Sonnet Mk 1 fountain pens were first sold in 1993, in a thin and thick cap band depending on model. Its manufacture has been superseded by the Sonnet Mk 2, which has a uniformly sized cap band which is of medium width, not as wide or thin as any of the earlier Sonnet models. Both the Mk 1 and Mk 2 Sonnet fountain pens have several variants; some have solid 18kt gold nibs, some have gold plated trim, some have caps and shafts made with sterling silver and others with stainless steel & Brass, some are coated with lacquers or paints or other substances, and some are silver plated.
Sonnet Mk 1
The Parker Sonnet was released as a successor to the long-running and dated design of the Parker 75, and before the subsequent release of the new Duofold was the flagship model of the Parker lineup. The pen was offered in a large number of variants, with models made out of coated brass, and some made out of precious metals. The lowest in line was made out of the sturdy Stainless Steel.
The top line included precious metals and Maki-e lacque techniques and came with a rhodium masked 18k gold nib, and wide cap band. They included complicated designs like the Ambre and Chinese Red, with metal finishes like gold plated, silver plated or Sterling Silver.
The middle in the series came with lacque finishes not made by Maki-e, but still have a flair to them, like the Firedance finish. They were generally made with a very thin cap band, but thick banded variants do exist.
The lowest in the series were made in simpler finishes and had gold plated or unplated Steel nibs. The bands offered in these were always thin.
Sonnet Refresh and Sonnet Mk 2
The Sonnet Refresh was released as the latest variant to the Sonnet, ending the decade of the Mk 1 Sonnets. The Refresh had a medium cap band, not as wide as the original wide band, but wider than the thin cap band variant. The engraving no longer ran through the cap's length, but was engraved horizontally on the cap band. The clip lost 2 of the 7 feathers of the Mk 1, now having 5. The nib also changed, the steel nib now had a newer v-shaped design, while the gold nib was an entirely new lattice work unit.
Parker originally offered the Parker Sonnet in 4 nib sizes: Fine, Medium, Broad and Extra Fine; now, they offer 8 nib grades, with obliques now featuring in the series.
Parker also had Special Editions for the Sonnet line. One was the terracotta; the other was a silver and blue. Both were available in fountain, rollerball and ballpoint pen modes. The box in which they were packaged were a bigger size than that of the usual Parker Sonnets. Recently, there have been two Limited Edition Sonnets- Sonnet Crocodile Vermeil and Sonnet Fu, the Fu being a release alongside Parker's flagship model Duofold
The Parker Sonnet is well known for being one of the most commonly counterfeited pens produced by a major company, with fake Sonnets commonly showing up on second-hand markets such as eBay. It is one of only a few major pen models (as well as the ST Dupont Orpheo and many Montblanc pens) that were so widely counterfeited that fake pens are regularly sold in many markets. Only the weak plating, uneven finishes, side-by-side comparison with a genuine unit and a few more factors are a giveaway to the fake Sonnet's origins.