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

Hi-End Pens Are A Lot Of Trouble


  • Please log in to reply
100 replies to this topic

#21 Precise

Precise

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 442 posts
  • Location:Silicon Valley California
  • Flag:

Posted 07 November 2017 - 03:12

Hello All,

 

I started this thread with these words, 

 

"My high-end pens account for the majority of my pen problems.  Conversely, my more "ordinary" pens, in the $100 to $200 range, write smoothest and most reliably."

 

I should have stopped there, because some dear readers may view this is yet-another tale of woe with pen xxxx, or pen yyyy, or more.

 

I wrote this again in my second post, 

 

"my thought is that in general more sophisticated pens are also more trouble"

 

So please forget the naming of specific brands.  My message is just that more complex may not be better.

 

I also made the mistake of dipping my pen into the vortex of gold vs steel.  I did not intend to renew that old debate, but just to say that steel is smooth and you don't have to pay gold bucks for smoothness.  From John Mottishaw's site:

 

https://www.nibs.com...-and-smoothness

 

Why does adding flex not increase smoothness?

Flexed Nibs Are Less Smooth

Adding flexibility is a customization that provides for added line-width variation depending on the pressure used while writing. However, adding flex actually makes for a less smooth writing experience

 

Best regards,

 

Alan


Edited by Precise, 07 November 2017 - 03:13.


Sponsored Content

#22 Pensei

Pensei

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 626 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 07 November 2017 - 03:41

I remember once, with a former hobby, a vendor told me that when you pay more money for a particular tropical fish, you should not assume that it will be healthier. To the contrary, the reason they are expensive is that they are more likely to die soon because they are fragile. I never thought about that, but it immediately made sense. The same seems to be true with other products, particularly cars and pens. Fancy and pretty often equals fragile and tempermental. Solution: buy Japanese (and some European) pens for between $40 and $300. They are almost always reliable and write smoothly out of the box. Examples: Pilot 74 or 91, Sailor Promenade, Faber-Castell Basic, Lamy Safari, or, one of the best examples, the Pilot Prera. Why spend $500 or more for a headache? 



#23 flipper_gv

flipper_gv

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 680 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 07 November 2017 - 04:12

People who buy italian fountain pens know what to expect, you shouldn`t complain. 

 

Montegrappa and Aurora both have really tight QC.

I would second Jar list of safe brands where those almost always work.

 

Pelikans might be a bit iffy on their broader nibs, but their fine/extra-fine nibs have always been VERY good and they're mechanically extremely solid.

 

 

For the actual subject of the thread. More expensive really doesn't mean better quality. That is because when you pay 500$ and more, you're usually not paying for a tool, you're paying for functional jewelry/statement piece. Of course a pen should write really well at those kinds of prices. Problem is that it is likely that most of the market that buy those pens don't really use them all that much. 

 

The pens in the mid-high price range (100-400$) ABSOLUTELY need to write perfectly since they're usually not bought as statement pieces/jewelry, they're bought as high end tools. Nobody goes around trying to impress people with a pilot CH92, people who own a CH92 write with it.


Edited by flipper_gv, 07 November 2017 - 04:19.


#24 Studio97

Studio97

    Studio97

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 669 posts
  • Location:Missouri

Posted 07 November 2017 - 06:16

My $20 Cross FPs require less cleaning than my MB pens.

#25 JonSzanto

JonSzanto

    Looking for the next big thing...

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,001 posts

Posted 07 November 2017 - 06:23

Huh. I've found good/great and bad/horrendous pens at all price levels. I think the sticking point is that the more it costs, the more you expect (which makes sense) and the more angry one becomes when they underperform (or don't perform at all). However, I've gradually gotten to know which high- and low-end pens to get, and I now have virtually all reliable and enjoyable writers, from bargain basement (hello Wing Sung and Baoer) to mid-high brackets (Aurora, Nakaya, Sailor, etc).

 

You can get a terrible meal in a diner and a 3-star Michelin restaurant. One will bother you more than the other.


"When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick; and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."
~ Benjamin Franklin

#26 bizhe

bizhe

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 460 posts

Posted 07 November 2017 - 07:55

I sometimes wonder if lower priced vendors get the seconds and returns.

