The discovery of the name of this little-catalogued model is a point of foolish pride for me. I had found it only in one other source, with the label “Cotele (?)” on it, with subsequent additional statements indicating that the identification was rather tentative. In looking at possible French words all I can find is the thus-accented “côtelé”, meaning ribbed, as part of the French term for corduroy cloth, which is not really in keeping with the theme of the pen, unless perhaps descriptive of its slender nature; “It’s as slim as a corduroy strip” seems an unlikely ad phrase, even in France. The breakthrough came in finding the box I had originally purchased my example in, as the sticker on the bottom gave the model as “Super /M”, and I was able to seek uses of the word “Super” in a catalogue of the 2010 auction the collection belonging to the erstwhile owner of the company. The picture attached to the word SUPERMASTER in the catalogue was clear enough for a match, and in the case of Waterman pens, I will take two crossing references like that as sufficiently definitive.
But turning from the detective work; what is the pen like? It is, as I indicate above, a very slim pen in keeping with the fashions of the time. It is not over-weighted, as some other pens of a similar silhouette, so the slimness is not as much of a burden as it might be. With the marginal vice of thinness being really its only one, the pen has a couple of virtues to balance it. It is a relatively durable pen, in the non-plated versions at least, and resists both scuffs and posting scars very well. The point, which is devoid of any markings save the single letter of line size, is smooth. It is what the low end of a high-end lineup should be; a good hint of the joys which might await if one could pay just a little more for the privilege.
Returning to the name for a moment, the question is begged; what’s so super about it? The Master was a similar pen made in the previous decade, perhaps slightly larger and having a rather simpler clip. I suspect that this expansion of the name is merely reflective of a reworking of the model’s shape than an improvement, although it might also indicate a change from the older Waterman proprietary cartridges to the international pattern, or even the sort of sop to the impecunious that Sheaffer frequently got up to (as seen in the relative places of the Admiral and the Sentinel in several of that company’s line-ups). The last possibility is pointed to by the fact that the Master is known to have had a gold point. If I ever get my hands on a Master, I may be able to comment more sensibly. Update: there is now a Master in my stable, and I have tried to comment sensibly on it, although some of these speculations remain up in the air.
I am going to finish a fairly personal entry in this catalogue with another personal note. I use the word “relatively” in a preceding paragraph in mentioning the durability. The threaded collar on the section which holds the barrel is not very thick, and can be broken without a lot of effort if one habitually presses too hard on the pen. This pen has the dubious distinction of being the last one I got before I learned how to look after a pen properly, and I got it a long time before that. Years of mistreatment led it to be slightly unwilling in its flow, and in my foolishness I thought the response to this was to press more firmly. This worked, but it also at length broke the section. Learn from my bad example, internet viewers!
Production Run: c.1983 – c. 1989 (the latter date is almost firm– it’s in the 1988 catalogue, but not in the ’90).
Cost When New: $60.00, according to the MSRP sticker from 1984 on the black basic model below, but that’s in Canadian funds; that’s about $46.00 then in the US funds I generally list these prices at (for modern value, try this calculator). A German price list for 1987 shows them at DM75, which is about $42.00; one suspects US pricing of around $45.00.
Size: 13.8 cm long capped, 16.3 cm posted, 12.1 cm uncapped.
Point: Steel, gold-plated.
Body: Brass, with various finishes.
Filler: Cartridge, capacity approx. 0.6 ml or 1.4 ml (international pattern).
If you are relying on the preceding information to win a bet or impress a teacher, you should read the site’s scholarly caveat. Remember, this is the internet, and it’s full of bad information.