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Thread: The Allure of Expensive Pens

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    Senior Member Detman101's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Allure of Expensive Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Detman101 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Detman101 View Post
    So given the perspectives that Catbert and Pajaro have presented...can we say that there are no definitive "Expensive" or "Cheap" pens...as it's from the perspective of ones wallet, comfort level or pleasure?
    Wouldn't that make sense no matter who said it? An individual's relationship to finances is directly linked to how much they have, and what is expensive to a young student is likely not to a practicing lawyer. Etc.
    No...it's not actually.
    The common sentiment I've seen expressed around here is "More expensive is better than yours" or "cheap=garbage".
    The little-peen "I'm better than you" crowd champions things like these...expensive baubles.
    It's the same line as the dude on the range during qualifications week with the kitted out AR that doesn't even know what all the expensive toys he's attached to his rig even do...
    But he had have em cause they're "The best on the market".
    Dudes like that gets mined, naded or popped before they even get to use their "expensive toys"...it's ridiculous.
    Just a suggestion, don't attempt to generalize the forum this way. If you are banned or ignored, you will have lost a valuable resource. Just because someone like a $500 MB is not a threat to you. Peace all!!!
    Not a threat at all, merely stating what I've experienced.
    I have my path...they have theirs.
    That half/demographic already ignores me anyhow...lol.
    Peace.

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    Default Re: The Allure of Expensive Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by silverlifter View Post
    An expensive pen, for me, is one that I cannot in good conscience justify at the price. Everything else, irrepsective of the amount I paid for it, is just the detritus that we accrue through living....
    This is what justifies price, that and the use I bring out of the pen.... I sometimes think I really want something, buy it ... realize it is not worth what I thought it was. I sell it, and move on.

    I don't think I will ever pay over 2-3k for a fountain pen. I don't think 2k is realistic either. I tend to limit myself to 500-1000 range where I can find beautifully crafted urushi pens, oh the feel the color- the depth..... I think by the time you reach $100-200 for a pen you have hit the point where it will be mostly flawless out of the box, and you can have it sent back to get it readjusted if this is not the case. For me it is about the material, the time that went in, and the beauty of the pen itself as I work on my writing.

    As for the "objectiveness", I am sure I could pass the blind test between the 15 dollar jowo steel EF nib versus the masuyama needlepoint I sometimes use. I like the push pull of it, the feeling as it glides across the paper that I dont get with a steel nib. Which nib writes better, I agree with Empty_of_Clouds... that is subjective and that from a practical point of view the two nibs fulfill the same purpose.
    Last edited by sworist; September 10th, 2020 at 05:22 PM.

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    Senior Member guyy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Allure of Expensive Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Detman101 View Post
    Function over fashion.
    I haven't seen an expensive pen yet that made me starry-eyed.
    Though many mid-priced innovative pens have made me drool.
    Expensive pens arenít necessarily the prettiest. Waterman 7s are expensive, and though handsome enough, fetch high prices for their nibs, especially the pink. That price is all about function; the pink nib will do what the green nib wonít.

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    Senior Member azkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Allure of Expensive Pens

    While I've seen some folks with somewhat strong opinions on both sides of the "you get what you pay for" argument in this forum, I definitely haven't observed any consensus on the topic, let alone any sort of pervasive snobbery or anti-snobbery. The on-topic parts of the forum remain quite friendly and pleasant and I quite enjoy it here.

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    Default Re: The Allure of Expensive Pens

    I like 1950s MBs. Theyíre relatively expensive, although none of mine cost as much a new one. I pay for the soft feel & line variation of the broad nibs. Had i been able to get that feel from a Lamy Al-Star, i would have.

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    Default Re: The Allure of Expensive Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by azkid View Post
    While I've seen some folks with somewhat strong opinions on both sides of the "you get what you pay for" argument in this forum, I definitely haven't observed any consensus on the topic, let alone any sort of pervasive snobbery or anti-snobbery. The on-topic parts of the forum remain quite friendly and pleasant and I quite enjoy it here.
    I think this forum is a bit unusual in that regard. I tend to be an outlier in my tastes, yet I don't feel any friction here that would prevent me from showing something that I like which probably others wouldn't.

