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Waterman Charleston Fountain Pen Review: 18K Gold Nib, Art Deco

Updated on January 7, 2015

Waterman Charleston fountain pens focus almost exclusively on paying tribute to the past. While such collections as Serenite, Exception, and Hemisphere relish modern, and even ultra-modern design ideas, Charleston harks back to a period of beginning and naivete that was irrevocably lost after after the second world war. The title itself is eponymous with a famous dance and song from the roaring twenties.

The significance of Charleston collection goes beyond the revival a classic style. When Art Deco was becoming a full-blown phenomenon in industrial design, Waterman achieved its own peak in popularity and distribution: the coincidence nourished the fountain pen company, and left a mark that very few competitors can boast. Today's nostalgia matters equally strongly for design lovers and fountain pen aficionados.

Waterman Charleston Fountain Pen
Waterman Charleston Fountain Pen

Eventually, the pens emerge as miniature cultural artefacts that merge all appreciation, as time once converged the two institutes.


Charleston pens feature a classic opulent body evoking some streamline elements of the style, and a 18K gold nib bearing the Waterman “W” hexagon logo. The ring once again repeats the name of the company, this time in full, creating a symmetrical association with the nib.

The overall layout of the engraved inscription and the linear striations close beside it creates a tight ornament that brings to mind periodic car grills – Chrysler Airflow, Nash Ambassador – also executed in Art Deco.

The collection offers two color variations: ivory white, and ebony black (gold plated or chromed trims) – two opposites that effectively recapture the style's idea simplicity.


Waterman offer Rollerball, Ball Point Pen, and Mechanical Pencil variations of Charleston line. Though not as exciting visually as the fountain pens (without the nib it loses at least some of the mystery and character), these writing instruments nevertheless effectively convey several main ideas behind the collection.

The cone shape end generates a different dynamic with the clip and the ring, as the latter becomes the most adorned piece on the body of the pen.


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