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Why Buy Expensive Pens?


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#61 dudedembo

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 08:05

Fleetlord - I think conflicted is not the right term. As I wrote in this post "don't get me wrong... I also love the feeling of a new pen".
My question is simply why? What changes between the first and third tiers? Why do we (me included) want to spend money on an utility that many people wouldn't even know there is money to be spent on (which comes back to my first part in that I had no idea about luxury fountain pens beforehand, yet now I want one?)

Sorry if it came across differently, but my questions were intended not as attacks, but as considerations that were applicable to me. I merely wanted the opinions of others as well to help me form an answer.

Thanks!

Edited by dudedembo, 07 August 2013 - 08:17.


#62 carlosviet

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 09:12

I think you do very well on raising those questions. Any hobby of collecting may, in some cases, be a symptom of OCD or other disorders (although it seems that everything is a disorder of some kind). That's why it is never a bad idea to question one's reasons for the habit just to see if it might be damaging to the professional or personal life, like shop-alcoholism is. 

 

But most of the cases I think, as I said before, it is just an expression of the pleasing feeling of treasuring. 


“Of the gladdest moments in human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of Habit, the leaden weight of Routine, the cloak of many Cares and the slavery of Civilization, man feels once more happy.”  - Sir Richard. F. Burton

 

 


#63 proton007

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 09:29

Fleetlord - I think conflicted is not the right term. As I wrote in this post "don't get me wrong... I also love the feeling of a new pen".
My question is simply why? What changes between the first and third tiers? Why do we (me included) want to spend money on an utility that many people wouldn't even know there is money to be spent on (which comes back to my first part in that I had no idea about luxury fountain pens beforehand, yet now I want one?)

Sorry if it came across differently, but my questions were intended not as attacks, but as considerations that were applicable to me. I merely wanted the opinions of others as well to help me form an answer.

Thanks!

 

Are you looking for a philosophical answer? Because most of the arguments have been made.

There are a lot of things that some spend money on that others wouldn't know about. Its a free market, everyone is drawn to some things, due to different reasons.


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#64 dudedembo

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 09:41

I think everyone's answers have been very helpful thanks!

Yes, I think we are pretty much done for the arguments!

Thanks :)

#65 dudedembo

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 09:59

And carlosviet,spot on.

I always want to make sure that I have a reason for buying something that does justify the desire. Although, I am definitely open to reasons such as emotional value.

Thanks!

#66 proton007

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 10:08

I think you do very well on raising those questions. Any hobby of collecting may, in some cases, be a symptom of OCD or other disorders (although it seems that everything is a disorder of some kind). That's why it is never a bad idea to question one's reasons for the habit just to see if it might be damaging to the professional or personal life, like shop-alcoholism is. 

 

But most of the cases I think, as I said before, it is just an expression of the pleasing feeling of treasuring. 

 

Well, you can say that 'collecting' stuff is another way to fill up a hole in one's life. Dissatisfaction from other areas is compensated for by all these hobbies. 

But then every case is unique.


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#67 Tom Aquinas

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 11:06

 

There are many reasons, but I will point just a sentimental one: I would like to bring you the concept of "treasure", and loosely say that is an object that we love and care. Because of its intrinsic value, or for subjective reasons. There are many reasons to love an object (apart from a particular story with it). Its uniqueness, its history, its performance and, very importantly, the effort, in time and/or money we invested in it. Whatever requires no effort, whatever everyone has, we seldom care. 

 

Whoever likes fountain pens, either generally or among one kind, will find them all treasures. Most have not only expensive or unique pieces, but also cheap ones, which are also cherished. But most of the time, the ones which asked for a bigger sacrifice will be most cared and valued by the owner. 

 

 

 

 

Because as soon as an article becomes a treasure, treasures are cummulative. Particularly with items that by their qualities are more treasurable, for example, that can outlast us or be with us a long time; fountain pens, mechanical watches, porcelain... There is a link between the owner and each of the loved items which strenghtens with each addition to the treasure, with every use, cleaning, inventory... 

 

To me, it is more difficult to understand the amazing expense that current society promotes on items that are not to be loved, but enjoyed, and a short time, such as smartphones, tablets and similar. Those are short living toys. A collector or hobbyist has, at least at the moment of trade, a long living love for the new acquisition. 

Interesting hypothesis, but I do not agree with everything. My interest came from a serious injury to my writing hand resulting in a 25% loss of bodily function in the hand, and it was my orthopeadic surgeon who  suggested that I look at the best class of writing instrument available, which is why as a young university student I got the Parker 75. I then regularly bought more pens because in a space of three hours intensive writing in my case I found a change of pen shape helped my hand....and I was not going to go through university exams with an amanuensis. Furthermore just because someone collects something out of the ordinary  which is within their means and gives enjoyment in this fast becoming behaviour profiled world whether the profile has probity they are not that is their business.


