An Unlikely Love, the Kaweco Liliput Brass Wave

My housemate likes to give me a hard time over how much I love small versions of things. I've purchased produce I don't think I'll like just because of it's size, pins and miniature models of stuff just because it's small. Hell, I have a small collection of sake cups, and I have had sake maybe five times IN MY LIFE.  It makes sense that I’d like pocket pens, then, right? They're fountain pens, but small!

Except after buying four or five pocket-sized fountain pens I finally admitted that even if the pocket pens were smaller and more portable, I just didn’t enjoy using them. I’ve reviewed a pocket pen before, and even gave it a glowing review. I admittedly rushed into the review, but I just loved how it wrote, and the form and was so excited to talk about it. Now it’s been over a year and after my initial love I realized I just didn’t want to write with the Passaporto. I always missed the feel of a full pen, and almost all pocket pens are uncomfortable if you don’t post them. Given that my normal habit isn’t to post pens, I routinely would forget and try to start writing unposted, leading to cramping. Which isn’t really the fault of pocket pens! It's just a mismatch of how I use my pens and how pocket pens demand to be used.

All of that goes to why I've held off on this pen for over a year. I saw it here and there, and Brad's review (and Mikes review and other Mike's review) almost tipped me over to ordering it, but I kept waiting, and waffling, and convincing myself that it makes no sense to drop ~90 dollars on a pen I probably wouldn't like. Yet my desire just wouldn't go away. Something about the brass, and the wave pattern’s vintage feel kept it on my radar. So when it popped up on Massdrop, I went ahead and bit the bullet. I got a good, not great, deal on this pen, which is pretty normal for Massdrop. A month or two later my package arrived, a Kaweco Liliput Brass Wave with a steel EF nib.

Hoo boy have I been taken with this thing. I’ve had it for over a month now and from the moment it arrived until today as I wrap up this draft this pen has been inked and on my desk or on my person. I flat out love this pen.

It’s definitely small, even smaller than i had anticipated, honestly. Under 4” capped, and only a whopping 5” when posted. But it’s got *heft*. The brass means that even if it’s short, it weighs almost 25 grams when inked. That weight makes it feel solid in my hand, nixing the complaint above about missing a fuller pen. For comparison, the weight of a Lamy Safari unlinked is usually listed around 17 grams on most websites. And when posted, the length starts to feel more normal as well. I’ve definitely written with it not posted, but not for longer than a sentence or two, and it’s hard to recommend that as a normal practice.

Even my habit of not posting seems to not be a problem with the Lilliput, I think because it’s so small my normal habit of setting the cap aside is short-circuited. And posting this thing feels great. For a person who doesn’t post his pens, I’ve come to really enjoy the feeling of screwing the top onto the back. The threads feel solid, and I don’t mind the two turns it takes in part because of smoothly it all fits together. And on top of all of that, the balance feels perfect to my hand. Front-heavy in a way that feels right and again, makes it feel like a much more substantial pen.

I got it with an EF steel nib, which is solid as you’d expect from Kaweco. I’m thinking of getting a cheap Sport with a broader nib to have some more options, but for now the EF is a nice fit. I do tend to like really thin lines, and Kaweco isn’t known for that, but as a general purpose writer it’s working really well.

For the first few weeks I carried this with me in my Nock Co Sinclair tk, so it was with me at work, out for drinks with friends, out writing, and at home. I ran into one spate of weirdness while carrying it around, where the nib creep teetered over the edge into leakage, but it happened only once in three weeks of carrying it around. I carry my Sinclair with me everywhere at work (Coworker: Do you have a little bag for your notebook and pens, BW? Me: Why yes, yes I do, and it is cool.) and it gets swung around quite a bit so I’m chalking up that one experience to a new pen perhaps, or some violent encounter/drop I’ve forgotten. Otherwise it’s performed very well as a portable pen. Even so, the last few weeks it’s lived on my desk. I’ve missed it at work, but the combination of it and Noodler’s Black Swan in English Roses has become a favorite for my twice daily Hobinichi habit (or my attempted twice daily Hobinichi habit). I also noticed I’d written through a lot of the cartridge and didn’t want to run out while at work, so it will stay at home until I’ve refilled and then go back to the office with me.

All of that praise said, I do have one complaint, which was not a surprise but is still the only downside in my eyes. There’s not a converter option for this thing. I have a few Kaweco cartridges and it came with a blue one that lived in it for about a week. I didn’t love the blue though, and as soon as I knew I was smitten I flushed the pen, cleaned out the cartridge and refilled with the Noodler’s. It’s a compromise I’m willing to accept, and it gives me an excuse to order more Kaweco cartridges to try more of their inks. But I do wish that wasn’t the only option. Even as I type that there’s a voice in my head pointing all the obvious reasons why it’s a silly complaint given the size of the thing. But hey, we all have our things to complain about.

I’ve been shocked by how much I like using this little guy, and it’s easily rocketed up my list of favorite writing tools. I don’t know if there’s a lesson there about following my guts, really, but I’m glad I finally hit purchase on one of these.

(P.S. the Writing Pad seen throughout is from one of the best little bookstores in all of the Bay Area, Book/Shop in Temescal Alley here in Oakland. Small, perfectly curated, with a killer selection of home goods and sundry book-related items, including their Writing Pad and my Read Instead keytag seen below.)