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Thread: The pens I love, and the one I hate

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    Default The pens I love, and the one I hate

    I'm more a pen guy than most ordinary people, but far less than some on here. I think, between my girlfriend and I, we have a little over a dozen fountain pens. Sure, I've owned more than that. Some I've given away, others I've sold, but four of these pens have remained a constant throughout. Four pens that I always recommend to anyone looking for a fountain pen:

    P1050558_O.jpg

    All of these offer tremendous value at their price points and each of these pens has taught me some intrinsic lessons that I thought I would share with you.
    I tend to write small and in small notebooks, so I steer towards the EF and F nibs. I have used M on occasion but rarely so don't have much experience in that department. I also like a little feedback on my pens and I shy away from the Pelikan pens for this reason. Exceptional pens, but they write too smoothly for my tastes. This view shapes my opinions. Remember, what follows is only my opinion though I will try to be objective.

    "You get what you pay for" is said often and is true almost as often. It needs to be remembered that there are exceptions to every rule, and Kaweco's Classic Sport crushes it. This is not the only way that the Kaweco classic sport is exceptional. It is a phenomenal value and a great pen all around. One of two pens that are my knock-around pens, also called every-day carry, pens. I don't carry a briefcase or any type of bag with often me so a pocket is the only option. The Kaweco fits the bill nicely. It is typically used in situations where there's a chance the pen can be lost or damaged. In inclement weather or where the activities might put it at risk. Replacing the entire pen is quite cheap for a fountain pen. Replacing the nib is even moreso. It's a low-maintenance pen and is quite simple. Cartridges are plentiful in a variety of colors. But it's simplicity and price aren't the only reasons that this is the pen I recommend for anyone looking to get into fountain pens on a budget. It is a fantastic writer, and dollar for dollar, one of the best fountain pens that can be had. Will it write like a fountain pen that costs ten times as much? Probably not, but there are some in that price range that it competes with.
    But it was made to write and accomplishes that task well. It has just the right amount of feedback and isn't scratchy. The EF nib writes on most any paper without issues. There are some downsides for a pen at this price, of course. The plastic Classic Sport is just that, plastic, meaning extremely light. Kind of like writing with a feather. If you like light pens then great. I prefer mine with a little substance to them. Size-wise, even posted it's a tad shorter than I like. It still fits in my hand but the size and weight aren't quite a marvel of balance. I've owned a few of these over the years and some of the caps had a tendency to start to un-screw in my pocket. If you're looking for a budget pen or pocket pen, you should give this a try.

    Reliability is important and the Pilot Vanishing point has that in spades. I've owned two of these and my girlfriend owns one. They have never let us down. Another cartridge filler, I typically keep this one in pilot blue-black. I do use it to sign documents from time to time. When I first bought this, the cartridges available were blue, black, and blue-black. Colored cartridges are becoming more common for it, though as I stated, I really only use the blue black cartridges. This is another EDC pen that I carry when the day promises to be less strenuous than necessitates the Kaweco. I don't know if you can see the wear marks on the pen but it's taken some punishment. I can honestly say that it's been 8 months since I've flushed this pen or cleaned it. Not ordinarily something that fountain pen owners brag about but it speaks to the reliability of this instrument. I just pop a new cartridge in and carry on, though I will be giving it a proper bath in the near future. Not that it needs it.
    There are some drawbacks to the pen. The cap is on the nib side of the pen due to it's capless design. I've never had an issue with it, but those with larger hands or a different writing grip might find that their index finger is planted uncomfortably on top of it. If you are considering this pen and there is a shop in your location that carries them, you might want to give it a good try before buying it.
    The only other consideration is that the nibs on this pen run about a size under what you'd expect. If you want a fine you might want to think about a medium on this pen. I think I could stitch a hole in my pants with this EF nib. I'm fond of it myself but take that into consideration. The nibs that I have used, all EF, have a bit more feedback than other pens in EF. Again, I don't mind it, but you might see other reviews calling the pen scratchy which I don't find at all. The EF also tends to catch fibers on cheaper paper and tends to work better on higher grade stationary. Might be a consideration if you're planning to use the pen for school or work where you don't have control of the stock.

