One of Waterman’s high-end models, the Exception is an interesting blend of conservatism and the kind of modernism expressed by the Art Deco movement at its height. When seen from a distance, it could easily be taken for the sort of plain cylindrical pens so common in the 1970s and ’80s, although one need not to get too close to it to discover that it has a square cross-section. The uncharitable mind may at that point start imagining a colossal lip-stick container.
This decorative squareness is not, as some other unusually formed pens might argue, in any way ergonomic. In fact, to allow the pen to be used comfortably without compromising the pen’s lines called on the designers to be more than usually clever. The section is mostly of the common conical sort, but it flares to a square base to mesh with the shape of the barrel; to ensure the corners all line up, the section does not screw in but is held with a pair of lugs that run into slots on the inside of the barrel. This bayonet-style mounting means that the barrel has two walls which can only ever be sides, although top and bottom can change in the course of refilling.
The cap is not so clever in its attachment, held with a fairly common modern snap-on mechanism. It gets is alignment only from the flaring of the section interacting with the cap’s square opening. This relatively primitive arrangement is somewhat surprising, as one might expect a more involved mechanism for holding the cap to the pen, something more like the Carène’s little spring-tabs. However, given the known issue with that lesser pen’s cap wearing out if the tabs are always run in at the same place, it may be that Waterman chose the lesser of evils in this.
The pen is, despite the aluminum body, quite heavy, and becomes somewhat unbalanced if one tries to write with the cap posted. That aside, the odd shape doesn’t cause any serious impediments to handling. The point has a comfortable spring to it, although not enough to lead a writer into the error that it can be used as a flex-pen.
Production Run: 2005 to present. The slim version began in 2006.
Cost When New: Waterman is not forthcoming; the 2015 MSRP for the standard size seems to be between $600 and $800, depending on precise trim.
Size: 14.3 cm long capped, 15.9 cm posted, 13.3 cm uncapped (standard version; slim is slightly shorter).
Point: 18K gold.
Filler: Cartridge , capacity approx. 0.6 ml or 1.4ml (international).
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