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Who Makes The Best Nibs Today


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A Smug Dill

Notwithstanding that the posts I quote immediately below are from six years ago:


On 2/28/2015 at 8:01 PM, Notgatherox said:

Best is really subjective - how do you define "best"? Value for money? Writability? Most beautiful?

On 3/26/2015 at 3:05 PM, CarlosCaligrafia said:

It is down luck and personal preference.


I think ‘best’ is indeed subjective and a matter of personal preference, but — at least from the way I consider inanimate objects and also language — ‘best’ has no regard for price or accessibility (to oneself, most of all). Noting that the question posed in the thread title was, “Who makes the best nibs today?”, then — irrespective of whether “today” was 2015 or 2021 — the question is logically different from, “What are the best currently-in-production nibs that I can buy (or otherwise acquire)?” I don't know what Mr Yukio Nagahara is doing these days, but if he chose to only make 50 nibs a year to clients' specifications at a price north of US$500 each — well above what I'm prepared to spend on a standalone nib — I'd have no problem acknowledging or even touting that he makes the best nibs today, even if they're beyond my reach.


9 hours ago, Cjayant said:

Golden age of nibs era is over


I disagree. Most importantly, on an online hobbyist forum with a global membership such as this — notwithstanding that English is the language in which we communicate with each other digitally in the forum — ‘best’ is not inherently premised on writing in English (or some other Latin-based language), and then writing in English does not imply using a cursive hand and/or requiring a certain manner of line variation or ‘flex’, when that requirement would be a narrowly niche interest among a minority of fountain pen users in the world today.




Twisting the interpretation to limit consideration to what is produced for the mass market, and sold for affordable (but hopefully not chump-change cheap, if they're supposed to be notably better than their competition in the market) prices that may yet require personal sacrifice of other consumer wants to pony up, across both gold and steel nibs I'd say:

  1. Sailor in first place, even with its pared-down range of ‘original’ and specialised nibs — I personally enjoy writing with them most, almost never had to tune one out of the box to write as expected of the stated nib type and width grade, and its ‘regular’ line-up of nib options for the basic black Profit Standard and Profit 21 (aka 1911 Large) lines is impressive.
  2. Pilot and Platinum are about tied in second place — I think Pilot is more consistent than Platinum, but I appreciate that Platinum makes finer and more precise nibs (in the UEF and SF variants) and put them in reach of ‘everyman’ and (until 2019) slightly more affordably.
  3. Aurora would be next, but first among non-Japanese brands — I've seen a few QC misses,  and lags behind the Japanese ‘Big Three’ brands in terms of consistency, but by and large its nibs (except for Italic and perhaps Stub nibs) are good and fit for purpose.

For steel nibs only, Pelikan's M20x nibs are very good, but its gold nibs much less impressive. JoWo steel nibs (for Diplomat, Faber-Castell, Nemosine, Fine Writing International, and Opus 88), in my experience, are pretty good too.


For gold nibs only, Santini Italia deserves an honourable mention, on account of it both making the nibs in-house and is prepared to customise each nib to individual request before sending it out with the pen that is ordered. No point in calling out that it offers flexy nib options, because not all nibs are, need be, or are expected or desired to exhibit ‘flex’; again, that's a niche and not mainstream things. My ‘problem’ with Santini nibs is that its EF nibs are specified as 0.5mm, and I don't think it can deliver a smooth and consistent 0.35mm nib if I ask (and I did ask).

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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As usual you make a good point about the Sailor, Pilot, Platinum and Aurora nibs, Dill. I think I share with you an appreciation for fine nibs that offer precision and I agree with all of these. I enjoy writing with my Sailor fine nibs especially, and Aurora is the one European maker that comes close for this kind of requirement (and with nicer materials for the pen body).


I haven’t used a Pelikan M200 steel nib but the Bock gold nibs on my GvFC and Caran d’Ache Lémans are also very nice and apparently great quality control - I never had one that wasn’t perfect out of the box, and they have consistent line widths.



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