The Parker Duofold Pearl and Black Centennial is one of the sexiest pens under $400. The Centennial is the larger (both longer and wider) cousin of the International. It’s a stout, wide pen; the sexiest pens get the most attention and the Pearl and Black is no exception. Make your hand happy, write with this pen.
My Short Video on Parker Duofold
Parker Duofold Centennial Design
Why is the Pearl and Black Parker Duofold hot?
Just set it down after writing and try not look down to admire its dream pen looks. Its pearlescent marble finish, the way light dances across the acrylic, the velvety black veins running through it, all of this helps give a styling punch that in my opinion, is a design TKO.
However, you won’t look all that macho when you need to twist the cap almost four times to get it off to write.
But once you do, this hand-polished and manually assembled baby will not disappoint.
A modern-classic that makes you fully aware you’ve graduated beyond beginner fountains. The Duofold has a sense of longevity and its styling is an expression of beauty while staying connected to Parker history.
The cast acrylic cap has a cap crown medallion, a stylized ace of spades and the world Duofold, that matches the ace of spades design on the 18K two-tone solid gold nib with rhodium highlights. The tapered cap crown leads down to a 23K gold plated trim ring which finishes off the top of the arrow clip.
There are dual cap bands of equal width on the newest versions of the Duofold, in older models the lower cap band is wider. There is another trim ring between the body and blind cap. There are also two trim rings surrounding the black acrylic section, one on either side. The section joins to the barrel with metal threads seated into resin threads in the body.
The underside of the feed is smooth and stamped M for medium but it’s also widely available in a fine nib. The brutishly handsome nib is oversized and wide, and has all of the charisma and performance you’d expect of a prestige range fountain pen.
The Black and Pearl finish is anything but subtle, and yes, that’s why I love it.
Did I answer why it’s hot directly? Because few pens match the style and spirit of the Parker Duofold Pearl and Black. It’s wonderfully practical too with cartridge or converter filling, it’s just looks like a full fledged luxury pen, but at $400, it’s not priced like the limited edition, top-of-market pens.
Parker Duofold Centennial Performance
(Left: 28g total weight, Right: 9g cap weight)
The Parker Duofold Centennial fountain pen comes with long Parker Quink cartridges and a Parker converter. I used the supplied blue Quink cartridge and the 18K solid gold nib just dances across the paper without holding back.
The big and bulky nib doesn’t feel that way when you’re writing, it glides without any skips or hard starts. There’s enough feedback in the nib that you can feel what you’re writing on, but it doesn’t impact smoothness.
The only thing (aside from my personal distaste for screw off caps) that I didn’t like was the Parker ink. This pen deserves better.
The Parker blue is too translucent and watery for my taste, I like a stronger, deeper, richer color than Parker’s formula dries on paper. To its credit, the Parker ink didn’t bleed on the page as much as I expected for being on the watery side, but the Duofold isn’t a particularly wet writer either.
The feed on the underside of the nib is smooth, it doesn’t have any ribs on it. The ink delivery is what I’d expect for a medium nib, especially one this generously sized. It’s not too wet, not too dry… after testing many fountain pens, the ink delivery on the Parker Duofold is just as Goldilocks would want it.
Performance on Paper (Bleed Through, Feathering)
The Parker Duofold fountain pen in a medium nib writes on anything with less bleed through than you’d expect for a medium nib. I used it on plain notebook paper and it didn’t bleed through. It did on a thin day planner page, but so does every medium nib, they just saturate thin paper.
There is slight feathering in the Parker Quink Ink on notebook and journal paper, but only noticeable if you’re looking for it or write very slowly. Again, the Parker ink is a little on the watery side so it tends to feather a tiny bit (another reason to grab a bottle of your favorite ink along with your new Duofold.)
Contrary to popular belief, this pen posts fine. I know, I know, withhold your hate mail please…
I’m a woman and I can post just fine, so you can too.
Don’t whine about it being too long.
It’s not too long for me and I have a medium woman’s hand (judging by glove size) so you could post it if you wanted to unless you’re under 5’2″ with appropriate hand size for that frame, then you’d probably not be reading this far into the review of the Centennial edition in the first place.
I wrote for more than an hour with the cap posted without hand fatigue and I posted it every single time I wrote with it because, well, I just like to post. And I love a big pen that can post. The cap is light enough that it was completely comfortable.
Odd? Maybe, but aren’t most of us that love fountains? Just sayin’!
Specs & Writing Sample
Parker Duofold Centennial Overall Value
You’re not looking at how far the ink goes on one converter full. Nor do you care if it blends in with the Bics your friends are using. You’re looking for the emotional attachment that comes from choosing a fountain pen for its performance and styling. Meet Mr. Duofold.
If you’re searching to get bang for your buck under $400, the Parker Duofold Pearl and Black Centennial (click to check the price on Amazon) fountain pen is your pen. This is one of the best looking fountain pens on the market, regardless of budget. If you want a fountain pen rooted in the past, that will turn heads, the Duofold is it.