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    Senior Member ethernautrix's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Allure of Expensive Pens

    I like cheap pens, too, but I want not-so-many pens. So, I'd rather have a few expensive pens that I'll write with daily than a hundred cheap pens that take up space (even though, really, not a huge amount of space - but then add inks for all those pens, and it can quickly get out of hand) that ... will just take up space for most of their lives (or my life), resting unburnished, not shining in use, as Tennyson said (not about pens).

    I should note that I think "expensive" is a vast range that begins around, I don't know, $20. Cos it's a pen. Just because I was easily able to afford the first Waterman Laureat I bought (back in the '80s) didn't make the pen cheap (price-wise), even though it was much less expensive than the Waterman Executive I bought at the same time (making an instant mockery of my desire for ONE NICE PEN ONLY).

    Should also note that if I had spent the same kind of money and time on my appearance (clothes and cosmetics), I might have had a very different life. Hahaha.

    So, i started out with hundreds of ballpoints and felt-tips and markers in many colors, and I dreamed of owning one fine pen -- wasn't even a fountain pen at first. I'd already ruined a Pelikan (probably a 1xx series) by ignorantly using India ink. My plan was to continue enjoying all my cheap pens and expensive Pentel Ceramicrons (at about $5-$8, don't remember; refills were around $2.95, $3.95 -- but I'm really only guessing more than remembering) and then having ONE, just one, fine, fancy, extravagant pen. My talisman! My magic thing!

    And totally failed out the starting gate.

    So, the expensive pen, at first, was meant to be a special thing -- made of finer materials and craftsmanship and having a less-plain, more uncommon appearance. That was the draw.

    And then I slipped into the crazy hole and have been splashing around trying to get out ever since.
    _____________
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    Senior Member manoeuver's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Allure of Expensive Pens

    My experience with expensive pens varies wildly from pen to pen. I've yet to spend $400 on a pen. I might someday but it won't be retail.

    Impulsively bought high dolla pens usually leave me feeling disappointed. The experience of the pen is a letdown compared to the rush of pulling the trigger on the purchase.
    These usually get sold at a loss or traded away.

    Expensive pens I get a crazy good deal on I enjoy a lot. My Justus 95 and King Of Pen were screaming deals on pens I'd probably never have owned otherwise (especially the KOP.)
    I could flip these pens and make a profit but I don't, I enjoy having them around.

    The other ones are the special ones- the expensive pens I think about for a long time and strategically save for. I sold 3 Franklin Christophs and some other stuff to pay for my Mottishaw Spencerian Pilot 912. I traded Richard Binder heaps and heaps of coffee for the special nib he made for me. I'm thinning the herd now to fund another Desiderata.

    Expensive pens mean the most to me when I sacrifice something other than money to get them.

    edit: also, the $8 Duke my kids got me for Father's Day this year is getting WAY more use than the KOP.
    Last edited by manoeuver; September 11th, 2020 at 03:53 AM.

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    Senior Member ethernautrix's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Allure of Expensive Pens

