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What Am I Missing About Expensive Pens?


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#41 Corona688

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 14:38

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.

For collecting, anything goes, since collectors (very grudgingly) admit they don't truly need 37 fountain pens, or those 37 pens in particular.

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#42 Tseg

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 15:16

For collecting, anything goes, since collectors (very grudgingly) admit they don't truly need 37 fountain pens, or those 37 pens in particular.

 

This is the beauty of collecting.  On one hand most have a very structured justification for what exists in their collection (and most people are actually hoarders vs. collectors), but one's clever mental gymnastics can create justification for anything.  "I'm a genius because I cleverly justified spending $2K on an oversized Urushi pen rather than fixing the family's broken bathroom vanity".



#43 Corona688

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 15:39

No need to be insulting. It's no different than collecting jewellery.

#44 two2tone

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 15:47

My Seiko 5, for well under $100, keeps time within COSC specs (-4/+6) and performs as well as my Franc Muller that cost 100X.  I realize this is just a single data point. The average performance for 100 Seikos would be much worse than 100 FMs. There may be a few Jinhaos or Heros that outperform a few MountBlancs or Pelikans.  Looking at a larger sample size, the higher priced pens (or watches, cars, cameras, etc.) will out perform the cheaper version.

 

 

 

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.



#45 Lloyd

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 16:01

There's a lot more to COSC certification than mean daily rate. 


"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination."
Oscar Wilde

#46 stephenfountain

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 16:11

My Seiko 5, for well under $100, keeps time within COSC specs (-4/+6) and performs as well as my Franc Muller that cost 100X.

 

 

I am fortunate enough to own a very modest Invicta Grand Diver which also maintains a great accuracy sometimes within 25 seconds/week.  Luck of the draw I guess...

 

There's a lot more to COSC certification than mean daily rate. 

 

You are absolutely correct, but personally I can't afford a 'proper' watch and am quite happy with my Invicta which for me is really accurate, and has a WR rating of 300m. Though I haven't tested that bit, but I did once wash the car whilst wearing it and it was fine LOL



#47 gerigo

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 16:24

+1

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.



#48 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 16:28

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>.

​I agree. I bought one recently because I am in awe of my AL Sport and Classic Sport and because I recognized the qualities of the Dia2  that you also recognized: very nicely built, pleasant to hold in the hand, pretty good value. Unfortunately, as you said, the nib was bad. It was dry, had baby's bottom and it felt as if the nib was somehow glued to the page (a feeling of drag). I returned the pen.



#49 stephenfountain

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 16:33

Unfortunately, as you said, the nib was bad. It was dry, had baby's bottom and it felt as if the nib was somehow glued to the page (a feeling of drag). I returned the pen.

 

LOL, OK, as a newbie, is that a FP technical term, the baby's bottom thing?



#50 gerigo

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 16:54

I want to add a little more to what Uncial said.

 

I have pens that run from a couple dollars, ie Preppies to my most expensive, which is a Montblanc Skeleton, which is about 9k. Today my  daily carry are a Pilot Petit in turquoise, a Namisu Orion, a Franklin Christoph 66 with an EF flex in 14k, a nameless ebonite blank with a giant no. 8 Bock that was going to become a canvas for maki-e, and finally a Pilot Emperor Urushi.

 

I want to add background on the pens I buy.

 

1. I realized very early on that for me to enjoy a hobby, what I collect has to be a tool that allows me to express my creativity. I buy pens not just to collect, but to use and enjoy. Writing, lettering and learning more about the cultures I am in. I realize that pens help with this and I have gladly indulged in the past 5 years. Watches does not. So no watch collecting for me.

 

2. I am lucky enough to have fallen into a career that has paid off in that I make enough to be able to buy more than adequate pens. Because I like to spend a lot of time enjoying my hobbies to recharge, I find investing in my hobbies is rewarding for me, because otherwise I almost don't spend on anything else.

 

3. I appreciate the craft, design, and thought that goes into the making of the object so therefore spending my money on these I feel are worthwhile.

 

When you use an expensive pen there are a few things you'd be able experience that cheaper pens can't deliver.

 

- The way the pen is put together. Some of the more complex Montblancs, such as the 1912, the Boheme, the 1914 etc are simply marvels of engineering. That they work at all, WITHOUT rusting, the mechanism breaking down, parts falling off is a real testament to the precision engineering, design and though that goes into these pens. Do you read about Bohemes that break all the time? Almost never! The Namiki Emperor is another example of this. It is the ONLY Japanese eyedropper that has not leaked in my possession. Its just a joy to use a pen that is so precisely put together. The Hermes Nautilus is another example of trick mechanism that is just lovely to behold.

 

- Nibs. There are Sailor nibs that just not available at a lower cost. I applaud Sailor for rolling out the fude nib to their more economical pens, of which I also have. But their Cross Points, Concords are made by a mad genius that has to be made individually and can't be had at a lower price. The same with the Montblanc Custom nibs. These nibs are just amazing to use.

 

- Materials/ artwork . This is less appealing to me as having a sterling or solid gold pen is not going to add to the writing experience. But sometimes I will indulge. The Montblanc Martele is an example. This is one of the VERY FEW pens I purchased simply because in my eyes, the pen looks amazing. As was the Namiki Yukari Rock Garden.



