Favorite 5: Modern Fountain Pens

It’s been six months since my Favorite 5 Modern Fountain Pens list was updated. I consider a modern pen to be one that was manufactured after I was born, it doesn’t mean they are currently manufactured. The other rule is that I have to have used to pen since I last updated the list, so since November 2015. These are my personal favorites which is completely subjective.

My “must have used” rule means the Sheaffer Balance Aspen was dropped from the list, which surprised me. And now I’m itching to ink it up again so expect it to return on the next update.

1. Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age EF with Pelikan Blue-Black bottle

This has been my favorite since I got it in December. That new pen glow has faded and I still love the pen. It’s one of the few pens I have that I pick up to use simply for the pleasure of using it, even if I don’t need to write anything. It hasn’t been constantly inked because I want to give other pens a chance. And I do miss it when it’s not inked. I’m still enjoying using a different ink each time I ink it up.

2. Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe extra fine with R&K Blau-Schwarz LE

This was number 5 on my list in November. I like it a little more each time I use it and now it has a solid hold on the number 2 spot. The extra fine nib is one of my thinnest nibs and I love it. The looks of the pen only enhance the experience.

3. Pilot Custom 823

Pilot Custom 823 fine nib with Pilot Blue-Black Ink

This is far from my favorite looking pen but it’s a great writer and perfect for my hand and holds a what seems like a bottle of ink. Between the comfort, the nib, and the ink quantity it seems like I could write forever with it.

4. Pilot Vanishing Point (Cherry Bamboo) with Left Oblique Nib

Pilot Vanishing Point Cherry Bamboo with medium left oblique nib and Pilot Blue ink (cartridge, not the bottle shown)

This is the only pen on my list that doesn’t have a factory nib. It’s a factory medium that’s been ground to a left oblique. It sits on the paper perfectly when the pen is in my hand. Because it does require proper (or at least consistent) form to use it I don’t often use it for notes or as a daily carry if I’m mobile. But it does get used for longer writing sessions.

I like the wooden Vanishing Points much more than the metal ones and find them much more comfortable to hold and use. The Cherry Bamboo finish (that’s not actually bamboo) is my favorite.

5. Pelikan M805 Stresemann

Pelikan Souverän M805 Stresemann extra fine nib with Montblanc Bordeaux writing sample

The number 5 slot was hard to pick as there are several pens I could put here. I picked the Pelikan M805 Stresemann because of all the pens not currently inked up this is the one I miss the most.

The nib does bother me a bit, which I’ve mentioned. I’m getting more used to it so it bothers me less and less each time I use it. It in fact may have helped the pen make the list since it’s not just another extra fine nib, it does provide a different writing experience.

Wrapping Up

I also started using a Lamy Safari again. While I wouldn’t trade it for one of the top 5, I really do enjoy using the pen. It once held the spot as the most recommended pen for new fountain pen users, although has a lot of competition these days. But it’s still my favorite budget pen. While the grip may bother some I find it very comfortable.

There were a lot or runners up (or contenders for the number 5 spot). The Franklin-Christoph Model 66 and Edison Huron Grande are past list members, but I haven’t been in the mood for large desk pens recently. The Franklin-Christoph Model 02 with a stub nib and Model 02 with a needlepoint nib were also contenders but I want to ink the M805 more than either of these.

Ink and Pen Notes: Namiki Sterling Silver Hawk with Pelikan Brilliant Green

Namiki Sterling Silver Hawk with Pelikan Brilliant Green bottle

In late March I had the urge to ink up three sterling silver fountain pens. The last to be written dry is the Namiki Sterling Silver Hawk with it fine nib and Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Green fountain pen ink.

Like its Dragon sibling, the Hawk hasn’t been used in years. The sterling silver does tarnish over time and the need to polish it up added just enough friction to keep it in the pen case. All three were inked at once because if I polish one I might as well polish them all. And if I polish them, I might as well ink them up. This provided an impromptu comparison. While this pen’s fine nib could be used to explain why it was the last to be written dry, I have to admit this was my least favorite combination. (The other two were a Sailor 1911 with Visconti Bordeaux and the Namiki Sterling Silver Dragon with R&K Smaradgün). I would have expected this to be my favorite because of the fine nib, but the Pelikan Brilliant Green ink, while not bad, didn’t add anything to the experience.

The Pelikan Brilliant Green ink is new to me. It was an passable ink. I liked the color, but it wasn’t what I expected from an ink named “Brilliant”. In a pen, especially a thin nib, the ink is much more muted than a swab. It’s rather dull, not brilliant. So that was disappointing.