    As for judgments implied or inferred -- who cares? We're not all the same, we don't have the same reasons and goals and tastes and income and priorities. It's pens. We weirdly love pens. And because of that, doors open to conversations with people we would not have met otherwise. I have definitely been blessed with friendships in this regard.
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    Default Re: The Allure of Expensive Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Detman101 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Detman101 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Detman101 View Post
    So given the perspectives that Catbert and Pajaro have presented...can we say that there are no definitive "Expensive" or "Cheap" pens...as it's from the perspective of ones wallet, comfort level or pleasure?
    Wouldn't that make sense no matter who said it? An individual's relationship to finances is directly linked to how much they have, and what is expensive to a young student is likely not to a practicing lawyer. Etc.
    No...it's not actually.
    The common sentiment I've seen expressed around here is "More expensive is better than yours" or "cheap=garbage".
    The little-peen "I'm better than you" crowd champions things like these...expensive baubles.
    It's the same line as the dude on the range during qualifications week with the kitted out AR that doesn't even know what all the expensive toys he's attached to his rig even do...
    But he had have em cause they're "The best on the market".
    Dudes like that gets mined, naded or popped before they even get to use their "expensive toys"...it's ridiculous.
    Just a suggestion, don't attempt to generalize the forum this way. If you are banned or ignored, you will have lost a valuable resource. Just because someone like a $500 MB is not a threat to you. Peace all!!!
    Not a threat at all, merely stating what I've experienced.
    I have my path...they have theirs.
    That half/demographic already ignores me anyhow...lol.
    Peace.
    Your "experience" is limiting your ability to notice the greater good perhaps because your experience is limited. Yes, peace!

    Nothing wrong with following your own path, but no reason to disparage others. Your choice in how you choose to respect others or not.

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    Member Roe D Hym's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Allure of Expensive Pens

    Trying to judge one person's tastes and desires generally ends up with arguments that on the surface may seem logical but the constant underlying factor is always the person's desires. One person may think buying pen for $2000 to be a waste a money but will plunk down $50K on an automobile. One could argue that a $20 pen and a $10K car will do the same as their more expensive counterpart but the owner of the $2K pen and the $50K auto will say otherwise. I think the key is making sure the obligations of one's life are taken care of first. Spending the kids food money on a pen would not be cool but if the kids are fed, the rent paid and the 401K funded then things falling into the category, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, is next up on deck.

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  22. #32
    Senior Member Detman101's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Allure of Expensive Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Detman101 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Detman101 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Detman101 View Post
    So given the perspectives that Catbert and Pajaro have presented...can we say that there are no definitive "Expensive" or "Cheap" pens...as it's from the perspective of ones wallet, comfort level or pleasure?
    Wouldn't that make sense no matter who said it? An individual's relationship to finances is directly linked to how much they have, and what is expensive to a young student is likely not to a practicing lawyer. Etc.
    No...it's not actually.
    The common sentiment I've seen expressed around here is "More expensive is better than yours" or "cheap=garbage".
    The little-peen "I'm better than you" crowd champions things like these...expensive baubles.
    It's the same line as the dude on the range during qualifications week with the kitted out AR that doesn't even know what all the expensive toys he's attached to his rig even do...
    But he had have em cause they're "The best on the market".
    Dudes like that gets mined, naded or popped before they even get to use their "expensive toys"...it's ridiculous.
    Just a suggestion, don't attempt to generalize the forum this way. If you are banned or ignored, you will have lost a valuable resource. Just because someone like a $500 MB is not a threat to you. Peace all!!!
    Not a threat at all, merely stating what I've experienced.
    I have my path...they have theirs.
    That half/demographic already ignores me anyhow...lol.
    Peace.
    Your "experience" is limiting your ability to notice the greater good perhaps because your experience is limited. Yes, peace!

    Nothing wrong with following your own path, but no reason to disparage others. Your choice in how you choose to respect others or not.
    I realize I'm directing this anger the wrong way.
    I'm upset about something pen-related and directing it at everyone here improperly.
    None of you are at fault and I apologize for being abrasive.
    Hopefully things turn out for the better, but if not...no one here is at fault.

