FPG Scorecard Skyline

Review Specificaitons

Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik fountain pen-23

Pen Class: Premium ($200-499)
MSRP:: $265
Street Price:: $265

Body Material: Aluminum
Nib Material: Gold-plated ceramic coated stainless steel
Nib Size: Medium
Cap Type: Screw On/Off
Post-able: Yes
Filling Mechanism: Cartridge/Converter
Ink Capacity: 1.0mL
Overall Weight: 25g
Body Weight: 16g
Overall Length Capped: 136.4mm
Overall Length Posted: 143.8mm
Length Uncapped: 127.8mm
Nib Length: 18mm
Cap Diameter w/o Clip: 13.8mm
Cap Diameter w/Clip: 16.2mm
Section Diameter: 9.5mm
Barrel Diameter: 11.5mm at widest point

If this pen were a movie, it would be…

Reflections of the Past (2010)

Review Dealer Prep

Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik fountain pen-11
10 – The Skyline comes packaged exceptionally well, befitting a pen costing 2-3 times as much as the most expensive version of the Skyline.

The outer white, heavy paper sleeve, with a gold logo, slides away to reveal a high gloss black lacquer box with the same gold embossed logo. Overcoming the magnetic force that keeps the box securely closed unveils the pen which is held snugly in a plastic tube. The tube rests on a removable tray that’s covered in poly-fleece, a fine, very soft, fur-like material that’s exceptionally soft.

Tucked in a corner pocket in the lid is a warranty card and information booklet that contains such interesting material that this is the first one I’ve read cover-to-cover.

The introductory experience of opening and going through the packaging, makes it evident that the people behind the new Wahl-Eversharp company are serious about delivering a high quality, well thought out product. The attention to detail in the packaging and literature, which most people just disregard, is unmatched by any company for any pen I’ve reviewed thus far. If the packaging is this good, I can’t wait to see what the pen is like.


Review Filler Up

Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik fountain pen-20
6.75 – All of the new Wahl-Eversharp Skyline fountain pens use the common, international sized cartridge/converter filling system. It’s simple, convenient, and boring. However, it does comes with a threaded converter, which helps ensure a secure and solid connection to the section.

It should be noted that only the Technik and Award Collections feature barrels that unscrew at the section, revealing the entire cartridge/converter. On the six other Skyline Collections the last ⅓ of the barrel is removed to allow access to the turning knob of the converter. In this configuration, long Waterman style cartridges must be used in place of the common short cartridge.
Review Test Drive
9.0 – My first moments with this fountain pen were filled with fun and excitement. Much of that was due to seeing a pen that was so massively popular in its heyday come back to life.

The packaging made a strong initial impression which was solidified as I began to inspect the pen. Within the first few minutes of handling this modern Skyline I could tell it was a high quality piece with lots of attention to detail. There were no gaps or loose parts, and pieces threaded together tightly.

The nib as a whole was by far the most exciting aspect, though. It was smooth and slightly wet, but with lots of character. When I applied a bit of pressure the tines would open up to create wonderful, whimsical line variation and in this early stage the flow did not disappoint. Things were looking very good so far.
Review Under the Hood

Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik fountain pen-12
8.0 – The Skyline Technik in Cobalt Blue comes with a #5 size medium semi-flex, gold-plated, ceramic coated, stainless steel nib. If you opt for the black or natural aluminum pen you’ll get a fine-to-medium semi-flex, ceramic coated, stainless steel nib with a black finish.

The nib is complemented by a feed that is, according to Syd Saperstein,

“the rebirth of WAHL/EVERSHARP Personal Point originated interchangeable nib/feed assembly of 1928 but with a new internal construction.”

In addition, these new feeds feature a computer aided design with ink channels capable of providing enough ink for the semi-flexible nib. The nib and feed can be removed from the section by pulling them straight out. When additional nibs become available in more sizes, you’ll be able to easily swap them. Also, the section is keyed so that there’s only one way to insert the nib and feed.

