Are you particular about the quality of your pens, but aren’t ready to spend more than a hundred dollars? Do you like the rich pigments of fountain pens, but can’t deal with the mess? Then the Waterman Expert is for you.
In this article, I will do a deep dive into the Waterman Expert rollerball pen. Overall, I was impressed with the pen from the moment I started writing with it. I’ll share my thoughts about what I like and don’t like about the pen, and talk a little bit about the Waterman brand.
The Waterman Expert Breakdown
The Waterman Expert is a rollerball pen in a classic cigar shape. If you haven’t used a rollerball before, it’s the “happy medium” between a fountain pen and a ballpoint pen. The wet ink is still very vivid and dark, and flows so smoothly that your pen glides on the paper. But since it has a roller tip instead of a nib and uses cartridge refills, it’s less likely to leak and is much easier to clean and refill.
Today you can find rollerballs in every price range, from disposables that are about a dollar each to collectibles worth hundreds of dollars. The Waterman Expert is a mid-range pen: perfect for someone who wants a high-quality elegant pen they can use for years, but won’t break the bank.
Waterman Expert Pros and Cons
|Some parts like the cap and tip are flimsy and prone to breaking
|Stylish design that looks more expensive than it really is
|The finish can get scratched
|Light, ergonomic design – feels good in the hand
|Compatible with other types of refills
|Comes in a great gift box
Waterman Expert Technical Specs
|Black (stainless steel, blue, red available)
|Gold (chrome trim available)
|Black or Blue
|lacquer and stainless steel
|6.89 x 2.75 x 1.57 inches
|Capped with a clip
The Waterman Expert series
Anyone who loves pens is familiar with the Waterman brand. Established in 1884, it was the first to invent a reliable fountain pen that didn’t leak. To this day, all its pens are hand-crafted with precious metals and come in very sleek, timeless designs.
Over the next 130+ years, Waterman expanded its pen line to include rollerballs, ballpoint pens, and even mechanical pencils. The “Expert” series is one of their 10 pen collections and is characterized by a cigar shape with a tapered silhouette, and middle barrel rings.
The current pens are considered the third-generation design, with the main difference being that the barrel is now made of brass instead of plastic, and the upper ring is slightly thicker. You can pick from a gold trim (GT) or chrome trim (CT).
I went with the gold, as you can see from the pics—it’s simply stunning against the black lacquer finish, and it’s 23 carats. These details make the pen actually look a lot more expensive than it really is, and has a universal appeal. If you’re giving this as a gift to someone, you can’t go wrong with black and gold.
If you want another barrel color (it comes in blue, red, and stainless steel), you’ll need to get the chrome trim. These still look great, but the vibe is more casual-chic than a “power pen”.
Is the Waterman Expert Rollerball for you?
For some people, a pen isn’t just a writing instrument, but a statement piece, a status symbol, or even an experience.
You love (or need) very dark ink
Rollerballs have very pigmented ink, so you can get a dark line effortlessly. For some people, that rich pigmented pink is a deal-breaker. I personally loved the dark ink that came with the Waterman Expert.
You love modern, minimalist designs
It’s stylish and sleek, and something a business person can proudly wear on a coat pocket. You can tell it’s a premium pen, but it doesn’t scream for attention either.
I’ve seen pens that have ornate bejeweled accents or bold or marbled finishes, and while they’re pretty they’re not for everyone. Waterman Expert Rollerball sticks to a simple and timeless design that will never go out of fashion.
You value convenience and practicality
As a pen collector myself, I have a number of fountain pens that I use for calligraphy or journaling. Fountain pens have more ink colors and nibs, and I can really experiment with the style of my writing. But for everyday use, I prefer a rollerball.
Rollerballs don’t leak or smudge, and the ink dries faster. At work, when I need to take down notes or sign documents, that’s more important than a versatile nib or a wide ink collection. Even for travel, I prefer the rollerball simply because the refills are easier to bring than ink pots.
You want a durable pen at a good price
At less than a hundred dollars, the Waterman Expert Rollerball is quite reasonably priced considering the materials and craftsmanship (each pen is actually hand-crafted and hand-assembled in France). I even like it more than some expensive pens that cost three times more, because of its comfortable weight.
