Here are the two AL-Sports together: the black Stonewashed and the raw aluminum. They are a nice pair, really attractive and very inviting. These are pens you want to pick up and use.
The black Stonewashed is just a really cool finish. I love the AL-Sport in raw aluminum because it looks so sleek, but I love the AL-Sport Stonewashed because it looks so rough.
1. Appearance and Design. Rough and ready.
The black Stonewashed AL-Sport reminds me of a well-used camera. The finish is rugged. It already looks like it’s been through the wars.
To create the weathered appearance, Kaweco uses different paint colors, in almost a stippling effect, and scratches the surface and abrades the edges to simulate wear and to bring out the aluminum underneath. The black paint is highlighted by drops of blue, which you can see in closeup photos, but don’t really notice in real life when you hold the pen.
2. Construction and Quality. Seems excellent.
Here I’m just going to repeat what I said in my AL-Sport aluminum review: I have found my Kaweco Sports to have excellent construction and quality.
And the AL-Sports feel especially solid. Something about the Stonewashed finish paradoxically makes it seem especially hardy: what can anyone do to it?
3. Weight and Dimensions. Slightly different than the AL-Sport in raw aluminum.
Weight of the pen capped: 20.8 grams (inked). Because this is a mini pen, it’s designed to be used posted.
Length of the pen posted: about 5 1⁄4 inches or just over 13 cm. Closed and capped it’s about 4 1⁄8 inches or less than 11 cm.
It slightly outweighs the AL-Sport in raw aluminum. The Stonewashed weighs 20.8 grams instead of 20.5 grams for the raw aluminum. But that’s only .3 grams difference, which doesn’t explain why the Stonewashed AL-Sport does feel heavier in the hand to me.
I think the key is the weight distribution. The Stonewashed AL-Sport has a heavier body (12.2 grams) than the raw aluminum AL-Sport (11.2 grams). And the Stonewashed AL-Sport has a lighter cap (8.5 grams versus 9.3 grams for the raw aluminum). I think the extra weight in the Stonewashed pen body is what I notice.
However, even though I’m the poster child for light pens, I have happily written with the Stonewashed Sport for page after page. So I expect it will prove comfortable for almost everyone.
4. Nib and Performance. Excellent nib.
The Stonewashed AL-Sport has a fine nib. It’s definitely wider than the extra-fine. It writes slightly on the dry side, which I like. It is a normal European fine in width — which means slightly wide. It was perfectly smooth out of the box and is very nice to write with. It is a hard nib, of course: there is no flex. That fits my preferences perfectly.
I think that Kaweco’s steel nibs write really well, and, candidly, I’m not a fan of many steel nibs.
5. Filling System and Maintenance. International cartridge/converter.
I enjoy the convenience and versatility of a c/c pen, and find this one works equally well with international short cartridges or Kaweco’s small Sport converter.
I’ll refer readers back to the AL-Sport aluminum review for more specifics, but in brief I used a syringe in filling to make sure a few drops of ink, but only a few, saturated the feed. Doing this I had no issues in startup or ink flow.
6. Cost and Value. Worth it.
In the AL-Sport aluminum review I tried to consider some comparable pens. But the bottom line for me is that the AL-Sport really seems like a premium pen, because it’s so attractive and such a good writer. Since it costs $75 or $80 in the US, and less in Europe, that seems almost like a bargain.
One of the nice things about having different fountain pens, to me, is the different aesthetics. I love my Omas vintage-style Paragons, with their stunning celluloids, graceful shape and nibs that seem to float on air. So it may sound funny, but I admire just as much what Kaweco has done with the Stonewashed and raw aluminum AL-Sports.
In a smart, thoughtful way, at a very reasonable price, Kaweco has produced pens that are distinctive and attractive. The Stonewashed finish plays with the aluminum material in an unconventional way, to create an interesting and creative design.
Kaweco’s higher level Sports have been big winners for me, and the Stonewashed AL-Sport is another that I find just stunning.