Waterman Cotele review

The Waterman Cotele is a vintage fountain pen that I have owned since my childhood.  I can’t remember the exact date or how it came into my possession. I am sure that I bought this pen new.

The internet does not give me much information about this pen. The information I have found turns out to be that it is either a Cotele, a Master or a Master GT. In my further search for the identity of this pen on the internet, I have the impression, when comparing photos, that this pen seems to be more like a Cotele. So for now, I’ll stick to a Cotele, until counter-notice. Anyway I asked the question on my insta, but nobody could help me with this. I even included Waterman into this, but no response.

I found some interesting info in the comment section of a youtube video by Grandmia Pens about this pen:

👉🏻 Hi, Stef, You are indeed, correct. The Waterman is a Cotele (with acute accents over the ‘o’ & last ‘e’; it is pronounced (phonetically), Co-tel-ay, & translated from the French it means, ‘cord’ (as in rope). From what I understand, Waterman did not strictly adhere to the corded finish – as in your gold coloured example. There were two versions; one with chrome trim & accents, including nib, then the ‘posher’ gold plated accents, but with an 18K/750 gold nib (stamped on the face of same). I own a version that resembles yours, with one significant difference, my cap clip is solid & very narrow – it has been mistaken for a ‘Master’, but has been verified as the Cotele. I’m fortunate in owning the 18K nib, which I bought for a steal from e-bay a few years ago; the finish on mine, however, is not as grand as yours; mine being dark red marble lacquer over brass. The only preference I do have – over the model you demonstrate here, is that I prefer the solid clip, over the slotted version. That said, it’s a handsome looking piece…

Comment by Andrew tongue ON grANDMIA PENS, 26/02/2013

The full aluminium body of the pen is very thin, which makes it look very elegant in combination with the long fine gold nib. The pen weighs only 15.6 gr. making her a real lightweight. 

The barrel and cap of the pen have a kind of longitudinal grooves that feel soft and pleasant. The gold-colored accents (trim, clip and nib) give this pen a somewhat classic look. I like the overall look of this pen.

The clip on the cap is very stiff and actually not very functional. The clip is curved a bit to the outside probably due to the frequent use. On the top of the cap and on the clip the Waterman logo is debossed. The cap is a slip-on cap. When closed, the inside of the cap catches the 3 engraved lines on the section. Its closed position is not the safest, but it’s just ok. 

Because I used this pen a lot when I was a student, there is significant wear and tear especially on the middle of the body.

Cotel with the original fine steel nib

The original nib I have is a gold tone steel fine nib. This nib has no decorations. The nib has some sharp bended edges on the side of the section. From the information I got when I first wrote this review in 2011, it seems the Cotele comes also with a golden nib. I can certainly confirm this in the sense that I got an old broken Waterman equipped with the same nib, but this nib is a golden 18K. It goes without saying that I exchanged these nibs.

Waterman Cotele with 18k golden nib

Cleaning this pen is easy because you can separate the feeder and the nib.

The section is made out of shiny plastic. But after all those years, there are remarkable signs of wear on the end of the section. This is probably due to the way the cap encloses the section. So, the shine is gone on that part. Between the cap and the body, there is a small gold looking trim, so when the pen is open the golden trims are repeated and this looks nice. At the top end of the section there are 3 inserts on which the cap is closed. These inserts are very typical for the Cotele. The only drawback is that overtime dirt gets into these inserts, so you really have to clean it out regularly. I remember doing this at school when classes were boring.

The Waterman Cotele uses the regular international cartridge standards. I noticed that sometimes it’s difficult to get the cartridge installed properly. For the long Waterman cartridges this problem is automatically solved when you screw the barrel on the section. I doubt the cartridge will stay fixed when using smaller cartridges.

The most important above all, the writing performance.

Let’s start with the original steel nib. When I studied the nib I noticed the nib is slightly damaged and therefore causing a rather scratchy handling. Being a fine nib, I suppose it’s already a bit scratchy. This makes a good judgment difficult for this nib.

When I swapped with the golden nib things changed dramatically in a good way. The nib feels smooth and gives a lot of line variation. This nib has a certain sweet spot and as soon as you go above the 45° angel a certain scratchiness occurs. Also you have to keep the nib very level. Turning the nib too much the scratchy feeling starts. So the sweet spot or the performance window is very tight, be aware. The nib also writes quite wet.


I think this is one of my oldest and (in the past) most frequently used fountain pens. The wear and tear on the pens is the evidence. The pen looks classy and elegant and I would rather recommend this pen for people with smaller hands. The gold nib performs well als long as you manage to keep it within its performance window which is very tight. That being said, I don’t think this pen is a pen for a beginner.

Some details:

  • Total weight: 15,60 gr.
  • Capless weight: 9,30 gr.
  • Capless length: 12,10 cm.
  • Posted length: 16 cm.
  • Body width: 0,90 cm.

Out of a total score of 30, I would give this pen a 24. This pen loses points because it misses the original packing and papers. The pen is not a limited edition, the clip is useless, the nib looks simple, the nib feels somewhat scratchy and offers less line variation.

Published by Pascal

Fountain pen addict and collector.

2 thoughts on “Waterman Cotele review

  1. Thanks for sharing. Cannot say I am familar with that particular Waterman. Do you think the pen is brass with a sleeve over it or a different construction?


    1. Danny that’s a good question. There is little information available regarding the Waterman Cotele fountain pens from the 80s, not even on the internet. What I can find is that, assuming that my pen is a Cotele, the body of the Cotele is brass with a lacquered layer around it. I have a similar fountain pen (which is broken) which is definitely a Cotele. If I compare the weight of the barrel, there is virtually no difference. So I would actually dare to say that the body is made of brass. I hope to learn more about the history of the Cotele one day. The search for the background history is also an important aspect of our hobby 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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