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Pens That You Think Are Priced Wrongly


windibd
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Does anyone feel that some pens aren't worth their price? I own a matte black Vanishing Point and I'm waiting for a piano black Dialog 3 in the mail, and they both are superb pens, but I don't feel that their prices match what I get. The Vanishing Point feels much too utilitarian to be over $100, and I think that the Dialog should only cost $200 max - enough to factor in the beautiful design but also not too high to be unreasonable. On the other hand, the Safari family of pens (or the majority of their swappable-nib pens, really) offers just enough to be worth the $25 threshold with practical nibs and robust bodies.

Am I alone on this? What other pens do you feel aren't worth their price? I'm aware that expensive pens are less popular than their counterparts and so the QC tends to be poorer. What do you think?

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Pelikan, Montblanc, Omas, and just about all the rest.

"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.

 

 

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These pens are worth what someone is willing to pay. How much should a pen cost? Are you paying for just the raw materials? Are you paying for the machinery to create the pen? Are you paying for the design of the pen? Are you paying for the people (whether skilled machinists or assembly line workers) who made the pen? Are you paying for the brand name? Are you paying for the delivery to the retailer? The retailers costs (building, staff,...)?

 

In my opinion several pens are overpriced, some are cheap for what you get. Some are packaged essentially as a piece of art, and priced as such, not as a pen.

 

Recently there was some discussion about a pen with a mechanism to extend the nib. The price was $105,000.

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My ceiling on pen prices is set, for the most part, by Bexley and Edison. If I'm looking at a pen and sort of wanting it, but then the price tag is much higher than a nice, upper-end Bexley or a custom made Edison pen, then I have to step back and ask myself: What am I doing here? What is actually so special about this?

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If you think an item is overpriced, then just don't buy that item.

 

I really don't understand threads like this?

 

But you still felt the need to reply.

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If you think an item is overpriced, then just don't buy that item.

 

I really don't understand threads like this?

 

Ding ding ding.

 

Too many people are trying to be objective with this "hobby". Fountain pens are not utilitarian much, they are functional jewelry, like automatic watches. I don't know if the need to be objective is because try to be rational to explain their love for those objects, but it's really a waste of energy I think.

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Too many people are trying to be objective with this "hobby". Fountain pens are not utilitarian much, they are functional jewelry, like automatic watches.

 

Maybe to you, certainly not to me. Fountain pens aren't a hobby for me (they're the only pens I write with, apart from a glitter gel pen on occasion) and they're no more jewellery to me than a watercolour brush or a kitchen knife. I just happen to appreciate them because I've written with them since I was a kid and because I think the cheapest fountain pen knocks seven shades out of the most expensive biro.

 

I'm sure that makes me as opinionated about pens - and about the prices manufacturers think they can get away with - as those who got into fountain pens through the luxury goods route. ;)

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While I may think so, it is irrelevant.

Pricing is a VERY complicated process, with MANY different facets.

 

The old supply and demand rule applies.

If enough people buy the item at price $X, and the manufacturer/distributor/dealer is happy, that is all that matters.

If people do not buy at price $X and inventory starts to back up, then the manufacturer has to consider lowering the price to where the demand matches the supply.

Over time the manufacturer will learn what price points they can sell different products at.

 

Sometimes an item is priced HIGH for market positioning. Example, to make it a status item. This has absolutely no relation to the cost of making the item, it is purely market driven, to position the product. Example, is a MB xxx worth $1,000? No, but MB prices it there to set the status of the pen as a high dollar luxury item. And if enough people buy it at that price, MB is happy...supply and demand at work.

 

Certain products may have a price floor specified by the manufacturer/importer. The dealers CANNOT sell the items below a certain price. This is one reason certain products are priced the same, no matter where you look. Whereas other products have a huge range of prices.

 

In the case of the VP, it has no competition in the marketplace, that I know of. So Pilot can charge whatever they feel like charging, and that the market will bear. Supply and demand. Pilot must be selling enough pens at that price point, or they would have lowered the price.

 

You are also not considering the many layers in product distribution.

- manufacturer

- importer

- distributor(s)

- dealer(s)

Each layer has expenses and needs to make a profit, so there are layers of cost on top of the base manufacturing cost.

This is one reason for what may appear to be a relatively high SMRP, to cover the distribution costs of the various layers.

 

Then there is the expenses of the different channels.

Goulet can sell a product cheaper than your local BandM store, because his costs are lower. He does not have the higher expense that a BandM retail store in a mall would have.

 

And sometimes the different distribution channels pricing affects the picture. Costco would have better pricing for a product than Goulet, because they would buy in HUGE quantity. This is why the big chain box stores constantly under cut the prices of the small local BandM stores. Many times, the chain box stores selling price is lower than the cost for the small BandM store. The small stores can't compete on price.

 

On pricing, especially the lower $ items, there is precious little margin. A $20 pen may give the dealer only $3 in margin (15%) that has to cover his expenses and profit contribution. This is why there are some dealers that do not want to carry low price items. Too much work for too little revenue.

 

Finally, as was mentioned, if you consider it overpriced, don't buy it. That will be your input into the supply and demand process.

Edited by ac12

San Francisco Pen Show - August 28-30, 2020 - Redwood City, California

www.SFPenShow.com

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In addition, when a poster says a pen should not sell for more that $100.00 or $200.00 then it would be reasonable for the poster to provide some support for that position, details explaining why that particular item should be a $100.00 item and not a $150.00 item.

