To coincide with the two part article on choosing a luxury pen, it seemed only fitting to take this opportunity to review a brand new innovation in pen technology; specifically, the pioneering Parker Ingenuity range.
This lavish-looking collection has the gracious poise of a fountain pen without the hassles and impracticalities you’d normally associate with the traditional device. At the heart of the Ingenuity range is Parker’s brand new 5th ink technology; it has a number of advantages over regular fountain pen setups including a fluid, uninterruptable flow of smudge-resistant ink, a flexible tip that rapidly moulds and adapts to your handwriting style, plus an easy to insert refill that won’t leak on you at high altitudes.
The Ingenuity range is broadly split into two categories, ‘Daring’ and ‘Classic’.
The ‘Daring’ collection definitely lives up to its name: Merging flourishes of traditional fountain pens with innovative technology, each pen features the typical emblems of time-honoured writing tools like the engraved metallic cap and nib, with the added benefits of contemporary features such as textured-weave rubber grips and chrome trims.
It’s a look that could easily fall short, but Parker manages to toe the line with just enough precision to grab the best of both worlds. While the slim models are styled with a less ambitious nod to the early twentieth century, the larger pens in the Daring collection are refreshingly different.
Naturally, should you choose to plump for a more customary design, the other side of the Ingenuity series is probably where you want to be. The ‘Classic’ range features a more characteristic look and feel; the uncomplicated lacquered finish appears refined, yet sombre by comparison.
The unit I used for review was one of the larger ‘Daring’ models. Initially my thoughts revolved around the weight of the pen; it certainly has a substantial heft, although having used the pen continuously for several hours, I can freely admit I didn’t experience any fatigue or discomfort in the longer term.
Finding a comfortable pivoting point was a little trickier; with a sharp, extruding fibre tip, you’re wielding a substantial mass on a very fine point. Again, while it took a good half page to discover the perfect balance, once achieved the pen certainly felt as comfortable as any large fountain I’ve used in the past.
Obviously, the key to a great pen is fantastic lettering, and I’m pleased to give a big ‘thumbs up’ to the Ingenuity’s 5th technology. Having become a fibre-tip convert over the past few years, it’s great to see Parker reformulating their pens to suit the modern man’s needs.
The pen glides as promised and rapidly adapts to your handwriting style. Whilst it doesn’t quite capture the iconic look achieved with cursive writing by a fountain pen, it still creates a magnificent stroke with ink appearing thick, rich and vivid on the page.
Replacing used refills is a breeze – just unscrew, remove and insert a new cartridge. It’s the wonderful simplicity of a ballpoint without the associated inky mess; there’s certainly no need to have something on-hand for cleaning up the mess afterwards.
It’s very much a case of having the best of both worlds with the Ingenuity range; the time-honoured look of a fountain, with the highly practical ink-nib of a fine liner. You’ll get elegant design without ink-drenched fingers and the pressure-related issues of a ballpoint.
If you’re searching for a new category of luxury pen, the Parker Ingenuity may perhaps be just the ticket: one for the ‘wish list’.