Ink Review: Kaweco Sunrise Orange


Kaweco Sunrise Orange
Kaweco Ice Sport - Black (M)
Paper: Rhodia #16 Blank - 80gsm
Shading: moderate
Saturation: low
Flow: medium wet
Dry Time: ~12 seconds w/Kaweco medium

Many fountain pen companies' line of inks are generally known to be very basic, underwhelming inks.  A lot of them are so under-saturated that they almost lean "watery."  I've often steered away from some pen manufacturers' inks for that reason, especially having tried some standard cartridges that come with pens that result in a very "meh" writing experience.  I wanted inks that represented me and my personality - after all, the fountain pen hobby is all about customizing to fit you style and needs.

Of course I knew that not all pen companies' inks were that way, but still the general mentality stuck.  Because of that, I'd really not ventured into the Kaweco inks, as I suspected them to fit this description.  When they released their two newest inks, one of them being Sunrise Orange - I was very intrigued.  Needless to say, they broke stigma around pen makers' inks with this one.

Sunrise Orange is a fun orange ink that has a very nice balance between saturation and shading.  It has the benefits of being a pen manufacturer's ink in that you don't have to worry about extreme properties, but it also provides a much richer color that doesn't suffer from the "watered down" syndrome that some others do.  I like the color variance that it provides when used in different nib sizes - in heavier writing pens, its color reminds me of pumpkin pie, while in fine and medium nibs, it's very similar to shades like Noodler's Apache Sunset and Habanero.  It doesn't give you quite as much shading and color variation as Apache Sunset, which is one of the best shading inks out there, but it's certainly not bad.

I found the dry time to be one of the best features of this ink - in my medium Kaweco nib, it dried right around 12 seconds on Rhodia, give or take depending on writing pressure.  With a finer nib, it should be even less, so I would suggest this ink as one to try out in the spirit of Left Hander's Day today!  I didn't find the ink to feather at all on Rhodia, Clairefontaine, Tomoe River, or my Field Notes Byline.  It's not weak on the saturation, but also gives a good amount of shading as I mentioned. Although it's not a super wet flowing ink, I didn't find it to write dry - even with a Kaweco nib which sometimes have a tendency to write on the dry side.

Kaweco's bottle design isn't super fancy, but it's not plain either.  I really enjoy the feel of the cap as it screws on - it has an inner liner that form fits to the lip of the bottle and prevents any air leak or evaporation, and it gives a nice positive "seal" when you tighten it.  The mouth of the bottle can be a bit small for larger pens, which could cause a problem when trying to tilt the pen and bottle with low ink levels.  The bottle's design does lend itself to getting the most out of the bottle before having to use an ink syringe to fill from lower ink levels, so with thinner pens you should fair well.

Chromatography was mostly orange, with a slight hint of greyish-blue.

The swab comparisons really show just how similar in shade this ink is to Apache Sunset and Habanero.  I think the color most closely matches Habanero, but doesn't give quite as much shading as either one.  If you love either of these inks, but don't want quite as much color variation, Sunrise Orange is a great choice.  The pumpkin pie coloring the ink exhibits when more ink is laid down is one thing that sets this apart from either of these two, and even some others in the same color range. 

I love where Kaweco is taking their ink line, and I'm glad they've helped me step outside my normal brand usage.  I plan on trying out a couple of their other standard colors as well, and expect a review in the coming days of their other new ink, Smokey Grey!  The new inks don't appear to have made it to most US retailers as of yet, but they're on their way.  The ink will be available in both bottled and cartridge form - cartridges for around $3 for for 6, and bottled for between $13 and $16 for 30mL depending on the site.  

(Kaweco has provided this product at no charge to The Desk for the purpose of review.  My opinions are honest and without bias - visit the About Me page for more details).

