Fountain Pens Worth Replacing

With all the favorite pens lists from myself and others I decided to look at pens I really value. Not if they are a good value from a financial perspective, fountain pens that I value so much that I would replace with an exact copy it if I lost it. I’m not going to list all my pens, just my favorites and any others that make the cut into the replaceable category. If they aren’t listed here then they aren’t replaceable.

The question is simple: Would I replace the pen exactly as I got it for the same price that I paid? Fountain pen prices change, inflation happens and pens become unavailable. For simplicity I ignore all that. I also assume I only lost that one pen, it’s replacement competes with what I already own and every other fountain pen I could buy. So here goes:

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with Montblanc Ink BottleVisconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age: Hell yes, I’d sell a ~kidney~ as many pens as necessary to quickly replace the pen. I’d also pay full list price and any price increase if it was necessary.

Franklin-Christoph Model 66Franklin-Christoph Model 66: Yes, in a heartbeat. I have the basic black model with an extra fine nib. F-C has since released additional acrylics including Antique Glass (aka the Coke bottle pen) which was all the rage this year. Not for me, I’d stick with basic black. The pen is a workhorse and a fixture on my desk.

Sheaffer Balance Aspen with Sheaffer Skrip Gray Ink BottleSheaffer Balance Aspen LE: Yes, if I could. Availability would be a problem since mine was mint. But if I could I would. I have two other Balance IIs with similar nibs which would ease the pain of this loss and keep me from wanting to spend more than what I did pay, or to buy one that’s less than mint. Neither of those other Balance IIs would be automatically replaced if I lost one of them, I like the Aspen just a little more.

Pilot Vanishing Point Cherry Bamboo with medium left oblique nib and Pilot Blue ink (cartridge, not the bottle shown)Pilot Vanishing Points: Mostly yes. I’ll deal with these as a group. I would replace both my XXXF and left oblique nib units if they were lost or damaged. I’d also replace the Cherry Bamboo barrel (which is birchwood, not bamboo) if it was lost. I like the Maplewood but it was a Limited Edition and has a LE price. It was released before the Bamboo models so while I’d want to replace it I’d pick a less expensive variant with a wood barrel.

Edison Huron Grande Extra Fine Nib and R&K Blau-Schwarz LE inkEdison Huron Grande: Yes. This was a custom pen (Edison Signature Series) and I’d be tempted to replace it with different material. But after consideration I really like the red, white and blue flecks. It’s a nice contrast to my other desk pen, the F-C Model 66 in formal black. Plus it has a slight translucence so I can see the ink level.

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe extra fine with R&K Blau-Schwarz LESailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe: Yes. This was a tough decision because it’s an expensive pen. I had a Sailor extra fine nib installed when I purchased the pen. This isn’t a factory option so replacement wouldn’t necessarily be easy. The nib would be a key in the pen replacement. It’s a fairly stiff nib that writes great and works well with the pen in my hand. This is one of the thinnest nibs that I have in a pen that I find suitable for very, very long writing sessions.

Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann extra fine nib with Montblanc Bordeaux writing samplePelikan M805 Stresemann: Yes. This is a past member of my favorite 5 list. The nib got it kicked off the list. Even so, the M800/M805 size is perfect for me. I would check the secondary market and try to avoid paying the same price but eventually I would give in and replace it at the same price. As for the nib – I plan to have it slimmed down at a pen show in 2016. It’s not a bad nib so I think the best course of action is to have a discussion about it rather than send it off with instructions. Any replacement would probably get the same treatment. Another M805 design wouldn’t be a suitable replacement, this is it.

Edison Menlo Punp Filler with Montblanc Toffee Brown bottleEdison Menlo: Yes. This was another tough choice. I have to admit, if I actually lost his pen I may prove to be a liar and not replace it. It’s a Edison Signature Line pen with a unique filling system which means it’s pricey. But I like the large ink capacity and it’s a good size for my hand. So it made the list. Like the Huron Grande it’s a custom pen and I could change the acrylic. I’m more likely to do it with this pen but I do really like the cinnamon acrylic and would probably keep it.

