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Thread: The perennial dilemma - which pen?

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    Senior Member Empty_of_Clouds's Avatar
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    Default The perennial dilemma - which pen?

    Recently I was the recipient of a small windfall, and I thought I might treat myself to a new pen. Now, it's not as if I need another pen, but you know how it is!

    Anyway, one surprising effect of this windfall is that despite it being completely disposable money I am baulking at making a too expensive purchase - though I could perhaps be convinced to do so I suppose. Initially I was thinking about an Aurora 88 in a preferred colourway, but... baulked. Other brands like Visconti and such are generally too rich for me. Pelikan pens are either too small (200 - 600 models) or have that metal ring at the end of the section which I don't care for. Modern Parker pens don't thrill me. Nakaya didn't either when I had a chance to handle a few in Singapore. Eboya, once a frontrunner, is now toast as I don't believe they are $300 better than a Ranga or similar (okay, so shoot me!).

    Then I was thinking about nibs. The Pilot PO and Elabo nibs are interesting, though whether they are significantly different from a Nagahara needlepoint is debatable. Flexible nibs tend to only be available on very expensive pens, at least decent ones do.

    I need to get an ebonite feed for my FA nib too.

    Then I was considering a Leonardo. The Grande has the same problem the larger Pelikan pens have (section ring), the Momento Zero has reports that they don't all post well (essential for me on smaller pens), leaving the Magico. Now I have seen one I like, and it's a piston filler so that's nice, but... the nib is apparently just another standard Jowo offering. I could go with another Franklin Christoph, though that runs into the Jowo issue too, and I already have the custom grinds I like.

    Of course I don't have to get another pen.

    Suggestions considered.

    BTW I did mull over a Montblanc 149/146, though I am not sure if I was just falling victim to the hype or not. Besides which finding a decent older example at a sensible price level is very difficult from here, not to mention finding a legit seller.


    ps, as I mentioned in another thread, I am no longer really using any of my vintage pens (there's only about 15), and so may accept inevitability in that area and move them on once we get out this pandemic lockdown. Or not, see how I feel about it. Some interesting ones too!

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    Default Re: The perennial dilemma - which pen?

    Wish I could help you, but you know way more about pens than I do. I'd probably buy something beautiful if it were a pure splurge; the uniqueness of the nib would be secondary. But that is me. I have all the pens I need to write with, but I still don't own a truly beautiful work of art. But your collection is likely quite different.

    Sent from my moto g power using Tapatalk

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    Default Re: The perennial dilemma - which pen?

    How about an Omas Paragon (old style)? Piston filler, no metal trim ring on the section, bouncy nib, ebonite feed?

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    Senior Member fountainpenkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: The perennial dilemma - which pen?

    I'd consider a 1950s OMAS 557/F. I had one in college and it is such a grand, comfortable, timeless pen. Very well built. Wonderful bouncy-yet-useable nibs too. I don't think there's anything made today that will give you the refinement of it, barring some sort of custom work, which iirc you have explored more than many...
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    Default Re: The perennial dilemma - which pen?

    One of my favourite modern pens is the Parker Duofold:



    in my humble opinion, it's one of the best made pens ever (although there are a couple of goldrings too much...)

    Another very well made modern pen is the Pelikan M101N series.
    Last edited by christof; August 25th, 2021 at 08:38 AM.

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    Default Re: The perennial dilemma - which pen?

    Quote Originally Posted by fountainpenkid View Post
    I'd consider a 1950s OMAS 557/F. ...
    These are great pens with no doubt. I have the smaller 555 and can say that it is excellent:

    OMAS Extra 555 by C.M.Z, auf Flickr

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    Default Re: The perennial dilemma - which pen?

    The new Leonardo Magico is interesting, partly because I'm a sucker for piston fillers.
    I wish they have (or planning to release) ones in ebonite.

    If you don't like the stock nib, find the one you like that is about the same size and replace it.

    As for having pens that is not constantly being used, that's what (to me) a collection is.
    One day I may want to use one of those pens. If I let them all go now, what can I do then?
    - Will
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    Default Re: The perennial dilemma - which pen?

    EoC-- Have a pen that takes a #6 Jowo or Bock screw-in nib? You might try Kirk Speer's "Secretary of de Flex" that he custom produces. I think Detman101 is head over heels on his purchase. And Detman has purchased a few nibs from other nibgrinders that he wasn't thrilled with.

    https://www.penrealm.com/product/sec...flex-nib-unit/

    I see Kirk also produces an even flexier nib model in 14k if you have the money for it. Drop Detman101 a PM and he'll probably be able to tell you the pros and cons of his nib. I've purchased a few bottles of ink from Kirk and he's a reliable seller. You've probably met him on Zoom at one of the Texas Pen Club meetings.
    Last edited by junglejim; August 24th, 2021 at 10:12 AM.

