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Waterman W2 (UK made)

Waterman W2 lever filler, black plastic, made in UK (later 1950s)

If an American company wished to sell pens to Britons, it behove them to set up local production. Making pens in Canada (a paid-up member of the Empire) was a good stopgap, and at least three of the big U.S. makers did this, but the better plan was to set up shop in the UK itself. Although Parker had by far the longest history and most diverse lineup in its UK branch (which continues to this day making most of Parker's higher-line pens), Waterman also followed this path.

In 1946, Waterman began to make its pens in the former Falcon Pen Works factory in London (they were following the lead of Parker, which had bought local production facilities in the form of the old Valentine pen company some years earlier). Production of these pens continued into sometime in the 1970s, according to Lambrou. It would appear that Waterman did not tailor its products for the locals to the same extent that Parker did during this period.

This attractive version of the then-new Waterman V-clip still shows the old "globe" trademark.

This particular example is a black model W2, and must be considered mint since it seems never to have seen ink (except for my careful dipping) and still bears its original price stamping (27/6, which must have been somewhere in the middle of the price range for pens of the day, to judge by the size and trim level of this pen). I found it in an antique mall in Palo Alto, California; why someone would drag a brand-new and unused English-made pen all the way to the Golden State and leave it sit for a few decades is beyond me, but this is the kind of lucky find you can sometimes make, even when you're not looking very hard.

We can date this pen to sometime in the last half of the 1950s, thanks to the signature Waterman V-clip, developed for the company by General Motors' famous stylist (and posthumous star of Buick TV commercials) Harley Earl. This clip made its debut on the C/F cartridge filler, but was later used throughout the line (not so much in the U.S., since Waterman production there ended in the mid-1950s).

This pen is comparable in quality to the UK-made Parker Duofolds; the plastic, trim, and detailing are of good quality, as is the small but nice-writing 14k point. Waterman apparently thought there was plenty of life left in the lever-filler, although Parker had by this time gone over to aerometric fillers in all of its models. This particular pen doesn't have Waterman's customary lever-box, no doubt instead suspending its lever on a wire loop fished inside the pen (which by this time had become the standard construction in the industry).