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Waterman: French At Heart

New York’s Lewis Edson Waterman – carpenter, stenographer, insurance salesman, editor and finally pen salesman – probably didn’t know that his eponymous pen company would end up becoming such a French icon. It all changed for Waterman when, in 1900, the Exposition Universelle in Paris awarded his brand the gold medal of excellence, the highest accolade available. After that, the French adopted Waterman as a household-name company and much-loved brand. For example, the Le Man 100 design, developed to honour the company’s centenary in 1983, was a favourite of former French President Francois Mitterand, who always carried two.

JIF-Waterman, the French subsidiary, went from strength to strength, eventually subsuming the original brand and settling it firmly in France. With Paris and its renowned writers as a constant source of inspiration, Waterman pens take the taste and self-assurance of the French capital as their own. With all their fine-writing innovation still happening at their design centre in Saint-Herblain near Nantes, the French legacy continues.