I don’t use Parker pens very often, and I guess the pen that I’m going to talk about today is one of the rare Parker pens that I have. It was a gift! An ex-colleague was quite a little into fountain pens and Aurora inks, and this is one the prized fountain pens that he owned. One day, he thought that he was absolutely too busy to play around with fountain pens and to keep them well-maintained, that when he discovered that I liked fountain pens, he gave this to me.
Gifts are gems. Introducing the Parker Sonnet Ciselé Sterling Silver fountain pen!
Alright, so… my ex-colleague is a guy, and this pen is a very manly pen no matter how I look at it. I don’t usually carry this pen around with me as I feel it doesn’t suit me so well (and also because it’s expensive), but from a more “genderless” point of view, it’s really a beautiful pen! It has a grid pattern all throughout the body, which some prefer to call “cross-hatch” – they are pretty much the same thing – and the black lines of the grid are actually chiseled into the body. That means you can feel some texture with the smooth silver metal and the engraved black lines.
Trivia: Ciselé is actually a French word meaning “chiseled”. That explains the design of the pen: chiseled black cross-hatch pattern in the sterling silver body.
This elegant pen has 23K gold trims, although there are different kinds of the Ciselé range of Parker pens. Gold trims are nice and traditional-looking; most older fountain pens tend to have more gold than silver decorations. In fact, on this silver pen, gold trims are a great complement to the design.
The cap is a pull-off cap which closes back firmly with a soft click. I don’t have an extreme preferences for the type of cap usually, but pull-off caps have got to be much more convenient than screw-caps. Just pull it off, and write. Screw-on caps have their charm as well, but as I always mentioned in reviews, it’s better to just have to unscrew a bit to allow the cap to come off, rather than multiple revolutions, which is really quite annoying when you are in a hurry. Anyway, the cap of this Parker Sonnet opens smoothly, posts nicely, and caps back softly (the click is not so hard). There is some weight in the cap, and posting it may affect the balance of the pen, but otherwise, the pen itself it nicely balanced.
I dismantled the pen to clean out the old Aurora blue ink, and filled it up with Pelikan 4001 Blue ink. I love the Pelikan 4001 inks, by the way. Have I mentioned it before? They are inexpensive, and safe for almost all fountain pens. Not to mention the vibrant and no-nonsense colours.
The cartridge used is a twist-filler, which is convenient when it comes to washing and cleaning out the pen.
My handwriting has been getting messier and messier lately, but anyway, here I show a writing sample of the Parker Sonnet. On the Rhodia Dotpad I wrote “A Beautiful Parker Sonnet a gift from an ex-colleague. The nib has a lot of feedback!”
And this is what I want to focus on today. As far as nibs go, they are pretty sensitive stuff. This pen has been owned by my ex-colleague for a decent amount of time, and he might have used it as his workhorse pen (a pen he uses all the time). He is right-handed. I am left-handed. I haven’t tried the original Parker Sonnet nib before to make a fair judgement of the nib-out-of-the-box quality. This pen is not scratchy, but gives a bunch of feedback.
The point is: firstly, gold nibs tend to be smoother than steel nibs due to them being softer metals, and easily “shaped” to your writing angle and pressure. If my ex-colleague used this as a daily pen, it’s highly possible that the nib has already been tuned to his writing angle. When I tried it with my left hand, it’s likely the reason why it gave me tons of feedback (for a gold nib, that is).
The nib I have is a single-tone 18K gold nib. You can also find other nib types, such as the rhodium-plated one or the two-tone nib. When I tried writing hard with the pen, I could feel the nib almost flexing its tines a little! Springy one this is.
I close-up shots of nibs, and I know some of you out there like it too.
Now it’s time for some fountain pen vital stats:
Vital stats of the Parket Sonnet Ciselé fountain pen:
Length capped: 13.4cm
Length uncapped: 12.4cm
Length posted: 14.5cm
It’s a medium-sized pen, with a bit of weight. When I have more spending ability, I should think of investing in a weighing balance so that I can report pen weights on my review posts!
