The Best Pens

Discussion in 'The Nib' started by TimmyBoston, Feb 24, 2007.

  1. TimmyBoston

    TimmyBoston Moderator Emeritus

    Fine pens are incredibly subjective, but most of us have some feelings on them one way or the other.

    What in your opinion are the best pens? Fountain, Rollerball, Ballpoint, and Why? What makes a good desk pen? What's a good carrier pen?

    What are the best pens for the money? Why?

    What pens are overrated? What are underrated?
  2. I'm only going to talk about fountain pens b/c rollerballs and ball points (aside from looks and feel) perform solely on the refills. Although I do like my Waterman rollerballs with G2 ink refills and they make good everyday, don't-care-that-much-if-I-lose-it pens.

    *rant mode on*
    I think modern Mont Blancs are overrated. Just a name. Their nibs don't feel "smooth" for writing even with the best inks. Their look is pedestrian. The pens are made of a fragile resin (yes, I know you're not supposed to drop your pen). MB inks aren't that great either and they charge a premium price. Notice I did say "modern." Their older stuff are pretty good.

    Best pens for the money, I would say are Pelikans. Swisher Pens online usually has them at a great price off MSRP. The best value pen would be the M400 line. There isn't much heft to the pen, but the nib, and piston-fill system are top notch. Ink flow with any ink is great. I would skip the M600 line as it's just a little bigger but no difference in heft. The M800 is a bit bigger than the M600 and has more heft b/c of brass inserts. The M800 is probably the next best value as the larger series are just too big, in my opinion.

    The Waterman Phileas is a great entry-level fountain pen. you can find it online or on ebay for around $30-40. The nib is a stiffer, but the ink flow is pretty generous with all inks and the nib writes smoothly. Sheaffer pens don't have quite the brand name as they did half a century ago, but their pens are still quite good, and you can find some of their New Old Stock (NOS) pens on ebay or various other online places at bargain prices. I picked up some of their Intrigue fountain pens for under $60. If you can find the modern version of the Crest, pick it up. I have one in a red Chinese lacquer, and it writes the smoothest of my small collection.
    *rant mode off*
    Hm, this reminds me, I should scour Ebay to see if there any deals.
  3. I think Japanese brands, Pilot, Namiki, Sailor, Platinum represent the best value in modern pens.
  4. I'm a Caran d'ache man myself. Top quality swiss made. I like Pelikan rather a lot too.
  5. While I do not own but a couple of is a cheap-o and the other a Pelikan 400 series in red, I can say that I am very pleased with my Pelikan. It is light in weight and writes smoothly and consistently. Also, I don't have to fill it as often as others due to its large piston fill. As for inks, I am a fan of Noodler's with the Legal Lapis as my favorite. In the future, I'd like to pick up a Sailor with an extra fine nib as well as a larger pen...something like a Pelikan 800 but possibly a different brand.
  6. Pelikan, yes! I love these because I used many of them during my "younger" years in school. They have some very nice examples.
  7. MJB


    There are three truly, truly great fountain pens IMO. They are Pelikan 800, Waterman Edson, and Parker Duofold.

    Montbland 1911 nibs are not bad fountain pens, they are actually quite good but becuase they are mainstream and overpriced, like AOS shaving stuff, people like to bash them IMO. Starwalker fountain pen nibs--iffy at best IMO.

    Other good pens include the Lamy 2000, but cap prone to fall off back of pen and oversized nibs with maybe a bit too generous ink feed. Ink flow is incredible for Namiki especially vanishing nib--but grip is sketchy at best. The Aurora 88 and Aurora optima both are top shelf--don't compare to the top three though. Delta makes a good pen too. Faber Castell Graf von Faber Castell is really nice. The Shaeffer heritage/Legacy is nice as well.

    Fountain pens I have truly disliked--the overlap roller ball fountain pen MegaInkBall and Caran d'Arche fountain pens (I have a Varius--poor flow, scratchy--sent back--took two or three months and no better at all). Maybe I got a lemon but I can say NOTHING nice at all about Caran d'Arche (and I paid a lot of money for something I despise). Omas are nice but poor customer support is reputed and twitchy what ink you can use. Like Dupont at first but in my experice they are prone to breaking down.

    No real experience here with Stipula, Marlen, Yard-o-Led, Hysek.


    I forgot--if you do not have something nice to say do not say anything at all. The Varius sure came in a nice box--THERE--that is better
  8. I can only mention Parker, I used a gold Parker 65 fountain pen during school and university, still have it, I had it refurbished last year, My Father bought me a gold Parker 105 fountain pen and biro for my 21st Birthday, I use these daily on my person. Last year my wife bought me a set of 4 Parker Duofolds, a fountain pen,biro, pencil and rollerball in black lacquer with gold trimming that I only keep in my study and use there. I was presented years ago with a Mont Blanc 149 fountain pen, a massive thing, its like trying to write with a torpedo:biggrin1: that just stays in my desk draw.
  9. What is a biro?
  10. Sorry, forgot I was dealing with ex-colonial friends here:001_tongu , BIRO = Ballpoint
  11. I haven't heard that word in years. Thanks for the reminder. :laugh:
  12. I have a question, I've been looking for a nice pen forever, this year I've been using the Zebra G-301 Gel pen & Pilot G-2, they're decent pens for the cost but the Zebra is far too thin and the ink runs out incredibly fast, and the Pilot ink feels scratchy and weak. After reading your earlier thread on Parker, I checked out the Parker website and saw the Parker Dimonite (, not too expensive (around $25 for the pen) but I realized I don't know a whole lot about the different qualities in a pen.

    Anyone have any recommendations on a nice day to day pen, I'm looking for something that's comfortable to use, and has a nice solid blue ink. If someone has used the Dimonite before I'd really appreciate your opinion on the quality of the pen.
  13. MJB


    Yes, 'biro' in Britain means ballpoint pen after Laszlo Biro the Hungarian who first invented the modern incarnation ballpoint. In fact Bic once had a pen called the Biro--it was cheap. Bic in turn was the company founded in France by Michael Bich who bought the patent from Biro.

    Biro was not really the first person to create a ballpoint but he was the first to mate the ballpoint with a gelatinous fast drying ink relatively resistant to smudging and thus the patent. The patent was filed in Britain and largely kept as a secret becuase it was felt to be a useful military tool. Bomber navigators could not use fountain pens in unpressurized airplanes so the RAF felt the ballpoint offered a strategic advantage over the grease pencil. In fact up until 1945, the RAF kept the ballpoint as a closely guarded patent sharing it only with the US bomber fleet.

    In 1945 Bich bought the patent and the waning of the predominant use of more refined fountain pens had begun.
  14. rtaylor61

    rtaylor61 Moderator Emeritus

    I use a Lamy Safari at my desk. However, when with a customer, I use a Pilot G-2. Pens in a public place seem to disappear, and I won't risk any FP for that.

  15. TimmyBoston

    TimmyBoston Moderator Emeritus

    I keep reading a lot of Pelikan Pens

    Anyone know anything about the Souveran 605?
  16. The Pelikan Souverain M605 line is basically the same as the M600 series except that instead of the colored/black vertical stripes on the barrel, it's solid colored. Also the trim is silver instead of gold. The size of the M600/605 line is only a little bigger than the M400 line with little increase in heft. If you like a bit heftier pen, the M800 lines might be more to your liking. Taking a quick look at Swisher Pen's website, the M605 is on clearance sale for $174 (
    while the normal M400 is $176.
  17. Owl


    I have a Pelikan M200 that I'm particularly fond of. It seems to be at a good price/value point. I'd like a better one, but I keep spending $$ on all this shaving stuff...

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