A very nice review by TofuTakahashi at here.

Fountain pens are something that can last a lifetime if they are of quality, able to be fully disassembled, and are taken care of. In fact, some would argue that buying a good fountain pen over comparable disposables (in terms of comfort, smoothness, &c.) is cheaper over lifetime as bottled ink lasts quite a long time and is not too expensive ($8-30for the standard stuff). A fountain pen is something that is personal, it will form to your writing style (specifically if you go with a gold nib), and it becomes your main pen. That being said, there is a part to choosing a pen where I'd have to recommend finding a pen shop and trying out a few different manufacturers. Do you like your pen to have weight? Nibs come in steel, gold, titanium, platinum–all with a very different feel to them. Going to a store and dipping sample pens and writing with them is the only way to really find out before dropping the coin.

As you've seen here, there are going to be two main recommendations, the famous Parker 51, and the inexpensive and durable Lamy Safari. I agree, both these pens are awesome, however there are two things to note. The Parker 51 has been out of production for years, so be careful where you find the pen, you want either someone who has taken good care of one or a professional restoration, otherwise you could be spending money on what is essentially garbage. As for the Lamy, they are inexpensive and allow for nibs to be swapped out frequently, but you cannot fully disassemble them for a good cleaning. Unimportant to some, important for others (it makes it extremely hard to clean out dried ink (or even worse India ink) if you abuse your pen.

Here is what I'd recommend for you to look at with price ranges:

Lamy Safari:

Pros: Lightweight, inexpensive, and durable as hell. Constructed out of ABS plastic with an easily swappable steel nib, it's a good first pen choice.

Cons: Cannot be fully disassembled, pen grip can be constrictive to people with alternative writing styles. Lefties might find the fine and x-fine nib to be scratchy. Steel nibs are quite thick and non-expressive. Both converter (not included), and cartridges are Lamy specific.

-Price: $25 for ABS, $45 for aluminium

Buy On Amazon | Official Website

Parker 51:

Pros: Legendary pen, with legendary comfort, smoothness, and all around swagger. Because of its popularity, it is an easy pen to get fixed, as well as have the nib ground and customised.

Cons: They maybe common, but take caution in where you buy them. Professional restorations, fountain pen forums are probably your best places to shop.

-Price: Fluctuates, $50-250 depending on style, rarity, condition.

Parker hasn't sold Parker 51, if you want buy one, just check ebay parker51.com and fountainpenrecycler.com

Namiki/Pilot Vanishing Point:

Pros: It's a clickable fountain pen with a retractable nib, an 18k gold nib. Made of brass, the body has weight to it and feels very sturdy. The construction of the pen makes it impossible for ink to leak in a pocket. It's portable, convenient, and a reliable everyday writers for people constantly jotting notes and need continence in a pen.

-Cons: A bit longer then some pens, and the pocket clip is mounted right on the pen grip. Namiki converters do not hold as much ink as others, and you cannot see the amount of ink in the pen when using a converter. Both converters and cartridges are Namiki/Pilot specific.

-Price: US models: $130 standard colours, $140 matte black, $200+ limited edition. (There is the Japanese version of the pen with a slightly different body that sells for around $160, and Namiki makes a high end one with a twist retractable nib for $250).

Buy On Amazon | Official Website

Pelikan M100:

Pros: The closest you can get to a traditional fountain pen, the enter Pelikan line is manufactured very similar to how fountain pens have been made for decades. This model uses lightweight plastic, a steel nib, and writes nicely. Good if you want a classic, no fuss fountain pen.

Cons: Maybe too light for some, and because of the twist refill system (basically a converter build into the pen), you cannot use cartridges.

-Price: $100-$150 depending on style, availability.

Buy On Amazon | Official Website

Namiki Falcon:

-Pros: Quite possibly the most expressive and truly fine nib out there. A soft golden nib, writes beautifully, and fluctuates with pressure. Great for people who really care about penmanship or want something with a lot of expression. This pen is also very light.

Cons: Flexible gold nib is easy to damage, x-fine nib may feel scratchy. Converter and carriages are Namiki/Pilot specific.

-Price: $140

Buy On Amazon | Official Website


Honourable mentions:

Parker Sonnet (w/ gold nib) $200  Buy On Amazon

Levenger True Writer $60-100)  Buy On Amazon

Carbon Desk Pen (w/ converter) $25  Buy On Amazon

Waterman Hémisphère (w/ steel nib) $50-100  Buy On Amazon

Bic Junior (hard to find outside France) €10

Waterman Carene $250-300  Buy On Amazon

Namiki Murex (discontinued) $250-400+

Hope this list gives you some ideas. Come on over to the Fountain Pen Network and see what else there is out there. People will say you can loose a pen, I've never lost one through college and high school. A well love fountain pen truly can last a lifetime and can continue to be loved generations down the line.


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