State of the Collection: November 2020

A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since I published my last State of the Collection back in, would you believe it, mid August.

If you’re new to UKFP, these posts mainly give you a tour of my pen tray: what I’m using, what ink pairings I’ve got going, and what’s on my mind.

I would normally give a quick recap of the reviews and editorial posts I’ve published since the last SotC, but, well, by a rough tally I’ve posted 39 blogs since then… phew! (And if you appreciate all the hours I’m putting in, please consider supporting the blog!)

I’d also normally give a quick list of the pens in and pens out, and pens incoming but, well, there have been too many. So let’s run through where things stand today as a clean slate…

My main tray is currently organised by region and by brand; until recently it was organised by pen colour into a rather fetching rainbow. It sounds stupid, but in the same way as people find joy in organising their sneaker collection or their spice rack, I love to see my pens laid out in a logical and aesthetically pleasing order. Changing it up every now and again encourages me to freshen my habits about which pens I pick up, too.


Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black and Ocean

I have two Sailor Pro Gears right now, one with an F nib and one with an EF. They don’t get a ton of use, but I enjoy them a lot. I’ve never had a Sailor that dries out, or that needed nib adjustment. They’re small, but not uncomfortably so. I’m mulling getting another King of Pen — a Urushi one, probably — but I wish Sailor did the KoP in other nibs than M and B. Sailor’s finer nibs are its strength, in my opinion.

Nakaya 17mm Cigar Toki-Tamenuri

My sole Nakaya is a good one. I bring this out for special occasions and quiet journalling sessions, and it remains a treat to write with every time. I am on a burgundy and red ink kick at the moment, so this is inked with Athena Akane, imported from Japan at huge cost. I’m thinking about getting another Nakaya, but really I should just enjoy this one more.

Namiki Yukari Royale Urushi 20 Vermillion

After months and months loaded with Birmingham Truss Blue, I reinked the Namiki with Robert Oster Fire and Ice and it renewed my love for this pen. It really is a work of art and a masterpiece of craft.

Pilot 823 Smoke FA

I don’t bring out the 823 a lot, but it never dries out and the FA nib is always wet and charismatic whenever I write with it. I respect the 823 and it ticks all the boxes, but I’m wondering what it will take to make me use it more.

Pilot Murex

Way down the far end of the tray in a half-slot because it’s the thinnest pen I own. I honestly don’t use the Murex in my daily tasks, but it’s such a sweet little pen and so practical that I can’t bear to get rid of it — especially as they’re getting harder to find in good condition.


ASC Gladiatore Medio Arco Bronze

With the way arco prices are going, this will be my first and last arco pen. It’s probably the wettest writer I own, and for all its failings — temperamental threads, stiff piston, tendency to dry out — I get a lot of joy from it. I currently have it inked with the mustard-coloured Kobe #21 Taisanji Yellow, which is a unique shade and surprisingly appealing.

Visconti London Fog

My old favourite has been used very little recently (in fact, that holds true for a lot of my older pens, as I spend so much time writing with products in for review). I have no urge to swap out the Sailor Studio 123 ink it’s filled with, it’s a perfect match.

Visconti Midnight in Florence

My replacement Midnight in Florence has settled in to my collection well, although the F nib seems no different in width in practice to the M nib on my London Fog! I have it inked with a matching purple, Athena Murasaki, which is a beautiful dark, rich colour.

In exciting news, after months of emailing and messaging Visconti, they say they’re sending me one of the new Lava Colour pens to review. It’ll be interesting to see how it compares to this older design, and how it affects my view of Visconti’s QC standards.

Scribo 3 and Scribo Tropea

The new Scribo Tropea from Write Here cemented my view that these round Scribos are more ergonomic than the faceted Feel, as well as better looking (in a rather plain way). And cheaper. The Tropea is a fantastic colour and is inked with Montblanc Encre du Desert; the Scribo 3 is inked, I think, with Scribo Grigio. I am getting matchy-matchy in my old age.

Montegrappa Extra 1930 Colori del Mare The Sea

Every time I think of selling off the Montegrappa, I reink it and write a couple of pages and fall in love all over again. It’s a paragon of comfort and build quality, and the combination of seahorse nib, mediterranean celluloid and sterling silver is simply stunning. I know that if I sold it I’d regret it and have to buy a lesser Extra back, probably for a higher price!


Montblanc Agatha Christie

You may spot that I sold my Montblanc Homer, for all its brilliance. I have to listen to my habits and I noticed that I simply wasn’t using it, and hadn’t found the ink that really brought it to life for me. So now the Agatha Christie is my only remaining Writer’s Edition, inked with Choosing Keeping Blue. And to be honest I think it’ll stay that way. Few of the other Writer’s Editions appeal to me enough to justify the investment. Montblanc remains perhaps my favourite brand, but the five I have do everything I need.

Montblanc Rouge et Noir Coral

Inked with contrasting Montblanc Emerald, this slim and bright pen always makes me smile. Like all Rouge et Noirs it sadly dries out a little, but not problematically so, and the fine nib is a good one. But it’s the appearance that really makes me love this pen.

Montblanc 149 GT

The EF nib in this old 149 is one of my all-time favourites for writing performance and appearance. And the 149 is a design icon, with superb balance and comfort. If I was making a sensible choice for the “one pen”, this might well be it.

