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Looking For A Pen That Suits Me Specifically That Is Under $200


nmcnick
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Hello!

 

So, I have used the following writing fountain pens:

 

Lamy Safari

Pilot Varsity

Monteverde Invincia

 

Of these three, I definitely prefer the pilot varsity and invincia. Don't kill me for not liking the Lamy as much as many others do, but in my writing experience it tended to be a bit scratchy feeling and, believe it or not, glided too much for my taste.

 

The Pilot Varsity was an absolutely amazing pen to start with and I'm glad it is the first one I picked up. I love the smoothness of the pen and it was not too wet which was fairly nice since when I got it I was mostly using standard notebook paper. The fine nib worked wonders for me as I was and still am a student, now in college, and the note-taking aspect was really great.

 

The Monteverde Invincia (medium nib) has a writing experience that really hasn't been topped yet. If there is anything I can complain about, it is that the nib has a sweet spot, and maybe that my hands/fingers are large so often they get cramped while holding the neck which is metal. It can be hard to get a good grip. Otherwise, I really love the look of this pen- I love the weight of the metal. The length is absolutely perfect and, truth be told, it could even be a bit thicker since my hands are such monstrosities. In terms of writing though it feels very smooth when in it's sweet spot- it is definitely a VERY wet pen which is fine since I am using Rhoida and Clairefontaine paper. The medium nib makes my writing look much better and it is a surprisingly good note taking pen which is what I was originally worried about.

 

So I guess my list of wants are:

Non-scratchy

Fairly wet

Fairly Smooth

A step above what I have so far

A looker (A pen that can make a statement)

And a good pen for a student. (Hand won't cramp up)

 

Thanks!!

 

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For less than 200, you can get production line custom pens made by Edison.

 

Or you can get Franklin-Christoph Pens with Masuyama modified nibs.

 

Or Faber Castell Ondoro or Faber Castell E-motion.

 

Or one of the Pilot gold nib pens. Or Lamy 2000.

 

Or Pelikan M200. Or Platinum 3776.

 

You have quite some options.

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There are some on this forum who feel it doesn't get any better than the varsity. I'm not one of them, but in the chance they are right, you have your answer.

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For less than 200, you can get production line custom pens made by Edison.

 

Or you can get Franklin-Christoph Pens with Masuyama modified nibs.

 

Or Faber Castell Ondoro or Faber Castell E-motion.

 

Or one of the Pilot gold nib pens. Or Lamy 2000.

 

Or Pelikan M200. Or Platinum 3776.

 

You have quite some options.

Thank you for the large list! When the nibs are sent to Masuyama, in what ways are they tuned exactly? Sorry if its a newbie question to ask- but curious!

 

I have had good experience with Pilot as well. A gold nib would be nice.

 

I'll look into those, thank you!

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Thank you for the large list! When the nibs are sent to Masuyama, in what ways are they tuned exactly? Sorry if its a newbie question to ask- but curious!

 

I have had good experience with Pilot as well. A gold nib would be nice.

 

I'll look into those, thank you!

 

FC's Masuyama nib options include needlepoint, cursive italics, & stubs.

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FC's Masuyama nib options include needlepoint, cursive italics, & stubs.

Ahh. Thank you very much for the info!!

 

The Franklin-Christoph pens do look very nice.

 

What pens would you recommend if I wanted to make my presence known? Haha. Not too flashy, but a little "edgy", as the stealth black invincia is.

 

Any ideas there?

 

Thanks for all of the feedback so far. I have some reading to do!

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Maybe one of the Smoke & Cinnamaroon variants of the Model 03 or a Tiger Red Model 20? Or maybe an "ice" variant if semi demos do anything for you. Not flashy, but a bit different.

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Pilot Custom 74 is the best pen in that price class to match your specifications. Tough, good nib, smooth, wet, and comes in many subtle colors. The Con70 converter is the only one I would accept as a piston person.

 

I'd also say Lamy 2000 - but it is more of an acquired taste, and requires a bit more attention in a student setting.

