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What Am I Missing About Expensive Pens?


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#21 alanshutko

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 20:40

Agreed. I bought my Ocean Swirl not because I needed a working pen, but because it's beautiful (and also happens to be a working pen).



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#22 dcwaites

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 22:10

I have a wide range of pens

$1 ~ $10 - mixed assorted Jinhaos, Wing Sungs, etc

$10~$30 - Caliarts, PenBBS, Pilot DPN-200

$30 ~ $50 - Lamy Safari, Pilot Prera

$50 ~ $100 - Platinum 3776, Pilot Custom 74, TWSBI

$100 ~ $300 - Lamy 2000, Sailor 1911 Large, Pilot Custom 742

 

The best pens in that list are the Caliarts, PenBBS and Pilot DPN pens, and the 1911 and Custom 742 pens.

 

I will not ever be buying a pen that is less than $10, ever again, they are, to me, simply not worth the money.

 

The $10~$30 pens are a pleasant surprise, but I limit my recommendations to those specific pens listed. They are, however, amongst my nicest pens to write with, and are definitely the best value-for-money pens I have.

 

The $30~$50 pens are OK, but just let me damn them with faint praise...

 

I have no reason to buy any more pens in the $50~$100 range. They work, they work well and reliably, are worth the money, but aren't anything special.

 

There is definitely a "feel in the hand" feeling that the more expensive pens ($100~$300) have that the others don't have, along with nicer nibs and absolutely reliable feeds. These pens write instantly, every time, even after being capped and unused for weeks. The nibs are all perfect and have never needed any adjusting. And I would expect these pens to all work for decades, which I wouldn't expect of any pen less than $100.

 

The only seriously expensive pen I am looking at for the future is a Pilot 823 with a Waverly nib, but that has dropped from Grail Pen, to "would be nice when I have a spare $300"


Edited by dcwaites, 06 March 2018 - 22:12.

fpn_1412827311__pg_d_104def64.gif

 

 

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#23 praxim

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 22:33

I recently got a 40 year old vintage PaperMate back up & running thanks to help on this forum, and am delighted with it. Writes really smoothy, with free flowing ink, and feels great in my hand. I also got a similar vintage Sheaffer back in action too, (a slim white dot), but it's not as impressive being a little 'scratchy' for my handwriting.
 
However, in my new found love for the fountain pen, I have bought a few cheapies, 2 disposables (a Platignum TIXX and a 'zebra V301') both of which I am really impressed with. Yes, they have plastic casings, and are not family heirlooms, but as writing instruments are just lovely.
 
I also splashed out on a Platignum No.4 fountain pen, which does have a metal case and a lovely balanced heft in the hand, and it was less than £5 delivered!
 
So, what should I be looking for in an expensive pen? Obviously quality of manufacture is one, but then does 'brand' simply suck up the £££s after that?

It is good to see you are enjoying your pens. My first response is that if you need to be persuaded of great virtue in paying significantly more than you do now, then you will not benefit from the persuasion, only from deciding for yourself what you want (and can afford) given what you already know.

My suggestion is to pursue relatively cheap-to-buy older pens. You seem to enjoy fixing them, and some are excellent. If you decide later that you want to spend a bit more in a new pen, go ahead. Unless you suddenly switch from $10 pens to $1000 pens you will be unlikely to feel pain from disappointment, and quite likely to discover new pleasures.
Anyone owning three or more working pens is in no position to disparage choices by others.

#24 Ron Z

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 23:22

One of the pens that I am most impressed by is a Kaweco Dia.  The pen itself has a good, solid feel.  I'm impressed by the metal thread insert in the barrel, the tight clip, and the over all design.  The nib(s) however is(are) <meh>.  


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#25 Articm39

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 23:40

Isn't having expensive pens sort of similar to owning expensive watches - that you don't really buy for function but the brand/look/style? I have a Montblanc 149 that I overpaid while visiting Frankfurt a few years ago, and it doesn't write any better than my old Parker 51 aeromatic. In fact, I have a $12 piston-filler WingSung 698 that is butter smooth and my current best writer. But, at business meetings, my usual carry is the Montblanc.

 

I am a noob in this hobby and have only a tiny collection of fountain pens. I find that my expensive pens don't necessary write the best but they are certainly more interesting than the cheapies.



#26 wasteland

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 02:09

I have a wide range of pens

$1 ~ $10 - mixed assorted Jinhaos, Wing Sungs, etc

$10~$30 - Caliarts, PenBBS, Pilot DPN-200

$30 ~ $50 - Lamy Safari, Pilot Prera

$50 ~ $100 - Platinum 3776, Pilot Custom 74, TWSBI

$100 ~ $300 - Lamy 2000, Sailor 1911 Large, Pilot Custom 742

 

The best pens in that list are the Caliarts, PenBBS and Pilot DPN pens, and the 1911 and Custom 742 pens.

