The Parker Urban is a unique design by any account, and a surprise from Parker’s normally orthodox line. Unsurprisingly, it’s also one of their most celebrated modern models, both for its stylish design and quality. This pen has a special place in my heart – it was the first pen that I bought after deciding to start collecting (although that’s a story for another day …), and perhaps the one that I used for the longest consecutive time. I’ve had this pen for longer than any other (still working) pen in my collection – here’s what I think.
The Urban “only” has a steel nib, but boy, what a steel nib! It’s as smooth as the gold nib on my sonnet, and with only a smidget less flex. It’s one of the wettest nibs I have, although this may be due to using Parker’s blue-black ink, rather than my customary, more viscous, Montblanc Blue. The nib is a pleasure to write with, and has never hard started on me yet. I’m also a huge fan of the torpedo shape, which matches perfectly the streamlined shape of the pen’s body. The feed is hidden, giving the nib an appearance of being semi-hooded, making it even sleeker. It’s not so much a beautiful nib in and of itself, but rather just a part of the unifying design of the pen. This could easily sit in a display case with pens ten times its price.
I’ve already touched on it, but this pen has one of the most unique bodies of any pen currently on the market. The body tapers towards the middle, giving it an hourglass shape (think a significantly more affordable version of the MB Etoile). My Urban is coloured with a metallic blue that has a lacquer sheen, and is extremely attractive. The inevitable arrow clip is here, and as good as ever. The italic Parker “P” is inscribed on the top of the lid and, whilst it might look out of place to a more discerning eye, it’s a nice touch of detail to avoid a blank surface. The steel bands at the end of the section and barrel respectively are a nice touch of contrast. It’s a sleek pen, and one that would look as suited to a boardroom as a display case.
The hourglass shape is a pleasure to write with, and the pen caps well for extra length. In my past few Parker reviews, I have complained incessantly about sections, but they seem to have struck it exactly right here, with the smooth plastic complimenting the design, and remaining sufficiently think to be able to get a good grip while writing. The arrow clip is functional as every, and the pen is an average size, meaning it will easily fit in any pen case, despite its unusual profile. My only complaint about this pen is that it requires either Parker’s proprietary cartridges, or a converter. Given that a Parker twist converter is equivalent to 25% of the price of the pen itself, that means I’m stuck using Parker’s blue black – far from my favourite ink. However, as an EDC, it’s well worth investing in a converter and a bottle of decent ink.
I’ve owned this pen for a while now, and for good reason. It’s one of the better writers for under £50, and definitely the best looking. The hourglass design makes the pen easily distinguishable, and it certainly doesn’t sacrifice on comfort when writing. I bought mine in a sale for less than £20, and I would definitely recommend one for anyone looking for either a good EDC, or a cheaper addition to a collection that punches well above its price.
By Oliver Bennett