The nib and feed are held in a black plastic section with a comfortable profile that’s long enough that the threads on the barrel shouldn’t impose on your grip. However, if you hold your pen a little further back, like I do, it’s easy to span the threads with your thumb on the small diameter portion of the barrel and your other fingers holding the section. The smooth transition from the section to the barrel should be comfortable enough for all but the most critical of users.
Review Performance

Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik fountain pen-14
8.0 – The nib in the new Skyline is a bit of an oddity. It’s being marketed as semi-flexible and features a ceramic coating, something that’s never been seen on a fountain pen nib before.

When asked about the ceramic coating, Syd of Wahl-Eversharp had this to say,

“It is an extremely durable, high-temp spray application that creates a mirror smooth writing surface.”

While that may be true, I didn’t notice it to be any smoother than any other nib I’ve ever used. In actuality, the Skyline nib felt rough – not scratchy – like I was using a graphite pencil with a thick piece of lead. When I looked at it through a 10X loupe and compared it to several other factory nibs, I noticed the finish on the Skyline nib was dull, while the other nibs were very smooth and shiny. Some of the other nibs are so smooth it feels like you’re writing with a stick of butter on a sheet of glass, which is what I was expecting the Skyline to feel like after hearing Syd’s quote. The Skyline definitely isn’t that smooth. There’s more resistance; more drag. But don’t take that as it being scratchy or unpleasant. The Skyline is far from being either of those. It’s smooth, just a different kind of smooth.

The semi-flex nib in the Skyline is actually very good for a modern steel nib, just be prepared for a workout. You can get decent line variation ranging from about 0.7mm to 1.25mm, but you really have to press into it. If you’re used to vintage semi-flex then you might not be prepared for how much effort is required to exercise the Skyline’s nib. I was most disappointed in how scratchy the nib felt while being flexed. The inside edge of each tine is very sharp and you really feel it as soon as the tines start to spread. Simple vertical strokes are bearable, but if you try even the slightest bit of horizontal movement before the tines are completely closed, as you might with long, descending swoops from the letters ‘j’ or ‘g’, it will feel like you’re writing with the tip of a knife.

I’ve used several modern semi-flex nibs from Omas, Stipula, and Edelberg that were all much smoother when being flexed. The difference between the Skyline and those other pens is that those other pens have an intentional “baby’s bottom” profile to the tipping. This rounds the inside edge of each tine just enough to remove that sharp, scratchy feeling without creating any hard starting or skipping issues.

Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik fountain pen-22However, compared to products from Noodler’s or any other similar pens, the Skyline is practically a dream to use. There’s no tweaking required. The new feed supplies enough ink to prevent the nib from railroading in most situations. I could write several sentences flexing the nib before I experienced any railroading. Sometimes it would only occur for a letter or two and I continue without any interruption. Other times it would railroad on a single stroke every other word requiring me to cap the pen and let it sit for just a moment while grabbed a beverage or a snack. Never did I actually have to use the converter to prime the feed.

Beyond that, the new Skyline performed admirably. The clip has sufficient tension to keep the pen exactly where you place it, yet is still easy to use with one hand. Posting the cap is actually very gratifying. It’s almost like the rear of the barrel sucks the cap into place. I wish every pen posted as well as the Skyline.

UPDATE: Syd noticed the poor performance in my initial video review and was adamant that none of the Skylines should behave as mine did or feel like you’re writing with a lead pencil. He quickly sent me a new section with a nib and feed tuned to how the pen should feel and perform. The tipping on the new nib was much smoother and more polished. You can see the difference below.

nib comparison

The feed also performed much more reliably in the new unit. Syd mentioned that my removing of the nib and feed on video could have had a negative impact on the performance if I didn’t get them re-inserted properly, but I was experiencing these issues during my usage before the video review. Since the section is designed to accept the nib and feed in a certain orientation, I’m not sure how one could insert them incorrectly without using so much force to cause alarm. I’m also a little puzzled that if there’s such concern over the possibility of inserting the nib and feed incorrectly and it having such a dramatic effect on performance, why did they bring back the Personal Point system that’s intended for users to swap the nib and feed?

The video below is my much improved experience with the new nib and feed. Syd says every pen from the factory should perform like this and if yours doesn’t, you need to contact Wahl-Eversharp right away.

