A few years ago, I got a box from Lost Crates as a gift. Now closed, it was a neat concept: you put in some details about your style and likes and dislikes, and they would send you a box of stationary. In my box was a rollerball: a Kaweco Sport. Capped, its shape was a bit odd, but it had the advantage of being very portable. Capped, it was significantly shorter than most pens, but with the cap posted, was about the same size as a regular pen. These are attributes that I’ve appreciated in other pens, most notably the “Bullet” space Pen. Between a Black Friday discount and some gift certificates, I got a matching fountain pen last month. The portability is a desirable advantage, and is fairly unique.
As I mentioned, capped, the pen is smaller than most pens–it’s an inch and a quarter smaller than a capped Lamy Safari, and a full inch smaller than a Retro 1951 Tornado, though it is a bit longer than a capped Bullet Space Pen. This makes it a very portable pen. When I’m wearing a shirt that doesn’t have a breast pocket, it goes in the pocket of my pants easily. The pens do not have clips–for this application, it’s not a problem, and one is available as an add-on if that is desired. The cap screws closed, which reduces the likelihood of it coming open accidentally.
One disadvantage is that, when capped, I can’t tell the fountain pen apart from the rollerball. The rollerball is slightly heavier than the fount, but making that distinction (usually by holding one in each hand) is not always practical. Fortunately, for the times I can’t, I usually just want to make a quick note. I’m not picky about the mode.
With the cap posted, the Sport is the size of most pens, though I find it a bit top-heavy. The section is a bit on the small-side–the grip can be a bit awkward, and my fingers find the threads fo the cap. This can be a nuisance, though it really depends on how you hold the pen.
Like all ball pens, the rollerball is a fancy holder for a refill. It comes with a Schmidt cartridge, and it is the same size as the ones in the Tornado–I love it when things are compatible. It is a decent cartridge for a rollerball, though you can try different ones. Since Parker-style refills work in the Tornado, I suspect they will also work in the Kaweco Sport, though I have not tested that.
The fountain pen takes international cartridges, which are available from a variety of manufacturers. Give the size of the pen, it has to be the short size–this is the size Diamine, my primary ink these days, uses. However, it cannot take most standard converters. A mini-convertor is out there, but a special order. Standard converters can at least be used to clean the pen.
The fountain pen is a decent writer. Mine has a medium nib, and runs true to other medium nibs. though not as smooth as a Lamy (my gold standard for smoothness), it writes well. Overall, the flow is in the Goldilocks zone–not too wet, not too dry. My biggest quibble is that, if I am not holding it in the sweet spot, it can be a bit reluctant to start. I have seen this mentioned in other forums.
Overall, I think this is a good pen, but not a great one. It writes decently, but I don’t feel the urge to write with it. However, its portability means that I do not have to go without a fountain pen. It is moderately priced, with the fountain pen being available for as little as $25 online. I would not recommend it as a first fountain pen–the nib won’t “wow!” a new user, and it’s quirks take some getting used to. However, it is a great pen to add to an existing collection. It writes well once you get used to it, and the portability more than compensates for its quirks.