Pen Review: Parker Premier

Width:
Section – 11mm
Barrel – 13mm
Cap – 14.5mm

Length:
Uncapped (with nib) – 127mm
Capped – 140mm
Posted – 156mm

Weight (with ink):
32g – Without Cap
46g – Capped/Posted

Filling System: Cartridge/Converter

I have to admit no small amount of ignorance about modern Parker pens. I’ve got a 1920s Parker Lady Duofold (which is too small for my hands), and a 1950/1960s era Parker 51 which I have restored. But up until recently, I’ve never been particularly intrigued by any of the modern Parker offerings. Compared to many other modern pen brands, their pens are pretty lackluster in appearance. Parker is just not the name it used to be.

I recently found myself with a substantial credit for my local pen haunt, and needed to use it. Since, over the last year and a half of pen collecting, I have probably spent enough money to send the owner’s children to prestigious private universities, it’s safe to say that I have picked over their good-sized selection.  Because the looks never spoke to me, however, the Watermans and the Parkers had been largely ignored. So, I looked a little bit more closely at the Parkers and noticed the Parker Premier. I had seen, and almost purchased, the Premier at a store in Salt Lake City, but ended up passing on it at the time (although my business partner bought himself one at that time.) He liked the pen, and the more I looked at it, the more I became intrigued. So I used my store credit and bought the Parker Premier in black.

This clean-lined pen comes in a few different colors. The versions that interested me the most were the “monochrome” versions of the pen which come in Black, Titanium (silver), and Pink Gold. I would have gone for the gold version had it been available, but the black is quite nice.  The brushed finish on the black version of the pen is, according to the Parker website, a nickel-palladium coating with a ceramic topcoat. Because of the brushed texture, it’s not slippery and all, and quite comfortable to grasp. It reminds me a fair bit of the Makrolon™ finish on the Lamy 2000, but with a brass base underneath.

Because it is a metal-bodied pen, it is a little heavier. However, and I talk about this in the video, when I actually weighed the pen, I was shocked at the weight. Posted or capped, the pen weighs a hefty 46 grams (32 grams uncapped). But here’s the thing: it doesn’t feel anywhere near that heavy. The balance on this pen is so good in my hand that it feels at least 10 grams lighter than it actually is. I was quite surprised. So, if you think you’re a person who doesn’t like heavy pens, you may want to try holding this one in your hand before you rule it out.

The pen has a pull-top cap which comes off fairly easily to reveal one of the most interesting, unique, and to my eye, beautiful nibs I’ve seen in a long time.  The nib has a stunning art deco-inspired interpretation of the standard Parker arrow motif.  It’s plated in Ruthenium, which gives it an absolutely stunning gunmetal finish. The lack of a breather hole, and the very short nib slit end up making this 18k gold nib quite stiff, but the look of the nib is spectacular.

Nib Detail

Nib Detail

My nib, which is a fine, was buttery smooth out of the box. It writes with the perfect amount of wetness, and I have had to make nary an adjustment to the pen since the moment I inked it up the first time.  However, I should note that, while in the store, I also tested the medium-nibbed version of this same pen. The medium nib was simply atrocious. It was one of the scratchiest nibs I had ever used, and it felt as though the nib tip had never been polished. Even though I was writing on nice paper, it felt as though I was writing on sandpaper. The salesman mentioned that sometimes these Parker nibs can be really hit or miss. In my limited sample size, when the nib is good, it’s one of the best in my collection. When it’s bad, it’s one of the worst I’ve ever used. If what I hear about Parker QC is true, I would recommend trying the pen before you buy it. Or, if buying online, buy from a retailer that will either tune the nib before sending it to you or one that has a relatively lenient return policy.

Since getting the pen, I’ve used it a lot. I don’t know that it’s cracked my top 5, but it has probably made its way comfortably into my top 10, which surprised me. The clean looks, the interesting finishes, and the beautiful nib really work for me on this pen. Now if we can just get Parker to improve its quality control and start making some more interest aesthetic choices on the rest of their line, perhaps their modern pens will earn a larger place in my collection.

  • funkmon

    I’m one of the biggest Parker fans I know. I’ve made a decision that some day when I get disposable income, I’ll have every Parker pen. As it is, right now I can’t even afford a new bottle of ink, and the vast majority of Parkers I have have been eBay scores of $15 or less.

