Not to be confused with the plastic-capped variant of the Parker 45 nor a short-lived Canadian pen which was in essence an aerometric-filling VS, this pen is the another branch springing from the root provided by the RB1/FP1. In this, it is sort of the Neanderthal to the Cro-Magnon which the Vector represents; appeared slightly earlier, co-existed for a while. Pursuing the analogy, the closeness of release date in 1981 of the RB1 and the Arrow suggests a common ancestor rather than one descending from the other, but as this is not actually biology it may be that the Arrow drew inspiration from the slightly older model.
The Arrow is an interesting blend of features, as some are rather more conservative than those of the Vector and its kin, while others are somewhat more radical. On the conservative side, the tail of the pen lacks the cap-receiving stub seen in the other branch, and instead is simply tapered to allow the cap’s posting. Rather than relying on a “clicker” in the inner cap, the cap is held in place by a set of three raised nubs on a trim-ring at the base of the section, an arrangement very similar to that found in the Falcon.
Radicalism is first hinted at by the clip. Not only does it mount through a slot in the face of the cap rather than one at the cap/jewel interface, it is made of two separate parts; an inner spring which carries the pocket-grabbing foot, and a decorative facing of a highly stylized arrow. The point emerges from a contoured section in a rather elegant manner; it is not entirely unlike the Vector branch, but larger and more aesthetically pleasing. The longer section also serves to move the step at the joint to a point less likely to irritate the user’s hand. That step is also smaller, as this pen’s cap does not run flush to the barrel.
When examining the section of the Arrow, I did find myself wondering if someone were looking at a Waterman C/C during the design phase. Since this phase was taking place almost two decades prior to the two companies finding themselves in the same basket, this might be considered a bit of poaching.
Functionally, the Arrow is an extremely pleasant pen; slender, but light enough that the slimness isn’t uncomfortable, and smooth in writing. The only real handicap it has is its clip. While not in fact razor-sharp, it is rather on the jabby side; this is more a menace to finger than to fabric, but one does have to devote a fair amount of attention to the act of inserting it in or removing it from a pocket.
In 1987 this model was retired, or rather evolved into the next step along this branch of Parker’s evolutionary tree. It was replaced in 1988 by the 95.
Production Run: 1981 – 1987
Cost When New: Depending on trim level, $40.00 to $100.00 (for modern value, try this calculator).
Size: 13.1 cm long capped, 14.6 cm posted, 11.8 cm uncapped.
Point: Gold-plated steel.
Body: Plastic or metal.
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