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    Default Re: The Allure of Expensive Pens

    The allure of an expensive pen, it is akin to the allure of the smell of a new car, the scent of an unopened bottle of cologne, the joy of the dawn rising on the landscape of a foreign destination arrived at in the middle of the night, the lovely feeling of freshly pressed linen before the first of many wrinkles, the first sip of a wine cellared to its prime bursting with flavour, a perfectly cut and aged steak hot off a grill cooked medium rare and served with a cold beer, the smell of freshly cut grass on a morning, the fragile and passing beauty of a fresh cut rose in a lapel, the expensive pen freshly inked can evoke similar sensations and feelings in many of us.
    Mags or Rob Maguire MB 149, 147, 146,144, Mozart, Boehme, Sailor Realo, Aurora Optima, Churchmen Prescriptor and Parson's Essential, Parker 51 1.3 mm stub, Parker Vacumatic 1939 OB Can, TWSBI's (540,580, Mini and Vac 700), Pelikan M 1000/800 Demonstrator 600/200 demoM/200 OBB, Visconti Rembrandts (2), Lamy, Cross, Watermans, Pilots, Sheaffer's, Omas 360 LE 84/360, GvFC, Esterbrooks J and SJ, Bexley Jitterbug, Taccia, Eversharp 1952 flex, Edison Herald, Franklin Christoph Piper.

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    Default Re: The Allure of Expensive Pens

    Expensive.

    First we must ask why a pen is expensive.

    Is it because of its "bling"? As in gem-studded, which, doesn't necessarily indicate neither brilliance or elegance in design. I've seen horrendous pen that are laced with diamonds.

    Is it because of its rarity? Tapered cap Parker, Aikin-Lambert, Paul Wirt, Waterman, full-filigree pens that were expensive in 1910 and even more so today, LeBeouf, Eisenstadt, Schnell, etc. These are expensive because, well, you can't make them anymore even if you want to. And if someone lost or break one, that's one less that the world won't ever see a replacement for.

    Is it because of its difficulty to make? Truly hand applied Maki-e Urushi lacquered pens, or hand painted Artus pens, or the Alhambra custom pen from Kilk Kalem which I single out as one of the best ones out there. In my personal opinion, most custom pens that people buy (and showcase) today could use ... more inspirations.

    Is it because of its ground-breaking design/mechanisms? Conid, for example, although it has very little appeal to me personally, is an example where the (perceived or not) innovative mechanism became so popular that people are clamoring after it.

    Is it because of its superiority (best in its class)? Waterman "Pink" nib, is *perceived* to be the best among flexible nibs. Therefore any pen that has it, will be expensive. I can explain why I said "perceived", but here is not the place to do that.

    Is it because of its brand? This has a slippery answer no matter what anyone say. Brand loyalty is very hard to pin down and define objectively because it is almost all subjective preference.

    Is it because of ... something else?

    Only after we consider these reasons, then we can start to discuss about which reasoning we'd entertain and which ones we aren't going to. And at that point, the discussion could become helpful and even fun.
    - Will
    Unique and restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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    Default Re: The Allure of Expensive Pens

    When it comes right down to it: I just like shiny stuff. If that shiny thing is $20, great. If not, well... I better start saving.

    Pens are just one of the ways I afford myself my luxuries. I have friends that go to at least one major music festival every year, where tickets are hundreds of dollars each. That does not include cost of travel or provisions for the festival.

    And that's fine. Its their priority.

    I have other friends that, pre-covid, went out to eat at nice restaurants at least once a week spending well over $100 per person once alcohol was factored in.

    What is expensive and possibly frivolous to one person, may be completely reasonable to another.

    I'm sure any one of us, fountain pens aside, could list something that we take pleasure in that others find pointless in the same way non-fountain pen enthusiasts find us owning a pen worth more than $5 absolutely ludicrous.

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    Senior Member Wahl's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Allure of Expensive Pens

    I am not interested in any modern pen, either cheap or expensive.

    Vintage pens, yes...and as Ethernautrix said, they cost what they cost.

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    Default Re: The Allure of Expensive Pens

    There is far more publicly declared enthusiasm for the chase/acquisition than for the post-acquisition enjoyment, and this is positively correlated with price, exclusivity, scarcity, perception of status and so on.

    There is the 'invisible ladder' that gets hinted at: that one simply must buy more expensive things as a mark of progress in the hobby. And yes, this does exist here, on FPN, and almost all similar hobbyist websites/groups.

