At £15, the Kaweco Perkeo is squarely in impulse-purchase territory for me, and keenly priced as a first fountain pen, just undercutting the Lamy Safari. I bought one from Pocket Notebooks with my last order. Here it is.
It’s the design that’ll appeal to most. Kaweco has gone for something truly distinctive, with its trademark octagonal cap and this time a sixteen-sided barrel. And in case you prefer odd-numbered polygons, the section is gently triangular in cross-section.
What really leaps out though is the colour schemes. Each Perkeo is two-tone. Mine has a chalky white/grey barrel and a dusty, dusky blue cap, both matte finished, with steel-coloured finial on the cap.
The section is also white/grey, with blue bands in a polished finish. The scheme is perfectly named as “old chambray”. I love it — it’s a really classy look.
The pen feels solidly constructed, but the budget design reveals itself all over the place. While the AL Sport has an etched logo, the cap logo on the Perkeo is cast in. Casting marks are visible on the barrel and on the cap. The cap is a snap fit, which is nice and convenient but I found the feel on closing to be a bit… imprecise. Everything is plastic, including the barrel threads.
The cap has an inner cap, which should help avoid drying out. Note that the barrel has a vent at the end, which means it’s not suitable for eyedroppering.
The Perkeo comes supplied in a plastic clamshell with three cartridges; another cartridge and spacer are already in the barrel. I used one of my own converters and inked with Aoinibi, which I figured would be a perfect match for the blue of the cap.
The writing experience is mixed. I found the “ergonomic” triangle grip was subtle enough that it didn’t interfere with my usual lefty pen holds. The Perkeo is a full-size pen, but it’s very light — you may like that or not. Naturally there are no threads to get in the way, nor is there a step down from barrel to section. So that helps comfort.
To me, the nib looks small, disproportionately so — even though it’s slightly larger than the unit on the AL Sport. It’s slightly recessed into the section, which makes it look even smaller.
Naturally, the nib is steel. Quality control seems (from this sample of one) to be better than on the Sports — I experienced no hard starting or skipping, which suggests no baby’s bottom.
I ordered a fine nib, expecting the usual German exuberance (my Pelikans and Lamy fines have run wider than I might have liked), but actually the line is very fine and quite dry, too. I wouldn’t say it’s scratchy, but it’s definitely a bit toothy, with audible feedback on paper. On the Off-Lines paper used in the photos, the writing experience was alright, but I actually quite disliked the feeling on the Tomoe River in my Hobonichi. The line came out really fine and scratchy — probably due to the smoother surface of the paper.
There’s a tiny bit of line variation if you press hard.
In short I found it a bit lacking in personality, a bit like the budget Lamys. I’ll have a go at opening up the tines to increase flow — at this price, the risk is screwing up is pretty low.
So, the killer question: is the Perkeo worth the purchase? I love the way it looks, and the size and handling are decent. The small nib and average writing experience spoil the package for me a little bit. But at £15, it’s cheaper than the Safari and the Sport Classic, too. A pretty good alternative for first-time buyers to consider.
One final note: unlike the Lamys, it doesn’t seem that the nib is easy to swap. So not a purchase for experimenters!