    Respect your elders, that's the admonishment of the venerated Parker 51. You might see a trend here of simple reliability in my pen choices. The aerometric filling system is as simple as it is effective. This pen has been on my wish list for a long time. I remember using the Parker Jotter ballpoints in my teens. I loved those pens. I'm sure the jotter took some of it's aesthetics from the 51. When you reach for this pen, it'll just work. No muss, no fuss. A true blue collar pen. Mine writes a hair on the dry side and I'm reluctant to run the orange inks I enjoy because of that, but that might just be my particular pen. My stepson managed to bend the nib although I'm quite unsure as to how he managed this particular accomplishment. So severely was it bent that I went looking online for a replacement. When I had some time I bent the nib back into shape and tweaked it just a litttle. Voila, the pen started writing as if it were completely unaware of its previous predicament.
    If you're looking for a vintage pen for you collection, the P51 is a worthy addition.

    You don't need all the flash if you've got enough class. Some pens scream, "Look at me!" The Lamy 2000 does not. It doesn't need to. It's classic, understated design fits nearly any atmosphere or setting. Stunning in it's beauty and simplicity, and the construction materials and texture make it pleasant to hold. The EF nib on this pen doesn't suffer from the same drawbacks of others on the list. It writes on anything I feed it without so much as a hiccup. It really is one of the finest nibs I've ever used. It glides smoothly over the paper with just enough feedback to make the writing pleasurable. As far as ink flow, I have to say it's perfect. It keeps up with fast notes but, while writing slowly, doesn't lay so thick a line that it doesn't dry quickly. It really is the third porridge of the pen world, just right. With the other pens on my list I've listed their negatives as well as extolling their virtues. I truly can't on this pen. I have yet to find anything worth complaining about. I find myself reaching for this pen above all others. If you're in the market for a piston filler, do yourself a favor and give this one some consideration.

    I doubt any of these pens will shock anyone. They're typically pens listed on many of the "top pens in this price range" lists prolific on the internet. The pen I hate, I think, might shock some. Though hate is too mild a word. I loathe this pen with the passion of a thousand white hot suns:

    P1050560_DxO.jpgP1050563_DxO.jpg

    Enter the Visconti Salvador Dali. (Note: I think there may have been two versions, a limited edition and a lower end pen. This is the lower end one I believe).
    I purchased this pen somewhere near a decade ago. Much of what I am writing is how I remember the events. The pen is old; I am older. Bear that in mind. Also, I am partly to blame for the entire episode.
    It is important to the story of this pen to say that, at the time of purchase I was working a very demanding job. I was away more often than I was home, at times working out of the country for sometimes 3 months and coming home for maybe 2 weeks.

    I have set a budget of 200 dollars on pen. I found this to be the sweet spot on the price/performance scale where you find the workhorse pens like the VP and 2000. I've never been a fan of the luxury pens. Not that they're not worth it or that they don't offer value in other ways. They're just not my cup of tea. I've only gone over that budget on a single pen 3 times. One was a wedding gift and another a vintage Conklin Crescent with a full flex nib. Both purchases that I am happy with. The third was this pen and because of it, I will never purchase another Visconti ever again. I will admit though, that your experience with Visconti may differ vastly from mine. They have a reputation for a reason, I suppose.

    Most of my pen purchases have been impulse buys. I'd do a little research to make sure the pen wasn't a complete waste of money, but little more. When I saw the Salvador Dali, I was in love. It was, however, over the single pen budget I'd set for myself. So I did a lot of research. I looked at endless reviews of Visconti, the Salvador Dali, and other of their pens in this price range. I don't buy pens to display them, I buy pens to use them. So I asked myself what I would use the pen for. I deliberated on the purchase of this pen for two weeks before finally pulling the trigger. Unfortunately, this only doubled the disappointment for me. I'd finally done my due diligence on a pen purchase all to no avail.

    The pen simply did not work. Sure, I could scribble in the corner to get the pen started, but all it would do is skip across that paper like a flat rock on a pond. I should have sent the pen back immediately, my portion of the responsibility. Calling the vendor to arrange a return took a backburner. While at work I had no way of affecting the return and when at home my priorities were elsewhere. So the time to return it passed. I did some research and began to fiddle with it, adjusting the feed and nib, rarely getting it to write and never getting it to accomplish that particular feat reliably. Perhaps you see now why I have such a penchant for reliability in a pen.

