Within the theme of my ink collection, this is my pen collection. Over a year and a half ago I wrote about my pen collection and while a lot has changed, the collection has only grown by around 10 (in this post and the previous I have not counted cheap $5 Chinese pens but I am ignoring the Noodler’s Creepers this time). Unlike with my ink collection, where if I buy an ink it doesn’t leave the collection, I don’t have have that rule with pens. If there’s a pen I’m not using that much or don’t love (and it’s worth my time selling it) then I will periodically trim these pens from my collection. Inks are rarely over $100 and selling them second hand isn’t really worth the hassle for me (and I don’t want to sell them for other reasons) but when you have a $200+ pen that is just sitting there it’s worth the effort freeing up funds for other pens I might want. Because of that while my Ink collection just keeps growing, my pen collection is quite fluid. I don’t regret buying pens and selling them, I appreciate the experience of owning them. With inks as well I like having them for comparisons! I remember Brad Dowdy on the Pen Addict podcast once mentioning (and I am paraphrasing) that the monetary loss from selling a pen (compared to what you paid) can be compared to the costs associated with renting a pen (I have no idea which episode).. This is something I have taken to heart.
The main change with this collection is that it now has more of a focus. There is clearly, like with the inks, a bias towards (and a bit of a theme with) Sailor and in particular Sailor Pro Gears. But the main theme of the last update remains; I don’t have a unified theme for the collection. I have a decent selection and experience with nib grinds these days so I’m not really collecting based on the nib grind any more. I’m mostly collecting based on the design (which does include nib design) and based on what my experience is for what I like. That said, I do like and have variety.
I’m going to loosely break down the pens by their country of origin though not necessarily where the company originates (or where the country was owned at the time the pen was made). If a pen is made in France it’s listed as French pen! I won’t be covering the history of all the pens as I discussed that with in the previous overview.
The main change with this collection is that it now has more of a focus. There is clearly, like with the inks, a bias towards Sailor and in particular Sailor Pro Gears. But the main theme of the last update remains; I don’t have a unified theme for the collection. I have a bias towards Sailor but that’s not a theme. I have a decent selection and experience with nib grinds these days so I’m not really collecting based on the nib grind any more. I’m mostly collecting based on the design (which does include nib design) and based on what my experience is for what I like. That said, I do like and have variety.
I’m going to loosely break down the pens by their country of origin though not necessarily where the company originates (or where the country was owned at the time the pen was made). If a pen is made in France or has “France” written on it it’s listed with other French pens (let’s not over think this) ! I won’t be covering the history of all the pens as I discussed that with in the previous overview.
Left to right:
Mabie Todd “SWAN” Self Filler - 14k Medium? (NEW)
Onoto The Pen Junior -14k Medium?
Parker 45 Rolled Gold - 14k Medium?
Parker 51 Naby/Chrome - 14k Medium?
Parker 51 Black/Gold - 14k Medium?
Parker Duofold International Orange - 18k Medium
Waterman Carène - 18k Medium
This is actually where most of the vintage pens sit. Because of that I don’t get that much use from the first 5 here. Why? Because I’m always apprehensive about using inks without a track record of being safe to use in vintage pens and because I leave inks in my pens for a long time and that’s something I don’t like doing with vintage. Dealing with replacing parts is not something I care to deal with so it’s definitely something holding me back with vintage. I love Parker 51s but the ones I have are quite dry and modifying the flow of a hooded nib is somewhat difficult, especially when you can’t remove the hood easily but this is something I might look to change in the future as I’m told it isn't that difficult!
I think the very thin girth of the section of the Parker Duofold International is why I don’t reach for the pen much. It’s a really solid pen with a great (super firm) medium nib which I want to keep for reviewing inks, mainly. With the Waterman Carène I love the nib design and the nib itself is good too (very smooth consistent feedback) but I wish the cap was a twist cap rather than a snap. I think I need to ink this with an ink I really love. I want to love this pen but it hasn’t happened (yet!).