 

I will not ever be buying a pen that is less than $10, ever again, they are, to me, simply not worth the money.

 

The $10~$30 pens are a pleasant surprise, but I limit my recommendations to those specific pens listed. They are, however, amongst my nicest pens to write with, and are definitely the best value-for-money pens I have.

 

The $30~$50 pens are OK, but just let me damn them with faint praise...

 

I have no reason to buy any more pens in the $50~$100 range. They work, they work well and reliably, are worth the money, but aren't anything special.

 

There is definitely a "feel in the hand" feeling that the more expensive pens ($100~$300) have that the others don't have, along with nicer nibs and absolutely reliable feeds. These pens write instantly, every time, even after being capped and unused for weeks. The nibs are all perfect and have never needed any adjusting. And I would expect these pens to all work for decades, which I wouldn't expect of any pen less than $100.

 

The only seriously expensive pen I am looking at for the future is a Pilot 823 with a Waverly nib, but that has dropped from Grail Pen, to "would be nice when I have a spare $300"

So nicely and informatively said. And thanks for the tip on the Caliarts.



#27 minddance

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 02:36

In order for a pen to be expensive, you have to pay for many other things, and these things may or may not include the ideal writing experience for you.

Advertising, boutiques at prime districts and pretty salespeople do not appear for free.

Precious stones, intricate artwork and immaculate hand-finishing have nothing to do with the sensation of nib upon paper. But the writing experience, viewed holistically, can be very different or even inspiring for some.

And sometimes these writing instruments come heavy. They may be alright for signing off an ocassional document or check, but to write pages, the writer would have to bear the weight.

Sometimes, more expensive pens use the same nib-feed-filling system as models on their lower-priced pens. And the price difference can be very disportionate. The extra money is for the material on pen barrels/cap and for fuelling the notion of 'high end'. Or maybe we get a bigger, but not always discernably better, nib.

And on paper, I don't see how the resultant writing sample from a cheaper pen could vary very much from that of an astronomically priced pen. Unless, of course, the nib grind is different, but nib grinds can be had at fairly reasonable prices.

#28 GeneralSynopsis

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 05:23

 Platignum Tixx looks a lot like Pilot Varsity / V-pen, so I guess it could be refilled by pulling out the feed; if one wants to.

 

The section is pinched at the nib end, I suspect this means the feed cannon be pulled out like the Pilot V-pen


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#29 Dickkooty2

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 05:41

I find that the more expensive pens I have bought have been on ebay and for a specific purpose, mostly design attributes of a particular time. I think my most expensive purchase is a Pelikan 500 p&p set with complete packaging. I had to have it. As you might guess, I collect mid-century German vintage writing instruments, mostly Pelikan, Lamy, Rotring, and Fend. This is a set of pricing not based on MSRP.

 

I am collecting ultra-portable typewriters with the same POV.

 

So 'expensive' to me has a very particular value when I am attracted to an article: design and utility.



#30 max dog

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 06:17

whether it's photography, hiking, or golfing.  If you are into something passionately, get something good that you can afford where some quality and attention to detail went into it's creation.  It doesn't necessarily have to be expensive, but there usually is a cost that goes into something that is well made which will satisfy you more in the long run.  I don't have time for a whole bunch of cheap so so pens, but would rather have a select few very nice enjoyable ones that I can afford.  

 

At the end of the day, the key is whatever will make you happy.  


Edited by max dog, 07 March 2018 - 06:23.


#31 rogerico

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 06:33

What are you missing? Nothing, everything.
Roger

#32 Innosint

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 07:20

like most "things" we can purchase, there is a point of dimishing returns on their $ to performance ratio. 

 

then at certainly points, it's basically all preferences.

 

For me. the soft cap hits at about $100 range, and quality difference really hits a hard stops at about  $400.

 

Would I still buy pens above that price range? yeah, because I like their finishes, aesthetic and material, and mainly how the pen feels in the hand, even though their writing nib are pretty much the same to cheaper pens.


Edited by Innosint, 07 March 2018 - 07:22.


#33 JayKay3000

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 09:03

Every pen from $1 to $1000 can write and perform the same basic function.

 

You're often paying for materials, brand, image and what the manufacturer thinks a customer is willing to pay even if the pen costs far less to actually make.

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Certain pens are status symbols within certain groups of people and an expression of affluence and personal progression. An expensive pen does not always write perfectly. In fountain pens a high purchase price is not a guarantee to a perfect writer. There becomes price point where Fountain Pens stop being a functional tool first and start becoming art and jewelry.

