Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review: Waterman 94 Steel Quartz Fountain Pen - Music Nib

Interesting note about this pen: a Private Detective ran the name engraved on the pen: Max J. Kujawaski. This PD is fairly certain that Max last lived in Wausaukee, WI, born 01/04/1885, died 04/1974.Of course, if this is true, it's just really neat to know this. If it isn't true... well. It still adds some fun mystery to the pen, doesn't it? Max had good taste. Let's have a look at his pen!
Flex Nib Friday! Waterman 94 + Music Nib.  Sailor Jentle Apricot.  #fpgeeks #fountainpen #fountainpens #pen #pens #penporn #penaddict #flex #flexnibs #flexnibfriday #waterman #vintage #music #music #musicnibs #seriousnibbage #nibbage
If you don't feel like reading everything, just scroll for pictures. And some videos of writing samples at the bottom (from my YouTube). Also follow me on Instagram because I post this pen/writing pretty often.


Brand: Waterman
Model: 94
Body Material: Celluloid
Trim: Nickel
Origins: Made in USA, 1930s
Length (capped): 5.0"
Length (uncapped nib-end): 4.73"
Length (posted): 6.42"
Barrel Diameter: 0.47"
Section Diameter: 0.33" - 0.40"
Nib type: Waterman Ideal #5
Nib material: 14K Ideal Music
Weight: 14g
Fill type: Lever filler
Price: Price will vary
Where to buy: (this is where I bought mine; you can always look elsewhere!)
Review: Waterman 94 Steel Quartz Fountain Pen - Music Nib

It is unusual that vintage pens come with their original packaging. In this case, the Waterman 94 does not come with its packaging. Don't care. Just wanted to get to the nib. Onward ho!

Review: Waterman 94 Steel Quartz Fountain Pen - Music Nib
This Waterman 94 is a fairly large pen, compared to the other vintage Waterman pens I have. It is in the Steel Quartz finish- a shimmery marbled silver-grey celluloid with red flecks in it. There is a silver clip, center and, and lever (the trim is nickel). The finial is the same material and is raised to a center in concentric rings. Uncapped, the section is small, smooth, and flares towards the nib. It is black but looks great with the grey and red body. The threads are the same colour as the barrel.
Review: Waterman 94 Steel Quartz Fountain Pen - Music Nib
This particular pen is engraved with the name of Max J. Kujawski. The Waterman imprint is no longer white (assuming it was once white) but it is still visible.
Review: Waterman 94 Steel Quartz Fountain Pen - Music Nib
Review: Waterman 94 Steel Quartz Fountain Pen - Music Nib
This nib is a large, beautiful 14 karat gold three-tined music nib. It says Waterman's Ideal 14KT. It's pretty simple. The two tines on the side are thinner than the middle tine: the tine in the middle is visibly wider. The slits are at a semi-diagonal and there are two breather holes. All three tines are flexible. I'm certainly not a professional but the nib feels like a super flex to wet noodle. The center tine is less flexible than the side tines, so the flexibility may be limited by the center tine. The tines on the side are easier to flex (require less pressure) but of course are far more delicate and require a lot more attention and care.

How does this wonderful nib perform? Well, wonderfully! It was set up to be an ink guzzler, and it certainly guzzles ink! I don't know how much ink it holds because I've never measured, but I do expect that when I ink it, it won't be long before I'm re-inking it, and I basically just "practice" and doodle with it.
Review: Waterman 94 Steel Quartz Fountain Pen - Music Nib
This is indeed Sky High the nib and feed needs to come out for some serious cleaning, because it's a lot darker than Sky High usually is. Sorry for the inaccurate ink colour. 
I absolutely adore this pen and nib. The section has a crack and when I discovered it, I was devastated - something that would not bother me on any other pen, probably not even on a Nakaya (which I love, but am not crazily attached to). The nib is not hot knife through butter smooth to write with, but it isn't scratchy to use either. It does write smoothly and it doesn't catch on the paper.

It has extreme line variation and is a very responsive nib. The side tines snap back faster than the middle tine, presumably because they are thinner than the center tine, however, overall, the entire nib is still very responsive.
Review: Waterman 94 Steel Quartz Fountain Pen - Music Nib
That is some serious line variation.
I never feel I am slowed down by the snap back. The line variation comes from both the fact that the nib itself is somewhat a stub nib, and also because of the (very obvious) extreme flexibility it has. Lines vary from 1.5mm to over 3mm vertically, and 0.5mm horizontally.
Review: Waterman 94 Steel Quartz Fountain Pen - Music Nib
You can see right in the middle where I made a bad stroke and the line went wonky. 
You may have noticed I adore this nib. Sometimes, if I'm not paying attention to my writing, I'll make a bad stroke and the nib will railroad or a tine will pop out of place a little (I have NOT sprung the nib) - fortunately, it's easy just to slip it back into place. All that happens is one of the side tines slip over the center tine, usually on the side that a bad angle has been placed on. As for ink flow: the feed keeps up incredibly well. It can railroad, despite being set up as a wet writer, but the nib demands a lot of ink. Slow and steady.