Left to right:
Diplomat Excellence (first release) - 14k Medium
Kaweco Classic Sport Green - Medium
Kaweco Liliput Fireblue - Medium (NEW)
Kaweco Skyline Sport - Medium
Lamy 2000 - 14k Medium
Lamy Al-Star - Medium (unpictured)
Lamy Safari Blue Macaron* - Fine (NEW)
Lamy Safari Dark Lilac - Medium
Lamy Safari Mint Glaze* - Medium (NEW)
Lamy Safari Powder Rose* - Extra Fine (NEW)
Lamy Studio Imperial Blue - 14k Masuyama Broad Italic
Lamy Vista - 1.5mm Stub
The Diplomat Excellence A was the first fountain pen I ever bought. It’s a heavy and solid quality pen with a great nib (though it does sing on some paper!). Honestly though I’ve only really kept it because it is my first fountain pen and so is one of the few pens of which I have a sentimental attachment. The Kaweco Liliput is a new purchase that I want to try and fit into my Belroy case to use with my Pebble Stationery Pocket Notebook but with the exception of the Macchiato Skyline (for obvious reasons) and a green Sport I’ve moved away from Kaweco. They are good pens but the lack of effective C/C annoys me.
I’ve had very good experiences with Lamy. I’m not a huge fan of the Safari shape and grip but I now have four Safaris (threee of them on the way), one Vista, and one Al-Star. They’re solid pens but I don’t get much use out of the Visa or Al-Star and the only reason I have the Safaris is because I’m a sucker for colours. While I don’t usually care for pastel inks I just love these pastel colours on the Safari (or at least I expect I will). You’ll notice that these aren’t in the photo and that’s because they haven’t arrived yet! I bought them from La Couronne du Comte and I can’t wait! The Lamy 2000 was an early purchase for me and it’s still one of my favourite pens. There’s no small sweet spot on mine and the nib is super smooth. The size and shape of the pen is just perfect for me and while I don’t usually love tapering sections this is coarse enough that I don’t slip. Absolutely love this classic pen. The Lamy Studio I don’t like nearly as much. The section slightly tapers but the polished metal of the section is super slippery for me especially with the taper. I like the look of the pen but the only reason I have it is because I wanted a nicer pen to hold my 14k Masuyama Broad Cursive Italic nib (which it does well); it just didn’t look good on a Vista…
Left to right:
Montblanc 22 - 14k Broad? (NEW)
Montblanc Heritage 1912 - 14k Masuyama Broad Italic
Montblanc 146 Gold Trim - 14k Broad?
Pelikan M120 Iconic Blue - Medium (NEW)
Pelikan M200 Black/Silver - Extra Fine
Pelikan M200 Café Crème - 14k Broad M400 (and Medium M200)
Pelikan M805 Ocean Swirl - 18k Medium (and 18k Double Broad M800) (NEW)
Pelikan MK10 - Fine? (NEW)
The only addition the the Montblanc family was a Montblanc 22. I love this series of pens from Montblanc. The Plastic isn’t as luxurious feeling as modern Montblanc special resin but the pen has a great look to it and the semi-hooded nib looks great as well. (If anyone knows how to search eBay for a Montblanc 14 or Montblanc 24 let me know! All I find is 14k and 24k Montblanc items). The nib on this pen is stubby and quiet wide. Montblanc, of course, don’t label their nib sizes on the nib so I’m not 100% certain what this nib size is but I’d guess a broad of some sort. It’s very nice and soft as well, not so much that is makes a wider line but a very spongy writing experience. And this nib is smoooooth. Super smooth. It’s probably my favourite nib from my collection. The smoothness and the bounce makes it an absolute joy to use.