#27 Driften

Driften

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,049 posts
  • Location:Issaquah, WA
  • Flag:

Posted 07 November 2017 - 17:53

My higher priced Montblanc and Pelikan do not have any more trouble then my mid priced Pilot and Sailor. I also don't see the gold nibs I have any less smooth or reliable then the steel nib pens I have. 

 

People have problems at all levels of cost. Just look at the forums here and you will see people with issues with Pilot 74's, Sailor 1911's, or Platinum 3776's out of the box. People have issues at times with brand new Pilot Metros. 

 

I don't think the blanket statement of "Hi-End pens are a lot of trouble" holds water. Like others have said you hear more complaints the higher the price. On a low end pen most people sent it back to the dealer or toss it in the trash and don't cry all over the internet net about it. When you pay big money I think you should expect things to work perfect, but you can always buy from a dealer that makes sure before they send it to you! Sometimes that costs more, but then shipping the same pen back several times adds up.  



#28 rochester21

rochester21

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,300 posts
  • Location:Bucharest, Romania
  • Flag:

Posted 07 November 2017 - 22:59

 

If that was true, why are companies like OMAS and Delta are going belly up? Could it be that their hand crafted products, requiring tens of hours of skilled workmanship, simply can't be sold with a profit even though they cost $500? Think twice, please. And yes, some companies I won't name do mass produce pens sold for very profitable prices.

 

 

I shouldn`t have to spell it out.

 

Italy used to make a lot of great things. Still does, i guess. I love their steel-framed bikes, they are the best one can buy. But fountain pens? No thanks. Let`s face it, not everyone can be great at making quality fountain pens. It`s probably more of an issue now that it`s ever been. 

 

So, if Delta and Omas have financial issues, it`s because A.it`s a shrinking market and B. others do it better. 


Edited by rochester21, 07 November 2017 - 23:07.


#29 georges zaslavsky

georges zaslavsky

    vintageandmodernpenslover

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,767 posts
  • Location:France
  • Flag:

Posted 08 November 2017 - 18:23

People who buy italian fountain pens know what to expect, you shouldn`t complain. 

 

But it is also true that today one can pay 1000 dollars or more on any fountain pen and even then there is no guarantee that there will be no issues with it. 

 

Luxury fountain pens are starting to be more and more like decorative art work and less like tools for everyday writing. It`s almost embarrassing. It shouldn`t be this complicated: a 500 dollar pen should be better than a 50 dollar pen in every respect. Is that true though? NO. Maybe it used to be like that, but not anymore. 

 

In most cases, the 450 dollar price difference is simply profit for the company(you pay for the design), there is nothing in the way the product is being built or the materials used that represent additional costs in the manufacturing process. I guess this is one way of surviving on a ever-shrinking market, but i`m sick of it.  Price should reflect quality period. 

I have several italian pens and they have never given me trouble. Of course it depends from which dealer you buy. Bryant Greer, John Mottishaw, Teri M and Mr Mora will stand beak and claws behind their products and help you in case of trouble. Just by curiosity, tell me what italian pen do you own?


Edited by georges zaslavsky, 08 November 2017 - 18:26.

Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time

#30 Chris C

Chris C

    Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 103 posts

Posted 08 November 2017 - 19:29

Visconti teaches you that there is no difference between higher end and medium range pens in terms of quality, sometimes medium range delivering better pens than their higher end counterparts.
Many thinks that it is perfectly acceptable to receive a dud nib on $500 pen which can be fixed by sending to a nibmeister. Not acceptable to me. If a pen comes to me in that condition, it will be returned.

If I may, I would recommend trying a Japanese pen. Say, Pilot Custom 823 or 845. Nib would be perfect and filling system in 823 is same as Visconti power filler, without any of the issues given by Visconti.

I can't say anything about Conid. I have one which I bought 2 months ago and have been used for 3 fills only. Nib is #8 titanium and is smooth and wet. Only issue with it is that the orange ebonite section absorbs ink, but all ebonites do that so can't really blame them.