In terms of durability, you can use this for years—possibly a lifetime if you don’t lose it. The pens also come with a three-year international warranty, which you can extend to five years if it is registered.
You’re a beginner
The Waterman Expert Rollerball is a no-fuss pen that works well no matter what angle you hold it, or how many times you drop it. Changing ink is as easy as unscrewing the body and slipping in a new refill. Anyone can use it.
This is not for you if…
If you lose pens quickly, just get a ballpoint pen. If you need a wider range of nibs and colors for illustration or calligraphy, you’re better off with a fountain pen, or artist pens that have different tips and tip sizes.
What I like about the Waterman Expert Rollerball
This pen is always on the list of top 10 rollerballs because of how it feels when you’re using it.
Ergonomic, comfortable design
First, let’s talk about hand-grip. It’s a bit heftier than other pens, but not so heavy that its weight actually changes or slows down your writing. The tapered tip is easy to grip, even if you’ve got small hands. One of the best pens for quickly scribbling down notes or light sketching!
Great range of compatible refills
Waterman has both fine and medium tip refills in black and blue ink. I actually like their fine refills more than other brands—these are not too thin or scratchy and give a delicate but precise line. Each refill costs $7.
However, here’s an insider tip: the Pilot G2 and Uniball Signo 207 rollerball pens fit perfectly in the Waterman. They cost only $1, come in a wider range of colors, and have pretty good ink quality. The Schmidt refills also fit, and have a fine, medium, and broad point tip.
You can personalize it
You can have your name or signature engraved on the side of the pen, or add your monogram to the gold tip. This is at your own additional cost and depends on whether the seller provides that service.
What I don’t like about the Waterman Expert Rollerball
There’s no such thing as a perfect pen, and the Waterman’s affordable price does mean giving up some features you’d find in more expensive writing instruments.
It will show wear and tear
While you can use the Waterman Expert Rollerball for decades, it will inevitably show signs of wear and tear. In some instances, some parts will loosen and fall off—specifically the oval piece on the cap, or the middle ring.
If that happens during the warranty, you can have it replaced. However, a quick and cheap fix is to just superglue the piece back on. Nobody will notice the difference.
What can happen (and unfortunately isn’t covered by warranty and does affect the look of the pen) is scratching. If you get a black pen, any scruff marks will be very noticeable; the other metallic finishes tend to age better, but you’ll still see any blemishes in strong light.
The only thing you can do to avoid scratches is to keep it in a case, especially if you carry it around in a bag.
I’ve heard of issues with the clip on the cap becoming loose or even breaking. When I tested the pen I thought the cap seemed sturdy. However, if it does break on you this isn’t always covered by a warranty, since it can be caused by personal habits (like roughly shoving it into a thick notebook) rather than a factory defect.
Nevertheless, I do wish Waterman had anticipated the problem and worked on making a more durable cap. Not everyone will put it back in a case, or slip it into a coat pocket.
Sometimes, the refill won’t completely protrude because of a problem with the internal mechanism (rather than just a refill that won’t fit or is out of spec). That can make it difficult to write.
If your pen is brand new, then you can have it replaced; if it’s no longer under warranty, you’ll probably end up having to replace your pen completely. The good news is that this rarely happens, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating when it does.
The Waterman Rollerball Pen comes in a nice gift box that contains the pen and a refill. The gift box is very sturdy and I thought it was nicer than the ones that come with other pens at this price point. The box has a cardboard sleeve, which will protect it from scratching during shipping.
Unfortunately, there are no gift sets that include the rollerball pen and a matching mechanical pencil, though you can buy them separately.
The Waterman Rollerball Pen combines the “write” qualities of practicality, style, and value for money. Whether you’re a seasoned pen collector or a beginner who’s looking to upgrade from a regular ballpoint, it will not disappoint.
The pen is easy to write with, convenient to refill and looks as “premium” as a pen that’s three times more expensive. However, the material construction can be hit-or-miss: some parts can fall off, chip, or scratch.
But its propensity to show wear and tear is true of any pen, and with its price, it won’t hurt too much if you have to replace it after a couple of years. Overall, it already gives a lot of value in terms of its performance and design.
If you are interested in purchasing the Waterman Expert Rollerball Pen, you can buy it on Amazon.com