The additions to the Pelikan flock are the M120 Iconic Blue (which I couldn’t resist vintage look of), the MK10 (mainly because I was collecting hooded nibs for a comparison with the Aurora Duo Cart), and finally the M805 Ocean Swirl which replaced the M800 Grand Place. I’ve had good experiences with Pelikan and their nibs. I’ve had six nibs from them and only one has required some touching for a baby’s bottom with the rest being superb to write with; an absolute delight. However, the nibs have been crazily inconsistent line widths relative to what they are meant to be. I had a Fine that writes like a broad, a Medium that writes like a Broad, and the M120, which came with a medium nib, writes closer to a western Fine! The Extra Fine on my Black/Silver M200 and the M805 Medium both write like they should. The Steel nibs have more feedback, from what I’ve used, but it’s a pleasant feedback. The Ocean Swirl got a lot of flak because it’s spectacular finish (I consider it one of my prettiest pens) wasn’t always consistent all the way around the pen. While there were some egregious examples of this where the blue was barely present, I personally believe it was otherwise a bit of a storm in a teacup. I understand Pelikan’s photos weren’t completely accurate but ignoring that, if 50% of the pen was the vibrant blue and the other 50% was the deeper last contrasting blue then that’s fine. The OMAS Arco Celluloid is extremely popular and the side of that is a pretty plain and uninteresting brown. Not much difference here and turning the pen looks great.
Left to right:
Aurora Duo Cart Black/Silver - Medium (NEW)
Aurora Optima Silver Trim Blue Auroloide - 18k Medium (NEW)
Aurora Vintage 88 - 14k Fine? (NEW)
OMAS Spina di pesce - 18k Oblique Double Broad (NEW)
Visconti Wall Street Green Pearl - 18k Fine
Visconti Wall Street Red Pearl - 18k Fine
Visconti Wall Street Silver Pearl - 18k Richard Binder Fine Italic
My Visconti’s fell by two but my Auroras grew from zero to three and the OMAS stayed the same. Overall consistency improved with my Italian pens but smoothness declined! I do quite like feedback (look at my Sailor collection bellow) so the Auroras work well for me. I still love the Aurora nib and the Optima, while different feeling, I also love using. The vintage 88 is somewhat soft and flexible which is surprising for a semi-hooded nib. And I really do like the stainless steel medium nib on the Duo Cart.
With the Viscontis I sold the pens I just wasn’t grabbing that often which was, surprisingly for me, the Bronze Homo Sapiens and the Australian Southern Cross. I think it was more the nibs that didn’t work for me as a common-use pen. The Wall Streets that remain are stunning pens. I adore stacked celluloid and these are no different. Eventually I’ll grab the Blue!
The OMAS was part of a trade wherein my Arte Italiana Paragon left my collection. I did really like the Paragon but for me the Spina di pesce is more unique and more suited for me (with one exception). The size and weight are perfect (it’s around Lamy 2000 size) and the pen is all celluloid (so no metal section like on the Paragon). I also prefer that the cap isn’t the Fishbone cut of the Arco Brown Celluloid but the regular cut because now I have both cuts! What I don’t love is the nib. It’s a lovely double broad nib but the oblique nature to it catches me out too often. I don’t like rotating it to use it. I’m definitely going to have to send this to be reground some time.
Left to right:
Nakaya Decapod Writer Aka-tamenuri - 14k Broad (NEW)
Pilot Custom 823 Clear - 14k Dan Smith Broad Italic
Pilot Elite - 18k Fine (NEW)
Pilot Fermo Blue/Silkver - 14k Medium (NEW)
Pilot Myu - Fine Medium (NEW)
Sailor Pro Gear Black/Gold - 21k Broad
Certainly an eclectic selection of Japanese pens. The Nakaya was a pen I always coveted and after I pulled the trigger it took almost a year to arrive. For me it was well worth the wait. I don’t use then pen that much but I savour it every time I do. I still love the pen almost a year later (and I still don’t regret paying way too much extra to get a bi-colour nib).
