waterman Phileas includes a plunger style ink reservoir with a piston that one twists to draw in the ink. The whole process is very elegant, and you will enjoy experimenting with various fountain pen inks to find one that suits your particular writing style. The Waterman Phileas is a great fountain pen to use for this experimentation, and it is versatile enough to be used with any style of writing or ink preference.
The only disadvantage I have found in the Waterman Phileas is an occasional tendency to leak. I have owned several of these pens due to my tendency to lose even high quality pens like the Waterman Phileas, and occasionally I get one from the store that leaks right out of the package. Usually when I return the pen for another I have no subsequent problems with ink leakage for the lifetime of the pen. It must remembered that fountain pen ink is extremely thin compared to ballpoint ink and even the slightest imperfection will cause serious leakage.
In conclusion, I am extremely happy with the Waterman Phileas fountain pens that I have owned. It is the perfect beginners fountain pen and is affordable enough not to be a major commitment. The pen can be used with nearly any type of fountain pen ink and its wet nib makes for a pen that glides effortlessly over the paper. If you are interested in writing with fountain pens, I suggest you make your first pen a Waterman Phileas.