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Thread: Why high end Ballpoint Pens? (Or Rollerball or Pencil or Ball Pen?)

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    Default Why high end Ballpoint Pens? (Or Rollerball or Pencil or Ball Pen?)

    I can understand high (or higher) end Fountain Pens. By that I mean upper three digits or more in dollars. They must be precisely made, of quality and they are worth it! In about 1973, my boss had a Montblanc fountain pen and I've been hooked ever since. Since 1989, I've always had a high end fountain pen - Montblanc and now a Pelikan 800 (805?) Souveran.

    But what is the appeal of high end Ballpoint, Ball, Rollerball pens or Pencils? I could spend over $300 for a new Pelikan Souveran 800 or 805 Ball Pen or Rollerball, and thousands for Montblancs.

    The only appeal I can see is that one of these and a suitable model fountain pen forms a set. But that doesn't seem sufficient to warrant these high prices.

    Please enlighten me.

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    Default Re: Why high end Ballpoint Pens? (Or Rollerball or Pencil or Ball Pen?)

    Some people - most people! - prefer ballpoints or rollerballs, but they still think the bird-splat or that odd-looking dodo will confer some special dignity or status upon them. It doesn't. A fool and his money are soon parted.
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    Default Re: Why high end Ballpoint Pens? (Or Rollerball or Pencil or Ball Pen?)

    Maybe it's something about the way you hold them? The body of them is of superior quality I could see paying more for a fantastic non-plastic grip? Maybe not hundreds of pounds thou my nan alway had parker ballpoints and they were much better than my dad's plastic bics to handle. Having said that I do love a good bic drawing.

    Sent from my SM-N960F using Tapatalk

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    Default Re: Why high end Ballpoint Pens? (Or Rollerball or Pencil or Ball Pen?)

    You're correct in that some people like to have matching FP & BP sets. They may also have deep pockets and can afford to buy them.

    There are some people who like the idea of having a really expensive pen from a prestigious brand, but they either can't write with FP's or just prefer BP's or RB's. I bet there are plenty of people around who wouldn't consider writing with FP's.

    There are also people who may prefer to get out a pen that might be instantly recognisable as a Montblanc, and just like to write with a RB.

    It's also much easier or may even be mandatory to quickly fill in an official form at an airport with a BP or a RB.

    I happen to know there are even people who buy Montblanc Patron of the Art FP's then buy a "matching" fake RB to go with it.

    Each to their own.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: Why high end Ballpoint Pens? (Or Rollerball or Pencil or Ball Pen?)

    Owning an expensive ballpoint, rollerball pen or mechanical pencil is like owning an expensive fountain pen.

    Why is one buying an MB, Pelikan M1000 or whatever exclusive brand, limited edition and so on? You can scribble as well with a Lamy Safari and any ordinary ink, not a Parker Penman, or Edelstein.

    A good writing instrument is about quality, materials, balance, engineering, availability, exclusivity, social status, and more other characteristics. Now-days there are many good refills that makes a good bp, rb or mp writing better than many "quality" fp, so why don't use a better body to do that?

    Myself I have many non fp writing instruments, some in the bracket of £70-80. I have pens made from sterling silver to resin and oak from whiskey barrels, and some quality pens from Karas Pen CO.

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    Default Re: Why high end Ballpoint Pens? (Or Rollerball or Pencil or Ball Pen?)

    I do wonder sometimes. Not that I think the disposable BIC is such a great idea - but the humble Parker Jotter does such a brilliant job as a ballpoint, I don't see why I'd want a Waterman Liaison ballpoint (but I have one, nonetheless) or a Montblanc or Pelikan ballpoint...

    I *do* have the Lamy 2000 ballpoints, and I adore the Taxus, a sheer delight in yew wood... though I wish my fingers didn't slide down it quite as much as they do.

    Mind you, the Jotter can get addiitive. And 26 Jotters = one MB Classique ballpoint.
    Last edited by amk; June 17th, 2020 at 03:11 AM.

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    Default Re: Why high end Ballpoint Pens? (Or Rollerball or Pencil or Ball Pen?)

    There is a tendency perhaps to think a product that is more expensive is automatically superior. The Pilot Precise V5 is my favorite non fountain pen and I can get refills. These are so inexpensive.