Do you have such a pretty Parker Sonnet like mine? Let me know in the comments!
Parker Sonnet Ciselé: Amazon US | CA
Or you could also browse the various different types of Parker Sonnets available on Amazon –
Parker Sonnet fountain pens: Amazon US | CA
I am the founder of this website.
Chemist by day, slacker by night, fanatic of stationery all the time.
I write with my left hand, but can also do the same with my right hand – it just won’t look very pretty.
I have three Parker Sonnets (one silver in the cisele pattern, one gold plated, and one stainless steel with a steel nib) and all of them are great writers. I have one or more of them in my pocket every day. I never thought of them as “manly” pens, but I do like their functional design, and the quality of the materials and workmanship.
My Sonnet works perfectly well.
I rince it with distilled water about twice a year, and it writes absolutely flawlessly (not flowlessly 😆 )
That’s great! The Sonnet is a nice pen. 🙂
I tried two Sonnets and both had terrible flow issues. They would dry out very quickly. I tried everything to fix them and sent them to nib masters, but nothing helped. There are many complaints about them on Fountain Pen Network. A pity, as the Sonnets are cosmetically beautiful, but they are not on the same level as actual writing tools as the Parker 75 or the Parker 51. To try those legendary pens is to realize how dramatically Parker has fallen in quality.
I haven’t tried this 75 or 51 myself! I should try them to make a good comparison. Thanks for your comments about the Sonnet, definitely good to know for my readers.
Do you find that if left unused, your Parker Sonnet dries out slowly (capped) over a couple of days? Would like to hear your experience on this. I have strenuously avoided modern Parkers because my Duofold Centennials all dry out (capped) within a week if not used everyday. In contrast, my Parker 51 and Duofold all remain wet and ready to use even if not touched for weeks.
Hi Gerald, I have not really experienced that so far. Let me test it out.
Thanks for your detailed review.
A little bit of history of the pen – the predecessor of this pen (I guess) is the Parker 75 sterling silver (1960s or 1970s), with the same chiseled cross-hatching & a click-close cap (stronger click though). This has gold-plated bits at both ends of the pen (cap & barrel), even more masculine than the Sonnet you have reviewed. The 75 has a grip that is triangulated by 2 serrated depressions for fore & middle fingers, & a smooth depression for the thumb, & a nib that rotates to suit a writer’s angle. Nib is also 14k, but plain looking & angular, & less flexible than the Sonnet’s.
Does having a lot of feedback equal to scratchiness? If yes, it is possible to smoothen the nib by using a piece of rougher paper & making straight vertical, horizontal & slanted lines, circles & eights. There’s a video of this on YouTube (there are lots of them, mostly informative & useful), but using polishing paper, which is probably suited for professional nib masters but not us ordinary people.
It’s interesting that you’re left-handed & using a fountain pen. How do you overcome the smudginess of hand moving over freshly-written words which haven’t quite dried? My son is also left-handed, so I must check with him how he overcomes this.
Thank you so much, PT, for your detailed information of the story behind this Sonnet! It is definitely a useful add-on to my pen review. As for being left handed and writing with a fountain pen, generally I try to adapt to the situation. Being a bit of an over writer, I get by with avoiding wet ink to prevent smudging. Otherwise I would choose a drier ink or nib to write with. Its fine to write with wetter inks if I have ample time to write slowly, but for scribbling it sure is a challenge. Maybe you could also introduce your son to my blog, since we are both left handed!
I have a black lacquer sonnet with gold trim in medium nib. I think it is a very underrated fountain pen. It does what it is required quite well and the look and feel is timeless. It is a good fountain pen.
Thanks for reading! Glad you like your Sonnet. I don’t hear very much about it either. I do think its a pretty sturdy pen.