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Deciding On What Pens To Bring On A Business Trip


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#1 TaylorJ

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 14:04

I am new to the "Business Trip" world. My previous jobs were, let's say, less prestigious, and the farthest they'd send me was to go get coffee for the office. (Glamorous, I know.) My current job is with a much higher-profile tech company and they're sending me to a very fancy industry gathering this month. Very fancy, literal movie stars everywhere, I have to buy brand name clothes for it... Stuff like that. 

 

Bottom line: I need to bring a pen! I'll be writing on business cards and taking notes, and I want to bring a fountain pen or two, but am struggling to decide on one (or two) to travel across the country with. 

 

I'm torn between bringing something engraved or special-edition, or just bringing something very affordable and less fancy, and I don't have much to choose between:

 

 - LAMY Al-Star (engraved, gift, first pen ever)

 - Jinhao x450 (meh)

 - Jinhao x750 (slightly less meh)

 - TWSBI Eco Transparent Blue (special edition, limited quantities)

 - TWSBI Eco Blossom Red (also special edition)

 - Cross Bailey (engraved, gift)

 

I don't really want to bring either of the TWSBIs because they were limited editions (or limited supply, at least) and I don't know if I could replace them, and I REALLY love them and would hate to come home short one of those.

 

I don't really want to bring something as cheap as a Jinhao, because if anyone knows pens they're going to know I brought something ridiculously cheap. (Is that true or is that my social anxiety??)

 

I am not even willing to bring the LAMY because it is just too precious to me (gift from my best friend, it's engraved, and it started this whole hobby for me). I know it's "just a LAMY Al-Star" but it's sentimentally valuable to me.

 

And then the Cross pen is left, but it too is engraved, and is my nicest pen!

 

I'm leaning towards my Cross pen at this point, even though it's engraved, just because Cross is well-known, it's a good solid pen, and I'm not going to cry as much about replacing it. It's on the expensive side amongst my collection, yes, but that's not saying much. But, I wanted to ask everyone's advice. I'm even open to "go buy a nicer pen to use at the event" if that's the advice!

 

To make this a little more fun, I'll also ask: what pen from your own collection do YOU bring to gatherings? 

 

Thank you so much for your replies! :)

 

-Taylor


Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. (Winston Churchill)


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#2 SpecTP

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 14:42

bring the one that won't burp ink all over your outfit.



#3 ParkerDuofold

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 14:49

Hi Taylor,

This is my arena... and my advice is to take the Cross... and here's why:

It's the most business-like pen of the lot... and since your career is just starting out... you want to keep a low, businesslike profile. Remember, you're not only representing yourself,... but also the company you work for.

That said, since you're with a tech company and you'll be dealing with the far left of normal Hollywood crowd, an avant-garde pen like a Safari, might also carry you over well... that scenario is a bit out of my element... :D

Mind you, I once signed a multi-million contract with an apple-green Safari,... but by then, I was high enough on the food-chain that such idiosyncrasies were accepted... if not, welcomed. :D

Bottom-line advice... bring the Cross and a Safari and ask your boss if they care which pen you use.

Corporate etiquette has loosened up quite a bit since I started out in the middle '90s... you may discover that nobody cares. :D (But verify that first). :thumbup:

Be well... enjoy life... best wishes for your continued and future success... and congratulations on making the grade to go along on this trip. :thumbup:


- Anthony


EDITED to correct grammatical error.

Edited by ParkerDuofold, 11 January 2019 - 16:09.

With thanks to my Mom & Dad; who taught me to run free, but not run wild.

Please pray the Rosary daily. Thank You, St. Jude, for favors granted. :)

Grab life with both arms and give it a bear hug every day! :D

#4 ParkerDuofold

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 15:00

Just to follow-up... ;) ...

You're on your way...



Just be careful of Major Tom... he's bad medicine. ;)

Be well. :)

- A.C.
With thanks to my Mom & Dad; who taught me to run free, but not run wild.

Please pray the Rosary daily. Thank You, St. Jude, for favors granted. :)

Grab life with both arms and give it a bear hug every day! :D

#5 ParkerDuofold

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 15:00

bring the one that won't burp ink all over your outfit.


:lol:

- A.C.
With thanks to my Mom & Dad; who taught me to run free, but not run wild.

Please pray the Rosary daily. Thank You, St. Jude, for favors granted. :)

Grab life with both arms and give it a bear hug every day! :D

#6 ParkerDuofold

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 15:05

Just to follow-up... again...

