Parker Urban

Parker Urban (2017)

Black and Gold Review

The old Parker Urban never got stellar reviews—its build quality was somewhat questionable, the pen had a weird shape, and the nib was just plain awkward. However, with the 2017 Urban refresh, I can confidently say that parker has learned from the mistakes of their last design and delivered a fantastic product.

First the design: this pen has an almost all-metal design (except for the grip, which is plastic), and it has a nice weight for long periods of writing. And, the metal construction makes it feel like a solid, expensive pen. The pen measures 13.5 cm long from the cap to the barrel and 11 cm from the section to the barrel, and the tapered plastic section (which I find extremely comfortable), measures about a centimeter in diameter. The pen’s shape is still curved like the old Urban, however, it is much more subtle, and in my opinion, more professional-looking.

My particular model has a black-lacquered body with a gold trim, however, many, many different color varieties are available. Additionally, for about $20 (USD) more, you can purchase the Parker Urban Premium pens which have an all metal-construction (including the grip). However, the pen’s lacquer is also one of my gripes: after only about a month of usage, it is already showing scratch marks and scuffs, and under the clip, the lacquer is gone, exposing the gold metal below. Although, on the Premium pens, this should not be a big problem. The design and feel of these pens, though, are top-notch (and in my opinion) maybe comparable to a Lamy Studio.

The cap on this pen is a simple snap cap with a solid click to confirm that it’s on tight. The finial is a blank gold mirror without any decoration. The clip is a modern take on the classic Parker Arrow; although it’s better than the old Urban, it is still nowhere near as good as the old 45 and 51 designs, as it still looks kind of stamped and inexpensive. However, it is not too tight, so it can clip onto a shirt pocket with ease. The pen is a cartridge/converter, and unfortunately is a proprietary system. However, the pen includes one cartridge which I managed to refill easily.

The pen now has three center bands, along with another gold band where a blind-cap would theoretically be (although this pen is still a cartridge converter). Then, on the end of the barrel is a gold jewel very similar to the finial (a nice little bit of design symmetry). Overall, this pen has a very simple, well-balanced, and pleasing design.

This, however, brings me the star of the show when it comes to this pen: the nib. The last Parker Urban was notorious for its pretty awful, weirdly shaped, extremely dry tip. However, parker was very quick to correct this for the 2017 Urban and they delivered in force. The actual nib is quite small—just a little bit shorter in length and wider in width compared to a standard #4—so it has a very strong pentagon shape. Criss-crossing the nib are decorative etchings which give it a modern and professional look. The nib side (medium in my case) is visible on the underside of the feed.

The writing experience with this pen, however, is incredible. The nib is a very wet writer—probably the most wet I’ve ever seen from a steel nib thanks to what I believe to be an incredibly robust feed. The actual nib writes extremely smoothly with just the tiniest hints of feedback. It makes for a very comfortable writing experience—in fact, I was able to write a two-hour long, three essay exam with very little exhaustion. Compared to the old nib, this is a godsend.

Now, the pen isn’t exactly inexpensive, all things considered. The normal version retails for around $56 (USD) while the Premium Retails for around $70. However, I think that it is a very nice, well-constructed, all around fantastic pen, and I highly recommend it.

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