Jump to content

The Fountain Pen Network uses (functional) cookies. Read the FPN Privacy Policy for more info.  To remove this message, please click here to accept the use of cookies






Photo

Can You Have Beauty And A Good Writer Too?

beautiful quality

  • Please log in to reply
27 replies to this topic

#1 julialee23

julialee23

    NOS (New Old Stock)

  • Member - Silver

  • PipPip
  • 10 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 03 January 2014 - 03:43

I am just dipping my toes into the wide ocean of fountain pen collecting and I see that it can easily become an obsession.  Up to now, I have made my selection based on looks...and price... and have been mostly lucky with the results once I put pen to paper.  Now I am venturing further into the deep where the expensive pens live, but being a practical person, I would hate to spend money on something that writes like doo doo and I know that $$$ don't necessarily mean the pens write well.   Aside from tweaks and adjustments that are sometimes necessary, are there any pens out there that are pretty, pricey but poor writers?  Or put in a more positive way, what pens are true beauties, regardless of the price and write like a dream?

 

And yes, i know that price and beauty and probably even quality are subjective.  I trust that most of you have a fairly common understanding of these elements but please feel free to explain your position!  and Thanks!!



Sponsored Content

#2 Toll

Toll

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 579 posts
  • Location:Maryland
  • Flag:

Posted 03 January 2014 - 04:08

It is interesting that you post this note because after recently buying my fourth Montblanc in the past two years or so (and others further back in the past) I have reflected on the fact the nibs on each pen have performed flawlessly right out of the box. More to thee point, I have wondered how could that be? Indeed, Montblanc has truly exceeded my every expectation in terms of quality construction and performance. I have had many different pens over the past 20 years and I am not sure I could make that same statement about any other brand. I will note that my experience with Sailor and Nakaya has been like satisfactory, but a much smaller sample size in both cases. So, I would say that certainly one can, in fact, buy beautiful and/or expensive pens and have a consistently exceptional writing experience. 



#3 Inkling13

Inkling13

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,155 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 03 January 2014 - 04:18

I have spent 600 on a pen that wrote worse than an unsharpened pencil, and I have had the pleasure of spending 14 dollars on a pen that wrote flawlessly. The more you play, the more you realize that you chase a nib, not the pen. It's true that a nicer body tends to follow a nicer nib, but that is not always the case.



#4 Abner C. Kemp

Abner C. Kemp

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 997 posts
  • Location:Philadelphia
  • Flag:

Posted 03 January 2014 - 04:25

I am just dipping my toes into the wide ocean of fountain pen collecting and I see that it can easily become an obsession.  Up to now, I have made my selection based on looks...and price... and have been mostly lucky with the results once I put pen to paper.  Now I am venturing further into the deep where the expensive pens live, but being a practical person, I would hate to spend money on something that writes like doo doo and I know that $$$ don't necessarily mean the pens write well.   Aside from tweaks and adjustments that are sometimes necessary, are there any pens out there that are pretty, pricey but poor writers?  Or put in a more positive way, what pens are true beauties, regardless of the price and write like a dream?

 

And yes, i know that price and beauty and probably even quality are subjective.  I trust that most of you have a fairly common understanding of these elements but please feel free to explain your position!  and Thanks!!

 

Interesting topic. You are correct in saying it is a subjective topic which is why it is important to try an expensive pen before dropping the cash. My personal opinion is that you get what you pay for to an extent when it comes to fountain pens. That is, shelling out the money for a quality gold nib is worth it if your looking for the best writing experience. Similarly, paying for craftsmanship in terms of build quality and beauty is also important. Now, is it worth it to pay 1k+ for a MB.. maybe if it has sentimental value but in terms of quality and write ability you could probably find a better deal (again my personal opinion). 

 

My advice would be to spend some time researching and try to find a brick and mortar shop where you can sit down and write with the pens your thinking of purchasing. Because, for some people, that MB might really be the best looking and writing pen they could ever dream of and in that case it might be entirely justifiable to purchase such an expensive pen. This is definitely going to sound confusing but I hope it helps you somewhat. 

 

At the moment I don't have the money for an ultra expensive pen. The nicest pen in my collection is a Custom 92 (which I love). However, if I was going to buy myself a nice pen I don't think I would constrain myself too much when it comes to price. Assuming you want this pen to last your lifetime and treat you well for many years make sure you choose the model that best suits you even if it is a bit harder on the wallet. 

 

Regards!! 



#5 julialee23

julialee23

    NOS (New Old Stock)

  • Member - Silver

  • PipPip
  • 10 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 03 January 2014 - 04:26

 The more you play, the more you realize that you chase a nib, not the pen.

And nibs aren't interchangeable right?  I would love a nakaya pen someday - could I bung a MB nib in there and get away with it?



