The wishlist: my top-5 practical pens

Every self-respecting stationery addict has a wishlist, haven’t they? Whether it’s written down, open tabs in the browser, or just in the back of the mind, we all have that shortlist of pens that we want but haven’t yet pulled the trigger on.

Here’s mine. I’ve got a few criteria to stop this being completely pie-in-the-sky. It’s got to be:

  • A modern, commercially available pen. So no Myu 90 or vintage Sheaffer Snorkel for me here, nor custom pens.
  • New to me. No duplicates of pens I already own (eg colour variants).
  • Not ludicrously out of my reasonable budget, list price of £150. So no Pelikan M1000, Conid Monarch or Sailor King of Pen.

A gratuitous shot of the Conid Monarch. Good enough to rob a bank for?

Let’s see where those limitations take us.

1. Edison Collier Blue Steel

Edison Collier Blue Steel

You do not want to know how long I’ve had this open in my browser.

Why? Well, partly due to recommendation. But also, just look at it. It’s a Proper Pen. Big, bold, well-proportioned, classical. And practical: comfortable concave section, functional clip, interchangeable nib units. The blue steel colourway is adventurous by my standards, but if you’re more daring there’s bright orange, a brown/gold, and more.

Why haven’t I pulled the trigger yet? The Collier’s been on my wish list for a couple of years, and I’m *this close* to getting it. But £130 for a cartridge-converter pen with a generic steel nib just seems a bit steep.

2. Namisu Nova Studio Ebonite, Ti nib

Nova Studio Ebonite - Pre-Order June 30

Ebonite. Titanium. What’s not to like?

Compare the Collier to this on price and you’ve got a clear winner. At the time of writing, the Nova is £130 with both steel and titanium nibs. It’s UK-designed, made of classical ebonite and modern titanium, and is frankly gorgeous. Hell, I’m convincing myself right now.

3. Karas Kustoms Ink

Ink- Olive Green

It looks like a pen the marines would use in Alien. If they weren’t running for their lives.

I backed Karas Kustom’s first pen on Kickstarter, the Render K. Being honest, it was a bit rough around the edges. But the Ink really appeals to me, partly due to that wonderful clip design, but mainly due to the interesting colour combinations. The olive green calls to me, as does the bright sky blue.

The Ink retails for a starting price of £95 in the UK, which is steep for a steel-nibbed aluminium pen, in my view, and with copper/brass sections the price goes up. Ti nibs are an option, but again push the price. And, as I opined earlier in the year, metal pens just don’t really do it for me any more.

4. Pilot 92 smoke

I used to think demonstrators were naff. How wrong I was.

At UK pricing, this pen wouldn’t even make it on to the list. But from Japan directly (import lottery aside) it’s about £85. And for that you get a piston-filler with a gold nib, cool smoked demonstrator finish, and a modern design. I see it as the lovechild between the Pilot 91 and the Pelikan M205 from my collection, and I know that I’ll adore it.

Downsides? Well, you could say it’s too similar to the Pilot 91 that I own. And the import customs lottery is a real risk: I’ve been hit by £40 bills before, which makes that £85 pen not such a bargain.

5. Pilot 912 Waverley

Would it be wrong to own two 912s?

There’s a strong case for the 912 being my favourite pen. It’s got more gravitas (and comfort!) than the smaller 91. The Waverley nib, with its slight upturn, is meant to be super comfortable and easy to write with. So the combination promises to be perfect for those long writing sessions.

At £140 imported (see import lottery above, too), it’s expensive. That’s the main factor holding me back.

Notable omissions?

I’ve lusted after a Pilot 823 for a long time, particularly the custom nib version from Quill. Vacuum filler, huge nib, rave reviews across the internet. But actually I’ve talked myself down from it, partly due to the £200+ it would cost me, and partly due to the PITA it is to clean out a vac filler fully. I’ll content myself with the smaller 912 and even smaller 91, I think.

I also feel I should complete my Japanese trifecta and get a Sailor of some sort. But they’re much more expensive for some reason than equivalent Pilot and Platinum models. A basic Pro Gear Slim would cost me over £110 in a colour and nib combo that I don’t particularly want. Here in the UK, I’d be paying over £210. Given that some people find Sailor nibs to be even more heavy on the feedback than Platinum nibs, I’m deterred.

So what’s next?

The Namisu is very attractive, but at £132 for the titanium nib version, it’s more than I want to spring. Maybe I’ll get a Ti nib unit for one of my existing pens first!

The Edison is out of stock at the Writing Desk, the UK stockist, which gives me a breather. But realistically, £130 for a steel-nibbed pen is too much for me (£230 for gold!). Same goes for the KK Ink, which is £95 in the UK. And the 912 is, technically speaking, a duplicate, so I’m disqualifying that for now.

The Pilot 92, on the other hand, is a gold-nibbed piston filler for £85 direct from Japan. That’s something I’ll probably bite on some time soon.

What’s on your list?


A note on images: I’ve nicked these from retailer sites. I don’t own any of these pens, so can’t photograph them. Credit where credit’s due!


5 thoughts on “The wishlist: my top-5 practical pens

  1. I also like the look of the 912 with the Waverly nib. It’s also meant to be sympathetic towards left-handers, which adds to the interest for me. I pondered the PO (posting) nib, but think it will be too fine for my taste. I have a Custom 91 with a soft-fine nib and that’s fine enough for me. (Great pen though.)

    Liked by 1 person

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