Updating my top three pens for 2021

It’s been a while since I wrote this post about my top three pens, inspired by a long-running series of videos hosted by Joost from Appelboom. Rereading it, I stand by every word: my selections of the Namiki Urushi 20, Lamy 2000 Bauhaus Blue, and Visconti London Fog all seem fair, and they’re all pens that, 14 months later, I still own and write with regularly. That in itself is a powerful testament to their quality and my fondness for them.

But when Appelboom approached me to contribute an official contribution to their video series, I could hardly just repeat a year-old post, could I? Besides, my pen collection has evolved in the last year.

So I picked a new selection. Only one pen from my 2020 list retained its spot.

Repeating the selection process a year on was an interesting experience.

As last year, I looked down at my pens and wrestled with the criteria for making my choice: do I go for variety? My most-used pens? Ones I’ve had for longest? My rarest pens? My most ‘interesting’ or ‘unusual’ pens?

In the end, I let some of my deepest preferences come out.

Thinking about it now, one of my choices is the grail pen I wanted for the longest.

One is the pen I recommend to readers and friends most often.

One is the pen I get most comments about, and that I happen to think is the most beautiful.

Together, they’re very very different in their aesthetics and materials, even their colours. So although I tried to make my decision quickly, I think I ended up with a sound choice.

I don’t want to steal Appelboom’s thunder any more, so you’ll have to watch the video to find out which they all are!

And once you’ve watched that, do check out the YouTube playlist for everyone else’s selections.

I’d love to hear about your top three pens — and whether you would have picked the same three pens a year ago!

6 thoughts on “Updating my top three pens for 2021

  1. For me it is all about most joy. Today (maybe a bit different tomorrow, depending on my mood) that would be:
    – Pilot 845 vermillion in M
    – 1970s vintage Montblanc 146 with bouncier old 14C nib and ebonite feed in F
    – a toss up between a Scribo Feel in F or Montblanc Homer in F.

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  2. i’m slow to grow my collection, so it’s not like i have a ton of choice to whittle down to 3, buut here goes:

    * lamy 2k (because duh. even though their EF is so close to an M on less discerning paper that it’s hard to reconcile with the size of my handwriting. it’s still a pen whose beauty i see hard to ever outdo in its niche.)
    * TWSBI diamond 580 (it’s just all but impossible to go wrong with this one. that’s not an exciting, but nevertheless nontrivial achievement.)
    * sheaffer targa, marbled grey (the one time i strayed from being quite strictly anti-c/c, but can you fault me? i’m usually quite heavily prejudiced against american design, but damn if they didn’t nail that one.)

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  3. Congratulations on the Appelboom Top 3 Pens video! Nicely done. I was interested to see what you would pick currently, after so much refining of the collection.
    I also love the design of the Lamy 2000, although I bought the standard issue black model with a medium nib, in 2014. I did not get on with that nib but Lamy kindly swapped it for a stubby broad which I liked better. I also appreciate the ease of disassembly of the nib section for cleaning. I am also enjoying the Lamy 2000 four colour multi-pen which shares the same style and ergonomics, my only tiny gripe being that the edges of the pocket clip are rather sharp and noticeable when you rotate the pen, in the web of your hand. (I call such issues a triumph for style over function).
    I have not seen the Montblanc Martele or the Nakaya dorsal fin in real life, let alone owned either of them, or indeed any Urushi pen as yet.
    I have not tried, or had to try, to nominate my top three fountain pens. Like you I would struggle with deciding the criteria. However it might amuse you to know that the three pens which are with me right now in my office pen cup are:-
    1. Pilot V pen disposable in red ink, for amending and drafting; very smooth and never hard-starts!
    2. The Moonman S5 eye-dropper with Oblique Broad nib and Serenity Blue – for signing. The nib is a joy and I have bought three of these pens! Despite its modest price it is one of the most suitable pens I have every discovered for my lefty-overwriting. Also fun to fill and one fill lasts for months.
    3. The Parker Duofold in glossy black with gold trim, an 18k medium nib which is super-hard and ideal for work notes. Filled with Parker Quink blue black. A shout-out to you for selling me this pen!

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