    FOMO plays a part too.

    Pressures coming from the community, from marketing and sales, from societal trends, simply cannot be ignored... no matter how uncomfortable it is to examine them.
    Be a little more open into accepting other viewpoints, if you can, as it really deepens the experience. - Jon Szanto

    As long as you don't throw out friendships, I'm pretty much ok with you being you. - Jon Szanto

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    Senior Member Detman101's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Allure of Expensive Pens

    As Jon Szanto mentioned earlier...I am eating my words...

    https://fpgeeks.com/forum/showthread...-New-Condition

    Pure unobtanium...but I feel the allure.

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    Senior Member ethernautrix's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Allure of Expensive Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    There is far more publicly declared enthusiasm for the chase/acquisition than for the post-acquisition enjoyment, and this is positively correlated with price, exclusivity, scarcity, perception of status and so on.

    There is the 'invisible ladder' that gets hinted at: that one simply must buy more expensive things as a mark of progress in the hobby. And yes, this does exist here, on FPN, and almost all similar hobbyist websites/groups.

    FOMO plays a part too.

    Pressures coming from the community, from marketing and sales, from societal trends, simply cannot be ignored... no matter how uncomfortable it is to examine them.
    As for sharing, the chase is more exciting than quietly sitting in a room, writing down the details of one's day or whatever one writes or draws (although drawings can be more easily or widely shared). I infer that after the chase, the simple pleasure of using one's acquisitions takes over. Usually, there are no trumpets over that.

    Often, the trajectory of finding the perfect pen(s)* takes one all over the map, so to speak, according to one's resources and psychology (aversion to loss, aversion to risk, the pursuit of the novel, and so on). After putting a Pilot PO nib in a "cheap" Moonman C2, I wish that this were a common option availble at a price between the <$20 Moonman and >$150 Pilot 912. I'd be willing to pay that price (or lower, if ever an option) for a few, so as to have several inks available with my favorite nib, even as I tell myself, "Just one black ink and one not-black ink, preferably a specific Blue-Black." (Meanwhile using three different black inks and one surprisingly perfect blue-black.)

    Certainly there is pressure from whose who are eager to share their preferences -- vintage, urushi, maki-e, super-flex - but I tend to accept that it isn't the price that drives the enthusiasm but rather the qualities of the pens.

    As I've said, I consider $20 as the beginning of the expensive range. I understand why more expensive pens are more expensive (from craftsmanship to materials to marketing), but a Lamy Safari is an expensive pen. We pen weirdos call it cheap, because we compare the price to, say, the Lamy 2000 (to keep it within a brand). It is more affordable to more people, but, to my way of thinking, that doesn't make it "cheap."

    As with anything in life, it's helpful to know what you want and why you want it. With some circumspection, one can avoid the traps of marketing and others' enthusiasm. But that's on the individual.




    *Of course it's plural. Hahaha.


    ETA: I don't mean to imply that I'm impervious to marketing, even given my early training in being alert to being sold to constantly. I used to be a sucker for packaging -- and I still loves me a sweet little ink bottle design -- but I've learned that packaging, while appealing, doesn't add anything important to my living, except stuff to do something with, which tends to be to dispose of it, eventually.
    Last edited by ethernautrix; September 12th, 2020 at 05:17 AM.
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    Member Roe D Hym's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Allure of Expensive Pens

    Ah, The Chase! I think a lot of money is spent on things because of the chase. Go to a watch forum and you will see a boat load of high end watches that were once someone's "grail" on the market. Likewise, go to a classical guitar forum and you will see guitars made by master luthiers being sold after a short ownership. Either some fault is found or the item does not measure up or the buzz of ownership does not equal the expected buzz during the chase. The chase is very seductive.

  38. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Roe D Hym For This Useful Post:

    Detman101 (September 12th, 2020), FredRydr (September 12th, 2020), Jon Szanto (September 12th, 2020), manoeuver (September 12th, 2020), TFarnon (September 12th, 2020)

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