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If you could have only 1 pen what would it be and why?


K.Grant

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I know it’s a very subjective question, but what would be your “THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE” pen?

 

Hello vastly knowing Fountain Pen People! I’m a writer belatedly celebrating my first book deal and wanted to get a “fancy” fountain pen, but as one uninitiated into the realms of FP experts, I’ve spent a few weeks reading through the forum and watching a gazillion review videos. I am left more confused then ever - so many options. so I thought I’d ask the experts. 

 

if you had up to 1.5k USD to spend on a modern pen, and it was your only FP, what would you get (and why)? 
 

I’m Looking for a wonderful writing experience - the best I can get for my budget. I’m not sure where I stand on buttery smoothness, bounce, gold or steel nibs, flex, or flow since I’ve only ever used run of the mill high street fountain pens. That said I do like the sound of gold-nibbed, very flex, line variation, buttery smoothness but that is my conceptual understanding rather than down to experience

 

I would be using the pen every day for an hour or more’s writing. I don’t do calligraphy at all, just ‘everyday’ writing, I use Tomoe river paper and would probably go for an F or M nib. I’m a female with slim average sized hands, with mild fibromyalgia flares, so comfort is important, as is weight. 

 

Looks-wise I am partial to plainer, classic looks, but also fond of brown tortoiseshell (I was so sad the Conklin all american had such bad reviews) like the Platinum Celluloid or Briarwood-ish styles. 


I’m also of the mind that I’d rather get a fantastic pen from the start even if it’s more expensive, then work my way up to a fancy pen - it just seems more practical. That said, I don’t assume that more expensive means a better pen. I’d as happily consider pens in lower price points.

 

I am also based on a tiny island in the middle of the Indian Ocean where pen repairs, replacement parts, specific branded cartridges or nibs etc, are inaccessible without having to get from abroad, so an easy trouble free writer is essential also because I’d have no idea how to do my own repairs. This issue has made me write off Conklins, and worry over the issues with Pilot Falcons and Namiki Heritage’s (with FA nibs)although I hear the writing (and drawing) experience of the latter is lovely. 
Also sadly there are no pen shows or FP fan groups here I for me to try out the goods and I’m not likely to travel with my countries current travel restrictions.

 

SIDENOTE: On this same subject I was also looking for a small travel pen to attach to my diary for shopping lists etc, but I am a little confused about whether a tiny slim pen (talking a Kaweco Liliput or Travelers Company Brass FP) is worse for comfort and I should be looking to a more ‘normal’ FP model or if their slimness and weight is a good thing, I find such conflicting advise on the web it’s hard to know.

 

merci merci for any advice. 

 

<Pls excuse any errors, I’m horribly dyslexic!>

Edited by K.Grant
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If I could only have one pen with 1500 US to spend, it would be the Yard-O-Led Viceroy Grand Victorian. With the right source, you could get it for $920-950, maybe less. The best nib 18k I own, lifetime warranty, handmade, and beautiful.

 

All my other pens would go first. Had I bought it sooner, and I wish I had, I'd have fewer pens and no Pelikan M1000 either.

 

I'd trade my Pelikan M1000 and cash for another one in a heartbeat. If I lost my YOL tomorrow, tomorrow night I'd be ordering another, after making an insurance claim. I can think of no other pen (save a very sentimental one) that would cause me grief to lose.

'We live in times where smart people must be silenced so stupid people won't be offended."

 

Clip from Ricky Gervais' new Netflix Special

 

 

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I'd be happy with my tactile turn gist in copper or a pilot justus 95 if they had to be new. I don't need 1500 bucks.

 

If I could REPLACE said pen if it ever broke, my wahl doric adjustable. That pen is my platonic perfect writing tool, it's just so rare and fragile because it's 100 years old.

 

I swear if wahl just re-released the doric in ebonite or acrylic with a piston, button, or lever filler (heck I'd tolerate a C/C) with the same adjustable nib and EXACT same dimentions, I'd buy three.

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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For a modern pen, I think I would prefer the Montblanc 146 with calligraphy nib. But that may be a bit difficult to master at the beginning, and I do not own one, so I cannot really vouch for it. It simply may not be the pen for you.

