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#1 johntdavis

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 21:26

After discussing Pilots/Namikis over in the regional forum and learning about the Lamy Dialog 3, which I tend to like a little more for its larger visible nib and clean, if somewhat plain, styling, I wanted to ask if anyone could recommend any other sub $300 retractable nib pen models to consider. I have a somewhat heavy hand from years of writing with ballpoints, and would be looking at something with a fine/medium nib. I've found some super high end models (e.g.: Mont Blanc), but for my intended casual use they're really too expensive. Any suggestions for what to look at would be greatly appreciated. I am left handed, if that makes a difference.

Thanks!

Edited by johntdavis, 17 October 2010 - 21:38.


#2 watch_art

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 22:19

Pilot Fermo?

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#3 Tsujigiri

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 23:45

There are also some Italian pens like the Stipula DaVinci. If capped retractable pens count, then all the vintage "safety pens" will offer you a good selection.

#4 jniforat

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 00:11

+1 on the fermo!

#5 jniforat

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 00:11

+1 on the fermo!

#6 goodguy

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 14:43

Montblanc Boheme will be a good pen for your price range.
A used Boheme should go around 250$-300$
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#7 EdwardMarlowe

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 18:33

Nothing to add to your list, but just a recommendation for the Pilot Capless / Vanishing Point. Bought my dad one for his birthday last year, and he loves it. Very much not a one for gimmicks, but he loves that pen. His experience has convinced me to get one for myself!

#8 OMASmaniac

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 18:39

I would suggest you getting a Stipula, they're really nice pens!! :) But I don't know if they're under the price...

#9 pamsc

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 18:39

I'm wanting one of these more and more. But I prefer slim pens and am not willing to pay over $150, so I'm thinking I should look for a used old model Vanishing Point. One question, though. I hold my pen at a low angle, along my thumb. Does the nib stick out far enough so the collar will not hit when held that way?

#10 johntdavis

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 21:34

I would suggest you getting a Stipula, they're really nice pens!! :) But I don't know if they're under the price...


Wow. These are really nice looking. Are you familiar with a specific model you like? What about their titanium nibs? How do those write as compared to, say, gold?

#11 mori45

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 01:25

I tried the Dialog 3 and was very impressed. Definitely worth looking into if you're shopping for a capless/retractable.

#12 johntdavis

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 01:40

I tried the Dialog 3 and was very impressed. Definitely worth looking into if you're shopping for a capless/retractable.


Yeah, it's my favorite so far. Though I'm also liking some of the Stipula Model T's. They've got class. I'm trying to figure out how big they are, and how well the ink flows. Also that strange "T nib" makes me a bit nervous. I'd hate to buy a pen I couldn't make work well.

How's the grip on the Dialog 3?

Edited by johntdavis, 19 October 2010 - 01:40.


#13 watch_art

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 01:49

T nib? What are you talking about? The titanium? Should be fine to use and work with.

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#14 johntdavis

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 01:54

T nib? What are you talking about? The titanium? Should be fine to use and work with.


The Stipula Model T uses a "T Flex" nib -- it's supposed to give varying line width based on pressure, though it is apparently difficult to get a fine line out of it. It's also Titanium, yes.

At the moment, I'm still leaning towards the Lamy. The Stipulas are nice, but they're a bit ... larger ... than I was hoping for.

#15 The Royal Pen

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 02:24

If you want something under even $50, how about a Camlin retractible pen? They are ALOT like the vintage Waterman Safety Pens....oh, there you go! How about a vintage Waterman Safety Pen, but if if you want genuine RETRACTABLE, I recommen the Pilot Capless, fully. If there is a pen store close by to you, then go on down and try a Capless or the Lamy Dialog!
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#16 OMASmaniac

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 09:23


I would suggest you getting a Stipula, they're really nice pens!! :) But I don't know if they're under the price...


Wow. These are really nice looking. Are you familiar with a specific model you like? What about their titanium nibs? How do those write as compared to, say, gold?


I'm not familiar with the specific model, but all the Stipulas I have are REALLY good, absolutely flawless and nice. I guess that the same quality standard applies for the retractable pens. I had the opportunity to see and try one of them, and they're simply wonderful! No affiliation, just a satisfied customer.