Review Design Notes

Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik fountain pen-15
8.25 – In 1941 Henry Dreyfuss designed the Eversharp Skyline. Sixty-two years later, not much has changed with today’s Wahl-Eversharp Skyline. The length has increased and the lever filler has been removed, which one could argue is a small refinement of Henry Dreyfuss’ ‘cleanlining’ design philosophy.

The new Skyline measures in at 136mm when capped, 5mm shorter than the vintage Executive and 3mm longer than the Senior. The additional length is welcome as it was one reason I never became interested in the vintage pens. Wahl-Eversharp has tossed around the idea of producing an Executive Skyline, but I wish they had gone that route from the outset. It’s still just a hair on the petite side and in today’s market of “oversize” pens being standard, the 141mm length of the Executive would seem about perfect.

What hasn’t changed, though, is nearly everything about the cap, which is a good thing. The Derby and Clip, Clip Retaining Ring and clip reinforcement on the new Skyline are perfectly interchangeable with the vintage Senior Skyline. Soon, you’ll be able to buy these parts from Wahl-Eversharp to restore vintage Senior Skylines. That’s awesome!

Review Detailing

Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik fountain pen-16
10 – I could not find one single issue with the fit and finish of the Wahl-Eversharp Skyline. The blue anodized finish on the Technik is flawless and the plating on the clip and clip retaining ring was perfect. There’s no unsightly gaps or loose fitting parts anywhere. Even the engravings on the clip and clip retaining ring are crisp and clear, which is really an accomplishment considering how tiny the engraving on the clip retaining ring is.

Wahl-Eversharp is really setting the bar high here. Of the thirty-some-odd pens subjected to our Awesome Review, the Skyline is only the second that’s earned a 10 in Detailing.
Review 21 Minute Road Tripskyline writing sample
7.75 – To test the Wahl-Eversharp Skyline I filled it with their new, not yet available, Wahlberry ink and laid out some Piccadilly, White Lines, Rhodia, and Clairefontaine paper.

For the first half of the Road Trip I wrote in cursive and in all caps across each sheet of paper without flexing the nib. The pen was comfortable and performed beautifully. No issues with ink flow and ten minutes in, there was no fatigue. Basically, I was cruising with the top down just enjoying the ride.

Once I started flexing the nib, though, it was like hitting a detour onto a gravel road with flat tires. Fatigue set in within minutes. The sharp inside edges of the tines made the experience less enjoyable. After about 3 sentences the feed started having issues keeping up. Railroading was becoming more frequent and the only way to fix it was to set the pen down and cry grab a Coke.

After a few sips of diabetes in a can, I was able to finish the Road Trip occasionally experiencing railroading issues but not enough to cause concern or annoyance.

UPDATE: After I received the new section with the new nib and feed I redid the 21 Minute Road Trip. Using Wahl-Eversharp Wahlberry ink and a Quo Vadis Habana notebook, I was able to write page after page of flexible writing without issue. I wasn’t writing lightning fast or molasses slow. I was writing at my normal pace and only had 2 or 3 instances where the nib railroaded in 4-5 pages of writing.
Review The Checkered Flag

Pros: Cons:
Multiple collections/price points. Single nib size.
Fit & finish. Nib is scratchy when flexed.
Customer service/support.
Cap part interchangeability with vintage caps.

Famous Last Words:

It’s wonderful to see a popular, classic fountain pen revived and made of modern materials. The new Wahl-Eversharp has clearly achieved their goal with the new Skyline, but it’s not perfect. The ceramic coating on the nib seems to be more of a marketing gimmick than provide any real benefit to the user. While the computer-aided designed feed does a commendable job providing adequate flow in most situations, the semi-flex steel nib will leave you wanting for true vintage semi-flex. But, that’s true for nearly every modern so-called flexible nib.

Some may wonder what advantages this new one has over the vintage version. You’ll definitely save some money on a user grade vintage Skyline, but one in NOS condition will easily put you within reach of the Technik Collection. Another benefit is the removal of the lever filler. It cleans up the look of the pen and you don’t have to worry about wearing off the plating on the lever when you post the cap. The only reason I can think of to go with a vintage Skyline would be to get a true flexible nib or to get the larger Executive model.

