This is not a Christmas gift guide, although it could serve as one if you were so minded. No, what I wanted to do here was shine a spotlight on a few makers and models that might not be on your radar, that I think are bringing a breath of fresh air to the world of fountain pens. Enjoy.
1. Gravitas Pens
I can’t keep up with all the new prototypes and concepts from Gravitas. After rattling out three full-size pen designs and a pocket pen, and getting the world hooked on ‘skittles’ as a pen colour, Gravitas has a timascus design in the works, and has recently released a white cerakote version of its largest design, fitted with rubies and a red ebonite feed. Best of all is seeing how excited Ben, the brains behind the brand, gets about his vision. If shipping cooperates, I apparently have a box of review versions incoming…
2. Stylo Art Haruna
Stylo Art Karuizawa is a small brand out of Japan that does some beautiful takes on wooden pens, often wrapped around sections and nib units from Pilot pens like the Elite. This particular model, the Haruna, takes Pilot Capless / Vanishing Point nib units, and turns them into a full-size, capped pen. Genius.
3. Mad Science Pen Company
Mad Science takes everything we know about the conventional proportions and construction of turned fountain pens and throws them out the window. Small-cap designs, hooded designs, giant dished sections, angled cap edges… you’ll find it all here, often made from some out-there resins, too.
Elbwood you’ve heard about before — from me. Frank is painstakingly building a portfolio of minimalist designs, starting with his pocket pen, but also including short-cap and long-cap versions of a full-size pen, in a range of metals. The fluted section is distinctive, but the beautiful finishing touch is the wooden disc inlaid into the end of the cap.
5. Eboya Kobue
Japanese manufacturer Eboya is known for its ebonite pens (naturally, since it’s associated with Nikko ebonite), curiously fitted with German nibs from Bock. The Kobue, or ‘flute’ launched to some acclaim last year, and rightly so: a small-cap design set with contrasting cap, it’s sleek and elegant.
6. Franklin-Christoph ‘copper top’
Everyone knows and loves Franklin-Christoph for providing a wide range of models in a wide range of resins, backed by the best customer service in the business. That hasn’t stopped it from innovating, and the most recent release to catch my eye was the ‘copper top’ P25, a tiny pocket pen in black resin with a short copper cap. Yep, it looks like a Duracell battery.
7. Mr Cypress
When a crazy pen pops up in my feed, in raden or some other exotic material, it may be a Bokumondoh, or a Wancher, or a Tamenuri Studio… but the ones my eye is most caught by are from Mr Cypress in Taiwan. There seems to be no material they can’t work with: G10, wood, urushi, maki-e, ebonite, micarta, raden, horn, wood/resin hybrids with embedded flowers… all done (seemingly) well, with very competitive prices.
8. Schweizer feine schreibgeraete
Check out these bad boys. Crazy profiles, trim rings, classy yet distinctive mixes of materials including wood and ebonite, inlaid coins, ebonite feeds… it’s all here, along with great photography. I plan to get one of these, but I cannot decide which materials to choose!
So there you go: eight pens and makers doing something unique. What do you think? And who did I miss?