Edited by Tom Aquinas, 07 August 2013 - 11:10.


#68 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 11:06

Some folk are satisfied with hamburger.

 

And I would be one of those.  But I will not stop others from eating caviar, nor look down on those who do.

 

boxes, now that's another story.



#69 Nonsensical

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 11:16

Well. Everyone has such in-depth and meaningful answers. Mine is simple: They make me happy. End of story. My expensive may not equal your expensive, though.



#70 carlosviet

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 11:27

Interesting hypothesis, but I do not agree with everything. My interest came from a serious injury to my writing hand resulting in a 25% loss of bodily function in the hand, and it was my orthopeadic surgeon who  suggested that I look at the best class of writing instrument available, which is why as a young university student I got the Parker 75. I then regularly bought more pens because in a space of three hours intensive writing in my case I found a change of pen shape helped my hand....and I was not going to go through university exams with an amanuensis. Furthermore just because someone collects something out of the ordinary  which is within their means and gives enjoyment in this fast becoming behaviour profiled world whether the profile has probity they are not that is their business.

Probably the reason for your interest is not transposable to a wide example of users... 

The one I pointed is just one reason -not The reason- for collecting... which seemed to me that was the OP topic.


“Of the gladdest moments in human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of Habit, the leaden weight of Routine, the cloak of many Cares and the slavery of Civilization, man feels once more happy.”  - Sir Richard. F. Burton

 

 


#71 CS388

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 12:38

One could turn the question, why is the pen I like so expensive?

 

Nice.

 

Interesting question that merits its own thread.



#72 Runnin_Ute

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 15:20

OP - Don't try to make sense of the madness, there's no logical explanation ... Just spend as much as your comfortable with; you'll find great writers in all price ranges. - lahlahlaw

 

This might be the best advice given in this thread so far.

 

There is so much subjectivity in what makes a pen a "great" writer. The smoothest pen I have ever written with was a Pilot Varsity. I paid $8 USD for a 3 pak, including 6.85% sales tax at OfficeMax. Thing was, in terms of my tastes it was "too smooth".  :o My other pens all have the tiniest bit of feedback on the paper. Remember the entire experience is about pen(nib), paper and ink. 


Brad "Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling

"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain

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#73 Dillo

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 17:02

Hi,

 

For me, I often tend to buy pens that I think are pretty, good looking, comfortable, made well, and those kinds of things. I don't think I need expensive pens, but I just liked the ones I had and they followed me home and I kept them, or I broke down and just bought them.

 

Many cheaper pens are made with much nicer materials, come with nice nibs, and are good looking, and comfortable, but I think I just wanted the pens I have, so I got them.

 

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#74 ethernautrix

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 20:49

And the number one reason to buy expensive pens?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No one will give them to me.

 

 

My number one reason for just about everything: Because I wanted to.


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#75 Waski_the_Squirrel

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 22:03

From a purely functional standpoint, there is no justification to an expensive pen. A #2 wooden pencil (which I actually enjoy using) and the ballpoint you accidentally took from your motel room put words on paper just as much as the expensive fountain pen. No matter what some claim, you are financially better off with these "cheap" options.

 

But, if our world were entirely functional with the cheapest possible solution, what a dismal place it would be.

 

The added cost pays for design, materials, and, yes, brand name. It is up to the one spending money to decide at what point it becomes so expensive that the added cost isn't worth it. This is a complicated, personal decision based on many factors including income, willingness to spend money, interest, and even desire to show off.

 

To me, some pens reach a point that they are gaudy and ostentatious. I like to think that even if I were wealthy, I would not purchase such pens. To me, the main purpose of the pen is to write, and some are so wrapped in decorative baubles and excess that I can't imagine writing with them. Someone must buy these pens, but they value different things about the pen than I do (and hopefully have more money).


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#76 Opooh

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 00:07

Well, there's also the definition of "expensive". There is a family story of an acquaintance saying "something expensive!" when she was asked where she'd like to eat on a date. My father laughed and said, "well, I'd have taken her to the worst restaurant ever. Paying any money for bad food is really expensive."

 

So, in the strict sense of terms, expensive means value < price tag. Some people will see a $500 worth of value in $500 pen. Some people won't. For people who are satisfied with Papermates, buying even a Lamy Safari would be expensive. For someone like users here, Lamy Safari is not expensive at all. 