In the end, none of the issues I encountered during the review are deal breakers, even with my experience with the original nib and feed. If you do run into issues, the customer service at Wahl-Eversharp is second to none. The new Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik fountain pen is a fantastic writing instrument and more than worthy of your hard earned cash. The toughest decision you’ll have to make will be which color to buy.


This pen was on loan to us for review from the Wahl-Eversharp Company.

Share →
  • writingrav

    Another great review, Dan, but I still iss Eric’s voice and opinions at times like this.

    • http://fpgeeks.com/ Dan Smith

      Thank you.

      I agree, it’s always beneficial to have a second, differing point of view.

      • Beki Clay Hodgman

        What happened to Eric by the way? Newer reader…

  • GTown_Dave

    It’s certainly a classic looker of a pen, but $265 feels a bit steep for an aluminum pen w/ a steel nib, gold plating/ceramic coat notwithstanding. I wonder how much of the cost is the (admittedly beautiful) packaging.

    • http://fpgeeks.com/ Dan Smith

      $265 is a bit steep for any pen, but let’s not forget the market we’re in. The fit and finish on this Skyline could embarrass pens costing twice as much. I also think that if W-E can get every pen to perform out of the box as well as the second pen I was sent, which is their goal, then that would be worth it alone. I have a Justus 95 and I just received a Falcon for comparison. Both pens flex a bit more than the Skyline but are also much more sensitive to railroading. You can only push them so far and write so quickly before they give up. Not so with the Skyline. I abused it and performed darn near flawlessly.

      As far as the packaging goes, I would guess anywhere from $8-12 based on quantity purchased. But this is just pure speculation.

      • GTown_Dave

        Those are all fair observations. I suppose at this price point I expect either a certain degree of handcrafting, or better quality control. Overall fit & finish notwithstanding, I find it disconcerting that any of this model were distributed w/ the nib in a condition Mr. Saperstein himself considers unacceptable. Some manner of unprecedented shipping calamity aside, one shouldn’t need to send a premium fountain pen right back to the manufacturer.

        Regardless, thanks as always for a thorough review. And please do let us know more about the Falcon. I’ve had my eye on it for awhile now.

        • Syd Saperstein

          I read the comment about “disconcerting” that the nib in the pen first sent in for evaluation was not up to our standards. Imagine how disconcerted I felt when viewing the original video! I hope people will note that the pen first sent to Dan was one of 2 of the earliest of the aluminum pens made that we rushed off to him. With over 200 pens in other body materials sold with the same nib and feed construction with only 2 issues surfacing from all of them, we were confident (too confident it appears) the Aluminum pen sent would demonstrate the same satisfactory results. I did not prescreen the pen at all. Big mistake as it turned out.

          Thanks to Dan for recognizing same and allowing us to supply another one that is more like all the others we have sold. And for his diligent road test of that proper nib.

          All of our pens are guaranteed against defects in workmanship and materials. And every pen comes with seven days after receipt satisfaction guaranteed or your money back. Ordinarily, playing pen purchase roulette regarding having to send a pen back to us is not a likelihood at all.

          Syd

          • Michael

            Your pens look amazing syd! I am saving my pennies for a Classic. When are your inks going to be available?

            • Syd Saperstein

              Our 2 ink colors WAHLBERRY(bluer) and EVERBERRY (purpler) should be available on line in about 2 weeks, if shipping is on time. We “sold out” of the first batch of 50 bottles at the Dallas Pen Show. The shipment on it s way now is 452 bottles. The printing of the box caused a minor delay. Keep your eye on the WAHL-EVERSHARP website for the release.
              Thanks for asking

          • GTown_Dave

            Mr. Saperstein,

            Your replies are greatly appreciated. Thanks for sharing more info. on your company, & the care & concern you clearly have for the quality of your pens, & the satisfaction of your customers.

  • write to me often

    It is a great review of a great pen. Thank you again!

    • http://fpgeeks.com/ Dan Smith

      Thanks for taking the time to read it all!

