Kaweco drawing the thin line between tradition and innovation since 1883!
Kaweco dates itself back to 1883, the year the Heidelberger penholder factory was set up by Luce and Enßlen in Germany. To put things in the right perspective, Montblanc was established only in in 1906. Soennecken had started its journey in 1875 though is strictly not comparable as they have long moved out of the fountain pen domain. The original Pelikan had started in 1832 (I use the qualifier “original” with regard to Pelikan as its operations were marred by discontinuity. Kaweco too had gone kaput in 1929 – the same year Pelikan had patented their piston filler – as it was unable to sustain the massive growth it had unleashed upon itself).
By this yardstick alone, Kaweco, with members of the Grube family firmly conducting the affairs, is an entity worth celebrating – it is not often that a brand scores a century and a quarter having braved the devastation of two World Wars, the blitzkrieg of the ball point pens and still be in a position to take on the menace of electronic word processing.
And How! The new range from Kaweco, Frosted Sport is already a raging hit with the cognoscenti in the fashion capitals of the world, not to mention ordinary pen lovers and most importantly, the young writers. This slightly opaque range comes in pastel shades and incorporate all the goodness of milky purity – an eye-candy if ever was one. With monikers like Fine Lime, Blush Pitaya, Soft Mandarin, Sweet Banana and Natural Coconut, they are not only a pet to care and cuddle for the ephemerists, the penophiles, but are also a bold and compelling statement on conservation, on sustainability, on the need to relate to Mother Earth responsibly.
However, there is something that runs much deeper than what is visible on the surface as far as Kaweco instruments are concerned – a value system that stems from the belief that products, like relationships, should be forever. What makes the company stand apart, head and shoulders above the rest in fact, is the expansion of this value system into its workplace where diversity is celebrated in practise as opposed to being confined to mare clichés. Employees in Kaweco are partners in progress – members of a vibrant family that is bonded by a shared commitment, where being inclusive is the rule, not the exception.
The production processes at Kaweco are moored in traditions and the entity builds instruments that are engineered, not only for perfection but are also an everlasting quest to embrace eternity. As a matter of fact, the obsessive lengths to which Kaweco traverses to ensure that every input that goes into production is just perfect – and they source from around the world – is in itself a study for those wanting to learn about the best manufacturing practices. Kaweco is known to provide a blanket two-year warranty, but that is of little consequence – for, once one becomes a proud Kaweco owner, the relationship between the entity and the user is, like they say in German, für immer!
The unique eight-edged shape of the average Kaweco pen, its relatively small size making it the perfect instrument to carry on the self, the weight that has been perfected over time to ensure fatigue-proof usage, the nibs that are always battle ready – are features that have been written time and again over the last hundred years and more. I will therefore restrict myself to pointing out only one thing – Kaweco writing instruments fall in that sparkle zone between the German quest for engineering perfection (technische Perfektion) and German over-engineering (über Engineering). In plain English, it is a marvel of human ingenuity and I personally believe that no writer’s life is complete, unless his words are put into paper for posterity through a Kaweco pen!
My latest Kaweco acquisition is an Al Sport Deep Red. Kaweco lists it as one that exhudes elegance and confidence – it does. But I acquired it as the colour, I feel, represents my passion for the pen and the words that it will help form. It is made of aluminum, and when posted is just 13 cms ( closed it is 10.5 cm), weighing all of 21 gms, giving one the feeling of gripping breeze in the palm, even as the thoughts come out, in what else, but a breeze.
The people are hyper sensitive to client queries and are ever keen to resolve issues. Okay, a Kaweco product being what it is, they hardly ever have resolution (read client services) issues, but even then, their very approach represents the other, ideal extreme to us used to the callousness of the local entities we deal with in general.
Once upon a time Kaweco used to make yardstick pens – pens, manufacturers like Montblanc, Pelikan and others would seek inspiration from. And till the 1960’s it was certainly one of the biggest in the game, their popularity stemming from the impeccable design and quality connoisseurs could swear by. That is precisely why vintage Kaweco pens are among the most sought after and it is heartening to note that the in terms of built quality and design elegance, the company continues to be the top gun. What then is a Kaweco pen in the final analysis? A bridge – the present continuous – between the past perfect and the future of perfection!
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