Favorite 5: Modern Fountain Pens

Holy Cow! It’s been nearly three years since I update my Favorite 5 Modern Fountain Pens list. It’s time to update the list. There are really only two qualifications for a pen to be eligible for the list. First, it must have been manufactured since I was born (my definition of modern. Second, it must have been used since in the last year. Typically, rule #2 is that it must have been used since the list was last updated, but that was too long in this case. “Favorite” is totally subjective and does not equate to “best” or “best value.”

The first three pens on the list were easy choices. The last two were picked from numerous contenders.

1. Sheaffer Balance II Aspen (M/F)

Sheaffer Balance II Aspen (M) with Montblanc Permanent Grey ink bottle

The Aspen returns to the list and at the top. The only reason it dropped off was the “must have used” rule. Its fragility keeps it from being used more often. It’s siblings, the Jade Green and the Crimson Glow could also be on this list, but I decided to limit myself to just one. The Aspen is my personal favorite among the three. I recently did a long term review of the Balance IIs.

2. Shawn Newton Eastman (any Esterbrook nib)

Shawn Newton Eastman with Esterbrook #2314F nib and Montblanc Irish Green uncapped

The Eastman is a custom pen so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it made the list. It fits my hand perfectly and can use any of my Esterbrook nibs. I tend to pick bright inks because I like the look in the clear body. The pen is typically desk-bound. All that ink in the barrel tends to splatter ink in the cap when it’s bounced around. (Review)

3. Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen (M)

Sailor KOP with Callifolio Teodora

This pen has been inked 14 times in 2 1/2 years, which is a lot for me. I shouldn’t even have this pen (and wouldn’t if I didn’t handle it at a pen show). The pen is too expensive, and the nib is wider than my personal preference. Yet, I wouldn’t touch the nib, and the pen is constantly inked up and used.

4. Edison Huron Grande (EF)

Edison Huron Grande with extra fine and Montblanc Bordeaux bottle

Another custom pen. It was actually my first custom pen. It’s huge which means it’s desk-bound. I recently re-arranged my desk to make it more analog friendly. This means that my two desk pens on this list are getting more use.

5. Kaweco Brass Sport (EF)

Kaweco Brass Sport on leather

It took me a while to realize that this pen belonged on the list. When it went dry, I immediately inked it up. I sold off another metal Sport simply because I realized I’d never pick it over this pen. (Review). While I do love the look of this pen and it’s an excellent writer, it makes this list mainly because of its utility. It may not get used a lot, but it’s inked up far more than any other pen, and I would regret its loss.

Wrapping Up

Notably absent from this list are my Visconti Homo Sapien, Pelikan M805 Stresemann, and Montblanc Ultra Black LeGrand. All three are “favorites” and met the requirements for inclusion. Yet, I decided that in the final analysis they just didn’t quite make it. I am fickle so they may be on a future list. Maybe I’ve become bored with them? They certainly aren’t among the pens that will be sold off as I trim my accumulation.

Whenever I go through my pens for an article like this, I always stumble upon a pen where I shocked at how long it’s been unused. It was no different this time. The Pilot Custom 823 seemed to be an obvious choice for inclusion, but it was last used in 2017, so it didn’t qualify, I put it aside to be inked as soon as possible.

I’m also a little conflicted in that only two of these pens are currently available for retail purchase and, one of those has a hefty price tag (Nearly equal to the combined cost of the other four pens.). But this is an entirely subjective favorites list, so it reflects what my current pen tastes are. I’m also delighted with my current accumulation, which is reflected in an empty pen “want list” and the lack of any new pens in the last year and a half. (Except a couple TWSBI Go’s)

One thought on “Favorite 5: Modern Fountain Pens

  1. Thanks for an interesting read. I love reading about what drives peoples’ preferences and the fact that logic very quickly breaks down when it comes to deciding on favourites. How we use pens is such a personal experience that there are no right or wrong answers: only what works for you!

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