    The vintage Autopoint pencils use .9mm and 1.1 mm lead. Soft, dark lead is available and inexpensive. These are now my favorites. So inexpensive. Much better mechanism that the Parker 51 pencils.

    I started out with a MB circa 1993 and got it for pocket jewelry. I still think they look cool. However, since discovering old, lever action pens for less than a good six pack of beer, I have learned something I didn't realize when I only had the 149.

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    Default Re: Why high end Ballpoint Pens? (Or Rollerball or Pencil or Ball Pen?)

    Quote Originally Posted by kaliuzhkin View Post
    ...what is the appeal of high end Ballpoint, Ball, Rollerball pens or Pencils?...Please enlighten me.
    Perceived prestige, despite mundane function by wrapping a $5 refill in a triple-digit (or more) barrel.

    Might I suggest more modest but fun alternatives that fellow fountain pen collectors will nonetheless appreciate? These are my daily users with a variety of Monteverde refills.

    IMG_3222.jpg

    The gold Sheaffer was owned by my late English father-in-law, and he gave me the black Parker 75 (the matching pencil disappeared long ago). Despite being in the UK, both pens are marked "USA." The 75 in sterling Cisele was a gift from a Pennsylvania collector back when he deemed these clicker ballpoints hardly worth keeping. I much prefer clickers over twists! The chrome Sheaffer came with a handful of vintage fountain pens and pencils from an antiques dealer, so I paired it with the gold pen but fitted with a different-color refill.

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    Default Re: Why high end Ballpoint Pens? (Or Rollerball or Pencil or Ball Pen?)

    Build quality is part of it. I don't mean bling but the feel of the materials in hand and the precise operation (even the sound) of the click or twist mechanism. Despite running the same Goliath refills, the difference in writing experience between a Caran d'Ache 849 ballpoint and a Caran d'Ache Léman ballpoint, for example, is immediately obvious.

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    Default Re: Why high end Ballpoint Pens? (Or Rollerball or Pencil or Ball Pen?)

    Considering we live in a world of disposable ballpoints and increased use of keyboards I have no qualms if someone wants to have a nice, quality writing instrument, be it a rollerball, pencil or ballpoint. I happen to like fountain pens better...

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    Default Re: Why high end Ballpoint Pens? (Or Rollerball or Pencil or Ball Pen?)

    Quote Originally Posted by kaliuzhkin View Post
    I can understand high (or higher) end Fountain Pens. By that I mean upper three digits or more in dollars. They must be precisely made, of quality and they are worth it! In about 1973, my boss had a Montblanc fountain pen and I've been hooked ever since. Since 1989, I've always had a high end fountain pen - Montblanc and now a Pelikan 800 (805?) Souveran.

    But what is the appeal of high end Ballpoint, Ball, Rollerball pens or Pencils? I could spend over $300 for a new Pelikan Souveran 800 or 805 Ball Pen or Rollerball, and thousands for Montblancs.

    The only appeal I can see is that one of these and a suitable model fountain pen forms a set. But that doesn't seem sufficient to warrant these high prices.

    Please enlighten me.
    Having collected everything over the many years I can say the same thing about the redundant modern fountain pens with their boring stiff steal nibs. Vintage with the various types of 14k nibs and made of materials for the most part that has been misplaced by cold plastic and or attempts to copy their vintage counter parts. Getting a nibmeister to modify the nib of course changes things as are some the wonderful Japanese grinds, however we are talking a bit of change, coin.

    I have many vintage ballpoints and pencils (Fred got me hooked on vintage pencils) that are priceless to write with,,,,,,,,,, with a decent refill. Vintage pencils 1.1mm with at least 2B or better lead is a joy to write with as well. Some of the newer ballpoints can be aesthetically pleasing, my son bought me a high dollar MB that I just love and you can definitely feel the difference, as with writing with a Parker 51 BP, a Pelikan, a solid silver grapevine Sheaffer.............life is good Some of modern Roller Balls filled with some of the great Japanese refills are a joy as well. The converted, customized Vintage Parker Duofold BP I got from Fred is my favorited of any BP I have...............just way up their on the cool, nerd side. One of a kinds for sure.......