The Pilots are all over the place. Starting with the Clear Custom 823 (which I was lucky enough to get from Rakuten global before Pilot started restricting access to the Clear model). The nib was a broad and to be honest it wasn’t the best broad. It was ink-starved and I couldn’t work out why. It didn’t appear to have a baby’s bottom (nor did it exactly have the symptoms of one) and it was relatively wet but every now and then it just decided to run out of ink. I sent it to Dan Smith and while the wait was quite long the grind he put on it is exquisite. He also fixed all the flow issues. It’s now a lovely and wet and beautifully crisp Broad Cursive Italic and it gets a lot of use now. This is my only real demonstrator and I love how it looks (I even like the ball clip and the rounded ends which usually aren’t to my taste as much as alternatives!). The Elite was bought because it came up at the right price and also to compare with the Pilot Myu that I had recently acquired at another decent price.The Pilot Elite was a very scratchy fine, and the Pilot Myu had a very strong baby’s bottom. I’ve made them much better writers now. I love how “the pen is the nib” with the Myu but I don’t love how neither of them fit a converter.
The Pilot Fermo was also at a good price. I have a love-hate relationship with Pilot’s capless pens (including the Vanishing Point/Decimo): I love the designs (and have not problem with the form) but I’ve had three average experiences with the nibs on previous Vanishing Points. The nib on this Pilot Fermo I don’t mind (though it does dry-out quickly). But its worth noting this nib has been sprung and non-professionaly fixed! If we are keeping track, that’s 6 Pilot nibs I’ve had issues with. Not a great run for me. All the VPs I had as well as the 823 have had Medium or Broad nibs but whenever I’ve tried a friends pilot (in FM or finer) it has been an excellent writer. It might be that I just don’t like how Pilot do Medium and Broad nibs (though the ink-starvation and the baby’s bottoms have been, objectively, nibs with issues). What I have now I like.
The Black Sailor Pro Gear was my second Sailor pen and it’s a little boring compared to the others I have! I plan on sending this to a grinder to get it turned into another Broad Cursive Italic!
Left to right:
Sailor Pro Gear Mita Club Tataranuma no yuyake (‘Sunset of Tataranuma’) - 21k Medium Fine (NEW)
Sailor Pro Gear Nagasawa Nydrangia - 21k Medium (NEW)
Sailor Pro Gear Nagasawa Kounan Maroon - 21k Extra Fine (NEW)
Sailor Pro Gear PenPoint Ayama - 21k Broad (NEW)
Sailor Pro Gear Tequila Sunrise - 21k Medium (NEW)
Sailor Pro Gear Wancher Hawaiian Ripe - 21k Medium Fine (NEW)
Sailor Pro Gear Wancher Maldives -21k Medium Fine (NEW)
Sailor Pro Gear Wancher Mocha - 21k Fine (NEW)
Sailor Pro Gear Wancher Wisteria - 21k Medium
Sailor Standard 21 Maroon - 21k Medium
I’m not going to say anything about the Sailor Pro Gears because I discussed them in great length at the start of the year!
The Sailor Standard 21 is an interesting pen. It’s a slim in it’s dimensions (which isn’t my favourite size though I don’t dislike it) but it has a 21k nib (like it’s big brother!). I’m not sure if this is sold any more but it’s worth noting that the nib is not noticeably different from the 14k slim nib. So the extra gold doesn’t do much! It’s a lovely writer and it’s my “throw in the bag” Sailor. I don’t mind that there are scuff marks and that the gold on the cap band has started to rub off. It gets good use!