 

My Website

 

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Does anyone feel that some pens aren't worth their price? I own a matte black Vanishing Point and I'm waiting for a piano black Dialog 3 in the mail, and they both are superb pens, but I don't feel that their prices match what I get. The Vanishing Point feels much too utilitarian to be over $100, and I think that the Dialog should only cost $200 max - enough to factor in the beautiful design but also not too high to be unreasonable. On the other hand, the Safari family of pens (or the majority of their swappable-nib pens, really) offers just enough to be worth the $25 threshold with practical nibs and robust bodies.

Am I alone on this? What other pens do you feel aren't worth their price? I'm aware that expensive pens are less popular than their counterparts and so the QC tends to be poorer. What do you think?

Well, these things are very relative. I, for example, consider the VP a bargain and wouldn't buy another Lamy. In fact, the only pens I have that I really dislike are my Lamy's (including the 2000), so for me Lamy's are all overpriced (I know I'm in the minority here).

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Market prices are not determined solely by cost of production.

 

Perception of value is very important but defined differently by different segments of the market. Higher priced pens often have more subtle criteria for value. Otherwise, no one would buy them. This is why, for example, the Pilot and Pelikan piston filler market didnt collapse when twsbi introduced their model. Vanity is one factor in all this, but vain people often make high demands on the products they own.

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A pen's price is not = its "worth"...the price is just the cost of admission. Deep down, we all know that these pens are made vastly cheaper than what we pay for them. But if you like the look and you decide you want it, the price is really irrelevant. You either buy or you don't, but there is no sense in trying to justify/rationalize the money spent. That's how I look at it anyway.

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Maybe to you, certainly not to me. Fountain pens aren't a hobby for me (they're the only pens I write with, apart from a glitter gel pen on occasion) and they're no more jewellery to me than a watercolour brush or a kitchen knife. I just happen to appreciate them because I've written with them since I was a kid and because I think the cheapest fountain pen knocks seven shades out of the most expensive biro.

 

I'm sure that makes me as opinionated about pens - and about the prices manufacturers think they can get away with - as those who got into fountain pens through the luxury goods route. ;)

 

 

Ah but that is why there is a large range of products at different price points.

I for one cannot afford a $1,000+ pen, so I don't buy one.

I buy down at the level that I can afford. And there are plenty of pens down at the level that I can afford.

Example, If I can't afford a $150 Pilot VP, I might settle for a $50 TWSBI.

San Francisco Pen Show - August 28-30, 2020 - Redwood City, California

www.SFPenShow.com

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EoC drives in a different direction and points the accusatory finger at second-hand sellers. Typically:

 

  1. eBay sellers who make disingenuous or just plain dubious claims on pens that are in visibly poor shape, and yet are asking collector-grade prices.
  2. Sellers who over-hype their product and aggressively promote the myth of elitism in order to justify high price tags.

 

As for new pens... well, most of the luxury brands would fall squarely into point #2, in this one's opinion.

 

EoC only uses such opinions as points for due diligence, not as a black and white approach - except for point #1.

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A long time ago my dad taught me that something is worth exactly what someone else was willing to pay.

Ink has something in common with both money and manure. It's only useful if it's spread around.

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A long time ago my dad taught me that something is worth exactly what someone else was willing to pay.

 

EoC has always felt that this statement was incomplete, and that it should include a qualifier, thus: "... something is worth exactly what someone else was willing to pay, but only to that person." Some people may think the original pith implies this, but EoC opines that it should be made more obvious.

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Does anyone feel that some pens aren't worth their price? I own a matte black Vanishing Point and I'm waiting for a piano black Dialog 3 in the mail, and they both are superb pens, but I don't feel that their prices match what I get. The Vanishing Point feels much too utilitarian to be over $100, and I think that the Dialog should only cost $200 max - enough to factor in the beautiful design but also not too high to be unreasonable. On the other hand, the Safari family of pens (or the majority of their swappable-nib pens, really) offers just enough to be worth the $25 threshold with practical nibs and robust bodies.

Am I alone on this? What other pens do you feel aren't worth their price? I'm aware that expensive pens are less popular than their counterparts and so the QC tends to be poorer. What do you think?

Whether a certain pen is worth it's price is really in the eye of the beholder. One can argue just about any pen is worth it's price or not.

 

There is no such thing as a "utilitarian fountain pen", because there is nothing utilitarian about a fountain pen compared to a ballpoint or roller ball.

 

To the vast majority of the population, fountain pen aficionados like us are eccentric for indulging in what are obsolete writing implements, when cheap BICs, Biros, and Sharpies costing sub $5 is all anyone really needs to write. Do any of us need a Seiko or Rolex when a $30 Casio will keep near perfect time. Do you really need that Seiko or Rolex just to keep time?

 

Our nice watches and fountain pens bring us pleasure, and each of us will justify the cost we spent on that watch or pen we enjoy using.

 

Now excuse me while I go fill my Lamy 2000 with Noodlers Apache Sunset, or on second thought maybe I will go with my Montblanc 146 with Black Swan in Australian Rose tonight...nah Waterman 52 with Waterman Inspired Blue is what it will be.......

Edited by max dog
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