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Size: LargeColor: Classic Black Lacquer with Nickel-Palladium TrimChange
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VINE VOICEon November 27, 2011
I have to admit to being a pen junkie. I've got a number of good fountain pens, and have always liked Parker products. The Parker Duofold remains my favorite fountain pen. I looked forward to trying this because it seemed to combine fountain pen like writing with no-leak and no-need-to cap-quickly convenience. The pen has some positives. It's nice looking, seems well made, is nicely balanced. However, the writing is NOT fountain-pen like. It is much more like writing with a Sharpie and has the feel of porous point device. In a fountain pen, one can see a difference between the thickness of strokes, as in a script lower case f or g--lines are thicker where you go around the bottom of the loop and thinner on the upstroke, which gives the writing a nice look. I can't get that effect here. I directly compared this pen with an ultra-fine Sharpie. I'm quite convinced I could not tell the difference with a blindfold. The refill is configured to look like a fountain pen and it does have some flex to it. According to the Parker website the refill 'interacts' with the fountain-pen like 'hood.' I am unconvinced this really happens. So, I wound up paying 160 bucks for a good looking Sharpie. Maybe the dress up is worth it for you, I'm feeling buyer's regret.
1010 comments126 of 134 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 10, 2012
Parker's PR people did a lousy job communicating what's special about this pen, which is apparent when you read many of these reviews. People are shocked when they realize that it's not a fountain pen (it's not advertised as a fountain pen) and feel gypped when they find out that it's "only" a felt-tip. When I bought it, even the pen salesman (in a high-quality pen store) remarked to me that he didn't understand why Parker put a "fake fountain pen tip" on a felt-tip pen. But I've worked with this pen for several weeks and can share some answers.

1) Yes, this is a felt-tip and not a fountain pen. It appears to use a high-quality cartridge that does not dry out when the cap is left off and that does not push in when you press down hard, both failings of cheaper felt-tips.

2) The "fake metal fountain pen point" is there for a reason. When you write with it, that metal hood forces you to always orient the same side of the felt-tip toward the paper. This is what enables the pen to learn (in other words, wear down to) your preferred writing angle, which customizes the stroke. When you first start to write, the tip feels scratchy, but within a few sentences that personalized wear angle sets in and the pen becomes exceptionally smooth--sort of the "Blackwing" of felt-tips.

3) Because the tip develops a flat-spot personalized to your handwriting, it quickly takes on an oval shape. This is reflected on the paper as variation between thick and thin in your pen strokes. As a result, your penmanship is more expressive than with a rollerball or standard felt-tip (but less expressive than with a fountain pen). This is more noticeable with the medium than with the fine point.

So what you get is a felt-tip pen that is smoother, longer-lasting, and more expressive to write with than its predecessors. It's not a fake fountain pen. It's a terrific felt-tip that's a pleasure to write with.
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on January 30, 2012
Let's dispense with the controversy first. This is not a fountain pen. It is more of a classic a felt tip pen with a very nice looking body. So why buy this pen? Buy it BECAUSE it is not a fountain pen. Like many people looking at this pen, I am a bit of a pen geek. I use a bottle filled classic fountain pen with a gold nib that has nicely adapted to my writing style. I also deal with splotches, smears, times when the ink doesn't flow well, etc. --- all of which come with a fountain pen. Also, I don't travel with a fountain pen, since I don't ever remember to empty it first.

That's where this pen comes in. It's a sealed refill that works fine in planes. It doesn't smear, and the ink doesn't suddenly stop. It also writes exceptionally smoothly coming out of the box. In other words, it's sort of that perfect every day pen you can use when you are not writing leisurely (which is most of the time for me).

The biggest knock on this pen is that they put a fake nib on it, behind which the ink flows. I actually think this is fine. It looks mostly like a fountain pen, but it doesn't have all the hassles. You can decided whether this is worth using a a "poser" pen. For most people, I think it's perfect, as most people would never care to use a fountain pen.

Bottom line: very smooth, easy to use, carry, and travel with every day pen.
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on February 9, 2012
I recently received one of these as a gift, and being the sort of person who doesn't like to toss away or sell gifts I have it sitting in it's presentation box on my desk.

As the other reviewer stated, this *IS NOT* a fountain pen by any stretch of the imagination. It's some sort of "porous" tip that writes sort of like a fine point sharpie, except it's much less comfortable in my hand than a sharpie would be.