 

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Ignore the price. Look at a pen for it's features. Gold nib? Type of barrel materials, how does the grip feel to use, cap mechanism, how does it feel.

 

After this the price and brand are unimportant. A black $600 pen can look like any other black pen without a second glance and as an investment it's a tricky guess. Think hard about the choice and if you want that certain pen that happens to cost $1200 you'll find a way to save and obtain it, but I wouldn't save just to buy it because it costs $1200.

 

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#34 stephenfountain

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 09:42

This has been a fascinating thread for me being brand new in all this. It has shown me that there are remarkable similarities to other objects I have an interest in, like watches, and wet shaving razors.

 

There seems to be an 'entry' level where you aim for proper functionality, after that, you get the nuance and collectablity of the instrument. If I may draw my own clumsy 'razor' analogy, I own a Gillette FatBoy (1958), a lovely adjustable razor in mint condition with the original box. Many folk will pay more than £150 for it, but I swear I have a razor (a Fatip Piccolo) which you can buy for £20 and is one of the best shavers you can own!

 

Thank you for all your input, and I must confess that my current level 'proper functionality' has been more than  met by my steel £5 Platignum 4 fountain pen. Doesn't stop me browsing more exotic pens online and drooling a bit!



#35 TSherbs

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 11:39

.....

 

Thank you for all your input, and I must confess that my current level 'proper functionality' has been more than  met by my steel £5 Platignum 4 fountain pen. Doesn't stop me browsing more exotic pens online and drooling a bit!

 

next are the inks....then paper....then....



#36 Uncial

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 11:51

Buy what 'you' like. I don't understand all these flame wars about what pens are popular, best looking, most expensive/rare/magical materials, overpriced/overhyped whatever... just buy what you like. If someone thinks you're a pretentious so and so or a deluded fool for buying a particular pen then it's probably safe to assume the issue is with them. Some people prize functionality above all else and will make do with busted, scratched up barrels on vintage pens or poor finishes or the cheapest they can find that still writes. Others look for beauty in small things, for unusual materials that very often happen to be expensive, for feel in the hand and appeal to the eye. But one is no better than the other. It all boils down to what you want and your personal preference and what you think is worth spending money on. Of course, there will always be trolls on every forum of any kind who actually don't care a jot for the forum content; their primary purpose is to get a rise. Sift through the dross, explore the vast array of options and get what appeals to you.



#37 stephenfountain

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 11:56

 

next are the inks....then paper....then....

 

As in shaving, the brushes, the soaps, aftershaves etc etc LOL



#38 stephenfountain

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 11:58

Buy what 'you' like...

 

Good advice under any circumstance!



#39 Tseg

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 12:41

Isn't having expensive pens sort of similar to owning expensive watches - that you don't really buy for function but the brand/look/style? I have a Montblanc 149 that I overpaid while visiting Frankfurt a few years ago, and it doesn't write any better than my old Parker 51 aeromatic. In fact, I have a $12 piston-filler WingSung 698 that is butter smooth and my current best writer. But, at business meetings, my usual carry is the Montblanc.

 

I am a noob in this hobby and have only a tiny collection of fountain pens. I find that my expensive pens don't necessary write the best but they are certainly more interesting than the cheapies.

 

In many regards there are similarities between watch collecting and FP collecting, however the low cost FP writing ability consistency I believe to be significantly better than low cost (automatic) watch time keeping consistency.  One would be very lucky to get a low cost automatic watch that performs at +/- 4 seconds per day, but this is not an unreasonable expectation for a +$1000 watch (a watch price point equivalent to a TWSBI), but even at that price point YMMV significantly.

 

What is an interesting comparison would be between Montblanc and Rolex.  I don't know much about MB but my perception is they have solid consistency of very good performance and are perceived as high priced.  In the watch collecting world most new collectors like to pooh-pooh Rolex as overpriced and is all about image and marketing.  The will refuse to buy a Rolex and look down upon it.  However most tenured collectors do own a Rolex  and realize its consistent quality, methodical materials innovation and refined design truly are exceptional.  Resale value also tends to be exceptional.  Most experienced watch collectors would advocate the price for a Rolex is reasonable for what you get.  I'm not sure I get that same sense with Montblanc and fountain pens.  I'm not sure FP collectors acquire their first MB for the same reason watch collectors acquire their first Rolex.  But maybe I'm wrong here.



#40 ParkerDuofold

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 12:43

Hi Stephenfountain,

If you're enjoying the pens you have and they satisfy you... then nothing.

Enjoy... you've got it licked. :thumbup:

Be well and enjoy life. :)


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Typo.

Edited by ParkerDuofold, 07 March 2018 - 12:43.

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