Introduced a year after the sleekly futuristic Edson, the L’Étalon (the first version of this page said this was “Stallion” in French, but a well-wisher tells me that it is probably better translated as “Standard” in the sense of something others strive to meet; either way, I have applied a definite article in two languages to it) appears to have been offered as something for the upper end pen buyer who still wanted something with square ends. It is not substantially different internally from most of the company’s other pens, although it mounts the two-stud cap gripper also used in the Carène which is somewhat aside from most of Waterman’s output.
That gripper is a point of concern with this pen. It will probably have the same issue as I bothered to highlight with the Carène, in which the inside of the cap will wear if the user is careful about keeping pen and cap in a particular alignment. More alarmingly, it seems that there is some danger of the studs transferring pressure from the effort of opening the cap to some inner fittings of the section, causing an internal breakage. There have not been many reports of this sort of damage, but there are enough to warrant mentioning it; you might want to be gradual in removing this pen’s cap, to give the studs time to compress.
The shape of the pen is a little odd. It’s fairly short for a high-end modern pen, and has a fairly thick girth which is all the more pronounced relative to the length. It is somewhat similar to the Sheaffer PFM in the relationship of it’s dimensions– there may be something there for the Freudian analysts, given the meaning of both pens’ names. The shortness of the L’Etalon, regardless of the revelations it provides about the personalities of pen designers, has bearing on the pen’s balance. It is relatively heavy, and with the cap posted it is somewhat end-heavy, but that heaviness does not have so much leverage that it causes trouble during writing as happens in some heavy-weight pens. My own inclination is to not post, to preserve the finish on the barrel, but if one is that way inclined, it won’t make for an uncomfortable writing session.
The point is quite firm, with only just enough spring in it to be perceptible; shaded writing will not happen with this pen and should not be attempted. The dimensions and mechanics of the point and feed are essentially the same as those found in the Phileas, which explains the firmness of this point and the above-its-station writing characteristics of that pen.
This pen seems to have been replaced in Waterman’s stable with the Exception. Whether this was a result of concerns about a built-in flaw or just an urge to put something a little funkier into that stall is not known.
Production Run: 1996 to 2004.
Cost When New: The MSPR in a from a 2000 list was $400 for the silver-clad version, $275 for lacquered.
Size: 13.9 cm long capped, 15.0 cm posted, 12.5 cm uncapped.
Point: 18K gold.
Body: Metal in various finishes.
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.