If you'd like an excellent fountain pen at a low price (low being a relative term, fountain pens have a sweet spot in the $150-$250 range, and another in the $2000-$2500 range) I would recommend the following, which I own currently, or have owned in the past.

If you'd like a Parker simply because you like the brand and the feel of their pens in your hand, the model 75 is quite nice, I've owned mine for a fair while and I enjoy writing with it.

My preference would be a pen by Pelikan - their model m250 can be had for around $125 if you search a bit, and their m400, which is essentially upgraded in every way can be had for $150-$160, though finding one at the prices I listed could take a fair bit of looking, perhaps purchasing a display model from a fine writing instrument shop or you could find one very gently used on either eBay or Amazon marketplace.

Another fountain pen of note, which I respect a lot, is the Waterford Kilbarry. I personally still use mine a great deal, it ran around $120 when I bought it a few years back, and it's still in rotation with my Deltas, Montblancs and Nakayas. A $120 pen standing up to very high end offerings at fifteen to twenty times it's price is highly impressive to me, and if you decide to begin a collection of pens the Waterford is something you can carry without worry and it looks like a pen priced in the $800-$1000 range.

Best of luck in finding what you're looking for, I hope this review helps you to find a pen that will make you genuinely happy.
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VINE VOICEon January 23, 2012
Did you ever ask the question "why doesn't someone make a pen that looks like a fountain pen, but really isn't a fountain pen"? I surely never did, and doubt anyone else has done so, but Parker has answered the question anyway. Parker's answer is called the "Ingenuity 5th Technology Mode Pen," a moniker as weighty as the pen itself.

Having received this pen from the Vine program, I had no idea what it might cost, but given its heft and pretension to serious "pen-ness," I had an idea it might well be a couple hundred - and so it appears to be at Parker's retail price.

If, as I am, you are a fountain pen collector always on the lookout for a new and fascinating fountain pen to put in the shirt pocket rotation, you will not be interested in this one at all - because as I explain below, although it goes to some lengths to look like a fountain pen, this isn't a fountain pen at all! For those who are not serious about fountain pens but want a "serious" and expensive looking pen, or those who really enjoy using ceramic or roller or composition tipped pens, it can be somewhat recommended, although its weight and size may be off-putting to anyone who is used to carrying a roller ball or ballpoint pen around in a shirt or coat pocket every day. However, if you are among those who firmly believe that a writing instrument should be a cheap, disposable item, and take offense at the idea that anyone would spend more than a few bucks on a pen, no matter how finely made it may be, or whether it is a piston filled fountain pen or rollerball, modern or vintage, large production or limited edition, you no doubt made up your mind when you saw the price -- before you even scrolled down to look at this review. The design, workmanship and function of this particular offering will mean nothing to you one way or the other. I can save you a lot of time. If the price offends you, you have no need to read further; and the rest of us really will derive no benefit from hearing your opinion of folks who do think it makes sense to invest a couple of hundred dollars or more in a fine fountain pen - which this item, incidentally, is not.

As for the pen, it is an unusually heavy writing instrument, one you are not too likely to clip in your pocket on a daily basis. It is reasonably well balanced, and without the cap posted, it is not at all uncomfortable in the hand. Right out of the box, it has a plastic, 'dummy refill' inside, which has a fine, pointed plastic tip that protrudes from a metal 'hood' that is fashioned in the form of a dummy fountain pen nib. The dummy refill also is fitted with what looks like the serrated comb feed of a fountain pen - for reasons I cannot fathom other than to go one step further with the ersatz fountain pen theme. It took me a moment to grasp that this was not a fountain pen at all, but a fine line, composition tip with a ballpoint/rollerball style refill.

The real, ink-filled refill, with a working tip, is hidden in the bottom of the small presentation box in which the Ingenuity is packaged. I unscrewed the section and barrel of the pen, inserted the working refill, and was yet again amazed to discover this is indeed the intent and design - a fountain pen that isn't, a fountain pen nib and feed that isn't, with a tiny composition tip peeking out from under the pseudo-nib and pseudo-feed. I kept reading the scant instructions - which are really just pictorials for various Ingenuity models - thinking I must be missing something, that there must be a way to make this work as a fountain pen and fill it with a converter or a cartridge, if not from an inkwell. I could be totally off the mark, but the answer appears to be what you see is all there is - a fine composition tip ink refill, like any other ball, roller, ceramic/composition tip pen.