 

And a Liliput copper as a smaller, pocket companion is (for me) a great choice. I do not find my Liliput difficult to use, but I've grown to control myself in hurries and learnt to bid my time, I do not mind screwing it for capping/posting. Even so, I've used even smaller pens (~5cm) for quick note taking in meetings, pens that not even posted can rest on the hand. One just gets used.

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A matte black ASA Maya, no cap rings, Bock threaded, with a crisp 0.6 and 0.45 cursive italic Titanium nibs, along with a lifetime supply of Tomoe, A5, dot grid notebooks, and a gallon or two of various inks. KWZ, Robert Oster, Pelikan 4001, Sailor/Kobe or three and Stipula Muschiatto.

 

Small pen: Pelikan M2XX

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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I will not answer your title question, because it would really be useless to you...

and so saddening for me to have only one pen...

 

from what I read that you need however, you have already been given a couple of very nice and sensible suggestions that I would seriously consider

 

a Montblanc 146 with an F nib should be a very good starting point for size, weight, comfort and nib performance

 

and a Pelikan M200 to be used as an every day carry pen for the same reasons (in the different environmental conditions)

 

And by the way, I absolutely second the approach: start with a "good" pen. There will be occasion to try the bad ones and it will be easier to recognize them...

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If I had that sort of budget I wouldn't only be buying a single pen.  I MIGHT get a standard size Y-o-L Viceroy Victorian, which is my grail pen (the Grand would be too large and heavy a pen for me) and then spend the rest on several other pens (especially since I'm a consummate cheapskate and would rather have a variety).

So limiting me to just one?  Don't make me.  Please....

And if you're going to be using a pen for doing LOTS of book-signing, you're going to want something that is comfortable to use for a couple of hours on end.  So something that large and heavy might or might not work for you.  Although I do agree that they ARE drop-dead gorgeous pens (I'm a total sucker for sterling silver).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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Since you said that you're new to pens I would get a mid sized, mid weight, well balanced, sturdy pen. 

 

For some of these guys posting above they prefer a heavier pen and I personally find that to be tiring so I would recommend a mid weight. Not too light but not something that could potentially give you hand fatigue. 

 

For me the solid recommendation would be a pelikan. There are so many vintage pelikans on the market because they just kept working after years and years of use. And from my experience they have just a really comfortable feel in the hand for a lot of people. Everyone who reviews them comments on the balance and the smoothness. The different upper end models have some variation in size and look but you can't (bleep) it up. If you end up not loving it Pelikans resell very well so you'd be able to sell it and buy a different one. 

 

Personally I am a fan of the understated vintage look, some of the upper end pens can be "encrusted" in a way that I find to be tacky, and if this is to be my main pen I want to to feel appropriate at all occasions. It's like getting a good pair of black leather shoes. 

 

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Honestly, I would never spend close to that amount. I need a pen that's ready to perform when needed and is has a good medium fine to fine point. There are many pens that can provide this for $20. 

 

That said, for pocket jewelry, A MB Meisterstuck metal or combination metal and plastic aka precious resin. 

 

"Respect science, respect nature, respect all people (s),"

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Further to my above post.

 

However, if you want to go uptown, may I suggest a Nakaya or a Hakase? Also light Ebonite with a wider sections that are easy to hold over time. Both within your budget, and both of which will stand the test of time.

 

to add: If you prefer Teutonic, then Astoria

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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Your title allures me for an answer...

If I have to buy it and use it out of the box, my one and only would be the Aurora Optima (M).

However, it is way too expensive to be a well deserved 'one-and-only'.

 

If I can make a chimera pen, assembled by the best from each type, I would chose the following parts:

Piston filling mechanism, ink window and special ink reserve: Aurora Optima

Nib: Pelikan M600 bicolour gold (F)

Cap closing mechanism: Pineider magnetic

Grip section: Pineider Grande Bellezza

Overall outside design, dimensions and weight: Waterman Perspective Champagne

 

Q: What does this tell?

A: I have not yet found THE pen that has it all and that is perfect in all details.

Q: Does such a pen exist?

One life!

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Well, if I could only have one pen of such price segment, it would be something made of sterling silver but not too heavy.

For example, Aurora Anniversario 80th - its one of my grail pens, its absolutely amazing, nice home-made nib, perfect shape, piston filler.