 

And then there's the question of the user. Pearl before swine is expensive indeed (interestingly, we have the exact same saying in Japan... why pearls and swine?). Pearl before Cleopatra? Not really. For someone who writes novels, or a diarist, or anyone who writes extensively, a $500 pen that gives comfort and prolonged usage is cheap. For someone who just signs names, $500 is really expensive in my opinion. 

The list of treaties signed with an expensive pen , having more impact on humanity than the completed works of penny-a- liners , is numberless. 



#77 Tom Aquinas

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 00:40

Probably the reason for your interest is not transposable to a wide example of users... 

The one I pointed is just one reason -not The reason- for collecting... which seemed to me that was the OP topic.

There are a variety of interpretations available of the OP topic, and collectors  are invariably seen as extraverts in this modern conformist society which is so quick to condemn any one who'se mind set varies from the so called "norm".



#78 stevekolt

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 00:44

 

 

^^^ This.

 

 

Snobbery doesnt become more justifiable if done in reverse.

 

Not everyone in life buys things just to impress others.   Some of us are quite secure in our own skin and buy stuff to make ourselves happy.   As Jar says, if you are happy with what you have, that's great (and this is not intended as a put-down - I am very happy with a fairly inexpensive watch and spending more simply doesnt appeal to me):   however, it is equally graceless to assume that everyone who is spending on higher-end stuff is doing so "just to compensate".  That comes across as sour grapes.

Well said. I agree 100%.



#79 Tom Aquinas

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 01:01

Well said. I agree 100%.

I agree 100% also.



#80 be202025

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 01:46

i guess it all comes down to what makes you happy and satisfied in the end.. everyone has their own justification regarding whatever price point for their purchase, this doesn't even necessarily limit to pens, can be anything...

 

just follow your heart and make yourself happy...


Look for something, find something else, and realize that what you've found is more suited to your needs than what you thought you were looking for.

 

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#81 Ego Id Veto

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 01:56

I've only got one pen that would be classified as expensive. It's a Waterman Expert with 24k gold trim, that I got as an 18th birthday present from my grandparents.

I used it exclusively at university for taking notes until one fateful day when it rolled off a desk and fell nib first on the floor.
Now whilst it was easy to get fixed, the moral of the story is that expensive pens have their place. I'm a forensics student, so I'm standing up a lot, moving around, taking notes in labs etc. So I now have a bunch of cheaper fountain pens that either have replaceable parts or are easily replaced if they are dropped, and the expensive one is on my desk at home.

If you're an office worker, then by all means have a fancy pen on your desk where it's unlikely to get damaged. That's the difference between expensive and cheap fountain pens.
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#82 Jadie

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 02:19

They have the prettiest designs (in my opinion). Yes I am shallow like that. But only about pens.

 

In my case, I'm talking about urushi/maki-e pens, where the more intricate, varied, 3-D designs can be found on more expensive pens.

 

I also like how you have more customization options with some expensive pens---not just picking your nib size or body material, but actually designing the pattern that will go on the pen, or designing the shape of the pen itself, etc...

 

For me, going expensive is not only to pay for a prettier product, but a more personalized one as well.

 

^_______^


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#83 HandLikeAFist

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 04:13

$400.

 

Very expensive, for me. I researched for months. Totally pleased with my decision to buy.

 

1. Writes better than any other pen I have used, including my stolen MB 149.

2. Really handsome (Italian) design.

3. Solid sterling silver.

4. Makes me happy, as a retirement present to myself; never even shown it anyone else.

 

Oddly, this one expensive pen is enough for me. I need my money to fulfill my real addiction, books on Roman ecclesiastical architecture.



#84 raffaele from turin - italy

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 11:29

May i use a metaphor?

 

a Ferrari and Nissan have the same utility to get around...

 

but i prefer a Ferrari :D :D :D


...more kills the pen than the sword ... as long as the nib is very sharp ....

#85 warblerick

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 18:56

In my mind, expensive mostly equates with quality (though certainly not for hot clothing items), frequently hand made items that will last a really long time given proper care. I purchased an expensive (for me, at the time) garden spade (hand-forged in England) over 30 years ago, and am still using it to this day. I have replaced the ash handle once (just last summer), and so for me, even though it was initially an expensive item, it has been a good investment. I own very expensive Austrian binoculars, and as a birder, I use them every day. Expensive initially, but again, a good investment over the long haul. No problems, no breakage, nothing to worry about coming apart, as with less expensive bins. Same for me (mostly) with pens. I like expensive pens because they are usually better made, with much hands on at the factory, will usually, again with proper care and maintenance, last a lifetime and beyond. Not many things these days can say the same. 