#17 johntdavis

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 17:08



I would suggest you getting a Stipula, they're really nice pens!! :) But I don't know if they're under the price...


Wow. These are really nice looking. Are you familiar with a specific model you like? What about their titanium nibs? How do those write as compared to, say, gold?


I'm not familiar with the specific model, but all the Stipulas I have are REALLY good, absolutely flawless and nice. I guess that the same quality standard applies for the retractable pens. I had the opportunity to see and try one of them, and they're simply wonderful! No affiliation, just a satisfied customer.


They indeed sound wonderful. Unfortunately, they also seem to fall a bit out of my price range. The ones I like are $300-600. Of course, the prices are listed in Euros. Maybe if the euro went up against the dollar, the prices would decrease? Right now I'm back to looking at the Fermo, with a fine nib.

#18 Silvermink

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 17:33

The Fermo's a nice pen and is, IMO, more comfortable than the standard VP. The Da Vinci I don't think you'll find for under $300.
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#19 johntdavis

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 18:11

The Fermo's a nice pen and is, IMO, more comfortable than the standard VP. The Da Vinci I don't think you'll find for under $300.


I notice you write with a lot of fine nib pens. I intend to try one this time around. Medium seems to be too broad for my preferred style of script (somewhat small cursive, though not spider-web small).

Where do you think I might find the best deal on a Fermo? I'd also like to get some strange ink. Brown or orange or green or something -- something different but still appropriate for daily use.

#20 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 18:28

MB Toffee, is light with dark trails with a regular flex Fine.
50-50 with a Medium. Dark with light trails with a broad.

Look in Search for Death Grip, the better alternative to the pinch.


My I suggest taking a blank piece of paper and trying to write large. I can scribble large or small...but I play with broad nibs too.
Writing my seven letter last name.
EF is 1/2 letter smaller than Fine.
Fine 1/2 smaller than medium,
Medium 1/2 letter smaller than Broad .

There are programs that allow you to print your own lined paper, wide, medium or narrow.

Broads can be lots of fun.

Due to Mauricio's improved definition of Super-flex, I no longer use the term Easy Full Flex.

 

Semi-flex is an “almost” flex; not a ‘flex’ nib. It is great for regular writing with a touch of flair. It can give you some fancy; but it is not made for real fancy writing. For bit more of that get a 'flexi'/maxi-semi-flex. Both spread tines 3X.  Those are not "Flex" nibs. 

 

Odd, how many who should know better, compares Japanese F (which equals EF), with Western F, with out a second thought, but do not compare Japanese B with Western B.

 

Wider than Normal does not exist. Wider than Japanese does. Every company has it's very own standard + slop/tolerance. Developed from the users of it's pens only; not the users of other companies pens. The size you grind a nib to, is your standard only. Paper and ink matter to nib width. Thank god for 1/2 sizes or it would be boring.


#21 Silvermink

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 18:44

Where do you think I might find the best deal on a Fermo? I'd also like to get some strange ink. Brown or orange or green or something -- something different but still appropriate for daily use.


These are good bets:

JetPens - $268
Oscar Braun - price not listed, but "on special"
Melpens - $193 - reputable dealer in Malaysia (I've bought Lamy products from them myself and been quite happy)

JetPens and Melpens also sell ink. Not 100% sure about Oscar Braun, but I don't think they do.
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#22 johntdavis

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 22:23


Where do you think I might find the best deal on a Fermo? I'd also like to get some strange ink. Brown or orange or green or something -- something different but still appropriate for daily use.


These are good bets:

JetPens - $268
Oscar Braun - price not listed, but "on special"
Melpens - $193 - reputable dealer in Malaysia (I've bought Lamy products from them myself and been quite happy)

JetPens and Melpens also sell ink. Not 100% sure about Oscar Braun, but I don't think they do.


I wonder why Melpens seems to be so much cheaper. Not that I'm complaining. I notice they have a nice forrest green version (http://www.melpens.c...untain_Pen.aspx). I wonder why that one isn't listed on the Namiki site anymore. Is it out of production? I really like the green the best, but I don't want to get it if it's some sort of older, less sophisticated version. I found a new green one on eBay with a fine nib -- it's significantly more expensive, though.

