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Pens That You Think Are Priced Wrongly

lamy dialog 3 vanishing point pilot safari

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82 replies to this topic

#21 Rose Nibs

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 07:03

Perhaps the OP was not asking the question that this thread has pursued, which is the basis on which monetary value is attached to a fountain pen. Leaving limited editions and art objects aside I would say that generally you pay more for a better pen. But then I have come across pens that didn't seem to be on the rank where their price placed them. Not so much cheap pens that feel expensive, but occasionally expensive pens that feel cheap. I don't feel that the Vanishing Point is in the wrong company because I paid $100 for mine. I don't have an opinion about the Dialog.

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#22 shea2812

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 11:45

Since the beginning of time human has been fascinated with something that can draw or write, must had begun with charcoal stick to draw on stone cave wall.  For something that lays colored water on paper they are not cheap and yet without them, for me at least, life would be dull.  The fact that there are FP that selling in excess of 1k also sells them cheaper ones.  There is something out there for everyone.  Prices are determined by market forces.  In this age some of us are tired of all those tech and cloud storage that makes the act of writing has its own allure.  At heart we are all little children, its just that we can afford to pay more of our 'crayons'.



#23 flipper_gv

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 13:22

 

Maybe to you, certainly not to me. Fountain pens aren't a hobby for me (they're the only pens I write with, apart from a glitter gel pen on occasion) and they're no more jewellery to me than a watercolour brush or a kitchen knife. I just happen to appreciate them because I've written with them since I was a kid and because I think the cheapest fountain pen knocks seven shades out of the most expensive biro.

 

I'm sure that makes me as opinionated about pens - and about the prices manufacturers think they can get away with - as those who got into fountain pens through the luxury goods route. ;)

 

Well, if you are only a function over aesthetics kind of guy, why would you spend more than let's say a great writer with a steel nib (aka around 40$ max)?



#24 Parker51

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 13:56

I believe what's the original poster touched on is bigger than Fountain Pens. Do you ever feel there is a disconnect between the value that you perceive something to be worth and the price being asked for it is the real question. And the answer is of course yes.
For me it's not All Vanishing Points, but it is some models, those which are offered at significantly higher than the standard price due to a low production or discontinued color or finish as I think of these pens not of as unique items, but modern high quality tools which can be easily replaced and those only as valuable as their replacements. If however they had stopped being made after only a couple of years and were seen as unique products of a specific place and time I likely would perceive all of the models as much more valuable.
In regard to non pen situations I suspect most of us have items in their memory which used to cost more than now which causes one to think that they are getting a bargain as the current price of said item is cheaper now than in the past, and conversely some items now which used to be much lower in cost which today are quite high and cause one to wonder what changed to cause such a price increase, and as related to this, is it now worth buying.
Here and for me, the ever dropping priced items are mostly food items, notably chicken, shrimp and ice cream.
The items which seem to be to high based on historic pricing as I perceive it are beef, deli-meat and donuts.

#25 TSherbs

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 14:13

sometimesalwaysnever



#26 brunico

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 14:30

Well, if you are only a function over aesthetics kind of guy, why would you spend more than let's say a great writer with a steel nib (aka around 40$ max)?

 

I like function and aesthetics. I think a pen like the Pilot Prera is very pleasing in its design, well-made and a good writer. Some inexpensive pens do look cheap or ugly, but so do some expensive pens.



#27 Goudy

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 14:50

Priced wrongly? Only if the manufacturer is losing money because the pens are sitting on the shelf unsold.

 

Priced cleverly? Absolutely. There's a lot of clever pricing in the pen business. Limited editions which cost the same to manufacture as regular editions but cost 3 times as much... Entrepreneurs who buy vintage pen trademarks and capitalise on the sense of value associated with prestige brands of the past... MB pens which are priced in a world of their own because people buy them as status symbols as much as writing instruments... As long as no-one's being lied to, it's all fair practice.


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#28 flipper_gv

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 14:53

Priced wrongly? Only if the manufacturer is losing money because the pens are sitting on the shelf unsold.

 

Priced cleverly? Absolutely. There's a lot of clever pricing in the pen business. Limited editions which cost the same to manufacture as regular editions but cost 3 times as much... Entrepreneurs who buy vintage pen trademarks and capitalise on the sense of value associated with prestige brands of the past... MB pens which are priced in a world of their own because people buy them as status symbols as much as writing instruments... As long as no-one's being lied to, it's all fair practice.

 

Great answer too. You can't blame a brand for making money. The price is wrong only when the company doesn't make its maximum potential revenue. 



#29 sirgilbert357

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 15:09

Dang, I'm hungry for some reason...