I recently reviewed the Noodler's Neponset fountain pen that has a modern steel music nib that is indeed flexible. There, I provided some comparisons with other modern music nibs. Have a look again, if you're interested.
Review: Waterman 94 Steel Quartz Fountain Pen - Music Nib
Noodler's Neponset Music Nib.
Waterman 94 + Ideal Music Nib.
Platinum 3776 Music Nib.
Sailor 1911 Standard Music Nib.
Review: Waterman 94 Steel Quartz Fountain Pen - Music Nib
Inks from top to bottom: Noodler's Apache Sunset
, Sailor Jentle Apricot, Sailor Jentle Apricot, Sailor Jentle Apricot mixed with ... well. Something.
I love using it because it makes all inks look incredible: shading, sheen, wetness.
Pen, Ink & Paper P0rn: Waterman Music Nib & Sailor Jentle Sky High Sheen
Flex Nib Friday.  Waterman 94.  Music Nib.  Sailor Jentle Apricot.  #flex #flexnibs #flexnibfriday #fountainpen #fountainpens #fpgeeks #pens #penporn #penaddict #waterman #vintage #music #sailor

In hand, this pen is light and comfortable. It's not at all a heavy body. I tend to use it unposted because it can be long, although not heavy, when posted.
Review: Waterman 94 Steel Quartz Fountain Pen - Music Nib
Review: Waterman 94 Steel Quartz Fountain Pen - Music Nib
However, because of the nib, it's not exactly a pen you use to write with for hours. I imagine that, having a music nib, it was used for writing music, which is an intermittent thing, not something steady like letter writing. This matters because one must consider the design of the nib when writing with it. It takes a lot of control to write with this nib without misaligning the tines, and that can be tiring on the hands (and it requires some concentration). While the pen itself is easy to write with because it's light and comfortable to use, the nib itself requires more effort. Make sense?
Review: Waterman 94 Steel Quartz Fountain Pen - Music Nib
Pictured with a Noodler's Ahab. (Thanks Peter!)
Review: Waterman 94 Steel Quartz Fountain Pen - Music Nib
Pictured with a Noodler's Ahab. (Thanks Peter!)
Review: Waterman 94 Steel Quartz Fountain Pen - Music Nib

All that said... it's a simple delightful nib to experience. I highly doubt everyone would enjoy a nib like this because of the care, precision, and delicacy it requires, not to mention the steep cost. It's not a daily writer (well, not for most people anyway), even though I have it inked almost constantly. It makes me feel better about myself when I use it. Seriously. I feel like I am artistic (I'm not), creative (I'm not), and far more capable of pretty writing than I actually am. A pen that makes me feel that way is definitely worth it. I am so happy I came across this pen. I cannot recommend a vintage music nib to others because such a nib is very particular, but for me? It's perfect.


Note: Some information has been sourced from my "dealer" - Mauricio at! A huge thank you to Mauricio for parting with this pen because it's without a doubt one of my babies. 

Need The Inks?
Rohrer & Klingner - Alt-Goldgrün
Pilot Iroshizuku Kiri-Same Misty Rain
Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-Peki Deep Azure Blue (Deep Blue)

Do a gal a solid and if you fancy any of these and want any item of your own, use my affiliate links :)


Tristan_Noelmans said...

Nice story about the previous owner! And you know what they say: "si non è vero è ben trovato"

Azizah Asgarali said...

Agreed! It adds a neat facet to the pen regardless, right? :)

Peninkcillin said...

OMG I'd love a wet noodle vintage flex like this one!

Azizah Asgarali said...

Well worth it :)

uuuuu said...

one of the best music nibs ive seen. do you know where to purchase the nib, since it seems to be sold out everywhere and im not completely sure what i should be looking for because this review says... ideal music nib, waterman 94, lots of things

Azizah Asgarali said...

It's an Ideal #5 (Waterman) nib. It'll be very hard to find. They're quite rare. You may have better luck with a #4 size, but even those are rare! Your best bet will likely be eBay or a pen show.

Travis Simons said...

That is a pretty cool looking waterman pen. It seems like those would be a good quality pen to write with. My uncle likes to make pens and he has made all kinds of different styles.

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