"If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live."

– Lin Yu-T'ang

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I'm not as up on the modern pens as I intend to be (my bank is cringing in anticipation) but for under $200 you could get a nice 2xx vintage piston filler Montblanc. There are few smoother writing experiences, the resin in warm to hold and the design is understated yet exceptionally classy, especially if you invest in the 25x which have the beautiful wing nibs. Don't forget the oldies! And the Montblancs keep their value :)

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Pilot Custom 74 is the best pen in that price class to match your specifications. Tough, good nib, smooth, wet, and comes in many subtle colors. The Con70 converter is the only one I would accept as a piston person.

 

I'd also say Lamy 2000 - but it is more of an acquired taste, and requires a bit more attention in a student setting.

 

I came here to say the same thing. Pilot Custom 74 with a medium nib is an excellent choice for a "step above" pen at <$200. I have three of them. :)

 

The medium nib is wet and smooth. The pen is a very nice medium size and it looks pretty cool too.

Edited by Danny Kaffee
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I came here to say the same thing. Pilot Custom 74 with a medium nib is an excellent choice for a "step above" pen at <$200. I have three of them. :)

 

The medium nib is wet and smooth. The pen is a very nice medium size and it looks pretty cool too.

 

After looking at the Pilot Custom 74's they are actually very nice looking pens.

 

Those and the Emerald Ice variant of Model 20 (Franklin-Christoph) look really slick.

 

It's definitely a tough choice. I'm thinking I will probably go with one of those two.

 

Any idea how the writing style differs from the two pens?

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I suspect the Pelikan 2xx pens will be too small for you, given your description of what you like. I find them beautiful to look at, but I had to give away the one I had because I hated using it. I adore my Custom 74, SFM nib; it is about the smallest I like that is still comfortable. You might also take a look at Waterford; I was gifted with a Celestial a few months ago, and it is a smooth, very wet writer. It is a medium, but feels quite wide to me (I'd spent most of the previous six months writing with Pilots, and have realized the Japanese nibs have generally spoiled me in comparison to the German nibs). I would second the suggestion of Edison production pens; my three are all custom, but I've also held the production numbers and they are really nice.

 

Sharon in Indiana

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self." Earnest Hemingway

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Quite a few options. My first thought would be to suggest a Lamy 2000, both because it is the pen I used in college and because it has many of the qualities you are looking for. However, the Lamy 2000 is renowned for having a small sweet spot and if the sweet spot on the Monteverde bothers you, I might look elsewhere. Two brands in particular seem to have most of what you are looking for, Franklin-Christoph and Faber-Castell. The nice thing about Franklin-Christoph is they have a wide variety of both pen and nib options including custom ground nibs. So, you could purchase one pen and a few different nibs to suit different applications. The other nice thing about Franklin-Christoph is that many/most of their pens can be eyedropper converted giving them a massive ink capacity which is always a plus being a college student. Faber-Castell is also worth a look, I think many would argue they make some of the smoothest steel nibs on the market and they certainly have quite a few eye catching designs. I believe the Ondoro would probably be closest to the specs of the pens that you currently enjoy.

 

My final suggestion would be to purchase a Pilot Custom 74 or Custom 92. Japanese nibs run a bit finer than western nibs so keep that in mind, you also get a bit more feedback with most Japanese nibs. Still, I think the 14k gold nib will feel quite smooth coming from your other pens and I've always found that Japanese pens are extremely well tuned and should give you that wet without gushing flow you are looking for.

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Another vote for the Pilot Custom 74. I have two, a fine and a soft medium. Both great pens that get regular use.

Hmm. Thanks so much for all the feedback! The pilot custom 92 was mentioned as well. What are the main differences between the 74 and the 92? I think I'm going to get a pilot pen.

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If you shop around, you could get a Pilot Custom 742 with one of the "soft" nibs for under $200.

