I'm looking for input, feedback and knowledge from this great community of FP enthusiasts. If any of this resonates, please share your thoughts and wisdom :-)
It occurs to me that the pens I currently own do not meet my desires for a functional "signature pen". The primary use is for the dozens of signatures I write every day for work. It also occurs to me that I've used a Fischer Space Pen or Rite-in-the-Rain ball-point for this purpose for years without knowing any better, so this is a hedonistic pleasure that I'm after. This would make work a little more enjoyable, and I've come up with a few key criteria for such a pen. Please note that these are *my* criteria and I'm not intending to dictate any new definitions/criteria of a "signature pen" to anyone. Here are the criteria I have established so far:
1. Nib must be Western Broad or larger. Roundish stub or conventional spheroid tip for hasty signatures in odd locations (including the hood of a work vehicle, leaning over a co-workers desk or standing over a conference-room table). No crisp italics, cursive italics or anything that might catch paper if I'm not strictly controlling writing angles. Best materials are probably unplated 14K Gold or unplated stainless steel, because...
2. I plan on using Iron Gall ink for this pen, primarily for water resistance and permanence. I've been using R&K Salix and really like it, but I'm in the process of acquiring some other inks (KWZ, Hero 232, ESSRI, Diamine Registrar's). Many of these inks tend to be more "dry" than the my other inks (Pilot, Iroshizu, Diamine, Noodler's), hence my interest in item 3 below...
3. Pen must be Cartridge Converter format, and I plan to use cartridges filled via syringe. I'm afraid (perhaps unjustly) of running a piston fill system with IG ink that might precipitate harmful solids into the barrel's ink chamber and seals. The C/C system must allow a fairly "wet" inkflow rate with IG ink and not suffer from ink starvation with "dry" inks. I think this rules out "standard international" (SI) format. I've had some troubles with SI C/C: the cartridge/feed interface has a relatively small aperture, and seems to work best with a reasonably wet ink to prevent ink starvation. Moreover, the SI cartridges and converters have been prone to detaching inside my pens when subjected to any kind of shock (i.e., they don't seem to attach securely enough). The Pilot C/C system is the one I have the most experience with, and I love the huge cartridge aperture and extremely secure attachment. Not sure about the Platinum and Sailor C/C systems, so I'd welcome any input on those.
4. Pen must be easily disassembled and cleaned. I'm a little bit apprehensive about using IG ink without adequate maintenance intervals. The pen will receive flushes every fill, and detailed cleanings every 2-4 weeks until I can determine a better (hopefully less frequent) maintenance interval. So, I need to be able to get the nib and feed out without risking damage. If I can't meet this particular criteria, I could buy an ultrasonic cleaner if push comes to shove.
5. Screw-on cap. I might carry this pen in the placket of my polo shirt, and I don't want to find the pen inside my shirt underneath huge inkstains. This has already happened to me when I wore a snap-cap pen in my shirt. I post caps whenever possible to minimize loss.
6. Pen weight is not a concern. I enjoy 15 gram pens and 50 gram pens. Not sure how heavy is too heavy, but 50 grams is no problem.
7. Good basic ergonomics and balance, with a grip section diameter of at least 9.5 mm. I have fat powerlifter's fingers.
8. Unobtrusive threads that don't chew my fingers badly. I grip high on the pen, probably higher than most people. Step is okay if not extremely absurd like the step on the TWSBI Vac 700.
9. Professional appearance highly desirable... Innocuous in appearance tolerable.
10. Under $150 if possible, but I've been known to spend lots more than I initially planned on things I really like.
I've also found a few prospective pens as follows:
1. The Platinum 3776 Century with C nib (Cosu, Cors or Coarse depending on which source you read... basically a Double Broad nib). This is the least expensive option I've found.
2-4. The Pilot Custom 74, 742 or 743 with BB or C nib.
5. Sailor 1911 with Zoom nib
Any other recommendations? I welcome your thoughts and inputs!