#51 Corona688

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 17:39

Looking at a larger sample size, the higher priced pens (or watches, cars, cameras, etc.) will out perform the cheaper version.

That's only true for mass-produced items. Handmade, limited run etc. items will vary a great deal.

Edited by Corona688, 07 March 2018 - 17:40.


#52 Driften

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 18:53

The problem is you don't know what you are missing unless you try higher priced pens. I tend to hold my pens close to the nib. The lower priced pens tend to have sections that are not shaped as nice or sharp corners on the ends. Higher priced pens normally have better designs for comfort where lower priced pens are designed to be easy to produce. The plastics are better on higher priced pens. The plating on clips and such are also better. The higher priced pens normally don't dry out while capped as easy waiting for you to use the pens. 

 

Another difference is filling mechanisms. I have less issues with piston or vacuum fillers then I do cartridge or converter pens. That normally is only on more expensive pens, but TWSBI has them in lower priced offerings. I also don't care for vintage pens that use a sac. I can never tell how much ink is in them or if I got a good fill. It may also be my vintage pens are thinner ones and I really like thick pens these days.

 

As others have said, what is a low cost pen changes in your mind as you buy more expensive ones. It's hard to buy your first $100 pen, then after you have paid $300 or $400 the $100 dollar ones are no big deal and the $40 ones seem cheep. 

 

After a certain point higher prices don't get you as much. I love the Pilot 823 as much as my Aurora Optima, Pelikan M805, or my Mont Blanc 146. The 823 costs hundreds less then those other pens. It does not mean though that I am going to sell off my more expensive pens. I am also not in a rush to sell off my TWSBI's or Pelikan M20x level pens just because I have higher priced ones.



#53 DaveyWonder

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 22:03

Compare handwriting and driving. Both are necessities in life and we all do both of them.

Sure, a Toyota Corolla will get you down the road and on your way, but who wouldn’t rather be in a Mercedes Benz? If no one saw you get out of your car, would they know you arrived in style or not? All anyone other than you would care about is that you arrived.

The same comparison be said about writing a letter or filling out a form at the DMV... A BIC ballpoint, a Lamy Safari or a MontBlanc 149 will all get your (written) point across, but wouldn’t you be rather using the MontBlanc?

Does anyone other than you care?

#54 Corona688

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 22:27

A BIC ballpoint, a Lamy Safari or a MontBlanc 149 will all get your (written) point across, but wouldn’t you be rather using the MontBlanc?

There's so many black torpedoes. If nobody recognizes the star, it'll just look generic. A safari at least looks unique.

#55 Dickkooty2

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 23:06

@Davey Wonder above:

 

Sure, a Toyota Corolla will get you down the road and on your way, but who wouldn’t rather be in a Mercedes Benz? If no one saw you get out of your car, would they know you arrived in style or not? All anyone other than you would care about is that you arrived.

The same comparison be said about writing a letter or filling out a form at the DMV... A BIC ballpoint, a Lamy Safari or a MontBlanc 149 will all get your (written) point across, but wouldn’t you be rather using the MontBlanc? 

 

Well, as I drive my all-wheel Subaru to Safeway, I really don't  give a damn as I park in the crowded lot avoiding carts and children. I have few occasions to 'arrive in style'.

 

As for filling out the forms at the DMV, I would be much happier using a department-supplied Bic. It is not a place for "if you've got, flaunt it".

 

The the time of using articles as status is past.



#56 TSherbs

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 00:11

....Sure, a Toyota Corolla will get you down the road and on your way, but who wouldn’t rather be in a Mercedes Benz? ...

 

Oh gosh. I totally prefer my 2009 Corolla. From every continued mile I get out of this, I feel better and better. The frugality and practicality and lack of pretense more than make up for any lack of comfort or status. "Luxury" and status are not sought by all of us. If somebody gave me a Benz, I would sell it for two Corollas (to be owned consecutively). And I might not get through two of them before I die.


Edited by TSherbs, 08 March 2018 - 00:13.


#57 oregano

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 00:18

Honestly, if you don't feel like anything is missing from your experience, then don't fix what isn't broken, is my two cents. I got into higher end pens because I liked their aesthetics, but it is a financial sinkhole. You could also try out gold nibbed pens, which do have a different feel for not too much over $100. You'd probably enjoy Sailor or Pilot pens, which have stiffer nibs.

 


#58 praxim

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 00:46

Sounds to me like two people responding to DaveyWonder comprehensively missed the point I saw, which was exactly that the pleasure is self-satisfaction with something which is good, not to do with status or external effect because mostly nobody will notice anyway.


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

#59 Bluey

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 00:55

I would much rather have half a Corolla than 1 Mercedes. Much less likely to breakdown.


Edited by Bluey, 08 March 2018 - 00:56.

Mediterranean blue, Asa Goa, China blue, Royal blue, Sapphire blue, Indigo, Washable Blue....the colours of the rainbow.

#60 TSherbs

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 01:30

Sounds to me like two people responding to DaveyWonder comprehensively missed the point I saw, which was exactly that the pleasure is self-satisfaction with something which is good, not to do with status or external effect because mostly nobody will notice anyway.

 

If I did, oops

 

I actually read it three times to try to figure it out. Then I said said, screw it, I'll just give my point of view anyway. If we are in agreement, fine. If we are not, just as fine. 








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