#6 Joe in Seattle

Joe in Seattle

    Donor Pen

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,501 posts
  • Location:Seattle, Washington
  • Flag:

Posted 03 January 2014 - 04:29

My $10 JinHao 5000 writes flawlessly. So does my Montblanc 146.
"how do I know what I think until I write it down?"

#7 Pickwick

Pickwick

    Pickwick

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,888 posts
  • Location:California

Posted 03 January 2014 - 05:54

The Hero 892 made in the 1990s and still available on eBay is a nice looking pen. I have one with gold accents, and purchased from Saricasario who is a reliable seller. It has Abalone and Mother-of-Pearl fragment inlay. The nib feed and filler are compatible with the Parker 45.


They came as a boon, and a blessing to men,
The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley pen

Sincerely yours,

Pickwick


#8 whitedot

whitedot

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,233 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 03 January 2014 - 06:47

Certainly.

 

1. Montblanc

2. Pilot (aka Namiki)

 

have top notch nibs and top notch bodies, in my fairly extensive experience.

 

I too have Jinhaos, Heroes (including the 892) and whatnot. They write. I have nothing better to say about them. In time, you will understand why some $$$ FPs are worth the $$$.


Edited by whitedot, 03 January 2014 - 06:51.


#9 BrandonA

BrandonA

    Donor Pen

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,857 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 03 January 2014 - 10:35

I'd expect every single pen I bought to be a good writer, after all that is the primary function of a pen.

 

I guess it depends on the brands you buy, the price you consider "expensive" and whether you are buying new or secondhand.  I've never had any issues with a standard Montblanc nib when I've bought the pen new from an authorized seller.  If I did I'd get it replaced under warranty.


My Collection: Montblanc Writers Edition: Hemingway, Christie, Wilde, Voltaire, Dumas, Dostoevsky, Poe, Proust, Schiller, Dickens, Fitzgerald (set), Verne, Kafka, Cervantes, Woolf, Faulkner, Shaw, Mann, Twain, Collodi, Swift, Balzac, Defoe, Tolstoy, Shakespeare, Saint-Exupery, Homer & Kipling. Montblanc Einstein (3,000) FP. Montblanc Heritage 1912 Resin FP. Montblanc Starwalker Resin: FP/BP/MP. Montblanc Traveller FP.

#10 ajcoleman

ajcoleman

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 654 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 03 January 2014 - 14:34

If like me you don't have a local dealer in fine pens, I think the best practice is to buy the pen from one of the "nibmeister" dealers who test and tune the nib before shipping the pen to you. I have purchased from both Richard Binder and John Montishaw and would recommend both of them, but there are others as well. That is about as good as one can do in terms of guaranteeing the pen will write as well as possible when you receive it. After that, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

 

In my case, my nicest looking pen is probably my Parker Sonnet, in glossy black lacquer with rhodium trim. It is very sleek and elegant looking.  It makes me feel like I have to dress up to carry it! The stock medium steel nib that came with it wrote perfectly out of the box, and is perhaps the smoothest nib I own. Wanting a fine nib for it, I recently purchased a fine rhodium plated gold nib for it from John Montishaw that writes perfectly. I have no reason to believe that the Parker nib would not have written wonderfully straight from the factory, but it is worth it to me to have the expert verify that is the case before shipping it to me.


Adam
Dayton, OH

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.

-- Prov 25:2


#11 WirsPlm

WirsPlm

    Antique

  • FPN Supporter - Rhodium

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,548 posts

Posted 03 January 2014 - 15:10

I don't buy ugly pens, expensive pens, or pens that I think will write poorly (there have been a few surprises). So yes, you can have beauty, quality and a cheap price all in the same pen, it just takes time and effort to find it.

#12 warblerick

warblerick

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 698 posts
  • Location:Woodbine, MD
  • Flag:

Posted 03 January 2014 - 15:57

I have found after several long years of trying to find a "brand" that I love, I have settled on modern Conway Stewarts. They have a beauty that I don't think I can find in any other modern brand, a certain classic look, but gorgeous resin combinations in pen sizes and styles that suit me. And every one I have has been a great writer (except for one with converter issues). They write with perfect wet lines, neither too wet nor at all dry with nearly every ink I try. They have a greater range of nib sizes than most other pen companies, and their italics are perfect. 

 

I have tried or have pens from many other manufacturers but have come to find I prefer the modern look, feel, and writing ability of the modern Conways.



#13 Ecriveur

Ecriveur

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 542 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 04 January 2014 - 01:22

There's a certain amount of variability in nib quality even among the same brand and model of pen. So having a pen with a great nib is no guarantee that another pen of the same brand and model will be equally great. That's why I recommend trying a pen in a fountain pen store before buying it. Having said that, I'll say that my Pilot Custom 823 is a great looking pen and a great writer. I'll also say that I've found Lamy nib quality to be very stable. I wouldn't say that my three Lamy Studio pens are the best writers I have, but each one writes exactly like the other two, so their nib quality is quite stable from one pen to the next, at least among the same model pen.