#23 Oranges and Apples

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 22:27



Where do you think I might find the best deal on a Fermo? I'd also like to get some strange ink. Brown or orange or green or something -- something different but still appropriate for daily use.


These are good bets:

JetPens - $268
Oscar Braun - price not listed, but "on special"
Melpens - $193 - reputable dealer in Malaysia (I've bought Lamy products from them myself and been quite happy)

JetPens and Melpens also sell ink. Not 100% sure about Oscar Braun, but I don't think they do.


I wonder why Melpens seems to be so much cheaper. Not that I'm complaining. I notice they have a nice forrest green version (http://www.melpens.c...untain_Pen.aspx). I wonder why that one isn't listed on the Namiki site anymore. Is it out of production? I really like the green the best, but I don't want to get it if it's some sort of older, less sophisticated version. I found a new green one on eBay with a fine nib -- it's significantly more expensive, though.



It is because pens from Melpens.com are being shipped from Melaysai and things tend to be cheaper then what they cost in the USA. Don't forget to add shipping and tariff charges - these things add up.

"For international orders, customer will be responsible for all tariffs, taxes, duties, or brokerage fees. We are not able to ascertain the additional charge for different country. Therefore all the additional charge will be beared by the customer." Not sure how much these tariffs are but there is a $16.00 charge for shipping to the USA.

Edited by Oranges and Apples, 19 October 2010 - 22:36.


#24 AltecGreen

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 22:45

I wonder why Melpens seems to be so much cheaper. Not that I'm complaining. I notice they have a nice forrest green version (http://www.melpens.c...untain_Pen.aspx). I wonder why that one isn't listed on the Namiki site anymore. Is it out of production? I really like the green the best, but I don't want to get it if it's some sort of older, less sophisticated version. I found a new green one on eBay with a fine nib -- it's significantly more expensive, though.



The green pen is a current production pen. It is however not a color imported into the US. Thus the US Namiki site does not list it along with the other countless Pilot pens not imported into the US. Namiki is just the marketing and distribution tool for the US. What they import into the US is only a small fraction of what Pilot makes. Melpens is in Asia and has a different distribution chain. Thus they sell products not officially imported in the US.

If you want to see the full Pilot Fountain line, then check out Pilot's site in Japan (the maki-e pens are on a separate page).

Secondly, never be put off by an older model of pen. Newer is not always better. Fountain pens are not like things like TVs, digital cameras, etc. Many would argue that vintage pens are superior to modern fountain pens. I personally prefer the older vintage Pilot Capless pens to the current models. I really like the 1964 model.
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#25 johntdavis

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 22:55




I wonder why Melpens seems to be so much cheaper. Not that I'm complaining. I notice they have a nice forrest green version (http://www.melpens.c...untain_Pen.aspx). I wonder why that one isn't listed on the Namiki site anymore. Is it out of production? I really like the green the best, but I don't want to get it if it's some sort of older, less sophisticated version. I found a new green one on eBay with a fine nib -- it's significantly more expensive, though.



The green pen is a current production pen. It is however not a color imported into the US. Thus the US Namiki site does not list it along with the other countless Pilot pens not imported into the US. Namiki is just the marketing and distribution tool for the US. What they import into the US is only a small fraction of what Pilot makes. Melpens is in Asia and has a different distribution chain. Thus they sell products not officially imported in the US.

If you want to see the full Pilot Fountain line, then check out Pilot's site in Japan (the maki-e pens are on a separate page).

Secondly, never be put off by an older model of pen. Newer is not always better. Fountain pens are not like things like TVs, digital cameras, etc. Many would argue that vintage pens are superior to modern fountain pens. I personally prefer the older vintage Pilot Capless pens to the current models. I really like the 1964 model.


Thanks for the clarification. When I mentioned old vs. new, I was more thinking about problems with the internal mechanism that might have been corrected in later versions. It's strange that Namiki wouldn't import all available pen colors. Is there a particular reason for this? It seems difficult to argue there's not enough demand for, say, green Fermos. It's not exactly an exotic color. I don't know any Japanese, but if I'm looking at this page correctly (http://www.pilot.co....ermo/index.html), there are only four colors, right?

#26 Silvermink

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 23:15

It is because pens from Melpens.com are being shipped from Melaysai and things tend to be cheaper then what they cost in the USA. Don't forget to add shipping and tariff charges - these things add up.