Pen Review: Kaweco Supra


Kaweco Supra - Steel nib (Bock M)
Length Capped: 129.5mm (with extension); 99mm (without extension)
Length Posted: 163.5mm (with extension); 133.5mm (without extension)
Length Uncapped: 124mm (with extension); 94mm (without extension)
Section at Thinnest Point: 9.5mm
Section at Widest Point: 10.5mm
Weight w/Ink & Cap: 49g (with extension); 37g (without extension)
Weight w/Ink & No Cap: 39g (with extension); 27g (without extension)
Fast Writing: Lots of skips.
Upside Down Writing: Not bad at all.
Wetness: Dry.
Pros: Unique! Changes sizes, pocket pen option, very smooth nib, patina potential, balance in the hand
Cons: Baby's bottom, weight could cause fatigue, no converter, only available in brass (which also makes your hands smell like metal)

I feel like every time I write about Kaweco lately, I'm talking about the newest awesome and unique innovation that they've brought to the writing table.  Today is another one of those days.  The Supra is one of Kaweco's newest fountain pen designs, and what makes it unique is it includes a removable 3cm midsection which allows you to change the length of the pen on the fly - taking it from a full-size pen to a pocket pen in just a few seconds.  This is such a neat feature, and something I've not seen with other pens.
The pen is the big brother of the Kaweco Liliput; and if you weren't a fan of that pen because it was just too small, this might be your answer to that.  It's made of brass, so it has some decent weight to it (around 49g with the extension and 37g without).  There is a step down on the barrel from the extension to the back end piece of the pen, but I don't think it takes away from the sleek design, and your hands shouldn't ever come into contact with that during writing.  The section is a tapered and flared design, and it's size is very similar to that of the Kaweco brass sport (and other Sport pens).  Being that it's a metal pen, the threads are a tad sharper than you'd experience on a plastic or resin pen, but I didn't find them to be uncomfortable.  Like the Liliput, the cap has the 3-syllable Kaweco logo on the top, with the Kaweco name in script and pen name on the upper half of the side of the cap.

Another thing that differentiates this pen from most of Kaweco's others is it's nib.  The Supra comes with a large #6 nib, and it's a beauty.  The nib really sets it apart, and I didn't have an issue with the pen at all until I started writing.  I typically use F nibs but wanted to give a Kaweco Medium a try, and this one unfortunately suffered from a pretty severe case of baby's bottom.  I would get a skip at the beginning of each stroke, and at faster writing speeds that carried on throughout the sentence.  It's an incredibly smooth nib (as is the case with a lot of baby's bottom nibs), and I enjoyed the pen so much that I wasn't ready to give up on it.  I spent some time doing some minor smoothing on some micro mesh, and it writes like a dream.  It is unfortunate how frequently this does happen with Kaweco's nibs - not sure if it's a Bock issue, or if they're tuned at Kaweco before they're sent out.

Nib out of the box - just a tad misaligned

A bit out of focus, but, the nib after alignment.  You can see the gap that is likely causing the flow issues.

Underside of the nib

Top side of t he nib

Compared to other pocket pens, Supra stacks up nicely against pens like the TWSBI Mini.  At its full size, the Supra is a tad longer than the Mini, but in it's pocket form it's shorter.  Of course it's heavier being that it's brass, but the size is nice.  I also compared it to the Pocket 40 from Franklin Christoph, and without its extension, it's shorter than that pen capped, and a tad longer posted.  The pen has a great balance in the hand, both at its full size (unposted for my preferences), and in it's pocket size, posted.  I don't care too much for posting it at full size because at that point it becomes almost an oversized pen, but at the same time I don't post any of my full size pens.  If you post regularly, then the length is probably something you're used to

Capped, with extension

Capped, without extension

Posted, without extension

Writing issues aside (which I was fortunately able to remedy), I am a huge fan of this pen.  The removable extension is absolutely brilliant, and Kaweco continues to come up with awesome ideas for their customers.  I would love to see them come out with other finishes/materials for this pen, as I think it will only increase the appeal (fireblue, anyone?).  I do also think it should come with a converter, especially at this price.  Speaking of, the price seems to vary pretty drastically between the US and Europe - I've seen listings at most US sellers for $140, and some European sites for around €95 (little over $100).  So if you're interested, a non-US seller may be your best option.  I can't recommend this pen enough!

(Kaweco has provided this product at no charge to The Desk for the purpose of review.  My opinions are honest and without bias - visit the About Me page for more details).