There’s no denying that great penmanship often signifies timeless sophistication and elegance. While the world is becoming more digitized by the second, for pen aficionados, there will always be room for luxurious fountain pens like the Parker Duofold Centennial.
The Parker Duofold has maintained its heritage as the holy grail of fountain pens since 1921.
With the entire range featuring an intricately engraved 18-karat gold nib and a classic black finish, the Duofold has lived up to its promise of offering superior craftsmanship and a luxurious writing experience.
Those who ignore this proverbial “holy trinity” of fountain pens tend to regret that decision in the end.
So without further delay, let’s dive into the world of the Parker Duofold Centennial, check out its features, and what else makes them worth your while.
Parker Duofold Centennial Fountain Pens
1. The Classic Red Vintage PARKER Duofold Centennial Fountain Pen
In the world of modern fountain pens, the Parker Duofold Centennial fountain pen stands tall as a symbol of both power and grace – something that almost every fountain pen enthusiast would look forward to adding to their collection.
The Case of the Cap
Regarding aesthetics, the exquisite, big red vintage pen is crowned with a trapezoidal finial cap, a vintage gold-colored metal medallion, and an updated Parker Arrow design on its clip.
While this attempt to modernize may attract a few Parker enthusiasts, it feels like the design was stamped rather than engraved and lacks the depth and detail common among earlier Parker pens.
The Ever-Important Barrel
On the other hand, the red precious resin barrel is relatively straight-sided with palladium-finished trim, giving it a slightly more “organic” feel. The cap features smooth threads to make the twisting and opening more easier. Once open, users’ eyes can feast upon the dazzlingly attractive 18-karat gold nib.
The Overall Writing Experience
In terms of writing, the Duofold Centennial fountain pen has been defined as comfortable and satisfactory by many. This is, perhaps, due to the Rhodium-plated nib and the metal tenon, which bears enough weight to help balance the pen.
It’s long enough to use un-posted, which is good, since posting the pen makes it approximately the size of a putter. Still, the Duofold Centennial is a sign of a true fountain pen connoisseur and one that every writer is proud to display in their collection.
Nib: 18k Gold Medium Nib
Point type: Medium
Ink colour: blue
Filling System: Parker Proprietary Cartridge/Converter
What We Like:
- Features a comfortable taper
- No step from the section to the barrel
- Lined with smooth threads to provide a painless grip to users
- Limited writing fatigue despite its size
What We Don’t Like:
- Requires almost four turns to uncap
- Nib takes time to get used to
- Pieces are all bonded together, leaving little room for future repair
2. Parker Duofold Mosaic Black Centennial Fountain Pen Medium Nib
Among other Parker’s Duofold Centennial, the Mosaic Black Centennial fountain pen (with medium nib) is the third Mosaic limited production released by Parker. By far, it is the most beautiful and ostentatious one – not to mention its tremendous popularity.
The Mesmerizing Aesthetic Appeal
Crafted from an alluring combination of contrasting elements, the lustrous cast acrylics contrast beautifully with the velvet black and pearl finish, capturing the true essence of elegance.
There’s no question about it, the Mosaic Black Centennial epitomizes the high standards and the mesmerizing aesthetic appeal that have remained synonymous with the brand since its inception in the 1800s.
The 18-Karat Solid Gold Medium Nib
The Parker Duofold Mosaic Black Centennial features an 18-karat solid gold standard medium nib made from rhodium, providing a smooth velvety writing experience for Parker aficionados.
As if this wasn’t enough, the hand-polished platinum alloy point ensures a smooth bond with paper and minimal hand fatigue for users.
Nib: 18k Gold Medium Nib
Point type: Medium
Weight: 1 pound
Ink colour: black
Filling System: Parker’s proprietary cartridge/converter, twist piston converter for bottled ink
What we like:
- Classy limited-edition mosaic exterior
- Comes with an instruction booklet for first-time users
- Lined with smooth threads to provide a painless grip to users
- Simple and durable construction
- Limited writing fatigue for users
- Cartridge/converter filling system
What we don’t like:
- Limited edition
- Could be bigger
- Can be a little scratchy on the paper
- Not the best option for fast writers
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Parker Duofold Centennial Pen
Whether you are a proud owner of a vast collection of Parker pens or are about to buy your first one, given the high price range and intricate nature of the Centennial pen, buying one isn’t as cut-and-dry as it seems. Still, when shopping, keep the following factors in mind:
The nib is the tip of the fountain pen that helps you write. Different pens have various types and sizes of nibs, ranging from medium to fine. If you are looking for a fountain pen for writing, drawing, or calligraphy, you might opt for an extra fine nib.
Extra fine nibs are also used for Chinese and Japanese characters. Alternatively, medium-sized nibs are more frequently used for everyday writing. Large nibs use significantly more ink and is used for large handwriting.
When considering the nib of a fountain pen, always look for one made up of standard, easy-to-use, and easily replaceable material. Stainless steel is one of the most convenient options.
There are other options, too, such as gold nibs for luxury and iridium nibs for a high-quality pen. Make sure to look for replaceable nibs, so you will not have to scrap your favorite pen when the nib gets rough.
In addition, different types of nibs can provide different degrees of flexibility. Flexibility, in terms of fountain pens, refers to how far the nib’s tines spread when pressure is put on the nib. Unlike the traditional era, now fountain pens are made with firmer nibs. This is, in part, because it helps with finer writing.
Another essential factor you should consider is the material of your fountain pen. There are different materials available, such as plastic, aluminum, stainless steel, and rubber.
Usually, it is a matter of preference, but plastic and stainless steel materials are ideal as they are durable and better resist wear and tear.
