Kaweco Sport Piston Filler - "Quick" Review

Kaweco have finally revived the piston filling Sport. Was it worth the wait?

Photo of a model crab holding a matte black Kaweco Sport Piston Filler with the cap posted.
Listen to this post in the authors voice

I'm a big fan of modern Kaweco's pens—especially the raw metal models of the Sport—but one of its biggest downsides is ink capacity. If you want to use bottled ink, you have 2 options, both of which have drawbacks. You can either use the mini converter, or refill an empty cartridge. The mini converter is the most convenient option, but it holds a small amount of ink (~0.5ml). Refilling empty cartridges gives you more ink (~0.75ml), but you need to use a syringe to fill it up. For a long time, this is the choice you had to make as a Sport user. But now we have a new option. One that is as convenient as the mini converter, while having greater capacity than a cartridge.

We've been asking for a piston filler for a long, long time. The original Kaweco made a number of these in a few different styles, but for whatever reason when the brand was purchased & resurrected in the mid-90's the piston never showed back up. I'm happy to see that this wrong has finally be righted.

Before we start on what makes this Sport different, we need to have a chat about something. Kaweco Sports tend to have a specific naming convention, with the "Sport" part coming last, e.g. Kaweco STEEL Sport, Kaweco EBONIT Sport, Kaweco ART Sport, etc. So it would stand to reason that the correct name for the Piston model is Kaweco PISTON Sport, right? Nope! It's Kaweco Sport Piston Filler. Because why be consistent? Now that's out of the way, on with the review.

Design-wise, this looks much like any other Sport—at least while capped—but there are a few differences. It's very close in design to the fairly unknown Sport Luxe from ~2014, with a gold band between the blind cap and body, plus a built-in clip like the most recent Art Sports. If you're not a fan of the clip, it can be easily removed by unscrewing the cap finial. It does leave a slight gap, but it's not bad. Unlike the glossy black plastic Luxe, this one is made from aluminium with a lovely matte black finish. The body and the cap are roughly the same size as other Sports with just slight differences in dimensions, but when it's capped it's ~3mm shorter. I can only assume that the cap threads slightly deeper onto the body. The cap will fit comfortably onto other Sport bodies, but one thing that isn't interchangeable is the nib unit. This pen uses the 190 nib unit instead of the 060 unit that the other metal Sports use. The feed & housing have a different design to fit with the different filling system. The 190 housing is 1.5mm shorter than the standard 060 housing, and the feed is 3mm shorter. You can still freely swap the nibs, just not the feed or housing. Be careful when removing the nib housing from this pen, as the o-ring is fairly loose and will happily play hide & seek at any opportunity.

Photo of the housing & feed of the 190 unit next to the feed & housing of the 060 unit
190 Nib Unit vs. 060 Nib Unit

The body is where we see most of the differences. Unlike normal Sports, the section doesn't unscrew since you don't need access for cartridges, but this does make cleaning a bit more difficult. You can still get decent access by taking out the nib unit, though. There is a clear ink window just behind the section that helps you check the ink levels, and the blind cap comes off to reveal the piston knob. I was pleasantly surprised by how far up the body the piston sits. I had expected it to be just above the ink window, but it sits ~13mm beyond it. This gives you an decent ink capacity of a little over 1ml. The piston knob functions well. It's easy to both grip and turn, and the gold Kaweco logo on the end gives it a classy, premium look. However, I do have one problem with it. I can't see any way to service it should the piston require re-lubricated. This isn't something that needs to be done very often, but it's a standard feature on all other piston-filling pens that I'm aware of. Perhaps there is a way to do this, but I haven't been able to figure out how. It looks like the piston has a slot for a screwdriver accessible when you remove the nib unit, but I'm not too keen on trying to disassemble it that way right now.

These differences aside, it writes and feels like any other Sport—as long as you received a decent nib. I've been exceptionally lucky with my Kaweco nibs, but YMMV. In my opinion, nibs on pens at this price point should be good out of the box, but modern Kaweco is known for its spotty nib QC. Hopefully they've put in a bit more effort for this release, but I really can't say. Mine was okay, but I'll be swapping it out for the specially ground Dentist (Soft Architect) nib from Galen Leather. That brings us to our final matter—the price. At £130, this is an expensive Sport. Not the most expensive—the Ebonit & Bronze Sports beat it out—but still more than double the standard cartridge/converter version of the matte black AL Sport. Is it worth the steep price? If you like Sports, you only ever use bottled ink, and you need a little more ink capacity than you can normally get, I'd say it is. It's easily the classiest looking Sport I have. I did decide to fill in the "Kaweco Sport" logo on the cap with a white timber crayon, as I think it completes the look. So don't expect the logo to be white on your copy if you buy one. I think the Steel Sport is still my favourite, but this is a close second. Hopefully this pen will do well so that we'll see more of these in different colours and materials.

What's your favourite Kaweco Sport? Let me know in the comments!