"For international orders, customer will be responsible for all tariffs, taxes, duties, or brokerage fees. We are not able to ascertain the additional charge for different country. Therefore all the additional charge will be beared by the customer." Not sure how much these tariffs are but there is a $16.00 charge for shipping to the USA.


Frequently you'll get away without being charged - at least, I've found that in Canada, and people have noted that the US is similar. No guarantees, obviously.

That and if you are charged, I doubt it would be as much as $60, which is what it would take to bring the price up to what you pay for it domestically.

The only other thing would be warranty, which would be simpler to deal with if you're buying domestically, but Pilots are pretty dependable and I think Melpens would probably help you out if you had a problem.

Just some things to consider, anyway.
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#27 AltecGreen

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 23:19

Thanks for the clarification. When I mentioned old vs. new, I was more thinking about problems with the internal mechanism that might have been corrected in later versions. It's strange that Namiki wouldn't import all available pen colors. Is there a particular reason for this? It seems difficult to argue there's not enough demand for, say, green Fermos. It's not exactly an exotic color. I don't know any Japanese, but if I'm looking at this page correctly (http://www.pilot.co....ermo/index.html), there are only four colors, right?



None of the Japanese big three import all of the pens they make to the US. This is also true for other products like consumer electronics. We never get the good stuff. The majority of consumers in the US are dirt cheap and think only of the price and not quality.

The US market does not like too many color variations. US retailers are really against lots of colors. It's the opposite in Japan. Color variety is essential. If you walk through a Japanese store, you can find the same product sold in the US but in 10 different colors. Apple is one of the few US companies to buck this trend.


There only four colors in the official Fermo line. But often in Japan, the Japanese big three will make a run of a pen model in a custom color for sale by a specific store. So it is possible to find some pens in non-standard colors that came from specific stores. One often find Sailor pens like this.
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#28 johntdavis

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 23:28


Thanks for the clarification. When I mentioned old vs. new, I was more thinking about problems with the internal mechanism that might have been corrected in later versions. It's strange that Namiki wouldn't import all available pen colors. Is there a particular reason for this? It seems difficult to argue there's not enough demand for, say, green Fermos. It's not exactly an exotic color. I don't know any Japanese, but if I'm looking at this page correctly (http://www.pilot.co....ermo/index.html), there are only four colors, right?



None of the Japanese big three import all of the pens they make to the US. This is also true for other products like consumer electronics. We never get the good stuff. The majority of consumers in the US are dirt cheap and think only of the price and not quality.

The US market does not like too many color variations. US retailers are really against lots of colors. It's the opposite in Japan. Color variety is essential. If you walk through a Japanese store, you can find the same product sold in the US but in 10 different colors. Apple is one of the few US companies to buck this trend.


There only four colors in the official Fermo line. But often in Japan, the Japanese big three will make a run of a pen model in a custom color for sale by a specific store. So it is possible to find some pens in non-standard colors that came from specific stores. One often find Sailor pens like this.



That makes sense. And it also explains the oddball silver Fermo I found with gold highlights. Do you know if there's somewhere to get Fermo cartridges in some color other than black, blue, or blue/black? I love the colors they bottle, but cartridges are just so much more convenient.

#29 AltecGreen

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 23:41

That makes sense. And it also explains the oddball silver Fermo I found with gold highlights. Do you know if there's somewhere to get Fermo cartridges in some color other than black, blue, or blue/black? I love the colors they bottle, but cartridges are just so much more convenient.



All Pilot FP pens use Pilot's proprietary cartridges. You can find the Pilot cartridges in red, purple, and green in addition to the colors you listed. You can get Pilot cartridges from many online vendors.

You also might be able to use the cartridges meant for the Pilot Parallel pen. The cartridges are the same size but come in several more colors. The ink is bit different than the standard Pilot cartridges since the inks are designed to be mixed with different Parallel pens. The cartridges will fit but I have no idea how the ink will behave in a conventional fountain pen.

Limited color selection is the price of use cartridges.
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#30 pamsc

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 00:08

Ok, I looked at the Camlin here: http://www.hisnibs.com/camlin.htm

But what is the point if you still have to take the cap off?