Out of the box, it writes consistently and smoothly - but of course, without the feel, the flex or the character of the line created by a decent fountain pen nib. I can create a similar tip and a similar line with a nicely sharpened, good quality graphite pencil from any one of a number of reputable manufacturers, like Faber Castell or Rhodia, and do so when I am not in the mood to use one of my fountain pens. After a week or so, I have noticed the pen has begun to 'skip,' which is a bit of a concern. If that is all the use one can get out of a refill, then the cost of operation is a bit ridiculous. If the tip simply does not flow ink particularly well, that is also a concern. For all the pseudo-fountain pen frou frou, heft and finish -- not to mention the price -- it should at least function well as a felt tip pen!

Allowing for the fact that others may appreciate composition tip pens more than I do, I give it two stars. However, I would not personally buy one for myself or as a gift. In my view, the marketing and design folks at Parker have not come up with a winner.
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on July 25, 2012
I have used fountain pens exclusively since 1957, when I was a seventh-grade student. I bought this Parker 5th Generation pen in all good faith that I was getting something new. What a rip-off. Total rip-off. Do not buy this, under any circumstances. Ink cartridges for this pen cost me $8 apiece. On April 27th I installed a new ink cartridge in this pen. This cartridge cost me $8. Since that date, I signed exactly 30 computer-printed checks and endorsed 10 of them since they were payable to me. I was unable to sign my 31st check since this $8 ink cartridge was dry. As for me, I will go back to using one of my traditional ink pens. Once all of my remaining horribly expensive ink cartridges are gone, I will throw my $190 Parker pen into the garbage and charge this up to having endured a terrible experience. Sadly, this might well not happened for several months since I have nine of these ink cartridges on hand which I bought for a total of $72 not including those other cartridges which went dry. Incidentally, I have seen those infamous ink cartridges offered for sale at Amazon.com for as much as $10 each. If Amazon.com had allowed me to award this pen a total of zero stars, that's exactly what it is worth. I should mention that my signature contains seven letters and my endorsement (including all letters and my first name) contains 11 characters. Seems to me that eight dollars is a mighty high price to pay for putting 330 cursive letters on a computer-generated expense check.
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on January 31, 2012
Basically, this is the pen to buy if you want to LOOK like you have a fountain pen, but don't want to actually USE a fountain pen. The fountain pen nib is purely decoration over a decent but not amazing marker-tip refill. The pen body is nice, but unexceptional for the price range. If you want to buy it purely for the look of the thing, then it's probably the right product, but if you want to buy it as a pen, look elsewhere.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon January 26, 2012
(SEE BOTTOM FOR UPDATE AND RATING DOWNGRADE.) Another reviewer called this pen "the answer to a question no one asked." With respect, I don't believe that's true. I believe this question was asked -- in market research commissioned by the Parker company. The question they probably asked high-end pen consumers was, "Why don't you use fountain pens?" And the answer was probably, "I don't like filling them; I'm afraid they'll leak; and I don't like the way the ink stays wet on the paper. But I do like the classy way they look."

So the flabbergastingly named "Parker Ingenuity Large Daring Black Rubber and Metal Chrome Trim 5th Technology Mode Pen" was born. Even the name was clearly the product of a committee poring over market research and message testing results. That's a lot of buzzwords in one name! I intend to memorize the name and say it in full whenever someone asks me about my pen. "This? Oh, it's just my Parker Ingenuity Large Daring Black Rubber and Metal Chrome Trim 5th Technology Mode Pen."

Enough about the creation of the pen; the question is, is it a success?

If you forget about the "5th Technology" idea, whatever that means, and just consider this pen its own merits, then yes, it's a lovely pen. It's beautifully boxed and, in my opinion, gorgeous. It begs to be touched and handled. It's really substantial, and I like that. I'd go so far as to say it's downright heavy, and I find that pleasant, though obviously YMMV. This pen is designed to impress, and I think it does. I can imagine this as a really nice gift for a person who likes unusual high-end pens, as long as you've made sure first that they're not a true fountain-pen aficionado.

It writes smoothly, and the ink is a nice saturated black, but I have to say the ink and cartridge are quite bland. Generic office bland -- it feels quite a lot like a Pilot Razor Point fineline felt tip pen. There's no variance in the line. I'd go so far as to call it boring. It's got no personality. That could be a good thing if that's the experience you want, which it may well be if you're buying a faux fountain pen instead of a real one. On the plus side, it's predictable: there's no feathering on cheap paper, no smearing of wet ink, no dry start-ups, no stopping to refill, and no chance of leakage in your pocket, bag, or hand.

