Ink and Pen Notes: Sheaffer Balance Aspen and Montblanc Permanent Grey

Sheaffer Balance Aspen LE medium nib with Montblanc Permanent Grey ink bottle

The Sheaffer Balance Aspen SE tops my favorite 5 fountain pens list. I picked it up for a writing session today and it immediately skipped. No, not a pen problem, it had been written dry. I actually noticed yesterday but had forgotten when I picked up the pen. I wanted to use it so I immediately refilled it with the same Montblanc Permanent Grey ink. Officially it’s called Montblanc Meisterstück 90 Years Permanent Grey ink. I’ve seen the word “anniversary” thrown in there but it’s doesn’t appear on the box or bottle.

The pen’s reputation as being fragile has me keep it in it’s own personal single pen case and I rarely take it out of the house. It’s the only pen that gets such treatment. No doubt my continued use will cause some damage but I can’t bring myself to not use this pen so I’ll settle for putting it off as long as possible.

The ink is also a favorite and I bought a second and third bottle even though this is a more expensive limited edition ink. I was surprised to find that I’ve yet to publish a review of this ink. Short review: I like it a lot.

This pen has had this inked constantly since Sept 27th. I usually don’t go that long between real cleaning, usually flushing every second fill even if the ink stays the same. I was so intent on using the pen today I never even considered that. Plus, the pen has been problem free. The nib was tuned by Mike Masuyama so I’m not surprised to say it has been both hard start and skip free. It’s a Montblanc ink so I’m not overly concerned that it’s been so long between flushes although I did make a mental note to flush it the next time it goes dry.

I wouldn’t have thought a medium nib would stay inked for so long because it’s a favorite instead of staying inked because I don’t use it. But I really love this nib. It’s not a pen I use for notes, marking up documents, or quick writing but when I’m using it for longer writing sessions I don’t want to stop. This usage works well with the ink which isn’t fast drying. The nib is just wide enough to start showing off the saturation and shading of the ink.