Fountain pens are curious creatures. They’re generally large and oddly shaped, creating a bulbous lump in the pocket of your dress shirt or pants. But the peerless writing experience afforded by these pens allows us to overlook their archaic and sometimes unwieldy designs.
Thanks to German manufacturer Kaweco, fountain fans can now get that same elusive smoothness in a tool the size of a Fisher Space Pen. Meet the Liliput, a pocket pen so outstanding that it just may change the way you look at writing.
Though Kaweco offers the Liliput in costlier finishes such as brass or copper, I selected stainless steel for our test model. And, from the moment it entered my hand, I was happy with the choice. Its capped length of 3.8-inches fits perfectly in the palm or pocket, with subtle etching at the top of the cap. Posted, the pen measures exactly five inches, making it slightly shorter than a standard Fisher Space Pen. Surfaces grip is good, especially considering the smooth nature of the stainless steel.
Speaking of grip, I’ve been particularly impressed with the threading on the Liliput. The cap secures smartly to both the top and bottom of the barrel, creating an impression of solidity. The threads at the post position can be a little sharp, however, so be mindful of letting it share space with any delicate items in your pocket.
Let’s talk about the nib. This extra-fine model features steel construction and beautiful scrollwork, simply begging for close examination. It positively oozes quality and class, providing a perfect focal point for the Liliput. These nibs are swappable, as well, in case you feel the need to try a different flow.
5 stars out of 5
The Kaweco Liliput writes like an enjoyable dream – smooth, clear, but sometimes puzzling. The extra-fine nib spools out a rich, dark line thanks to the included ink cartridge. But, every now and then, the flow of ink will stop for a tenth of a second or so. This is usually at the beginning of a letter or stroke, causing you to pause and reset. It’s never cut out in the middle of a character, which would indicate a flow problem. Instead, I suspect this is an issue of technique. The pen needs to be held in a certain way so as to avoid going momentarily dry. When the error occurs, a quick readjustment of grip inevitably solves the issue. This could be an annoyance for some, but I didn’t find it to be too troubling.
I should note that Kaweco ships the stainless steel model with a blue ink cartridge. While initially it made for a nice change of pace, I eventually opted to purchase a pack of black cartridges. This offered a chance to change cartridges on the little pen and, I’m pleased to report, the process was incredible smooth. Simply unscrew the upper portion of the barrel, pop out the old cartridge, and write with it until the unwanted ink runs dry. Insert the new color, and you’re good to go.
Occasional dryness and personal preference aside, writing with the Liliput is a decidedly pleasurable experience. Its elegant shape and beautiful lines have kept me coming back, even more so than my full-sized Lamy Safari.
4.5 stars out of 5
Since its arrival, the Kaweco Liliput has seen daily use. It’s held up flawlessly during this time, maintaining the same shine that caught my eye during the initial unboxing. The swapped-out ink cartridge, small though it may be, shows no signs of running dry. I suspect this is due in part to the extra-fine nib, which doles out a leaner line than its larger brethren.
The appeal of the pen’s all-metal construction cannot be overstated. Unlike cheaper fountain pens, this one figures to have an extended lifespan. Durable, beautiful, and economical – The Liliput checks all the right boxes.
5 stars out of 5
Here’s the tricky part. Depending upon where you’re shopping, the Liliput can vary wildly in price. I’ve seen it retail for all the way up to $100 in certain places, though the general consensus seems to be somewhere in the $60-$80 neighborhood.
As is so often the case, Amazon will be your best bet. This same model (stainless steel, extra-fine nib) runs around $55 most days. Other materials and sizes vary slightly in price, so pay attention to the item description.
Thankfully, replacement cartridges are easy to find. A six-pack of black, Kaweco branded ink will set you back just $8, which seems to be one of the better bargains in the world of disposable cartridges. This is especially fortunate, considering that the Liliput isn’t compatible with the company’s refillable adapter.
So long as you shop around, the Liliput represents a significant value. It’s a solid, well-crafted fountain pen that also happens to be incredibly portable. In my opinion, it’s worth every penny.
4.5 stars out of 5
Where to Buy
Amazon (5 out of 5 stars over 3 customer reviews as of 3/21/17)