This week we’re going to take a look at KWZ Old Gold. This was the first bottle of KWZ I ever purchased. If I remember correctly, I thought it looked somewhat similar to Skrip Kings Gold, which I’ve always loved. While there are probably better matches out there, I think I just needed a reason to buy an ink from KWZ. I have since purchased a few more of their inks, but this will always be the first.
KWZ Old Gold
To start, let’s take a look at the ink itself. It is a brown ink with hints of greenish-yellow. If you’ve ever seen a vintage gold fountain pen nib that isn’t super shiny, that’s pretty much what color it is. In wet-writing pens, it has dark shading that could almost be mistaken for black, although in the context of the lighter ink is unmistakably dark brown. It seems like a very similar color to KWZ Honey, which is a much more popular color, but when compared side by side, is not nearly as yellow.If you’ve never used KWZ ink before, one of the first things you’ll notice when you open up the bottle is the smell. To me, it’s a very pleasant smell, similar to vanilla, but I have heard that some people don’t like it. I enjoy it, though, and I even catch a whiff when I take the cap off of a pen filled with KWZ ink!
The bottles hold 60ml of ink, which is a bit more than the traditional bottle size of 50ml. I do have a big gripe with these bottles, though. I love the size and the wide opening that makes it easy to fill pens, but for some reason ink always seems to gather between the lid and threads, which then dries and turns into ink crumbs. Being concentrated bits of dry ink, they will instantly stain anything that they land on, so be sure to open your bottle of ink over a sink or a surface that can easily be cleaned off.The color of this ink works well for writing. It reminds me of ink that might be found on antique parchment. It is dark enough that it is easy to read, no matter what nib size you’re using. It is a wet, flowy ink and it can have fairly heavy and abrupt shading with wet nibs, so if that’s not your thing you may not like this ink. I also really enjoy using it for doodling. The shading helps make things more interesting and the color just looks good. It doesn’t have very exciting color separation with water, but does have a bit. It is also not a waterproof ink and fades significantly when exposed to water. I want to mention dry time. This ink takes quite a while to dry on most papers. It takes almost as long as a high-sheen ink. It does have a bit of sheen when dry, but it’s of the “glossy” type instead of the metallic-looking sheen a lot of inks have. This can make it tricky to tell if the ink is actually dry or not, especially given the longer dry times, as what looks like wet ink may just be sheen. It does still tend to smear a bit (similar to a high-sheen ink), even when dry, so be aware of that.
The Pens I Used
Each week I choose five different pens to fill with the ink I’m testing. My goal is to get a variety of nib sizes and styles, as well as a mix of modern and vintage pens. Here are the pens I chose this week and some writing samples from each:
Esterbrook SJ (vintage) – 9128 EF flex nib
I rarely use pens with EF nibs, but this one is an exception. This vintage Esterbrook nib is probably closer to a Japanese fine, so I find it nice to write with. It is a wet nib and has some flex, making it perfect to use with an ink that shades as well as Old Gold. I love this combo. It makes me want to write in cursive.
Pilot Metropolitan – M nib
If you’ve ever used a Pilot Metropolitan, you’ll know that they are pretty basic pens and the nibs aren’t anything special. Still, this M nib gives a smooth writing experience and was pleasant to use with this ink. It’s not a very wet nib, so there’s not a lot of shading, but that may be a good thing for some people given the extreme shading this ink can have.
Kaweco Sport – M nib
At some point in the past, I adjusted the M nib on this Kaweco Sport to make it a wetter writer. It’s amazing how much darker my print writing looks when using this pen compared to the Metropolitan. It’s all the “shady” part of shading and none of the light. I like it!
Omas Paragon – M nib
This pen has a nib that is somewhere between the Metropolitan and Kaweco in terms of wetness, which means it has the most extreme shading of the three M nibs I’m using. This is personally my favorite, as I find it the most interesting.
Pelikan 500 (vintage) – OB flex nib
This is easily the wettest nib of the bunch. Without flexing, the nib lays down super-wet lines of ink, and when flexed it just pools on the paper. It isn’t the most practical to write with, especially if you want to write small, but it can be done.
This ink tends to work very well on a variety of different papers. On plain printer paper it did feather a bit, but on all other fountain-pen-friendly papers it looked great.
Cleaning The Ink Out Of Pens
Despite this ink being somewhat heavily saturated, it was very easy to clean out of my test pens. The water ran clear after flushing each pen a few times and there wasn’t any residual color left after a bit of soaking. I wouldn’t hesitate to use this ink in any of my pens.
I really love KWZ Old Gold. It is an interesting color, has great shading, and even smells good! While I wish it had faster dry times (thankfully they’re not absurd like some inks), that’s not a huge deal breaker for me. I also wish the bottle didn’t get crumbs of dry ink in the threads, but knowing that it happens really helps in preventing messes. This ink works well in any nib you want to use it in, so no matter what your nib preferences are, it’s going to work for you. If you like this color, I’d highly encourage you to give it a try!