Parker Fountain pens are often seen to be the epitome of reliability and Great British fountain pens. Known for their quite-legendary Parker 51, Parker had an impressive lineup with their vintage fountain pens, and the Parker 17 is no different! Introduced in 1962, and discontinued a decade later, these pens are pretty old, but built to last! Offered in blue, black, red and green, there is guaranteed to be something to match your preferences. So, is this pen worth a purchase, delving into Parker’s rich and fascinating history? Or is it just a display piece, condemned to collecting dust on a shelf and never being looked at twice? Read on to find out…..
With its hooded nib, and available in an array of colours, this pen is certainly not one to snide towards. Granted, its design is indeed quite similar to the Parker 51 (less rounded, however), it is still incredibly elegant and the contrast between the gold coloured trims and black body gives it somewhat of an understated beauty. The top diamond-shaped plastic is rather unique, and the classic Parker arrow really does complete the pen. The section of the pen flows on from the main body, with a slight tapering, and separated by a metal band. From the top, the nib emerges quietly and minorly, but certainly fits in with the theme of the pen.
Whilst I am a huge fan of the design, the writing is… nothing special. The pen boasts a 14k gold nib, which, after disassembly and cleaning, I saw to be pretty damn big! The nib does indeed provide some flex and line variation, which is common to see in many vintage fountain pens. The nib largely has no flow issues, and is on the whole a fairly smooth writer with a bit of tooth to it. Granted, this is a fine nib, but I wouldn’t like to use it for extended writing sessions, rather, I feel as though it is more suited to quick scribbling of notes in lectures, or just a nice EDC pen to show off and feel proud of.
The pen would serve an awesome purpose as an EDC, or as a quick notes pen, if it had a better filling system. The pen contains Parker’s (infamous?) aerometric filling system which unfortunately is non removable. I find that filling this pen can be quite fun, but it doesn’t hold or take in nearly as much ink as I’d like, and it is a nightmare to clean! The pen was indeed bought used, and hence there was an incredible amount of dried up ink, which would have been a doddle to clean had it been able to be flushed! Unfortunately, even though the disassembly process for the nib and feed was indeed quite simple, to clean out the aerometric system was a long and arduous process.
Final Thoughts (6/10)
Despite my quite mean criticism of the filling system and nib performace, the pen is certainly built to last. To have survived in pretty good condition for over 50 years, and be a fair writer to EDC standard is incredibly impressive! Granted, it does require fairly high maintenance, but you aren’t just purchasing a pen, you’re purchasing a piece of history, of one of the most famous pen companies in the world, and that, to me, justifies every hour you spend on polishing, caring and cleaning this pen.
By Ali Abbas Panju