Folks, thank you so much for your kind responses. My heart expands with your encouragement and patience for my persnicketosity. I love this place.
(Here we go...)
That sounds like a Sailor KoP to me. One of the best writing instruments at any price. If you really want to splash the cash, try one of the LEs such as this (I think these are 2 tone nibs but not sure)
Other Sailor options if you want to cast your net wider at the last minute. There's also some more exotic Pro Gears so that would be more up your street when it comes to shape. There's a Pro Gear made from weasel(?) hair in an MF that you may like such as this
It's very warm to the touch.
Or these in wood
Visconti are very hit and miss. They may not even write at all. I wouldn't look in their direction unless it's for your eyes only. Or you could send it to a nibmeister to work on it if you really like the look of it.
Nakaya are basically home made Platinums, so the nibs are the same as you will find on a $70 3776 (not that that's a bad thing of course) - when one reduces things down to their essential parts like this, one questions whether it's worth it.
For the Aurora try some of their cheapest(around $90) options to see if you'll like their nibs. Many people don't but some people like their uniqueness.
Thanks so much for your recommendations, Bluey! Watching Goulet reviews, the Platinum nibs intrigue me for the same reason that Auroras do---I'm hearing that the writing experience is akin to using a mechanical pencil. There's always been something about the shape and simple scrolling on Platinum nibs that's turned me off, though; if the Nakaya nibs are essentially the same, but nicer (and available in two-tone at a premium), that's encouraging!
I keep looking at the nib on the KOP, though. At the moment, I think I'm saving up for a KOP briarwood. Do you have any idea if the section is lacquered too? (It didn't appear to be, from the pictures.) (Also, thanks for the link to the wacky Pro Gear and Precious Wood series: the precious woods were actually my first choice for a while, but in the end I wanted something larger and longer.) Thanks, Bluey!
This request sounds like a call for a custom order to Nakaya over at Nakaya.org
I also first thought of a Nakaya. You can explore them at nibs.com without having to go through the special-order process from Japan. There are some beautiful, if not over-ornamented, Cigars and others under your $1,000, although you can spend much more. I also, have never heard a discouraging word about Nakaya or, for that matter, nibs.com.
Mech-for-i and rwilsonedn, you've sent me down a terrifying rabbit-hole. If they produced a lacquered briarwood with the long body, I'd probably be sold even if the section was resin. Do you think it'd be worth asking if they do custom briarwood bodies? (Thanks very much for your responses!)
Do you only want a new pen or a used pen?
If you are open to used, a Danitrio Mikado could be a good option, and if that is too big then a Densho or Takumi (though they have smaller nibs, more like the size of the Pilot 845 and the Visconti).
Also used it may be possible to get a Namiki Yukari Royale (except the nib is monotone).
Stylo Art makes some nice wood or urushi pens and uses all teh various Japanese nibs and they are in your budget.
There are some OMAS pens in beautiful celluloids that can be had in your budget.
Lots of options to consider. This is the hard part of shopping!
Hi, Zaddick! I wasn't really considering a used pen for this purpose, probably because I don't know as much about older/discontinued models, but also because I think I have a romantic niggle that I want to grow with and infuse a "tabula rasa" tool. It's dorky and SO arbitrary---I appreciate that it would bring more options into my price-range. I could probably get over it for the right pen, but I think I'd stick with something in modern production, regardless.
Looking at the Danitrios, I think my aesthetic tends towards there being some metallic furniture on the barrel or section of the pen. For that reason, I hadn't really been considering the Danitrios and Yukari Royale (though I can absolutely see the appeal).
I didn't know about Stylo Art at all. Oh, geez. (Thank you!)
Wax your pens and you will have no mar worries.
The 146 is very light for it's size. I though like the vintage '50-60's medium large version, which is better balanced and has a better nib. Fancy one too.
All my .Pelikan metal pens...Celebry or 381) are too thin for you. .....Well there are the modern discontinued ones, that are large,& substantial. Starts with a D...ah ha....Ductus....and is never talked about even in Pelikan's sub-forum. Should be cheaper now that it is no longer made. Was made for some 5 or so years.
The 800 has nice girth for someone who wants some...is back weighted with brass guts. The 1000 is a huge pen....but is for someone who has a light hand in it has an 18k semi-flex nib, that because it is 18k, can bend and stay bent easier than 14K. very good plastic.
Heya, Bo Bo! I've tried to get into Pelikans, but their aesthetic just doesn't do it for me. It's not the barrel material at all, I love the look of the nibs, and the integrated piston is fun. Ditto for the Montblancs. Thanks, though!
I wasn't aware that waxing pens was a thing, and will look into it! (Thank you!)
It might be hard to find THE pen that checks off everything on the list. I've used variations of all the pens on your list except the Aurora and they're all good pens. Of your list my personal preference is probably the HS and KOP (again, they're all great). I really like the HS material, cap (really easy to take on and off), and palladium nib. Sailor KOP are probably better when sitting at a desk and they have great nibs. However, I wouldn't consider either of these nibs as hard.
Nakaya's are great but are limited by smallish converters (as are most c/c pens). If this will be used for longer writing sessions a small capacity might be bothersome. I personally wouldn't want a desk pen but whatever floats your boat.
Sailor King of Pen suffers from similar converter constraints (unless you can find a Realo version). Cartridges would have a larger capacity but some people don't like them. Sailor nibs are great – a Naginata-Togi MF is my favorite nib. The width of the pen is very comfortable for me.