 

I share your enthusiasm for Japanese pens. My Sailors and Platinum write perfectly and are nice-looking, too. For around $250 they're the best value on the mid-range pen market.



#31 pseudo88

pseudo88

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,970 posts

Posted 08 November 2017 - 20:22

Probably luck rather than a rule, my higher end pens have never had a problem with the nibs, even if a converter can fail, and even if I managed to mess with two 18k nibs... Some of my Lamy nibs weren't all that smooth, but a few write like a dream. I just got a used Lamy Studio in Imperial Blue, this thing just glides, and on the paper not from my hand! Some inks seem to make some nibs glide: Verdigris, Verde Muschiato, Lie de Thé, Souten...


"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

B. Russell

#32 Precise

Precise

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 442 posts
  • Location:Silicon Valley California
  • Flag:

Posted 08 November 2017 - 20:23

My Deltas and Auroras are perfect.  Viva Italian.

Alan



#33 Chris C

Chris C

    Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 103 posts

Posted 08 November 2017 - 21:33

I just want to also add that I too have had problems with Stipula and Visconti, but here's the thing: once they are fixed to write well they write very well indeed. They are the most aesthetic pens in my collection, and for me aesthetics is the whole point of using an FP. Otherwise, I'd stick with BP.



#34 rochester21

rochester21

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,300 posts
  • Location:Bucharest, Romania
  • Flag:

Posted 09 November 2017 - 15:55

Just by curiosity, tell me what italian pen do you own?

 

If you insist....

I have had about three Aurora`s and a few cheapo "Universal" fps.

I think the models were 98 and a couple of vintage 88s. I believe these are the only fountain pens i ever had that made me want to cry. 

 

You don`t really need to own 50 pens from each company to tell which companies produce quality writing instruments and which ones make pens that look good and occasionally write. The topic started by the OP is a case in point, no need to argue about luxury italian pens with me, since i am very happy not to have any and i`m not the one complaining here   :D


Edited by rochester21, 09 November 2017 - 16:04.


#35 Kelly G

Kelly G

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,432 posts
  • Location:S.W. Kansas

Posted 09 November 2017 - 16:41

Let's face it.  Fountain pens in general are a bit of trouble, but we put up with varying degrees of problems because we prefer the writing experience with fountain pens rather than the relative simplicity of other writing tools.  How much is "a lot of trouble"?  It is relative and likely different for each of us.  For me, if a pen becomes too troublesome I don't use it and price point doesn't seem to correlate with my experience of troublesome.  Then again, I have way too many pens for a sensible frequency of rotation, so even trouble-free pens are relegated to the pen chest. 

 

For what it is worth, I don't have many pens that fit the description of permanently troublesome, and even those could be repaired if I cared to take the time and/or spend the money on them.  I don't have very many pens that fall into the Hi-End category and they are all trouble-free.


May we live, not by our fears but by our hopes; not by our words but by our deeds; not by our disappointments but by our dreams.

#36 gerigo

gerigo

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 778 posts
  • Location:New York
  • Flag:

Posted 09 November 2017 - 18:14

Wow, very sorry to hear. My most reliable expensive pens are Japanese, and German. Primarily because of what you mentioned. I know this is a VERY strange thing to hear, but I buy Visconti's knowing FULL WELL, they are going to be very finicky and require either my own smoothing of the nibs or trying to figure out why the pen leaks. Whereas all of my Sailors, Platinums and Pilots work flawlessly, irrespective of the price bracket. Although Germans have a higher tolerance from manufacturing defects, I have sent a couple MBs and GVFCs back from servicing. BUT they all write immediately when the nib touches paper, and are all very reliable.

 

My high-end pens account for the majority of my pen problems.  Conversely, my more "ordinary" pens, in the $100 to $200 range, write smoothest and most reliably. 

 

I've had three Visconti Power Filler pens, all priced over $500, which didn't fill according to Visconti instructions.  One was replaced three times and still didn't fill properly.

 

My Conid bulkfiller went back to Europe with a leaky crack in the section.  And since it came back it has never swallowed the claimed amount of ink.  And the so called "easy" fill procedure is anything but easy.