Montblanc Geometry

The BB nib on the Geometry lays down a firehose of ink loaded with Diamine Fire Embers. Although a BB nib is simply an impractical choice for nearly every writing situation and my handwriting, I’ve actually been giving it a fair shake recently, and loving it.

Montblanc Martele

Inked with Akkerman Cerulean Blue van Vermeer, which is a bit drier than some of my other inks, the Martele has turned into a restrained and practical pen. I rank this so highly in my personal list of favourite pens, partly because I love sterling silver, but also just because it’s a perfectly balanced writing instrument, both literally and figuratively.

Lamy 2000 Black Amber and Bauhaus

Inked with Scribo Grigio, the Black Amber’s F nib makes my handwriting look good (well, as good as it ever does). I’m really coming to appreciate the extra heft of the Black Amber, although the Bauhaus, now inked with Gazing Far’s Blue Feather, is probably a more practical writer for long sessions with its light and grippy barrel. I love them both. I am looking forward to my Dialog CC arriving, whenever Lamy ends up releasing it…

Rest of Europe

Caran d’Ache Leman Bicolour Saffron

This is a new acquisition since my previous SotC post. It’s become a firm favourite to write with, as well as adding a new country to my list (Switzerland!) and introducing a serious pop of orange to the tray….

ST Dupont Line D / Elysee

I am appreciating the quiet solidity and precision of the Dupont more every time I use it. This really is an exceptionally nice pen, one to hand down to your children. More people should be beating down the door of Pure Pens

Onoto Magna Blue Stripe #8

I’m spending a lot of time writing with this. The larger nib really does suit the Magna platform, both visually and ergonomically.

Onoto Sequoyah

After publishing my review of this pen recently I’ve had to leave it in the tray a little more often just so I can spend time with other pens — but I still catch myself looking at it!

Smythson Viceroy Grand

For the past week this has been the pen I have wanted to write with most (and as you’ve gathered, there’s quite some competition here). Despite being long, it has exceptionally good balance in the hand. Spot-on nib, too.


Desiderata Soubriquet ne plus ultra

This is my, ooh, fifth Soubriquet? I still have the prototype Cocobolo but I’ve been cycling my way through the releases as Pierre refines the design. This one has a piston filler and takes standard nib units without the breather tube needed for the pump filler. The ball on the clip is appreciated too. I have this fitted with a 0.6mm Nemosine stub and it’s inked with Montblanc Blue Planet. I’ve written a couple of journal pages with it really and it’s a lovely smooth comfortable experience.

Hopefully this coming week my next Desiderata pen, the BAMF, will arrive. It’s a bit of a gimmick purchase for me so I’m not sure it’ll stick, but I missed the first release and I wanted to give it a try.

Carolina Charleston Primary Manipulation

This pen still stands out in my tray for its riot of colour. I keep looking at other Primary Manipulation pens, like the Leonardo, but honestly this pen is great and it should have scratched the itch for me.


Although I talk a good game about being ruthless, the flow of amazing new pens and review samples means… well, I’m over my tray again.

These are some pens that are either in the queue for review, or that are too loved to sell.

  • Onoto Spitfire: this is in for review on loan. What a beauty. Literally my only pen made from an ACTUAL AEROPLANE.
  • Leonardo Furore Grande: what an eyecatching giant of a pen, and such a smooth, accomplished writer. I am thinking of sending the nib out for a grind to something other than a B, though.
  • Penlux Masterpiece Grande: it’s Grande, alright. This is a 149-sized piston filler with a steel #6 JoWo nib, retailing at £150. I am coming around to it after finding the resin at first a bit crazy for my tastes. I used it a lot this past week and found myself reaching for it.
  • Tibaldi Bononia: I have to look up the name of this model every time I type it — it will not stick in my brain! I fear this will have to squeeze in to my main tray eventually though, because I love it to bits. It really is gorgeous.
  • Gazing Far TM2: I’ve been using this skinny pen quiz a bit for work notes this week. It doesn’t have the charm of the tmX pocket pen, but I rate it highly. Review soon.
  • Ystudio Portable Copper: yeah, I love this baby. Long cartridge, tough as nails, Schmidt nib, no stress.
  • TWSBI Eco Cement Grey and Golden Horse: I sold the Rose Gold Eco because this Golden Horse edition replaced it completely. Both these Ecos have very fine nibs so they’re useful note-takers.
  • Loft Pens v2: funnily enough, I published a review of this just this morning…
  • John Garnham JG6: I have a prototype of this pen’s big brother in for testing. It’ll be a doozy.
  • Esterbrook JR: I love how this tiny pen writes and feels in my hand. It gets regular use.
  • Gazing Far tmX: I really am fond of this unconventional pocket pen.

So what you can take away from this is that I have far too many pens, but they’re all fabulous. It’s a good thing Rickshaw keeps sending me pen cases, because I REALLY need the storage right about now!

And what the hell, to close out, here’s an attempt at a Currently Inked in rainbow order:

See you in a month?!

11 thoughts on “State of the Collection: November 2020

  1. Like the geographical approach, different!!
    Rickshaw hand roll on order thanks to your review! You’re definitely going to need something like the “Sumo”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great collection as always. Given your love of silver I was going to ask for your thoughts between the Smythson Viceroy Grand and Otto Hutt 07, but then you own the former and not the latter so maybe that’s a hint?


    • The Homer is a very special pen. Maybe it was the long cap threads that meant I didn’t use it so much. But this 149 is special to me too: ebonite feed, amazing EF nib, battle scars. It speaks to me!


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