    That being said nothing is as satisfying as a vintage FP, flex 14k nib with vintage ink, however sometimes they just do not work on some papers when it is nice to reach for a great ballpen, vintage pencil or Roller Ball.

    Everybody has their own preferences and thank the good Lord we are all not the same........... The main thing is whatever your preference just keep on keeping on and writing
    The secret of getting ahead is getting started-- Mark Twain

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    Default Re: Why high end Ballpoint Pens? (Or Rollerball or Pencil or Ball Pen?)

    Sure, there's a place for ballpoint pens and pencils. For example, I would never address a snail mail envelope with a fountain pen, but only with a ballpoint pen. One drop of water and the fountain pen address becomes useless. BP pens are good for carbon paper-like copies (remember them?). Duplex or triplex. But I find $2.50 Pilot, Bic or Uni-Ball sufficient. What features of a pen costing 100x as much or more justify the higher price?

    My collection of fountain pens is a Pelikan 800, Waterman Phileas, Waterman Expert II and Stipula Splash. There's a noticeable difference among them. I appreciate the value of the Pelikan. So, what about the value of high end ballpoint pens?

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    Default Re: Why high end Ballpoint Pens? (Or Rollerball or Pencil or Ball Pen?)

    Quote Originally Posted by kaliuzhkin View Post
    Sure, there's a place for ballpoint pens and pencils. For example, I would never address a snail mail envelope with a fountain pen, but only with a ballpoint pen. One drop of water and the fountain pen address becomes useless. BP pens are good for carbon paper-like copies (remember them?). Duplex or triplex. But I find $2.50 Pilot, Bic or Uni-Ball sufficient. What features of a pen costing 100x as much or more justify the higher price?

    My collection of fountain pens is a Pelikan 800, Waterman Phileas, Waterman Expert II and Stipula Splash. There's a noticeable difference among them. I appreciate the value of the Pelikan. So, what about the value of high end ballpoint pens?
    I write all of my envelopes with FP and non-waterproof ink. Then I go over it with a candle. Keeps the look going and is waterproof enough. Just a thought.
    "Nolo esse salus sine vobis ...” —St. Augustine

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    Default Re: Why high end Ballpoint Pens? (Or Rollerball or Pencil or Ball Pen?)

    By about the mid-1960's, people began to find fountain pens impractical. Professionals, though, still wanted a pen for professionals, so they continued to demand good ballpoints that were meant to be refilled. Parker and Sheaffer -- see above -- supplied them, some as ballpoint / mechanical pencil sets and some as ballpoint / fountain pen sets. At GE in the 1980's we used Cross ballpoint sets as "go to see client" pens.

    By the mid-1990's, more and more senior managers carried a Montblanc ballpoint, often with a leather "box" briefcase that had their copy of The Economist and Financial Times, and a leatherette cover for a writing pad with business cards. There must still be such people, or people who get them as graduation gifts. Maybe Parker saw them as the market for their 5th Generation pen, an expensive fiber-tipped pen.

    (By 2008 or so, I noticed that people who used our systems -- bankers of various sorts -- often came to meetings with throw-away ballpoints, which seemed to say, "I'm so important that I don'e need a Montblsnc ballpoint to show my high status. Things change.)

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    Default Re: Why high end Ballpoint Pens? (Or Rollerball or Pencil or Ball Pen?)

    During my life I have had little collections of ballpoints, pencils and fountain pens of various kinds. I had them because they interested me and generally I liked using them. I had a bunch of Lindy stick ballpoints, then Parker Jotters, Parker 51 ballpoints, and over the last forty or so years a few Montblanc, Pelikan, Parker, Sheaffer, Cross and other ballpoints. Some I used in college. Some I used in the Air Force. Some I used in an IT career. Some I found too thin, but a couple of Montblanc 164s in red and black had more comfortable girth, and these two I used from 1983 on. Very comfortable to use.

    I liked Pelikan K200 and K400s for their girth and the use of jotter type refills. Available in broad. Used them in the grocery store to check off the list items. After losing one I started using Papermates for this. Never risked the MB 164s in stores. Actually they were sentimental.