  • Kai S

    Yipee! Finally the written review is published. Thank you so much for doing this Dan!

    Your experience with the original nib made me wonder. I recently tried a Caran d’Ache RNX.316 ceramic coated nib and had the exact same feeling — rough but not scratchy. Could it be just a coincidence or is the ceramic coating at play.
    I actually don’t mind the pencil-like feedback in a stiff nib, but am not sure if I’ll enjoy it so much in a flexi nib…

    • http://fpgeeks.com/ Dan Smith

      There’s a few things that could be happening here.
      1. The ceramic coating is applied to a nib with a polished point but the coating leaves a textured finish as shown in my macro photo above.
      2. The ceramic coating mirrors the finish of the surface it’s applied to. Therefore, if the tip is smooth the finish will be smooth, if it’s rough the finish will be rough.

      If #1 is the case, then the tipping is polished after the coating, removing it from the tip. This negates the entire coating process and just adds to the cost of the pen.

      If #2 is the case and every tip isn’t being polished before it’s coated, then it has to be polished afterwards, again, removing the coating, negating any benefit of the coating, and only adding cost to the pen.

      Either way, I still don’t see the benefit of the coating even if it is applied to a polished tip and leaves a smooth surface. The new nib I received was no smoother than any other nib I’ve used.

  • Syd Saperstein

    I read the comment about “disconcerting” that the nib in the pen first sent in for evaluation was not up to our standards. Imagine how disconcerted I felt! I hope people will note that the pen first sent to Dan was one of 2 of the earliest of the aluminum pens made that we rushed off to him. With over 200 pens in other body materials sold with the same nib and feed construction with only 2 issues surfacing from all of them, we were confident the Aluminum pen sent would demonstrate the same satisfactory results. I did not prescreen the pen at all. Big mistake as it turned out.

    Thanks to Dan for recognizing same and allowing us to supply another one that is more like all the others we have sold. And for his diligent road test if that proper nib.

    All of our pens are guaranteed against defects in workmanship and materials. And every pen comes with a seven days satisfaction guaranteed or your money back.

    Syd

    Dan said in the beginning he e

  • El Esquire

    I can say that Syd and the new W-E’s customer service is impeccable. I ordered a Skyline that came with a different nib than the one I asked for, told Syd, and he had the correct nib to me three days later. It came with return packaging, a shipping label, and postage for returning the nib that my pen came with. The nib on mine also performs about the same as the new one Dan received. Impressive air exchange for a modern feed.

  • Pingback: October 2013 Carnival of Pen, Pencil, and Paper - OfficeSupplyGeek

  • Michael

    How does the flex on this pen compare to the Pilot Falcon. I’d like to get a flexy pen and not sure which one I should get. Thanks!

    • http://fpgeeks.com/ Dan Smith

      I now have a Falcon in my possession for comparison, although not directly since I had to return the Skyline. The Falcon does flex a little bit more, but the flow can’t keep up when you push the nib to the extreme. The feed in the Skyline can keep up no matter how hard you flex the nib or how fast you write. Personally, I like the feel of the Falcon more, but it does require more practice to prevent railroading.

  • TJ Zidaroff

    A great review of a pen I’m glad to see come back. I remember them from my youth. I am definitely going to get one. Do you happen to know where the pens and ink are manufactured? Just curious.

    • Syd Saperstein

      Our ink is made in the USA, The Pen is “made”in Italy at present. Made meaning assembled. Our injection mold and plastic resin (precious?) is in Switzerland, The nibs come from Germany and then treated to our specs depending in which is to be fitted to which model pen in Switzerland, the metal fittings, France. I could have saved some wrods by just saying “Europe”, but detaisl do matter to some folks.
      Syd

      • TJ Zidaroff

        Syd, Sorry for taking so long to reply. My mother passed away. Thanks for letting me know this information. I’m definitely going to order a pen and some ink. I love the looks of them and the reviews I’m seeing have me excited. Good to see this pen back.

  • Jon Rabbett

    Great review Dan. Lovely pen. Stunning packaging, beautifully made, looks terrific value at $265.