 

I've cleaned all of the above and put them away, probably never to write again.  I can't sell them because they don't work right.

 

Several of my beloved Omas piston fillers have leaked around the piston rod, including one brand-new (before Omas closed).  

 

And of course, low-end, cartridge-converter pens are usually fixed with a new $8 converter.  I also like the visual check on ink level.

 

In addition to the filling issues, many of my gold, high-end nibs arrived (brand new) with defects in the nib settings, such as misalignment, excess gaps, etc.  But my steel Bexley and Delta nibs have been perfect as delivered. 

 

I also find steel nibs write smoother on the upstroke than gold.  That's the opposite of what most people think, but there's a scientific reason for that.  Here it is:

 

When you stroke upwards and the nib encounters a bit of roughness in the paper, it bends downwards.  That causes it to dig in harder.  The more flexible the nib, the greater this tendency.  Thus gold strokes rougher than steel.   We're talking about ordinary nibs here, not vintage flexers.

 

Cheers,

 

Alan


Edited by gerigo, 09 November 2017 - 18:15.


#37 Wolverine1

Wolverine1

    Donor Pen

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,442 posts
  • Location:Wolverine-land, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Posted 09 November 2017 - 20:17

Alan - I own Pelikan and Montblancs, and Parkers(vintage as well as modern pens) and a few Deltas and Waterman Edsons. I have had absolutely no trouble of the kind you seem to be having with your pens. You ought to contact Francis Goosens, a fellow FPN member ( Francis is the person who  invented the Conid pen).

His username is "fountainbel", and Francis will help make the situation right for you



#38 praxim

praxim

    On twig

  • FPN Supporter - Rhodium

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,078 posts
  • Location:Not upon the peneplain
  • Flag:

Posted 09 November 2017 - 22:03

It is a curious thing, these different experiences. I just checked, and have ten Aurora 88/88K/88P. One reason I kept buying more (than I need) was precisely their reliability, performance and practicality. Except for a couple of particular Waterman 52s, the old 88s are easily my best vintage (pre-1970) pens. None has needed more than typical, routine, vintage maintenance (cleaning, greasing) before going in to operation. Forced to strip back my holdings to a single pen, an Aurora 88 (or modern 88 Ottantotto), would be one of several options with which I would be satisfied.

 

Despite problems in years past with some of their plastics, modern Auroras are in all other respects very well built. Their piston mechanism is excellent. I give the Italians no special care in selection or handling compared with my German pens.


Anyone owning three or more working pens is in no position to disparage choices by others.

#39 inkstainedruth

inkstainedruth

    Ancient Artifact

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 14,006 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 09 November 2017 - 23:24

I don't have a lot of "expensive" pens, but those that I have are all Pelikans (two modern M405s, one older M400, and one vintage 400) and they work very well.  I've heard mixed reviews of Visconti -- but have a friend who LOVES hers.  So it's a case of YMMV.

A lot of my pens are vintage or semi-vintage ones, so I expect them to (maybe) need a little babying or repairs.  Well, except the Parker 51 Aerometrics....  B) 

There's a part of me going "Wow, those bad experiences really suck!" and a part of me, I'm afraid, that is going "DUDE!  Don't fall for the 'more expensive = better' hype!  And if the pens don't work send them back.  Over and over again if necessary...."  I have a Parker Urban that is a complete piece of cr*p which is out of warranty now -- and that was the REPLACEMENT pen that Parker sent me when the first pen had the converter they sent ME get stuck in the barrel.  And I gave some woman holy Heck about it, too....  

Remember that the customer is always right.  People need to remind the manufacturers about that occasionally: the woman at Parker/Newell-Rubbermaid is probably still smarting over the tongue lashing I gave her about how the brand name used to stand for quality -- and it's been something like 3 years....

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

#40 Innosint

Innosint

    Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPip
  • 67 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 09 November 2017 - 23:31

Reading this thread made me realize maybe the high end Japanese pen manufacturer has stubbornly stuck with converter/cartridge for a reason.

 

It’s nothing fancy or to boost about, but it is still one of the most reliable filling mechanism out there, and cost way less to repair/trouble shoot.








Sponsored Content




|