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    Default Re: The perennial dilemma - which pen?

    Just to address some of the suggestions:

    @fountainpenkid - looked at an Omas 557-F, nice pen but a used example from an unknown ebay seller for in excess of NZD$500 is in that area where I baulk at the price.

    @christof - for a long time I was really keen to get a Centennial in Jasper, but they are quite uncommon and subsequently very expensive. And have that ring on the section (no idea when pen designers think this is a good idea, unless the user is only going to use cartridges).

    @penwash - having unused pens, while nice as a collection, makes me feel a bit guilty.

    @junglejim - I've followed Detman101's story on the 'Secretary' nib, but as a regular dip pen user I wasn't especially impressed by the performance that I've seen (no real hairlines, railroading etc). It may be better than other offerings out there, but for me it has to have flawless performance to be worth NZD$200 just for a nib.


    Anyway, it's not a pressing problem or anything, just musing. You've probably noticed I don't really have a lot of clear direction in how I choose my pens!

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    Default Re: The perennial dilemma - which pen?

    To throw some others into the mix:

    * Ebonite King of Pen
    * Yukari Royale
    * Santini
    * Onoto Magna
    Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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    Default Re: The perennial dilemma - which pen?

    Got to say that I agree about the Parker Duofold International, and I was able to but a gold plated one at the DC show, a pen that I had been looking for some quite some time. It is a classic pen, and available in a range of nibs, not as many as in the past, but still quite a few.

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    Default Re: The perennial dilemma - which pen?

    Quote Originally Posted by silverlifter View Post
    To throw some others into the mix:

    * Ebonite King of Pen
    * Yukari Royale
    * Santini
    * Onoto Magna
    All in the 'I can afford it but feel uncomfortable spending that much on a pen' category, I'm afraid.

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    Default Re: The perennial dilemma - which pen?

    EOC, I recommend you get a used 149 from a trusted member of the pen community. Itís a classic and a must have for a veteran pen collector such as yourself. Best of luck in your hunt!

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    Default Re: The perennial dilemma - which pen?

    I don't know if you're still looking for a Parker 51 but if you are, Ernesto has some nice ones over at Parker51.com. Although it is vintage a P51 can very well be a trusted EDC pen.
    Last edited by carlos.q; August 24th, 2021 at 06:38 PM.

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    Default Re: The perennial dilemma - which pen?

    I agree with Eric the Red: a used MB 146 or 149. It may take some patience to wait for the right deal. However, there are a lot of them out there, and something should come up eventually.

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    Default Re: The perennial dilemma - which pen?

    @carlos.q - due to the generosity of Farmboy I do have a Parker 51.

    @EricTheRed - I appreciate your suggestion, and it's something I have considered quite a bit. Without intending to sound like a negative Nelly, any connections I have in the pen community are generally about as deep as interactions on this forum, nothing more*. Identifying a trusted member in the sales area is not that simple and embodies considerable risk.





    * Gary Lehrer is the only name that springs to mind. Unfortunately by the time I get the catalogues the listing has already been picked over.

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    Default Re: The perennial dilemma - which pen?

    There are better sellers than Gary Lehrer. Iíve never been impressed with his offerings. The pens are sometimes overrated and the prices inflated.,

    I used to prefer Japanese sellers, but itís been difficult and more expensive to buy from Japan since Covid.

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    Default Re: The perennial dilemma - which pen?

    I have heard (and once or twice tried) post-celluloid MB 146/149 have some great nibs with bounce/character at a more affordable price than the OMAS I suggested (or rare modern Duofolds). (A monetary aside, probably ill-advised: I think you've mentioned that you have about 30 pens recently though--surely they are worth in sum a good deal more than the money you might spend on this single pen. Of course everyone weighs these things differently, but I think sometimes people get lost (I used to often fall prey to this) in the value of a single pen. If a pen really speaks to you and is worth a fraction of the value you already have invested in them, I say give it a good thought and get it. It'll probably be worth it.)
    Last edited by fountainpenkid; August 24th, 2021 at 09:24 PM. Reason: removed content
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    Default Re: The perennial dilemma - which pen?

    Don't ask yourself what pen to buy, ask yourself what attributes do you feel are lacking in your current favorites. If you come up empty handed, be content and buy yourself and your closest friends a nice meal.

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    Default Re: The perennial dilemma - which pen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lloyd View Post
    Don't ask yourself what pen to buy, ask yourself what attributes do you feel are lacking in your current favorites. If you come up empty handed, be content and buy yourself and your closest friends a nice meal.

    Sent from my SM-G991U using Tapatalk
    Considering I just recently finished my own pen search in another topic vaguely similar to EoC's and arrived at the process you describe to decide, that should have been my own answer. I think it is excellent advice.
    Will
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