It’s been a little over six months since I last picked my Favorite 5 modern fountain pens. This time around I decided to impose a new rule – only fountain pens inked since my last favorite five list can be considered. Since I’m fickle with my fountain pens one of the worst things that can happen is I use it so much I get tired of it and move on simply for variety. This rule is what kept the Franklin-Christoph Model 66 from being on this list. It had been inked, on my desk, and used regularly for years. It’s still a fine pen and will be back, but it went on hiatus. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
For the record, a modern pen is anyone manufactured after I was born. So in my accumulation that puts the Sheaffer PFM I’s in the transition period and I classify those as vintage since they were probably manufactured before I was born. One of them could have been used to sign my birth certificate, none of the ones listed here could have.
1. Sheaffer Balance Aspen SE
This was my favorite six months ago and remains my favorite today. It’s been inked constantly for the last six months, getting an immediate refill when it went dry. The nib was tuned by Mike Masuyama which certainly helps it hold the #1 position. It’s a medium nib, which isn’t my typical point of choice, but it’s on the fine side of medium which makes it great for all but my smallest writing. Review
2. Pilot Custom 823
The Pilot Custom 823 has the classic cigar shape that I love. It moved up from the fourth to the second position on the strength of the nib. I love the fine nib on this pen. I’m not a flex nib person but this nib has a nice spring which enhances the writing experience. It’s a large pen but light and seems custom designed for my hand. Add its large ink capacity and it defines a perfect pen for me. Here’s my review.
3. Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann Anthracite
A new pen for me and the newest to make this list. Part of the reason it’s here is because of that new pen glow. It’s extra fine nib is almost what keeps it off the list. The nib is a little wetter/wider than I want in an extra fine nib, much wetter and as wide as the Sheaffer Aspen. If I had to pick one, this would be the fountain pen most likely to be missing from my next fav 5 list. We’ll have to see how much that new pen glow contributes to its place on the list. No review yet but I did write my initial thoughts here and here.
#4 KarasKustoms Ink
Another relatively new fountain pen for me. I didn’t have any the last time I published this list. Now I have several of them. These are excellent pens, and an excellent size for me, but they make this list because of the variety of choices. As I said, I’m fickle. These let me change up barrel colors, gripping section materials and nib sizes. I admit, if I had one of these pens it probably wouldn’t be on the list although it would be frequently used.
#5 Edison Huron Grande
This big, bright fountain pen is new to my favorite 5 list. It has an extra fine nib and I use it as a eye dropper filler so it lasts a long time. This replaced my F-C Model 66 as my desk pen for several months. It was my first, and remains my only, custom pen. No review yet but my initial impressions are here and I wrote about it with one of my favorite inks here.
I’m sure this list will be different in six months, but for now these are solidly in the top five. Pens that I have inked get an immediate bump in my opinion so it’s no surprise that the first three pens on the list are currently in my rotation.
In addition to the previously mentioned F-C Model 66 I also dropped the Vanishing Point Maplewood and the Lamy 2000 from the list even though they were used, and enjoyed, in the last six months. I look forward to inking them up again, but I wasn’t wishing for a pen to go dry so I could ink one of them up. I don’t have an KarasKustoms Ink in the rotation (well, a Ink rollerball is in my bag) but I am looking forward to inking one up as I do the Huron Grande since I do miss them.