The 95 was introduced as a replacement for the Arrow, and it would be entirely correct to view it as a small evolutionary stage away from that model. With the caps left aside, there is little to tell one from the other apart from a very small difference in the tail decoration. When caps return to the consideration, it is rather easier to tell the two models apart, and not just because the cap is where the date code is stamped; the 95 has a much nicer clip, of the same sort as appears on the 88 which was introduced about the same time, and a stacked coin derby somewhat reminiscent of the 75 and not at all in common with the Vector. I say “nicer”, which may be mistaken for a subjective appreciation based upon looks, but I mean it in a more objective way– it lacks the Arrow’s gouging angles, and it less likely to shred both clothes and fingers.
The fact that Parker allowed both the 88 and the 95 to share space in the same catalogue is interesting. In terms of trim levels and prices, there was almost no difference beween these pens (the 95 had a little more of a top-end than the 88), but the small technical differences between them meant that apart from the clip each required entirely separate production lines. Either the company had great difficulty deciding on which of the two very similar models was going to florish, or they had a very clear notion that one or the other would do well depending on which region it was sold in. I have no evidence either way, but the fact that the 95 was withdrawn from production after six years while the 88 persisted for another decade and a half with no more than a name change suggests that the former speculation has the upper hand.
My own assessment of the two pens suggests that they made the right choice, although I’m not happy about it. I find the 95 a more aesthetically pleasing pen, with its rounded semi-hood and elegantly long and comfortable section. However, the way the cap posts onto the body is much more likely to produce scars on the barrel, and even if the balance achieved is slightly better it doesn’t answer for the eventual scuffing of the pen. If the performance were notably better than the 88’s, this self-injuring tendency might be more forgivable, but that is not to be; while the points are quite different shapes in the two models, neither is particularly better, and it stands to reason that the one which can be formed by the same machinery tasked with banging out vast swarms of Vectors would be favoured during a rationalization of the company’s line-up… such as happened in 1994.
Production Run: 1988 – 1994.
Cost When New: Depending on trim level, from $27.50 up to $90.00 at the start of the run. About half-way along, there was a rise, the range dropping its low end and running from $55.00 on a formerly $40.00 model up to $95.00; the increases definitely affected the low end more severely (for modern value, try this calculator).
Size: 13.1 cm long capped, 14.7 cm posted, 11.8 cm uncapped.
Point: Plated steel.
Body: Brass with various finishes.
Filler: Cartridge, capacity approx. 1.2 ml.
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