Left to right:
OPUS 88 Koloro Green - Fine (NEW)
OPUS 88 Picnic Coffee Brown - Fine (NEW)
TWSBI Eco Clear - 1.1 Stub
TWSBI Eco White - Broad
TWSBI Vac 700 Blue - Medium
TWSBI Vac Mini Clear - Fine
I do quite like what OPUS 88 are doing. They are making some pens with some really unique designs. I don’t think there’s much about the form that’s particularly unique and while the prices are good they aren’t amazing but the designs and colours look great. I also like anything coffee related! TWSBI hasn’t interested me in a while (though they are my first recommendation for a first Fountain Pen!). I have the two ECOs which I have used for inks that are potentially troublesome (such as Noodler’s Baystate Blue, Noodler’s Bankers Tan, and Hakase Real Sepia Dark). The two Vacumatics have been gifts and I quite like the mini even if neither haven’t gotten as much use as they deserve (probably due to how much ink they suck up! I struggle to commit to that much ink in a fill! I already half-fill my converters…
Left to right:
Franklin-Christoph Model 02 Green - Music Nib (and Medium and Masuyama Broad Italic)
Franklin-Christoph Model 45 Lavender Pearl - Masuyama Broad Stub (NEW)
Franklin-Christoph Model 45L Orange Crush - Masuyama Broad Italic (NEW)
Franklin-Christoph Model 65 Frosted Glass - Masuyama Needlepoint
Karas Kustoms Ink Brass/Orange - Medium
Noodler’s Ink Ahab - Modified Soft nib
Noodler’s Neponset Green Ebonite - Soft Music
Parker Vacumatic Slender Top-line Silver Pearl - 14k Medium (NEW)
Sheaffer Legacy II Black Pearl - 18k Medium
PenBBS 469 Moon River - Fine x2
Finally we have eight US pens and the one Chinese pen that I actually count in the collection. The Franklin-Christoph Model 02 was one of my first bigger purchase pens. I’m not exactly in love with the pen any more but I have it still mainly as the host of several interesting Franklin-Christoph nibs (including Masuyama and SIG). The Model 45 I love the form factor of (notwithstanding that you can’t fit a normal converter in it) and this Lavender Pearl material literally just replaced the Black Model 45 which I didn't find as interesting. Because this one is translucent I have eyedroppered it. I quite enjoy the 45L because it fits a converter! Yay! Lovely orange as well. The Frosted Glass Model 65 stays with my Hobonich Weeks (the Needlepoint works well in that). Currently it’s eyedroppered again. No I’m not sure why I put a black ink in a eyedroppered needlepoint. What was I thinking‽
The Karas Kustoms has always been, to some extent or another, an every day carry for me. It doesn’t get damaged so why wouldn't I? I don’t need to worry about it. I’d love this to develop a patina but it’s just too solidly built even for that! Long term project!
The Noodler’s don’t get much work because I don’t really currently have a need for soft or flexible nibs. I should find a use though! The custom work on the Ahab has made it much nicer for me to use.
The Parker Vacumatic (which has been identified as most likely between 1933-1934) I picked up at the Melbourne Pen Show in 2017 but unfortunately when cleaning the pen I found out that there was a crack down the back of the nib (the part covered by the section). The crack doesn’t go too close to the breather hole so I believe it can be fixed relatively easily (by someone with the right resources and training!) so the pen doesn’t get much use due to the fact I don’t want to exacerbate the crack. Sadly.
The Sheaffer Legacy II Black Pearl is… a unique looking pen. I think I love how ugly it is? I’m not quite sure what Sheaffer was thinking (I believe Sheaffer was owned by Bic at the time so maybe that explains it!). I find the touchdown filler a little annoying to clean so I try to refill it with the same ink.
Finally the Chinese PenBBS 469. I have to say this is the standout pen in terms of beating expectations. My experience with Chinese pens has often been that they have lacklustre quality and quality control but this is really excellent. The acrylic is sturdy and not cheap feeling, the o-rings negate the need for silicon grease and the pen is very precisely machined. It reminds me of Franklin-Christoph pens and it is easily as good in quality. Both the fine nibs are also delightful to write with (albeit a little dry). Be careful with the fins on the feed if you remove the nib as they might bend easily!
These days a major incentive for me is nib design (that is the look of the nib). I love bi-colour nib designs (whether that’s rhodium with gold or gold with rhodium). I also appreciate the etching designs. Of course the nib’s performance is also important but that can be remedied afterwards (I can mend my own nibs or I can send it to a nibmeister). Obviously that’s not ideal but if the pen and nib design is just right for me then the performance of the nib isn’t as important. The OMAS Spina di peace is a good example of that; the nib isn’t for me but the rest of the pen is.