Lamy 2000: No. I got this at a significant discount but did need to have the nib tuned. Even so, I still spent less than typical retail. I have a tendency to rotate this pen when writing (more than other pens) and this nib has a very small sweet spot. Sometimes I’m “in the zone” and it’s a great writing experience. Other times I find myself fighting with the pen. It’s those fights that would keep me from replacing the pen. I have too many other choices. I listed this one because it started off as a “yes” but then I realized that while I might replace it at the same low price that I originally paid, I wouldn’t go looking for it and I might skip the deal if I had my eyes on another pen or no money in the pen budget.

Pilot Custom 823: No. This is one of my favorite five modern fountain pens yet I wouldn’t replace it if I lost it. The pen is comfortable and I love the way it writes. But it’s expensive and I now have comparable pens that I find more aesthetically pleasing. I would consider a model with a different color and trim, if it existed.

History

I’ve only lost one fountain pen that I tried replacing. It was a Bexley Submariner (not the Grande) in a speckled orange acrylic that I lost years ago. I spent some time looking for a replacement because I really liked that pen but it was out of production by then. At the time I had far fewer fountain pens and wouldn’t buy one today if it became available (unless the price was right and a wave of nostalgia washed over me). I also misplaced (for a couple years) a yellow Lamy Safari. Since I had other Safaris I didn’t consider replacing it.

Wrapping Up

I was a bit surprised that I only came up with eight or nine fountain pens (depending whether or not the second VP nib unit counts as it’s own pen) that I would replace out of the 150 or so in my accumulation. I’m not sure what it means. Bad choices? Maybe, in some cases yes, but mostly I think not.

I hate repeating myself or doing things a second time, so buying the exact pen a second time goes against the grain. My tendency is to change things up, even just a little. So from that point of view finding as many as 8 surprised me a bit. I guess I’ve come up with my next favorites list or my core group of fountain pens. If I’m willing, even eager, to buy the exact same thing all over again I must like it.

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5 thoughts on “Fountain Pens Worth Replacing

  1. Well, I actually have replaced pens that I have not lost, for fear of not being able to find a replacement if I did lose the original pen. For instance, I did replace may Sheaffer Imperial Gold, with its wonderful EF nib and the Touchdown filling mechanism even before I risked losing or damaging it. As a consequence, now I can take that pen anywhere instead of only using it at my desk for fear of losing it or having it stolen. And I also bought two Faber-Castell E-motion pearwood fountain pens, for the same reason — there is not another nib quite as good as that in my possession. And the third pen I replaced before I lost it (I ended up losing one in a taxi in Mexico) was the outstanding Makrolon Compactor Buschle (a pen made in Brazil to celebrate the eightieth anniversary of Compactor pens). So it is quite worthwhile to replace pens (in a preventive manner) even before you lose them, so that you are free to use them without any further consideration. Pens you especially enjoy writing with are worth it.

    • Hi BrutusBiker,

      I see your point but I couldn’t bring myself to do that. I came close when I saw another Aspen on eBay but the price went too high for me. I can’t bring myself to have exact duplicate pens no matter how much I like them. I might feel different if my “replaceables” were no longer made such as the Aspen.

      Thanks for reading,
      Ray

  2. Great post Ray, I have a few that fit in this category as well. My bigger fear is the nib performance and how would I duplicate it with a straight replacement. My Pelikan M1000 would get replaced the next day but I spent months and multiple nibmesisters getting that nib right. Now with the Homo Sapien it was a beautiful writer out of the box. Same deal, would replace it the next day. I think lately I have feared dropping one of my favorites nib down even more than losing them.

    • Hi Bob,
      Yes, that’s a bigger fear for me too, so I choose to not think about it.I hope my nibs aren’t too unique and could be replaced with a little tuning or sending it to the same nibmeister for the same grind. Interesting that your Pelikan took time to get right and mine till isn’t perfect (but I’m confident it will be) and the Home Sapien was great on delivery.

      Thanks for reading,
      Ray

  3. Pingback: Weekly INKage - January 23, 2016 - The Penman Post

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