What pen won’t you buy?

Inspired by a thread I’ve been lurking on at FPN, I’ve been thinking about how different people’s preferences are when it comes to pens, and the difference between a “bad” pen and one that simply isn’t right for you.

For me, I’ve got no interest in:

Ornamental designs. A pen should be comfortable to hold and simple in design. It should not look like a trumpet (I’m thinking of you, Mont Blanc Miles Davis), or a dragon coiled around a tree, or a weapon of war. And especially if it costs a squillion dollars.


Cartridge-only pens. I adore my Kaweco Sport, and I quite like my Kaweco Lilliput. And my Franklin-Christoph 45. But I seriously doubt I’ll ever buy another pen that only takes cartridges, short converters, or eye-dropper fill. I’ve got too many bottles of ink to restrict myself to cartridges, short converters are universally shit, and eye-droppers only work with some kind of window or transparent barrel — I hate not knowing how much ink I’ve got left.

Heavy metal pens. I have an all-brass Gist, an all-titanium Nexus, and a load of EDC ballpoints. They have their charms, but I find a lighter pen to be more comfortable.

Dry pens. I love sheen and shading. I love smooth writing experiences. To me, that means a wet nib paired with a wet ink. If I know that a nib runs dry (or an ink, for that matter), I’ll avoid it.

Steel nibs priced over £100. Particularly when they have a bog-standard cartridge/converter setup. The allure of gold and piston/vac fillers at this price point means: why bother when you’re just paying for the barrel?

Kickstarter fountain pens. OK, this is controversial, especially since I’ve had some good experiences buying pens (and many other things) from Kickstarter. I’m just allergic to the hyperbolic prose and the fact that most of the makers clearly know sod-all about fountain pens. I mean, come on, it’s a tube of aluminium with a Bock nib unit shoved in the end:

ZERØ has been uncompromisingly designed to provide the best writing experience. An inevitable byproduct of searching for the purest writing experience was minimalism. Through removing everything unnecessary, ZERØ offers an experience that focuses solely on writing and creation. Minimalism is not simply the style of ZERØ, it is the soul of ZERØ.

ZERØ is not only a design piece; it is also a sensational writing instrument. The form of ZERØ has been crafted to be comfortable and pure. The balance has been meticulously calculated in computer models to ensure optimal balance for silky, effortless writing. We chose the uncompromising and well respected German nib manufacturer, Bock, for the finest writing experience. The beauty of ZERØ lies not only in its form, but also in its function.

5 thoughts on “What pen won’t you buy?

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