I think Rose Nibs might be on to something. If that's what the OP actually meant, then I can certainly think of several examples that come close to that situation--namely almost any Japanese pen that's sold in the USA. You can get that same pen much cheaper ordering direct from Japan in most cases. If you bought one at inflated USA prices, you might feel let down. But at Japanese prices, they feel more in line value-wise. I love my Decimo, and I even paid USA prices, but I did so willingly for certain reasons.

#30 Arkanabar

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 15:14

While high prices usually diminish demand, this is often inverted for certain so-called "luxury" goods.  I strongly suspect that one reason all of MB's low and midrange pens are long gone is because they don't want to dilute this strategy with perfectly good pens carrying the snowcap, but without the cachet of precious resin, 14kt gold nibs, and the "Meisterstuck" designation.  More power to them and their customers.  I don't have to buy them.

All retail valuation is personal.  A thing's value to a buyer is what he's willing to pay for it, no more, no less.  If he can get it for less that what he is willing to pay, that's a bargain.  If not, it's something he doesn't buy (presuming no issues with compulsive shopping).  If they don't need his purchase to stay in business, then they're fine.  If they do, they either lower their prices or fail.

jar's contention that a person should be able to say why they think a pen isn't worth what was paid is, in my opinion, reasonable.

EoC's two examples are worth bearing in mind, particularly if utility and function are primary considerations in purchasing.  But there are also people whose primary consideration in making purchases tends to be emotional, and this is how most advertising is written -- to connect the product to an emotional state, with the implicit assumption that owners will achieve said state.  Like EoC, I was taught to regard such selling tactics as pure Buncombe.

In contrast to max dog, I will say that there are utilitarian fountain pens, particularly for those who regard the fountain pen's benefits -- ease of writing, lower writing angle, expressive line, endless varieties of ink, particular form factors -- as sufficiently important to outweigh their costs.  And because I've seen Preras on Amazon for under $40, I'll put it in the "utilitarian" category.



#31 sciumbasci

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 15:18

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#32 cobalt

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 15:55

I think the bottom end of the market has some pens of incredible value with some minor issues of the quality of the nib out of the box and the filling system (cartridges are the simple solution to help the pen compete with a ball-point), and these buyers are unlikely to own 12000 micromesh to smooth the nib. This is probably where you actually get more than you paid for. I see this as a buyers' market.

 

The middle of the market is full of used and new pens appealing to a variety of buyers from collectors to those who like to flash a bit of ink on the hands, to people who actually like the way they write. Value here in my view is really problematic, driven by e.g. inconsistency of quality off ebay, and manufacturing variations with new pens. The only reliable sources for used pens are vendors who repair and bring these used pens back into use; otherwise you're in the hands of retailers who have little incentive to discount. In the main, I think pens in the middle of the market are over-priced as I doubt there is really sufficient demand to create downward pricing pressure from competition and choice, so it is a sellers' market.

'

The top of the market pens are visual displays of excess or pens that trade off custom/handmade value. Some are very good and some are just so much bling that probably never use up a single filling of ink in their lifetime. This is also a sellers' market.


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#33 Bobje

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 16:26

This is a great question, and I believe Cobalt's answer distills the three pricing tiers down to practical current-day market realities. Additionally, Dr. Jonathon Deans of the Pen Economics website today published a fascinating summary of price theory.


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#34 fphilipp

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 16:32

Market prices are not determined solely by cost of production.

 

Perception of value is very important but defined differently by different segments of the market. Higher priced pens often have more subtle criteria for value. Otherwise, no one would buy them. This is why, for example, the Pilot and Pelikan piston filler market didnt collapse when twsbi introduced their model. Vanity is one factor in all this, but vain people often make high demands on the products they own.

There is much to say about this topic. Just a remark wrt the above. Vanity? Maybe. Quality? Definitely - at least in the case described here: I have a twsbi 540 (actually now a twsbi frankenpen) and a mini classic. Including the cost of sending them back (twice, each) for reparation/change of parts, they have both been more expensive than my Pelikan M215 which has caused me no problem. The twsbi's are forever out of rotation - a pity, because they are very nice pens.



#35 dan in montreal

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 16:55

Dang, I'm hungry for some reason...

I think Rose Nibs might be on to something. If that's what the OP actually meant, then I can certainly think of several examples that come close to that situation--namely almost any Japanese pen that's sold in the USA. You can get that same pen much cheaper ordering direct from Japan in most cases. If you bought one at inflated USA prices, you might feel let down. But at Japanese prices, they feel more in line value-wise. I love my Decimo, and I even paid USA prices, but I did so willingly for certain reasons.