Is it a good value? All I can say is: $190 bucks is a hell of a lot of cash for a felt tip pen with $8 refills. It appears that Parker deliberately priced this pen to nestle into the low end of the luxury pen market. People seeking practicality or a good deal should look elsewhere. Collectors may enjoy this item, though; Parker is a famous name in the field and this is an attractive and physically imposing item that will probably be quite durable... though it's anyone's guess whether the refills will be available in 50 years, or what they'll cost in the future.

In the end, a "fountain pen" without wet ink is a bit like vegan foie gras. Ridiculous, yes? And yet, go to your health food store and you'll find "faux gras." This is the "faux gras" of fountain pens, aimed at a consumer who wants to enjoy the prestige of a fancy fountain pen but can't abide the care and feeding of the beast. As a "5th Technology," it's a washout. As a high-end felt-tip with an odd conceit, I think it's a success -- a long as you're not expecting it to be a substitute for a fountain pen.

*** UPDATE 1/2013: If you read the comments, you'll see some people thought this pen should have gotten a bad rating just because it is a "Veblen good" -- that is, intentionally priced way too high to give it "prestige." I don't agree. I reviewed it based on the premise that the reader would consider buying a $190 felt tip pen. If you hate the whole idea and think "luxury" pens are a ripoff, fair enough, but then no review will be useful to you. However, if you are considering the idea, you need to know what you get for your $190.

I had originally given this 4 stars, because it was attractive and pleasant to use, if uninteresting. Then I downgraded the review to 3 stars because the pen insert got dry way too prematurely, despite being carefully capped between uses. Really, for $10 for a *refill*, the insert should last at least as long as the ol' reliable Pilot Razor Point.

But now I'm changing the review to 1 star. Turns out that the rubber exterior cladding on the pen, which felt really nice in the hand when I first started using the pen, is nothing but a thin layer of apparently sprayed-on rubberish black stuff that chips off, revealing raw metal underneath. How did I find this out? Did I take the pen on safari? Did I give it to a gorilla to practice penmanship? No, I put it in the pen cup on my desk between occasional uses. Yep, the pen cup on my desk was more than this finish could handle. Now it's chipping off the bottom and the whole thing is revealed as regrettably cheaply made. (To see the damage, check out the customer photo I downloaded; it's in "view and share related images" near the product photo at the top.) For $190, that's just unacceptable. Even for pen collectors, pursuers of "luxury," etc, I have to say: give this one a pass.
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on February 1, 2012
I have been using Montblanc fountain (FP) pens since the 3rd grade in penmanship classes. I also became a pen collector about 25 years ago. Traveling with a FP is not practical. Parker is a reputable brand. After a bit of research and open-mindedness, I bought an Ingenuity (Pearl/Pink) and gave it a sincere try. I was pleased with the balance, overall design, and quality of the pen. FP it is NOT; nor does it write like one. One should ignore the marketing hype and accept the new technology the way it is - an alternative to a FP. The ink flows well and the tip responds to pressure slightly after a break-in period of about 100 or so words. It is a good approximation of an FP with a very practical design. I personally think it is a fair value at $190. It is also interesting that most reviewers either hate it or love it. You'll just have to judge it for yourself. I do give Parker credit for trying to be different and in many ways it has succeeded in creating a hybrid (a buzz word these days for combining the new with the old) in the pen world. The Ingenuity is not a collector grade pen but it is a good day-to-day writing instrument. I do tend to think that the refill is priced too high at $8. A $4-$5 range will seem more reasonable for daily use. The only negative I have found is that the cap is too tight. It takes just a bit too much force in order to open and close it. This very act lessens the elegance of an otherwise a very fine 'hybrid' writing instrument.
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on November 22, 2011
This is a very nice writing instrument, and indeed feels much more like a traditional fountain pen than does a roller ball, fiber tip, or gel pen--and nothing at all like a ball point. I find it a real pleasure to write with. The user has a real feel for the texture of the paper being written on. I also like the rubbery coating on the pen, which keeps it from feeling slippery.

The trick of this Fifth Generation Technology appears to be in the material of which the actual writing tip is made. However, it seems that in all other respects, this is really simply a new form of fiber tip pen, and I see no reason why it should be so costly. Parker has created a fake "fountain pen" pen point, beneath which the writing cartridge is hidden, so that at a first glance, the user seems to be writing with a regular fountain pen. This is needlessly hokey, in my opinion. I would bet that in the not too distant future, Parker will make much cheaper holders for the refill cartridges that are the real heart of this system.
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