Since all pens are different, I'll also include this... make sure the pen(s) you bring are solid performers... you don't want to bring "Skippy" to the conference. ;)

- A.C.
With thanks to my Mom & Dad; who taught me to run free, but not run wild.

Please pray the Rosary daily. Thank You, St. Jude, for favors granted. :)

Grab life with both arms and give it a bear hug every day! :D

#7 MsRedpen

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 15:06

Hi Taylor, welcome to business travels world - it can be exhausting from time to time, but it is also fun!

I bring with me Pilot MR and spare ink cartridges, Pelikan M200 filled to the max (flights precaution) and Platinum 3776. All easily replaceable if lost, damaged, stolen ... and all on a bit understated looks side. Conservative? Maybe. But appropriate for that particular work environment.

I vote for Anthonys suggestion: Cross and Lamy.

Add spare mechanical pencil with totally tech look to you collection!

Travel safe!

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#8 dadbar

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 15:28

The Bailey does not post well and so I don't recommend taking it for this kind of work since you need all of your hands to be free.

 

As someone who does a lot of trade shows, you will find that the card stock of a lot of business cards won't take fountain pen ink well (especially glossy cards) and you may end up with a beaded mess on your hands with smears. If I were you, I would choose none of the above, and instead, opt for a felt tip or rollerball pen. You should have a nice one of those in your collection as well.



#9 yubaprof

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 15:29

I would take one of the TWSBIs. They are nice looking and make a style statement as well as being good writers. You are not going to lose it. In over forty years I have never lost a pen while traveling - although one did disappear in my house for a few months. I would not purchase a new pen just for one conference or meeting. If in the future you are regularly going to be traveling then you might consider acquiring a pen for that purpose, but for now I would stay with what you have.

As for myself, I usually take a Pelikan M600.  Good luck...



#10 Karmachanic

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 16:44

Pilot Vanishing point because one handed operation in that environment is an asset, and you won't loose the cap.

Fine nib because crappy paper/card.

Sailor Kiwa Guro cartridges because crappy paper/card.

Rollerball because NEVER lend you pen to anyone.

 

Never put your pen down on a surface. Always return to pocket/neckline/belt pouch/purse. Or whatever. Unless you want it to disappear. Either because you forgot or someone picked it up to use it.

 

That's my view and I'm sticking to it :D

 

Yes. I know you don't have a VP. Yet


Edited by Karmachanic, 11 January 2019 - 16:45.

"Simplify and add Lightness"

"Want little. Need less. Love more."


#11 RudraDev

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 17:58

Since you're just starting out on business trips, it's very likely that you'll go on a lot more of those trips in the future; so I would recommend that you buy a cheap pen just for your business stuff.
The pen that comes to mind is the Pilot Metropolitan. It's fairly cheap at $15 looks pretty normal and professional, and if you get the fine nib, you won't have to worry about writing on cheaper quality paper, since Pilot fine nibs are really fine.
If not, I'd recommend that you take the Lamy or the Cross.

#12 sirgilbert357

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 18:30

I would totally buy a new pen just for this. It would be a great way to kick off the whole "travel for business" thing.

And I second the recommendation of a Pilot Vanishing Point or it's smaller brethern, the Decimo. I love my Decimo. The nibs run closer to Euro sizes than you might think, so I'd recommend a fine nib. Pilot Blue Black ink is pretty feather free, even on cheap paper. Very business appropriate color...

If that's too pricey, maybe others can chime in with better suggestions.

Also, take a purse that isn't a clutch style if you plan to use a pen with a screw off cap and are going to have to sign a lot of stuff. Shoulder strap for the win!

Edited by sirgilbert357, 11 January 2019 - 18:31.


#13 ParkerDuofold

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 19:07

Hi Taylor,

IF you can afford a new pen for this trip... the VP is a solid choice if you can handle the grip... it doesn't bother me, but it bothers some.

Hooded nib pens, such as the L2K and P51 are also meeting reliable pens. :)

Be well. :)


- A.C.
With thanks to my Mom & Dad; who taught me to run free, but not run wild.