The ink was fairly easy to flush from the pen. The feed does still hold a lot of ink when the pen has been written dry so it takes a little longer to flush than many c/c pens.

The Namiki Sterling Silver Hawk fits my hand nicely and the fine nib is firm and smooth. And as I said with the Dragon, the pen is technically a great writer, yet it doesn’t excite me. I won’t miss it when I return it to the pen case.

The Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Green ink is nice enough but it’s lower on my list of green inks, and it’ll be awhile before it returns to a fountain pen. It may do better in a wider, wetter nib, but that’s not my nib of choice.

Ink and Pen Notes: Namiki Sterling Silver Dragon with R&K Smaragdgrün

Namiki Sterling Silver Dragon with R&K Smaragdegün bottle

I’ve had two Namiki Sterling Silver fountain pens for many years. I can’t remember the last time I inked them up, so it was time. For the Namiki Sterling Silver Dragon, with its medium nib, I picked Rohrer & Klingner Smaragdgrün for this outing. It was inked up back on March 28th.

R&K Smaragdgrün is a green ink that’s new to me. While the nib is a medium, it’s a Japanese medium which makes it thinner than many of my fines and even some extra fines.

The nib and ink combined to provide a nice writing experience with some line variation. There’s nothing close to shading, just enough variation from the flow to give it some character. The nib itself is firm, which is my preference.

The sterling silver does tarnish over time so I needed to polish it up before inking. While the pen is not hard to clean, it does seem to take longer to flush out all the ink. Even when it’s been written dry there’s still a lot of ink in that feed. A bulb syringe makes it a little easier. In this case I went to the ultrasonic cleaner since the pen will probably be in storage for awhile and I wanted all the ink gone. This polishing and extended cleaning time makes the pen a little high maintenance.

The Namiki Sterling Silver fits my hand well and has a terrific nib which provides an enjoyable writing experience. While technically great, the Namiki Sterling Silver Dragon just doesn’t excite me. Unlike other pens I won’t miss it when it’s back in it’s case. As for the ink, the R&K Smaragdgrün is one of the nicer greens I’ve used. I do expect it to return in another pen although it’s not a contender as a favorite green fountain pen ink for me.

Sunday Notes and Links – May 15, 2016

What I Used

It was another week without a clear favorite among my inked up fountain pens. In fact, I’ve been yearning to ink up several pens from the pen case. I suspect I’ll do just that by the end of today.

I am really enjoying the Lamy Safari with the new Lamy Dark Lilac ink, even though the pen has a medium nib. I really like the color and the wider nib helps show it off. Still, it’s a little wide for me to use as a daily writer.

What Others Are Using

Currently Inked: Trio of Franklin-Christoph Eye-Dropper Pens — Pendora’s Box // I know the F-C clear acrylics are hugely popular. I’m in the minority and while I love the F-C pens, their clear acrylics just down’t appeal to me, especially when I’ve had to clean them.

Video: Travelers Notebook Everyday Use — The Finer Point

Pen Shows & Other News

The Triangle Pen Show (Raleigh, NC) is June 2nd through 5th. You’ll need a weekend registration to attend Thursday or before 1PM on Friday.

The next European pen show is the Nuremberg Pen Show on May 21st.

Sunday Notes and Links Changes

The timing of the Sunday Notes has become a problem for me. I’m a creature of habit and I like the consistent time, but the posts both this week and last were thrown together at the last minute which I don’t like doing. I’ve been thinking about how to change things but I haven’t decided anything and will play it by ear to see what works. Because of my schedule I can pretty much guarantee that there won’t be a post this time on Sunday. Maybe later, maybe earlier, maybe I’ll take a week off to think about the changes. Things may be inconsistent through the next few months no matter what.

Sunday Notes and Links – May 08, 2016

This will be quick post. It’s been a busy week but my pens haven’t gotten much use. So let’s move on to what other are using and doing…

Having a notebook on your desk — The Ink Smudge – Doesn’t everyone keep a notebook handy?

Hobonichi Techo Weeks | East…West…Everywhere

The Pen Shop profile | United Inkdom

April in the Midori Travelers Notebook — The Purl Bug

On geekdom and why I care about stationary. — The Ink Smudge

Currently Inked: May 2016 — Pendora’s Box

Pen Shows & Other News

Chicago Pen Show 2016 Recap — The Pen Addict

A Pen Show? Really? | Dead Reckoning

London Stationery Show report | United Inkdom

The Triangle Pen Show (Raleigh, NC) is June 2nd through 5th. You’ll need a weekend registration to attend Thursday or before 1PM on Friday.

The next European pen show is the Nuremberg Pen Show on May 21st.