Monday, November 7, 2016

An Interesting Waterman Overlay

I was approached by John Bineno at the Michigan Pen Show a few weeks ago.  He had some Waterman pens and pencils to show off:


All these are made using the same overlay pattern - Waterman’s official name for it was “Duchesse,” although some collectors had begun to refer to it as “Art Deco” before the documentation of the official name was discovered, and the name continues to stick.


The pattern was only used on the company’s smaller ringtop models - the 452 ½,V pen in Watermanese.  There’s a couple good sources online for the Waterman numbering codes: the 4 indicates a sterling overlay on the cap and barrel, the 5 indicates a lever filler, the 2 is the nib size, the ½ denominates a slender model and the V suffix denominates a vest pocket model.  These don’t turn up very often, and the initials on the cap led me straight to the online listing where the chained pair originated:


The pencils . . . they had a different numbering system entirely.  The 1925 catalog at the Pen Collectors of America’s online library lumps all of the small sterling ringtop pencils under the model number “421V w.r.”   The name of the overlay would then be added, so these are not 452 1/2V pencils . . . they are 421Vw.r. pencils in Duchesse:


Note that one of John’s pencils has a more sharply tapered tip, which I attribute to being slightly older, or at least introduced earlier – these are uncommon enough to suggest a fairly short run, so either older parts were continuing to be used up, or perhaps the nose is a replacement.  David Nishimura attributes the Duchesse to “later production,” so I think the longer nose is more likely correct.   At the top, note that each is slightly different:



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