    BUT I have only had good experience with the Parkers I have: the 21, 45, Frontier, Sonnet, Latitude, and, to a lesser extent, even the Urban, IM, Vector, and Reflex.

    I also love the Parker designs. SO THERE.

    Anyway, you own my dream pen. This is the pen I am going to buy if ever I get $300. The black edition is amazing. If you ever desire to sell it, I’m your guy.

    • I’m not much of a cartridge person, so availability of carts doesn’t impact me too much. But, at least around here, I haven’t had the same experience as you in regards to availability. None of the office supply stores around here carry Parker ink, but all of them carry Waterman (standard international). And of the pen stores around here, only one of them carries the carts. At least in my neck of the wood, it’s much harder to find parker stuff than it is to find standard international. Within a 20 minute drive, I can find Diamine, Private Reserve, Waterman, and Montblanc carts, all of which are standard international.

      Your point about older pens is well taken. I don’t spend much time with vintage pens, so that’s generally not a big consideration for me, but does help explain why they would do that.

      In any case, this is just another reason why I prefer piston fillers to cartridge/converter pens.

      Thanks!

  • RMinNJ

    Rumor has it the premier clips break off where they attach to the body?
    I like the look of them but with a premium price and only a 2 year warranty I’d worry about the clip.

    • I’ve not heard that myself, but I could see it being possible. I almost never clip my pens to anything but the strap of the pen case I use to carry them to work, so it’s not a big issue for me. But if I were clipping it to the pocket of my jeans, I could see that being a bit worrisome.

      Thanks!

  • Denise Rogers

    Thank you for your reviews, Matt. I always enjoy them.

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  • Talosa

    Hi Matt, did you have any chance to compare your Parker Premier with a modern Duofold? I love the Design of the Premiere but I’m afraid it is a downstep from the Duofold.

    • No, and I probably won’t unless someone wants to send me one to review. I don’t find the design of the modern Duofold interesting enough to spend what they cost…especially when I can find near-pristine vintage Duofolds at a lower cost with better nibs.

      • Talosa

        Finally I can compare the Duofold (International) with the Premier (Monochrome gold). These are really two different worlds (style and writing). I enjoy both.

    • Tancred

      Are you kidding? A Duofold is just a rod of plastic with a gold nib; at least the Premier has some heft.

    • mhosea

      I have a black lacquer Parker Premier in Medium (really doesn’t look like it writes any wider than Matt’s Fine) and a Parker Duofold Centennial, also in Medium. Like Matt, I got to try my Premier in the store, and mine was a hit, not a miss. But comparing to the Duofold Centennial, they’re just completely different pens. They feel different and they write differently. Capped, the Premier is slightly longer, but posted, the Doufold dwarfs it, and part of that is a much longer nib. Neither nib is “soft”, and neither should be flexed, but the Premier nib feels like it has a little more “give” or “bounce” that one can feel when writing quickly. The balance is quite different. The reason Matt was surprised at the weight of the Premier, I think, is because it carries most of it in the grip section, which gives an interesting balance. When unposted, the Premier’s balance point is still in the barrel area, but not far from the grip section. When posted, the Premier’s balance point is mid-pen. The Duofold’s balance point is mid-barrel when unposted and high on the barrel when posted.

      • Talosa

        Thanks, for your detailed comparison 🙂

  • Pencollecter

    I’m very intrigued as I live in the UK and I found a Parker Premier in a store fore a mere £30 but when I looked online they are being sold for >£100.

    • I believe there is an older version of the Parker Premier, as well. The modern version sells for quite a bit more than the older versions.

      • Tancred

        The PVC versions are more expensive, but I’m not convinced that they are worth the money. I hate the black one in particular.

    • Tancred

      £30? Are you insane, it’s a gold nibbed pen! You can get the black lacquer for as little as £140, and that’s very cheap for a gold nibbed FP.

  • ryan lim

    Dear Sir,
    i am trying to buy a fountain pen that able to write in calligraphy and daily usage. Can you mind introduce me one or two? thanks. my email is limsj@ijm.com

    • What kind of calligraphy? The kind of calligraphy you want to do would indicate the kind of pen you should look at.