Walk in shadow / Walk in dread / Loosefish walk / As Like one dead

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Hmm. Thanks so much for all the feedback! The pilot custom 92 was mentioned as well. What are the main differences between the 74 and the 92? I think I'm going to get a pilot pen.

 

74 is a gold trim, CON-70 pen. Holds 1ml of ink.

92 is a silver trim, piston pen at around 1.3ml of ink.

There is an option of solid colours for the 74, but the 92 only has demos.

The 74 has soft nibs (not flex!), which IMO is one of the nicest daily writing experiences one can have.

74 has rounded ends, 92 has flat ends.

 

I guess that's about it. You can't go wrong with either, it really depends on what you like (soft vs nail nibs, solid vs demo). I had both and loved them. I still own the 92 and it's one of my two daily workhorses (the other is a M605).

 

 

 

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First of all, it's okay to have an opinion! I also dislike the Lamy Safari. I don't like the forced grip and the nib feels like a felt marker or something when writing, so I agree with your assessment of the "too glidy" feeling.

 

Now, to help you out, I'll first list out some of the usual suspects in that price range and then give my experiences on some of them.

 

Platinum 3776 Century

Pilot Custom 74

Pilot Custom Heritage 92

Pilot Vanishing Point

Sailor 1911 / Sapporo

Lamy 2000

Pelikan M2xx

 

I've had experience with all these pens except the Pelikans. Though from what I hear, it's a smooth wet dependable steel nib writer. Might look cheap and feel too light and small for you though especially with your monstrous hands.

 

All the following pens had excellent nuns that wrote beautifully and fills your requirement of wet, smooth, and non-scratchy

 

Lamy 2000: I own this one. Great pen, but very small sweet spot (at least with the EF nib), so you have to pay attention to how you write. Also the EF nib was much wider than expected. As a fellow college student, I find this one impractical for a lecture setting since you don't want to have to be paying attention to the way you're writing with the pen while you're in a lecture.

 

Sailor: tried in store. With the F nib, it also had a small sweet spot so it was disqualified for my needs (which should be similar to you) for the same reason as Lamy 2000.

 

Pilot Vanishing Point: Also own this one. Writes beautifully and cool design. Small-ish ink capacity might not work well for you. Also, it's a heavy pen and the clip can get in the way of your grip, so you might experience fatigue. I personally don't though.

 

Pilot C74/CH92: tried in store. They use the same nib, so expect them to write similarly. Others have stated the difference between them so I won't. Excellent pens, nothing bad to say. Both have good ink capacities, make a statement in their demonstrator forms, write nice, etc. I expect that the CH92 will be my next pen.

 

Platinum: Quite similar to the C74. The nib has a bit more feedback, which I preferred to the C74/CH92 nib. When I say feedback, I don't mean scratchiness, both pens are extremely smooth. Someone better with words than me might be able to describe it, but all I can say is that I really like the feeling. The nib is much bigger than the pilot nibs, which is a joy to look at and gives me a much more fountain pen-y experience. The translucent demonstrator models are beautiful as well. I have a Chartres Blue version coming in next week.

 

Of all the pens I mentioned, the Pilot Custom Heritage 92 and the Platinum Century 3776 would best suit your needs, I believe. There are many reviews and even comparisons between the two pens on FPN so I would recommend looking them up. Even better would to be to try them out at a brick and mortar store of you have that option available to you.

 

If you do have a brick and mortar store nearby, I would then include the Vanishing Point as something that suits your needs. But its a pen that you absolutely have to try first, because the clip can be a dealbreaker. Its retractable, so when there's one of many lulls during your lecture, you don't have to screw on/off your cap everytime. And frankly, the click is extremely satisfying so I like playing with it. And the nib is just as high quality as any other of the pens I mentioned. A joy to write with. Looks very unique too.

 

So, hope this helps as someone in the same boat as you!

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Hmm ... smooth with a bit of feedback, rock-solid, large enough for big hands, makes a strong visual statement.

Have you looked at some of the more spectacular versions of the Platinum 3776? This pen has been getting rave reviews.

ron

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