Please pray the Rosary daily. Thank You, St. Jude, for favors granted. :)

Grab life with both arms and give it a bear hug every day! :D

#14 WirsPlm

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 19:35

In your shoes my first priority would be a good, reliable, unobtrusive ballpoint pen that can write well and unremarkably on a wide variety of papers,  because that's what you'll need to be doing. After that's sorted out, if you're sure that you can manage pen cleaning, refills and deal with any leaks from dropping, shaking or pressure changes, bring whichever of your pens is the least prone to leaking, nib creep, and other problems, if your pen causes problems like not writing properly or leaking or your hands are discolored in any way, that's really the thing that will make you look bad. Also make sure to bring a dark handkerchief that you can use to quietly clean up any ink on the pen section or cap without being obvious if there is some accident while you are out and about, and spare cartridges because your first professional conference doesn't need the extra risk and aggravation of trying to travel with ink.

 

Of the pens you already have I agree with your instinct to go with the Cross unless it is a source of potential problems, and I'd try to get a matching Cross ballpoint so that you can have a polished, presentable set of businesslike pens, having a set will be more professional than having a nice fountain pen and a non-matching ballpoint.


Edited by WirsPlm, 11 January 2019 - 19:38.


#15 A Smug Dill

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 22:23

In your shoes my first priority would be a good, reliable, unobtrusive ballpoint pen that can write well and unremarkably on a wide variety of papers,  because that's what you'll need to be doing.

That is good advice.

There is rarely a perfect marriage between form, function, expendability and prestige, at least not until you raise the bar for expendability to above the regular pen user's tolerance.
 

Bottom line: I need to bring a pen! I'll be writing on business cards and taking notes, and I want to bring a fountain pen or two, but am struggling to decide on one (or two) to travel across the country with.

Already, choosing to use a fountain pen for writing on business cards and taking notes goes beyond functional requirements (i.e. just write on paper products reliably). In favouring something that delivers more than the minimum function, you're also reducing its expendability to you.
 

I'm torn between bringing something engraved or special-edition, or just bringing something very affordable and less fancy, and I don't have much to choose between:

But can you afford to buy something new, easily replaceable, but also 'classy' enough for your imagined 'audience'?
 

I'm even open to "go buy a nicer pen to use at the event" if that's the advice!

That's not a viewpoint I would recommend. If you're going to buy a pen that will be part of your professional image, then it's not just for use at this event, or at similar events; it'd be 'just' what you use at and for work, day to day, at least when and where your colleagues and perhaps clients could see you. Considerations of whether you need to travel (specifically, air travel, but also with regard to ink capacity and refilling options for 'longer' jobs) should also factor into it.

I bought a Waterman Expert for exactly that, on a whim, when I was starting out professionally. It was kinda funny, a couple of years on, when the CEO who rarely met me or dealt with a junior employee like myself pulled out his shiny new pen to fiddle at the boardroom table in a meeting he was chairing, and it was the same model and colour as mine (which was on the table on top of my stuff at the time). I don't think he liked that, and when he realised he ran the risk of looking like a copycat, he quickly put his away.

I don't really want to bring something as cheap as a Jinhao, because if anyone knows pens they're going to know I brought something ridiculously cheap. (Is that true or is that my social anxiety??)

It's both. Someone who knows his/her pens can identify cheap models by sight, yes; if anyone would notice, it will be him/her. However, that doesn't mean he/she is going to judge you unfavourably for that choice. Do you really need to or want to impress someone with your choice (or collection) of pens? It won't actually help you professionally in that kind of occasion, and I doubt you'll end up conversing with a big-shot about your shared appreciation of fountain pens.
 

To make this a little more fun, I'll also ask: what pen from your own collection do YOU bring to gatherings?

Pretty much what I damn well feel like, these days. If I have to be milling around and only occasionally pull out a pen to write, then probably one of my half a dozen Pilot Vanishing Points. If it's a boardroom meeting with executives and/or clients, then probably something out of:
  • Pilot Hannya Shingyo
  • Platinum #3776 brown tortoise celluloid
  • Platinum #3776 briar shell
  • Sailor koshu-inden black saya sheath
because they look different and expensive, and not typically sold in department stores here. Certainly not a Cross, Parker, Waterman, or even Montblanc (which I dislike) or S.T.Dupont (which I also dislike). Maybe one of my Aurora pens will do as well. Or, just to be quirky, perhaps my orange Diplomat Aero, or my Pilot Custom Kaede on which I had put a Chinese inscription. Or even this one, for a joke: http://www.fountainp...2019/?p=4134188

And have a rollerball in my pocket or my folio as a backup.

Edited by A Smug Dill, 12 January 2019 - 01:00.

