Did you know that Kaweco, which stood for Koch, Weber, Compagnie, closed down in 1980? Thanks to a company called H&M Gutberlet Gmbh, the brand Kaweco was revived in mid 1990s. I had the privilege and joy of interviewing the CEO and the son of the original founder of H&M Gutberlet, Mr. Michael Gutberlet, on the past, present, and future of Kaweco.
Why did your company decide to bring back the Kaweco brand of pens in 1996/1997?
We (my father Horst, my brother, and I) had collected old writing instruments since 1982. Later on, I took over all of the collections. The most striking thing about our collections was the disproportionate amount of Kaweco products, especially Kaweco Sport pens. Since the original Kaweco company disappeared in 1980, we decided to revive the Kaweco Sport brand.
How do you design products for the modern consumer while ensuring that over 125 years of Kaweco history is preserved?
It is vital for Kaweco to develop products that are infused with the DNA of its predecessor. This was the repeated wish and request of our retailers. For every new product, I examine our historical collection and derive the idea for the design from it. In regards to technology and choice of material, we are always trying to achieve the highest quality with the help of internationally renowned manufacturers. Through this process, we guarantee the modern consumer a comfortable instrument with flawless function and outstanding, appealing design.
Which Kaweco pen do you use for everyday writing?
My personal favorite is the DIA 2 fountain pen. I use this fountain pen daily, because I hand-write all of my correspondence in sepia-brown ink. For quick notes, I use my DIA 2 pencil (0.7 mm) and ballpoint pen. In my pant pockets, I switch between a Kaweco Sport pen set and a Kaweco Liliput pen set.
Among the Kaweco Sport models produced over the last 100 years, which is the all-time bestseller?
It is very hard to estimate which Kaweco Sport is the all-time bestseller, partly because of the change in manufacturing techniques. In the old days, each pen part was manufactured with solid material. Later, the technology for injection moulding was developed, and manufacturers could make bigger quantities in a shorter time at more favorable prices. This technique is still popular today. Since 1994, the Classic Sport model has been number one in terms of number of pieces sold, and the AL Sport model has been number one in terms of net profit.
Do you ever plan to make / source gold nibs for the Kaweco Sport line of pens?
Soon, we'll be offering solid gold medium nibs for customers to upgrade their Kaweco fountain pens with. However, these solid gold nibs are not meant for the Classic and Ice Sport models, because we believe that they're neither aesthetically nor functionally appropriate for either line.
When can we expect Kaweco to produce converters for the Kaweco Sport line of fountain pens?
It has always been my wish to offer a converter for Kaweco Sport fountain pens. However, as of today, I haven't found a workable technical solution. Let me explain some details: One ink cartridge contains 1 gram of ink, but a converter for the Sport would contain 0.6 grams of ink. Additionally, the tooling costs would be very high. I feel that the best solution would be to eventually develop and produce a Sport pen with piston mechanism.