    For those who ridicule expensive ballpoints like Montblancs, the use of them might make no sense to you, but the use of them might have deep meaning to their owners. Every time I pick up the red or black Montblanc I am reminded of times in my IT career. They will probably be in my estate sale.
    Last edited by pajaro; June 17th, 2020 at 09:47 PM.

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    Default Re: Why high end Ballpoint Pens? (Or Rollerball or Pencil or Ball Pen?)

    [QUOTE=FredRydr;293673]
    Quote Originally Posted by kaliuzhkin View Post
    ...what is the appeal of high end Ballpoint, Ball, Rollerball pens or Pencils?...Please enlighten me.
    Perceived prestige, despite mundane function by wrapping a $5 refill in a triple-digit (or more) barrel.

    Might I suggest more modest but fun alternatives that fellow fountain pen collectors will nonetheless appreciate? These are my daily users with a variety of Monteverde refills.

    IMG_3222.jpg

    I always wanted one of those clicker Parker 75 Sterling Cisele ballpoints. I never got around to it, even though I have the fountain pen. Those Sheaffers I have always loved, with their clicker clip. Those are great pens.

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    Default Re: Why high end Ballpoint Pens? (Or Rollerball or Pencil or Ball Pen?)

    Quote Originally Posted by kaliuzhkin View Post
    ...But I find $2.50 Pilot, Bic or Uni-Ball sufficient. What features of a pen costing 100x as much or more justify the higher price?...

    By this stance alone, you can give up on your Pelikan M800 and get a Pilot Varsity or Platinum Preppy.

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    Default Re: Why high end Ballpoint Pens? (Or Rollerball or Pencil or Ball Pen?)

    Quote Originally Posted by usk15 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kaliuzhkin View Post
    ...But I find $2.50 Pilot, Bic or Uni-Ball sufficient. What features of a pen costing 100x as much or more justify the higher price?...

    By this stance alone, you can give up on your Pelikan M800 and get a Pilot Varsity or Platinum Preppy.
    Hm. The Pelikan is worth it, but those inexpensive fountain pens look appealing. For many years, I used a Sheaffer Scripto cartridge pen but, I think, it leaked too much.

    Funny story about the Scripto pen. Per cc of ink, it was much much cheaper to refill the cartridges than to use new cartridges. At that time (about 1973), in Boston, it was legal to buy syringes and needles. So, I was in the bathroom at work, cleaning out the cartridge, when the CEO walked in. My colleagues paused and waited for a reaction from the CEO. He said, "I don't care what you do as long as you get the work done."

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    Default Re: Why high end Ballpoint Pens? (Or Rollerball or Pencil or Ball Pen?)

    The question for me on fountain pens is not so much why many of us pay high prices for them (and never mind for now where "high" starts), but why some of us do so repeatedly. I have a spreadsheet of all my fountain pen purchases. I'll keep the total at the bottom to myself, but to many it would be incomprehensible. Yet I doubt that it would be the highest here.

    With ballpoints, I would certainly never pay Montblanc prices for them. But even my Parker Jotters and Classics, and my Fisher Space Pens, cost more than a truly economy minded ballpoint user would pay. And again, I've accumulated more than I need. Almost all of my writing in ink these days is with fountain pens.

    My most expensive ballpoint is a Lamy 2000 four color model, black, blue, green and red, which cost me $60, arguably way too much when I could have gotten one of those Bic four color pens instead. But it's a lot nicer to hold in the hand and write with than a Bic, even if I don't use it that often, and it's more attractive. And since I replaced Lamy's D1 refills with some brands I like better, it writes quite nicely. For a ballpoint.
    "If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly."
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    Default Re: Why high end Ballpoint Pens? (Or Rollerball or Pencil or Ball Pen?)

    I have quite a large collection of fountain pens but none is really expensive. As they are mostly vintage some may be worth something but I didn't pay a lot for them and I restore them myself. Probably the most expensive modern pen I have is a Waterman Carene. Nice but not wildly expensive. The pens I keep as opposed to those I sell, are because they are good writers in one way or another.

    I don't use ballpoints at all. I do have some gel pens but they are rarely used. I address letters with the pen I wrote them with and I protect the address with beeswax. If I was forced to use a ballpoint, under duress and with thumbscrews, I would settle for a Crystal Bic. They do the same job as any other ballpoint, even those costing high three figures.
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