From ebay, you could get it now for 1200USD.

Regards, Alexey

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$1500?  I can't envisage spending anything like that on a single pen - unless I won the lottery.  For me, the one pen is a custom made bulb filler made for me a few years ago by Shawn Newton.  It still remains the nearest thing to pen perfection for me.  If you're going to spend that much money on a pen, to me it makes absolute sense to have a unique pen custom made.  

http://www.aysedasi.co.uk

 

 

 

 

She turned me into a newt.......

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You are not going to know what you want until you try things. I pursued many conceptual experiences and they rarely felt like what I expected. Years in, I am still trying new experiences.

 

If you are able to keep going on this strategy you laid out, I recommend you find a pen that you can swap a range of nibs on. Grip width, weight, material, aesthetic? All personal preference.

 

For myself I would either keep a larger Franklin Christoph with extra nibs or a Lamy safari. After I lost my first safari and had to learn tuning to make a replacement, I never want to be without one with a tuned nib again.

 

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7 hours ago, Karmachanic said:

Further to my above post.

 

However, if you want to go uptown, may I suggest a Nakaya or a Hakase? Also light Ebonite with a wider sections that are easy to hold over time. Both within your budget, and both of which will stand the test of time.

 

to add: If you prefer Teutonic, then Astoria

I am leaning heavily towards Nakaya, and Hakase ! You read my mind. 

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The pen I have inked most often and use the most is my Broad Sailor King of Pen Pro Gear with chrome furniture.  I LOVE writing with that pen.  That would be my pick.  There are a lot of close seconds.

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May I suggest you spend your money on nibs rather than on a high-end pen, since you're not sure what kind of nib you like? For example, you could buy a Pelikan M400 or M600 in a style you like, it will have a rock-solid piston (so you won't have to worry about cartridges or converters fitting, all you will need is a bottle of ink), and it has exchangeable nib units, in 5 sizes from EF to BB. One pen and four additional gold nib units should leave you money in your budget for sending one or two to a nibmeister for modifications such as added flex or something like a cursive italic grind. Note: the nibs for these pens tend to be pretty much non-flexible out of the box. Also, you could mix and match steel and gold nibs in the different sizes, to get a sense of whether you like one better than the other (many people can't tell the difference). 

 

There are a lot of pens that come with a larger choice of nibs, but the ones I know of aren't easily interchangeable because they aren't in nib units, and they don't have such a reliable pen to attach them to.

 

On the subject of flex, if you are not interested in calligraphy may I suggest you go no further than semi-flex? This will allow you to write normally and to occasionally add some flair to your writing when you want to. Full flex pens are not particularly great for normal everyday writing (in my opinion). 

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2 minutes ago, Paul-in-SF said:

May I suggest you spend your money on nibs rather than on a high-end pen, since you're not sure what kind of nib you like? For example, you could buy a Pelikan M400 or M600 in a style you like, it will have a rock-solid piston (so you won't have to worry about cartridges or converters fitting, all you will need is a bottle of ink), and it has exchangeable nib units, in 5 sizes from EF to BB. One pen and four additional gold nib units should leave you money in your budget for sending one or two to a nibmeister for modifications such as added flex or something like a cursive italic grind. Note: the nibs for these pens tend to be pretty much non-flexible out of the box. Also, you could mix and match steel and gold nibs in the different sizes, to get a sense of whether you like one better than the other (many people can't tell the difference). 

 

There are a lot of pens that come with a larger choice of nibs, but the ones I know of aren't easily interchangeable because they aren't in nib units, and they don't have such a reliable pen to attach them to.

 

On the subject of flex, if you are not interested in calligraphy may I suggest you go no further than semi-flex? This will allow you to write normally and to occasionally add some flair to your writing when you want to. Full flex pens are not particularly great for normal everyday writing (in my opinion). 

I had never even thought of this but it’s such a good idea!

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Only have one pen?  For me, it would more likely than not be a Conway Stewart.

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Thanks for all the advice. I’ve fallen hard for Nakaya and have ordered a writer piccolo. I’ve kept it simple, hard nib etc, and will wait till I next mange to travel to find a pen store or fair to try out all the other brand and nib options. 

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