 

And, frankly, because I can.



#86 Mister John

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 19:10

From an economist's perspective, this is a simple question to answer: A person buys a more expensive pen since she will derive more happiness from the purchase than any other use of these funds. This is something called "revealed preference."

 

But this answer is, in a way, tautological. It does not ask what aspects of the pen "caused" the increase in happiness. These causes (or instrumental factors) will, of course, differ from person to person. For me, it amounts to:

 

1. I really enjoy the beauty of fountain pens. I have a number of Namiki maki-e designs, and I consider myself supremely lucky to get to write with a work of art whenever I wish. 

2. Some of these expensive pens have superior writing qualities. For instance, the ergonomics and writing line of my MB Schiller are simply the best writing experience I have. 

3. Some expensive pens offer a sense of history or a connection to some past triumph. For instance, I bought my Parker 51 since I wanted to experience what many consider the greatest engineering triumph in the history of fountain pen manufacture. It turns out that this belief is likely true. No pen is more reliable or better at performing under whatever conditions are thrown at it than this pen. I own a Snorkel simply to experience the engineering marvel of that filling system. 

 

I'm sure there are many other causes of happiness, but the three above are the main ones for me. 



#87 flatline

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 19:47

Having given this a little more thought and consideration, I think the honest answer, for me at least, is that I buy toys (expensive or otherwise) when I have the disposable income and my curiosity gets the better of me.

 

Tools, on the other hand, especially tools that I expect to use over and over, I'll buy the expensive version if it has a particular feature or set of features that I can't find at a lower price point. In fact, I'll often purchase 2 or 3 different expensive versions that offer slightly different feature sets so that I have options when I need a tool of that sort. Drafting pencils are an excellent example of this.

 

Fountain pens are still in the "toy" category for me, but I'm quite confident that one of two will become workhorses for me along with my space pens and drafting pencils.

 

--flatline



#88 queenofpens

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 20:17

 

I actually prefer the Bic! And I've been burned (or chosen poorly) with the more expensive pens I've bought (still under $100, though, so perhaps not high-end enough to really hit the better-craftsmanship mark?).  So, for my own happiness, cheap (even disposable) pens are usually best.

 

But there are lots of things I'm willing to spend some extra money on in order to get the aesthetics I like better. If you've got the money and it makes you smile, then I see why you'd do it!

 

ETA: I've never seen a Bic fountain pen before. Clearly a trip to Europe is required...

 

 

  I bought my Bic disposable fountain pens in Staples, in the US, so they may be fairly widely distributed.

 

I have to say that until I started actively looking, the pens available in a ten mile range were not jumping off the shelf at me. 

 

 

Bic also makes - under its own name, that is brand-name - Bic, fountain pens that are not meant to be disposable and are refillable.

 

But they are not available in the US. You don't have to go to Europe though, unless you just want to, for a different kind of fun!

 

When I originally started collecting them, and also some German student pens that were generally unavailable in the US, the difficulty of acquiring them was part of the fun - even though they were inexpensive by some standards. But definitely fun to have as well as fun to try to acquire.

 

Now, I have an easier solution - but this is still a fun part of my collection.

 

You can get the Bic's and some comparable competitors at Amazon UK.

 

And an excellent selection of German school pens at Amazon Deutschland - although I admit Amazon Deutschland is easier to use if you read and write German (fortunately I was a German lit major my first trip through school). This is the only place I could find Online's Werewolf pen which is currently my favorite "fun" pen. 

 

If you have a standing account with Amazon (any version of Amazon), they charge to whatever you told them was the default credit card for your account and they automatically translate the price - before you finish checking out - to the currency that matches your default credit card. So you know how much it is really costing you in your own money. If you have Prime, you don't get the 2-day shipping but you do get a significant discount on shipping that makes shipping cheap pens from Europe very affordable (before I discovered the wonders of international shopping at Amazon, I had to pay twice as much for shipping as some of my inexpensive "fun" pens cost).

 

Wandering a bit from the topic, but I thought I would share this experience. And it is not so much of a wander, because the point is the pleasure and the fun - which sometimes for me is in the luxury market and sometimes in the fun market, depending on my mood.


Edited by queenofpens, 09 August 2013 - 20:20.


#89 vanyieck

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 23:15

Why buy expensive fountain pens? Because it's cheaper than therapy and gets me into less trouble than other illicit ways of spending my money.



#90 CoolFool

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 23:38

I buy expensive pens because it keeps me from retiring early... Ya know, now that I've written it out, it doesn't seem like such a great idea any more.


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