Pretending that all fountain pen collectors and/or enthusiasts here are like-minded, or at least find some merit in each others' personal preferences, is misguided to say the least. Having a shared or common interest in the acquisition and use of fountain pens does not mean one thinks that any of the following qualities is essential, ideal, superior, or preferable: wetbroadflex, vintage, piston-fill, transparent, shading, sheeny, and cheap.


#16 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 23:06

- LAMY Al-Star (engraved, gift, first pen ever)

 - Jinhao x450 (meh)

 - Jinhao x750 (slightly less meh) To cheap...to impress.

 

 - TWSBI Eco Transparent Blue (special edition, limited quantities)

 - TWSBI Eco Blossom Red (also special edition) I really don't know Twsbi's new products....the old ones didn't strike me as impressive.

VIP snobs will be snobby.

 

 - Cross Bailey (engraved, gift)...Don't post well....to bad.

 

Lots of snobs, your MB don't have enough diamonds.

 

Roller ball....won't get destroyed by the Ball Point Barbarians......and I'd get a hybred re-fill for your best looking ball point as others said....a roller ball is not great ink....smears.

 

You are there to work, not to bling....and you are going up against Pro Blingers....It's not she has a fountain pen :D .....but she has a cheap fountain pen.... :angry:...not worth talking too, listening too..

..LE MB 149 only....the $20,000+ ones only.

 

Could carry a fountain pen in your purse, could be there is a Non-AH using a regular fountain pen, and you can pull out yours.

 

Get some quality paper, business cards. Splurge there...

 

Take two ball points.....or if you do take a fountain pen, make sure you take a ball point to 'loan' out....so you don't get a whoops nib back. (We read enough sad stories, to have you :crybaby: .)

 

On third thought, take which ever Twsbi, you write posted with best. And to hell with the Roller ball and fancy ball point crowd. And a ball point to lend out.

The AlStar is not a bad looking pen; is IMO a tad classier than a Twsbi but that is my opinion. If you like writing with it. The idea is to write.


Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 11 January 2019 - 23:34.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany      Info on Bock nibs

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 


#17 Driften

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 00:04

I think you should get two new pens. You like the Al-Star, so I would buy a standard Lamy Safari or if you can spend a little more get a Lamy Studio. The studio looks a little more classy, but maybe the model with the black grip the polished grips can get slippery. Pair that up with some roller ball pen. To be different and maybe "stylish" get a Retro 51 model.

 

If you need high class instead of style, Montblanc would be the way to go, but those even used would be more than your collection so far added together. Better to travel with pens that you can afford to lose, not that I ever lost a pen on a trip. Also a C/C pen is better than a piston filler for travel since it's easy to carry a package of cartridges in your bag and if you have to toss a cartridge before getting on the plane home its not a big loss. Having to bring a bottle of ink to refill your TWSBI could be a pain on a trip. If you really want to travel with bottled ink I think I would go with a Pineider pen filler ink well.

 

Test what ever you bring before the trip using the paper and supplies you will have.



#18 Honeybadgers

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 02:47

For me, the finest nib I can get away with, with an ink shutoff, and diamine registrar's iron gall since that ink won't bleed or feather. Also I don't like the idea of losing something I really value and can't easily replace, so that knocks my 823 and homo sapiens off the list. 

 

It's probably a penbbs 456 or TWSBI vac700R with my flex nib swapped out for a steel XXF ground by pablo at fpnibs.com. If you travel a lot, you need to either be comfortable throwing away a cartridge or emptying a pen before the trip and refilling when you arrive. flying and FP's is a stupid idea. so vac-fillers with ink shutoffs (opus 88, vintage japanese eyedroppers, TWSBI vac700R/Vac mini, penbbs 456, visconti homo sapiens, etc.

 

You need as fine a nib as you can get with as good an ink you can get for bad paper. pelikan 4001, noodlers x feather, sailor sei boku, the best is diamine registrar's by a country mile (but it can corrode stainless steel)


Edited by Honeybadgers, 12 January 2019 - 02:51.


#19 sirgilbert357

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 03:14

A 5 ml ink vial would travel quite easily too...just saying.

#20 langere

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 04:11

Just took my Moonman M100 on my business trip.  Worked wonderfully, I didn't really have to worry about losing it and everybody was impressed.

 

Ha!

 

Erick


Currently in Rotation:

Opus 88 Fantasia "F" nib running J. Herbin Hematite Rouge

Moonman M100 "F" nib running Fahrney's DC Supershow Blue

Diplomat Aero "F" nib running Pelikan Brillant-Braun

 

 







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