    I eventually decided to contact Visconti, I believe their pens have a lifetime warranty. I shot them an email. Then I waited. And I waited. I believe I sent them a second email. Waited some more. I finally did receive an email months later which gave me a voucher to have the pen sent to one of their nibmeisters. The pen would have to be shipped overseas and the wait time was astronomical. I gave up, defeated. The pen went into a case and was relegated to a show and tell novelty instead of the fine writing instrument I thought I'd purchased. Actually, it was a disappointment as a show and tell novelty as well. Really, who wants to show off an expensive pen that doesn't write?

    I ended up spending a year on one of the Virgin Islands in a condo with a fantastic view overlooking the bay. That saltwater breeze blowing through the house caused a few issues with my pens, but most made out nicely because of regular maintenance. The Visconti didn't. That's through no fault of Visconti. That's my cross to bear. The pen was unusable and had become an afterthought. I never took it out of the pen case and never did maintenance on it. It's chrome is pitted in places and there's rust around the nib as you can see. The locking mechanism that holds the cap to the body has rusted completely and is no longer functioning. The pictures don't do this pen justice. Even in this state it retains a marred beauty owing to its craftsmanship, however hollowed that is by its lack of function.

    I hope you all have a wonderful week and may your pen experiences be always of the Lamy 2000 type and never of the Visconti Salvador Dali.
    Last edited by Skwerlmasta; January 27th, 2021 at 05:03 PM.

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    amk (January 27th, 2021), Chrissy (January 26th, 2021), cj2020 (January 29th, 2021), Detman101 (January 26th, 2021), eachan (January 26th, 2021), Inkflow (March 3rd, 2021), Ole Juul (January 26th, 2021)

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    Senior Member Detman101's Avatar
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    Default Re: The pens I love, and the one I hate

    Yikes!
    This is why as much as i admire these "high-line" luxury pens, I will never buy one sight-unseen from any vendor.
    "I can only improve my self, not the world."

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    Default Re: The pens I love, and the one I hate

    I wouldn't really call this a "luxury" pen. It was over my budget but not ridiculously over. It was in the 300 neighborhood. I was just looking it up, I think the high-end LE pen was Visconti's Salvador Dali Dance of Time pen.
    It is still the most expensive pen I've ever purchased. The sterling silver Aurora that I bought as a wedding gift was, I think, about 30-40 dollars less.
    Bad pens happen. The entire situation was just rather disappointing and left me with the impression that my 200 dollar limit was justified.

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    Senior Member jar's Avatar
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    Default Re: The pens I love, and the one I hate

    I was told Montblanc did a Salvador Dali LE:


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    amk (January 27th, 2021), carlos.q (January 26th, 2021), Chrissy (January 27th, 2021), eachan (January 26th, 2021), manoeuver (January 26th, 2021), Schaumburg_Swan (January 26th, 2021), Yazeh (January 27th, 2021)

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    Default Re: The pens I love, and the one I hate

    I think you got that a little twisted. Looks more like Salvador Dali did a Montblanc LE

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    Senior Member Yazeh's Avatar
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    Default Re: The pens I love, and the one I hate

    Long, enjoyable read. I love Kawecos too. I have a couple I enjoy the broad and double broad nibs, though....
    I discovered that I like light pens better than pens with girth, despite having big hands....
    However, I have never liked hooded nibs. For me the whole experience is seeing the nib itself....

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    Default Re: The pens I love, and the one I hate

    Thanks, Yazeh. I may graduate to bigger nibs sizes. We'll be working through one of the penmanship books soon and I don't think my tiny handwriting will work for those.
    I think that the larger sizes are too smooth for me. I like a bit of feedback in my pens. With a really wet ink, the 2000 sometimes is a little too smooth and that's an ef nib. I think it reminds me of writing with a marker.
    Personally, I love the hooded nibs. It's a good thing we have so much variety.
    I haven't really collected fountain pens so much as bought a few that I like. I might look into vintage hooded nib pens and maybe start a collection there.
    Just gave me an idea.Thanks again.

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