I absolutely agree with this. I bought almost all my Pilot pens from Japanese sellers exactly for that reason - the Japanese prices do feel more in line value-wise. The North American prices for all the Custom series pens and the VPs are tremendously high.

Even the cheaper models, like the Lucina for example are grossly overpriced. They are selling new for over 80.00 USD here and a little over 40.00 from Japan.  The Lucina is indeed a 40.00 pen, if I compare it to other utilitarian, small, plastic bodied, steel-nibbed, converter-filled pens.

On the other hand, this is all very subjective (as is most of the stuff discussed on this forum).



#36 AltecGreen

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 18:22

Does anyone feel that some pens aren't worth their price? I own a matte black Vanishing Point and I'm waiting for a piano black Dialog 3 in the mail, and they both are superb pens, but I don't feel that their prices match what I get. The Vanishing Point feels much too utilitarian to be over $100,

 

 

Pilot Capless pens aka Vanishing Point start at ¥10,000 (full retail price)  which is ~$85.  The black one you are getting costs ¥18,000 (full retail) which is $155. 

 

I can find the ¥10,000 model for sale online from Rakuten for $69.32.  The best price on the matte black pen I can find is $125 from Bunkidou on Rakuten.    You do have to factor in the import cost and distribution costs.  It does seem excessive but that is the price of doing business.  A bottle of Iroshizuku goes for $28 in the US.  In Japan, it goes for $11.00.   It is the same in the other direction.  A Mesa Boogie Mark 5:25 guitar amp is $1399 in the US and it is $2029 in England.  You should ask the poor Aussies about their import markups.


Edited by AltecGreen, 06 February 2016 - 18:26.

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#37 arcadeflow

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 20:47

It seems a lot of you is taking this the wrong way. I think OP meant that sometimes a pen is priced higher than it should be. That means fewer people by it because they don't perceive value or they buy it and feel cheated. Or they want to get it because it is a nice unique pen, but the price is not reasonable, as they can buy better pens for that money. Taking this to the "oh, please, just don't buy it" route is oversimplifying things. Why can't we discuss about pens that would be great buys if the manufactures lowered their luxury market ambitions? Pelikan is a brand that is starting to became luxurious, and a lot of people might stop buying their overpriced models in favor of better pens for the money. For the price of a small M200 you can get very interesting American hand made pens or Japanese gold nibbed ones, and they are increasing the price again this year. We can stop buying them, but wouldn't it be cooler to have these birds as options?

#38 crescent2

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 00:27

It seems a lot of you is taking this the wrong way. I think OP meant that sometimes a pen is priced higher than it should be. That means fewer people by it because they don't perceive value or they buy it and feel cheated. Or they want to get it because it is a nice unique pen, but the price is not reasonable, as they can buy better pens for that money. Taking this to the "oh, please, just don't buy it" route is oversimplifying things. Why can't we discuss about pens that would be great buys if the manufactures lowered their luxury market ambitions? Pelikan is a brand that is starting to became luxurious, and a lot of people might stop buying their overpriced models in favor of better pens for the money. For the price of a small M200 you can get very interesting American hand made pens or Japanese gold nibbed ones, and they are increasing the price again this year. We can stop buying them, but wouldn't it be cooler to have these birds as options?

 

There may be no "wrong" way to take the OP's question, but I agree with arcadeflow's point of view.  I see quite a few pens that look great and are interesting to me, but I think they are priced too high for what they are and I don't buy them.  (Others might seem more reasonably priced to me, but for whatever reason, I don't want them.)  I will give one personal example of the highlighted sentence in the quote.  I've wanted a beautiful solid color translucent pen to add to my small group of pens, and have had my eye on the Pelikan 205 Amethyst for some time.  But, I can't seem to find it at a price much below $130 US, and it just doesn't seem worth it (to me), with its steel nib and often "meh" reviews.  It's beautiful, but why would it cost that much?  Then I found a Platinum 3776 in a beautiful blue, with a 14k nib, for $73, which, of the reviews I've read and watched, gets overall better reviews.  While both are from reputable manufacturers, I popped for the $73 pen, but not for the Amethyst 205.  It just seemed over-priced for what it is, imo. "Imo" is not someone's else's, of course.  

 

If that's what the OP had in mind, that's my recent example.  With fountain pens, I think there is more subjectivity to a purchase than objectivity, but there is probably some of both.



#39 corgicoupe

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 00:31

^^^ good example.

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#40 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 01:22

Being a stupid 'noobie' I joined the cheap pen of the week in the mail club.

Eventually, the still cheap pen of the month club.

Greed. Pretty....can afford. :angry:  :doh:  :headsmack:

It took me a while to learn to resist that taught from childhood TV...Buy Now!, that we all have been trained to do.

One gets a much better pen in pen of the quarter.