The Cap is an integral part of your fountain pen. Some caps feature clips, which you might prefer for clipping to flat surfaces or pockets. In addition, the outer seal of the cap fixes the pen to the cap and ensures that the ink doesn’t leak. The outer seal also keeps the ink fresh.
A barrel is a part of the pen which secures the cartridge or the ink sac. Barrels can be made up of any material, but usually, they are made up of the same material as the pen. The materials used can be wood, plastic, or aluminum.
Ensure that the pen you choose has a barrel with good tensile strength. This is because when a pen falls, often the barrel can get dented.
Fountain pens tend to get expensive as their barrel diameter or barrel width increases. Choose a fountain pen with an ideal barrel width that fits your budget and is comfortable in your hand.
The size of the fountain pen depends on your preference. If you are a student, you might want a fountain pen that fits in a small pocket of your bag. You should also consider a pen size that suits your hands.
People with large hands find small pens uncomfortable, while people with small hands find large pens uncomfortable to write with. Many pens in the market have similar writing styles and specifications, but their sizes may vary, which can make them unwieldy to some buyers.
Some buyers don’t realize just how some quality fountain pens can be. If a pen is too heavy for you, it can hinder your comfort. It can strain your hand, even if you use the pen for a short period. If so, you might struggle with it, and it could hamper your writing.
Pens below 25 to 28 grams are ideal for both left-handed and right-handed individuals. You can easily use one of these pens over an extended period.
The Filling Mechanism/Ink Reservoir
There are different types of pens with different filling methods. Most rely on traditional ink filling methods, while newer, branded pens have cartridge plugging. However, different filling methods are attributed to different uses.
If you have to use your pen for a longer period of time, you should use the vacuum or piston filling method. This is because these two methods provide more ink and require fewer fill-ups.
Suppose you are using your pen for calligraphic purposes, highlighting purposes, or any other purpose which requires changing ink colors. In this scenario, the cartridge or the converter filling mechanism could work for you.
This is because there is less possibility of leaking like you might experience with the vacuum filling method. Moreover, the cartridge method is hassle-free, easy to use, and useful when traveling. In addition, the cartridge method is more budget-friendly than the vacuum or piston filling method.
One of the most overlooked factors when buying a fountain pen is if it is easily portable. If you intend to travel with your favorite pen on a flight, make sure that it will not leak during the flight. Always keep your pen’s ink reservoir empty or half filled, and secure your pen in a case to prevent it from leakage.
Top Parker Duofold Centennial Alternatives
Parker Duofold Classic Black Gold Trim Ball Pen
If you prefer ballpoints over fountain pens but don’t want to settle for anything less than the Parker Duofold Centennial collection, then Parker Duofold Classic Black Gold Trim Ball Pen is your best bet.
The high-end luxury ball pen is made from black cast resin with a 23-karat gold plated trim and comes in a chic black gift box. It includes one refill and a two-year warranty.
Parker Premier Fountain Pen
The Parker Premier fountain pen is another great alternative to the Duofold Centennial collection. Labeled as the apex of the high-end pens and ranking as one of the most expensive Parker, the Parker Premier Fountain pen claims to offer straighter and cleaner lines compared to the other Parker pens.
Parker 51 Fountain Pen
With a stainless steel nib that looks more like an arrow, the Parker 51 fountain pen is highly recommended for Parker enthusiasts looking for affordable Parker options.
Parker Vector Fountain Pen
The Parker Vector fountain pen falls within the economical fountain pen lines. Nicknamed as the daily writer’s fountain pen, the Parker Vector fountain pen comes with a slim plastic body and various color options. The Vector also offers a solid nib on its colorful barrel, making for a cheap and reliable alternative.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How are fountain pens different from other pens?
Fountain pens are luxury pens with a wing-like nib. Other pens, like rollerballs and ballpoints, are notably cheaper. Rollerballs use gel ink, while ballpoints tend to have a spinning ball instead of a nib and use a quick drying ink.
What size fountain pen nib should I get?
While choosing a nib that best caters to your personal style of writing is optimal, opting for the standard medium point nib is the safest option.
Are fine point nibs scratchy?
Yes, fine point nibs can usually be a little scratchy in the beginning. However, after using it for a while, you’ll find they smooth out.
Is the Parker Duofold a good pen?
Parker Duofolds are the Parker brand’s flagship pen. While the Duofold may be quite pricey, Parker claims to have put a lot of effort and detail into designing every component of it. Today, the Duofold stands tall as a high-end writing instrument.
What is the difference between the Centennial and International Parker Duofolds?
The Duofold International is a small-sized version of the Duofold Centennial and was introduced in 1999. The Duofold International comes in three distinctive colors and a smaller 18-karat gold nib.
What are some of the best Parker pens besides the Duofold Centennial?
Based on popularity, price, and the overall writing experience, some of the most popular Parker Pens besides the Duofold Centennial include:
- Parker Duofold Classic Blacks
- Parker Urban Muteds
- Parker Sonnet Matte Black Palladium Trims
- Parker Sonnet Stainless Steel Chrome Trim Rollerballs
Which is the cheapest Parker Pen?
The lowest-priced Parker Pen is the Parker Beta Premium Ball Pen
How old is the Parker brand?
Parker Pens started its operations in Janesville, Wisconsin, in 1888. Today it is ranked as the number one fountain pen brand in the world.
The conic Parker Duofold Centennial pens have been around for over three decades. During this time, they made their mark in the hearts of individuals like President John F Kennedy, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (author of Sherlock Holmes), and even General Douglas MacArthur.
While these fountain pens may be expensive, Parker pen aficionados understand what goes into making these pens and how seamless the writing experience it provides.
So, whether you are looking to add a vintage Parker to your collection or out chasing the limited edition Duofold, owning a Duofold Centennial is a privilege that never ceases to reward the user.