The nib images below are my favourite nibs in my collection (roughly in order). The Aurora is a surprise for me because its a single colour but I fine the nib shape and design striking. You’ll notice stock JoWo and Bock nibs aren’t present; that’s because I find JoWo nibs extremely boring to look at. And that’s why pens like those by Kanliea or Conid are unlikely to be added to my collection even though Kanilea’s pens are absolutely stunning and Conid has such good construction. The stock JoWo and Bock nibs are just too uninteresting for me to ever consider them. Unfortunately!
I bought my first pen October 2013 and I can’t believe it’s fiver and a half years since then. I’m pretty satisfied with where my collection is sitting and how many pens I have. That doesn’t mean I won’t buy new pens and that doesn’t mean I won’t sell pens. What it means is I’m not feeling any FOMO as much any more. I recently bought the three pastel Safaris but if I had somehow missed I wouldn’t have worried about it. The exception to this is with Sailor Pro Gears. They are the only consistency of my collection and as such I don’t want to sell or trade any of them and I do want to continue adding more of them to the collection. Because of this FOMO is more of a risk but something I’ve kept in mind and something I wrote about in the Pro Gear Mega-Review “Sailor also make so many new pens every year that one thing I’ve told myself is that I don’t need to worry about FOMO. I’m not missing out because there will always be another pretty Sailor that I will covet around the corner even if I don’t get this one!”. I’m pretty satisfied with where my collection stands but I’m also not particularly emotionally attached to many of them. I want to keep them (some more than others) but if I replaced it with something I like more I wouldn’t be that sad about it.
I think having a theme (whether that theme is strong or general) with collecting is important for longevity of the hobby. I feel that if I hadn't started to focus on Sailor I might have become less excited about the hobby. It keeps interest in what’s next but also keeps you interested in what you already have. I feel that if you don’t have a theme what you have is at risk of falling by the wayside; replaced by what’s new. That said I think having too strict of a theme perhaps limits your experience too much as well. If I had only Sailor Pro Gears I don’t think my collection would be as robust nor I as fulfilled.
Pens no longer in the collection (that I can remember):
Caran d’Ache 849
Franklin-Christoph Model 45
Kaweco AL Sport
Kaweco Classic Sport
Kaweco Skyline Sport (x2)
OMAS Paragon Arte Italiana Arco Celluloid
Pelikan M800 Grand Place
Pilot Capless (x3)
Pilot Custom 91
Pilot Metro (x2)
Platinum Century #3776 (x4)
Ranga Model 3C (x2)
Sailor Nagasawa Proske Black
Sailor Pro Gear Slim
TWSBI Diamond 580
Visconti Homo Sapiens
Visconti Southern Cross
By the Numbers
Stub 4 (+1)
Broad 8 (-4)
Double Broad 1 (included with broad previously)
Broad Italic 4 (+3)
Fine Italic 1 (included with all italics previously)
Fine 10 (+3)
Fine-Medium/Medium-Fine 4 (+4)
Soft 1 (-1) (included as ‘other’ previously)
Soft Music 1 (included as ‘other’ previously)
Music 1 (included as ‘other’ previously)
Needlepoint 1 (included as ‘other’ previously)
Medium 26 (-1)
Oblique Double Broad 2 (+2)
Modified Nibs 10 (+2):
Modified Ahab 1
Dan Smith 1
14k Gold: 16 (-2)
18k Gold: 11 (+2)
21k Gold: 11 (+8)
23k Palladium: 0 (-2)
Stainless Steel: 27 (+1)
Country of Origin:
Australia: 0 (-2)
France: 2 (-2)
Germany: 20 (+2)
India: 0 (-2)
Italy: 7 (+1)
Japan: 16 (+5)
Taiwan: 6 (+2)
England: 5 (+/-0)
USA: 9 (+2)
C/C: 26 (-1)
C/C/Eyedropper 7 (included with C/C previously)
Japanese Eyedropper 2 (+2)
Piston: 14 (+4)
Push (Noodler’s Piston): 2 (+/-0)
Touchdown: 1 (+/-0)
Vacumatic: 7 (+/-0)
Aerometric: 4 (+/-0)