The Pilot 845 has a larger converter (CON70) but the converter is hard to clean. Personally, I don't notice the resin section.
Visconti's nib quality issues aren't as common, in my experience, with their EF or F nibs (things are dicey with M and up). If you're looking for a fine-medium I think a F would probably work. The only issue with the HS is the cap threads might be bothersome for long writing sessions, depending on how you hold the pen (not an issue for me). Even though a HS doesn't have an ink window (unless you get a LE demonstrator) the capacity is generous. As long as you wipe the section after filling you shouldn't have problems with ink sinking in. There are other Visconti's you might consider (Wall Street LE comes to mind) but those sometimes have other QC problems.
I haven't used Aurora's but they're well regarded. I would have suggested the Aurora Sigaro based on it's material but you don't like metal sections.
Have you thought about a Conid? Some of their LE pens use more visually interesting materials or you could go with a standard edition in ebonite or delrin. I think they use a mono-tone gold nib but you could use a different brand nib of your choosing (I think they'll even set the nib if you send it to them). The filling system and engineering are superb.
Thanks, Mulrich! Ink capacity isn't too much a problem for me---I love refilling my pens and don't find it disruptive. I don't mind the CON70 in my metal Falcon, either.
It's good to know that the HS is easier to maintain if I keep on top of it (and it's good to hear positive things about it from someone who's had it for a while). I'll try it out again.
I need to research the Naginata-Togi nib some more. I don't have a lot of experience with shifting my writing angle intentionally, and was hoping for a western fine writing width---my impression is that the Naginata-Togi writes broader with a standard angle, and goes finer as you go steeper, though I'm probably wrong? May I ask, if it's within your range of experience, would the nib on the KOP or HS be as soft as that on the Pilot Falcon? I found that too mushy to write with for long stretches, but anything a bit harder would probably be fine...
I'd never heard of Conid. Their giraffe model cracks me up. I'll think about it...
Congratulations on being able to select your first "nice" pen; I won't say Grail because I hope there will be more in your future that you feel would be same! I canceled an order with Novelli Pens once & thanked Mr. Parascenzo for his time & efforts in helping me. He replied it was "nothing" & kindly stated that "there would always be another........" Indeed in less than a year I ordered what could easily be my Grail Pen, as soon as he introduced the pen & took orders for it. (That was more pens ago than I would want to admit!)
I would suggest you look up here, fellow member "jar"'s review on his purchase of the 845, a pen you mention as a candidate & one I have been interested in, with the finish he purchased. I would also ask if you have handled an Aurora? I ask because it is such a smaller sized pen than the others you mention. I have an Aurora Africa, which I believe is their Optima, "all dressed up." I have only wanted the Africa of all the finishes from Aurora I have seen & am happy with it's purchase, but was a bit shocked when it arrived & I compared it's LENGTH to other pens I owned. It is shorter than a Pelikan M600 & altho it's girth is more, the length was shocking to me upon arrival.
I am poor with measurements, since I have NO idea about metric equivalence, without constant Google conversion, so I tend to do better with comparison to other pens I am familiar with. I am NOT disparaging the Optima in any way, I love mine & am quite happy with it's size. Mine has a wonderful stub nib & I appreciate the minor feedback often referred to as it's toothiness. I would just suggest seeing one in person, if possible.
Have fun & I am sure you will find a winner; there are so many wonderful pens from which to choose.
Thanks so much for your kind words, Barkingpig (and your stern warning of things to come). I know the Optimas are substantially shorter than the other candidates; I have some time to pop out to Laywines in Toronto tomorrow morning (and try their seemingly unlimited patience and classiness) with the main objective of handling an Optima. I really appreciate your attention to my preferences and cautioning advice.
My vote - using my ideas and your money - would be for the Sailor ebonite, King of Pen. If you think the ebonite KOP is bland, I won't take any offense.
Thanks, hrant! I think I can appreciate the wabi-sabi, but I don't believe I share it yet. At least, not to the degree where I'd spring for the ebonite KOP if I could wait longer get a briarwood version...
I have not used most of those pens. With that important caveat, I commend the Aurora very highly. In my experience of modern Aurora it meets critical criteria for writing, aesthetics, construction and practicality. It has deftly worked its way in front of a few other pens I think excellent among my modern group.
As you can see in my avatar, I love Aurora.
The one I have is a limited edition of Optima with medium nib, called Mare.
This medium nib has some feedback but is smooth. I love Omas' smooth nibs too, but I use the Aurora as is because that is a part of Aurora's characteristics.
If you ask me what I recommend as the first grail pen that you can spend some money, it will be Aurora Optima. It is also a gorgeous-looking pen.
The thing is...you might end up with multiple grails... I thought my Montblanc Meisterstuck 149 with broad nib was my grail...but then I got the Aurora Mare and that immediately became my next grail. Of course then I found Omas demonstrator with fine nib and it was super smooth and buttery. Then I ran into Scriptorium pens and saw Renee's beautiful work. I am now one of the lucky ones who got to order her awesome pens.
I think any one of the pens others posted here could be your first grail.
Then, I hope you will enjoy going through a long journey to explore more and more fountain pens!
Thank you, praxim and tgoto! I'll write back after I've tried (or at least held) the Optima. I'm more excited about it than I expected to be.
Heaps of gratitude to everyone, again, for your responses. I'll keep you posted!