#14 gentlyom

gentlyom

    Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 102 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 04 January 2014 - 01:25

My collection of fountain pens stretches from 50 to over 1k, vintage to modern. So far I find that modern quality pens have a better chance of a good nib right out of the box. To name a few: MB, Pelikan, Pilot and TWSBI.

The vintage pen, however, is a different animal. It's pricing is driven by the availability and condition. I know a $200 vintage could exceed a $2000 pen's nib. But style is also very important for most of us. :-)

#15 Blade Runner

Blade Runner

    Blade Runner

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,162 posts
  • Location:Secret Volcano Lair
  • Flag:

Posted 04 January 2014 - 01:35

All my pens, from inexpensive to very expensive, have great nibs. (I wouldn't buy/keep a pen with a bad nib.)  The ones I love to use however are those that look most appealing which are usually at the expensive end.  



#16 pajaro

pajaro

    Amblin along like I had good sense.

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 12,457 posts
  • Location:Tecumseh, MI
  • Flag:

Posted 04 January 2014 - 02:05

I have a number of pens, like many people.  There are two I always carry.  My red Montblanc 164 ballpoint and one of my red Montblanc 144 C/C fountain pens. 


"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.

 

They took the blue from the skies and the pretty girls' eyes and a touch of Old Glory too . . .


#17 orfew

orfew

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,241 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 04 January 2014 - 03:35

I have been consistently disappointed with pens I have bought for under 100.00. I know others have had different experiences, but this has been true for me. My first fountain pen was a Montblanc 147 and I have probably compared every subsequent pen to that one, both in terms of its simple beauty and its terrific writing performance. As a result I have stopped buying pens pens for under 100.00 and have given away several of these. Perhaps this makes me narrow minded and there is a perfect pen out there for less than 100.00.

 

Lately I have changed my focus to vintage pens and have been very pleased with them regarding their appearance and writing performance. There is more maintenance necessary than with modern pens, but the vintage pens also have an x-factor I find appealing. Having said this there are certainly modern pens that capture my attention as well. My Montblanc Heritage is one of these, a perfect blend of vintage styling with a truly innovative filling mechanism.


Edited by orfew, 04 January 2014 - 03:35.

" Gladly would he learn and gladly teach" G. Chaucer

#18 dms525

dms525

    Antique

  • FPN Supporter - Platinum

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,288 posts
  • Location:San Joaquin Valley of California
  • Flag:

Posted 04 January 2014 - 04:56

Can you have beauty and a good writer too? Categorically yes!!

 

The problem is that "beauty" and, possibly, to a lesser extent what is "a good writer" are subject to taste. And your taste may be different from mine. Consider the Japanese Urushi-coated or Maki-e pens by Nakaya, for example. Or the OMAS celluloid 360's or Paragons. Or the Pelikan City Series. I find all of these gorgeous to see and a treat to use.  And these are just examples. There are many others.

 

To my taste, many of the Limited Edition pens, especially those encrusted with precious metals in creative designs, are neither beautiful nor good (ergonomic) writers. They are just bling.

 

So, you can have both. The examples I chose may be above (or below) the cost you had in mind. Your choices may be different than mine, according to both taste and budget. In any case, the hunt for the gorgeous pen that rights like a dream is part of the fun.

 

Enjoy!

 

David.



#19 Runnin_Ute

Runnin_Ute

    Super Pinks member:

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,653 posts
  • Location:Sandy, Utah - Elevation 4509'
  • Flag:

Posted 04 January 2014 - 05:20

All of my pens except for the stubbed Jinhao 159 which I received for free when I bought my Pelikan's are wonderful writers. Are some better than others, in either looks/styling or how they write? Sure they are. And not everyone's tastes are the same. The most I paid for any of them was $99 for my True Writer Silver Anniversary. Which writes like a more expensive pen and is gorgeous to boot. If I had paid retail, the Pelikan M205 would have been most expensive at retail at $120-130 roughly. And it doesn't write as nicely as my Pelikan 120 M&K with EF nib. I got it as NOS, never been inked or even dipped. I like the way it writes better than the M in the M205. 

 

All 3 are beautiful pens in their own way.


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
 


#20 julialee23

julialee23

    NOS (New Old Stock)

  • Member - Silver

  • PipPip
  • 10 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 04 January 2014 - 09:30

Such a lot to think about.  I never would have thought there were so many variables to choosing a fountain pen when I started on this quest a few months back.  But you are right David, the journey is half the fun.  I still haven't found the perfect combination of beauty and performance but I am loving the trial and error.  I've even gone back to taking notes in meetings the old fashioned way, rather than on my laptop, just so I can use my fp and the latest ink color i've loaded into it.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: beautiful, quality



Sponsored Content




|