One has time to read here how good pens are...like the modern Sonnet was not in it had many complaints. They could have improved quality...but it was one of the worlds worst pens for big money...well what ever it cost then seemed like big money to me then.

The old P75 none at all. That I bought when it was real, real expensive...cost $22 or 25 silver dollars....well the paper money was still good for a silver dollar. 1970. Multiply 25 X the price of an oz silver.The dollar was God, and the DM was 4-1 so gold plated clunky looking 149's or ugly Pelikans were cheap...The German workers were so ill paid, the company had to give them 2 weeks salary for summer vacation and a month's salary so they could have Christmas. Good companies still give that...so add that to the cost of your German pens. 30 days of vacation...or what the Americans would call 6 weeks. 

You never ever then saw an ad for a MB or Pelikan in US TV or good mags like the Snorkel. No one bought a small cheap under powered BMW or Mercedes.

When the dollar was no longer king...and BMW or Mercedes or MB and Pelikan cost so much more of the moving out of the country Parker and Sheaffer. A Lincoln or a Cadillac were suddenly cheap cars....and to show status one need a Benz or a MB.

The low buying power of the American dollar cost you more money to buy a good pen.

Back in the day, I could never understand how a clunky ugly gold plated trimmed MB146-9 could cost a couple of dollars more than a rolled gold trim Snorkel....one with the wide cap band. An Admiral or such.

 

Part of your problem is the dollar is still not worth as much as it once was.  Add decades of rampart inflation to that.

 

I still buy old used pens....but a better quality.... Who can afford new ones...and they do not come up to vintage standards.

I get great vintage pens for $150, $120...new pens of those makes cost $350-500. I got many of the affordable vintage and some semi-vintage pens, for $50-to-$99, some cheaper than $30. I can remember when the first thing said to a 'noobie' was get a $15 dollar Esterbrook. Now no one says get a $30-45 Esterbrook.

 

But I have the better nib* and find standard and medium large vintage pens to have much better balance also. I prefer 'true' regular flex, semi-flex and maxi-semi-flex over the modern semi-nail and nails can be had in old vintage pens too. A nails a nail, be it steel or gold. All you pay for a gold nail is bling.

 

Ha....look at my New Pen....that you loose....Ha, look at the wonderful deal I got on a charming vintage pen. Who ever you are showing it to...new or vintage will think  you got a hole in your head for buying a fountain pen for $100 :yikes: , when you should be saving your $600 for the next cell phone that will be obsolete in a year.

 

If you do not post, then standard and medium large will be too small, so you need ill balanced clunky Large pens....

Gee....buy a new pen...and get a scratch on it... :yikes: Even with out the micro-scratch, as soon as you have bought a new pen, it has lost 1/4th to 1/3 of it's value as soon as you ink it. 

 

 

With 60 pens mostly vintage and semi-vintage, I have all the pens I need....out side the five or twelve I'd like. Sigh...there will always be those hand full of pens one needs.

So I've got to sell some pens....now that really hurts.

 

Even modern pens can get gotten in very good shape for maximum 2/3rds the new price...often 50% off.

Buy them here ...for a bit more than Ebay....and have someone with a name to protect or someone with a name to protect on Ebay.....or gamble.

 

There is no reason to buy a new pen, that I can see. I have bought three or four. Two of them on sale. :P

With in a few months your 'new' pen is going to be used...if you use it. Why not save money.

 

German pens...well the workers are making $20-25 an hour. A living wage. Everyone needs to make their profit on it.

You can get affordable Chinese pens where they are not making a living wage. Some are quite good, for the price. 

 

MB is a status symbol, Pelikan is moving that way.

 

The 2000 has a lot of hand work to it. Hand buffing of it. Old primitive single nib stamping, instead of the huge robotic 20 step stamping machine of the Safari nibs. Some 15 yards long.

The gold nib section was closed for breakfast when we came through. ... I'm sure it always is...sticky fingers.

I did see however two women hand buffing the 2000 BP or Roller Ball far off in the corner.

 

The 2000 must be tested differently than the big drum testing by sound of the Safari nib, with the little old lady tweeking the 5-7% that need it. I saw no drum to test it with the 2000....hand work. Someone testing each nib by hand. Costs money.

I was at the Lamy factory in a newspaper won factory tour.

 

The 2000 must be a very good pen, the few times  that I went looking all I found was new on Ebay....no nice cheap....40-20-10 year old models. :(Sigh cubed.because I seldom look for one once every year or two in it is a nail,...and I have 4-5 nails. Why have more...nails :headsmack: .

A Safari is nail....but that was a gift. Make that 6-7 nails. :wallbash:


Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 07 February 2016 - 01:39.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 






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