Last updated on May 2, 2022
DISCLAIMER UPDATE (6/24/22): TWSBI and Narwhal have released a joint statement which I cover in my most recent TWSBIgate post. While not completely satisfied with TWSBI’s response to the situation, I no longer feel the need to dissuade people from purchasing their products.
DISCLAIMER (5/1/22): Since writing this post, TWSBI has been involved in some unsavory actions, and I am currently boycotting them. For more information, refer to the #twsbigate tag page.
My planning from last year has paid off. This year, I’m revisiting my 2020 Top Pens and seeing what differences there are in comparison to my 2021 top pens.
As I said last year, I tend to sell or trade pens that don’t make me happy to own. I’m getting closer to all of my pens being favorites, but I made myself narrow them down to a top 10 and top 20. I kind of cheated with the Always Inked section, but don’t judge me too harshly.
This was so much harder than I expected it to be. I slightly adjusted my judging criteria this year. I did my best to put these pens in order of which ones I’m most disappointed to un-ink (clean out). And so, I give you my top pens as of the end of 2021.
I have a handful of pens that I keep inked, ignoring the weekly rotation of other pens. I used to have 5, but with the purchase of my Aurora 100th Anniversary pen, I now have 6.
#2: Namiki Yukari Rock Garden
This slot is only for the Rock Garden. It’s my “finger of God” pen. Its nib is so smooth. It’s like it isn’t even touching paper. Plus, the design really just calls to me.
#3: Platinum Izumo Maki-e Kurikara-Ken
This slot is only for the Kurikara-Ken. This one moved up a bit from last year. I really love it, and it writes amazingly.
#4: Mr. Cypress
This slot is for both of my Mr. Cypress pens. My custom pen is fantastic. And my second Mr. Cypress order arrived yesterday — expect a post about it soon. The Día de Muertos themes will always be important to me.
#5: Iron Feather Creative
This slot is for all three Iron Feather Creative pens I have. I’ve bought two this year, and I have zero regrets. Brian’s work is fantastic, and I’m so happy to own these.
#6 “Expensive” Slot
This slot includes the Aurora 100th Anniversary and Visconti Il Magnifico Lapislazzuli. Both pens are beautiful, special, and good writers. And, honestly, at their price, I have a sense of “they need to earn their keep.”
Remaining Top 10
#7: Tamenuri Studio Kawari-Nuri and Nashiji Nuri
This pen is just so pretty. I love the color scheme, and the combined techniques made for a really amazing pattern and finish. Michal is fabulously talented.
#8: Montegrappa 1930 Shiny Lines/Dove
This was my first expensive pen after the Prisma 88. For a while, I kept it inked to “earn its keep,” but now it’s because I love it. The shine on the celluloid is almost distracting in its beauty.
#9: Delta Dolcevita Undersize
This pen is just so freaking cute. And it’s an amazingly good writer. I’ve been so disappointed when its week is up and it’s time to clean it out.
#10: Loft Pens Stacked Pride
I don’t know what I’ll do when I get the second Loft Pens stacked pen I want. But, for now, I can easily put Stacked Pride on this list because it is, hands down, the best rainbow pen ever.
The Top 20
#11: Pilot Custom 74
I still have a hard time believing how much I love the Custom 74. It’s such a great writer, truly. If you don’t have one, go get one. It’s one of the few pens I’d repurchase if my collection mysteriously vanished.
#12: Any TWSBI 580 Series Pen
This slot counts for all my TWSBI 580 series pens. I added two more this year, one full size and one mini. Like my others, they both have fabulous nibs. If my collection were to mysteriously vanish, I’d 100% buy a TWSBI immediately.
#13: Atelier Lusso Timascus
Eric was kind enough to sell me the Artist’s Proof of this limited edition. I’m so happy he did, because it’s a great pen.
#14: Den’s Pens Baetylus
I’m counting both pens in this, since they came together. The amethyst crystal aspect is so much fun, and the shaping is phenomenal.
#15: Sheaffer Triumph Valiant Marine Green
I can hardly believe I’m putting a vintage pen on this list. I’ve had it for several years, and I’ve always enjoyed it, but, somehow, it’s never made it into my top pens. Jim smoothed out the nib for me when I first got it, and it glides across paper like skates on ice.
#16: Benu Briolette Pacific Coast
Still love this pen so much. The material is beautiful. The nib is great.
#17: Pelikan M205 Moonstone
Two words: Rainbow sparkle. Enough said. Yeah, that’s basically what I wrote last year. It still holds true.
#18: Aurora Sun Moon Lake Moonlight
Clearly, this guy didn’t make it into the Always Inked category. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love using it. It’s absolutely gorgeous.
#19: Pelikan M640 Eternal Ice
This is still my favorite of the Wonders of Nature series. It’s great to use in summer. I know most do the whole “kill winter with orange” thing. I, however, prefer “kill summer with blue.”
#20: Platinum #3776 Century Nice Lavande
This is still a great pen. It writes well, and it’s pretty. I have a feeling this guy won’t make it on to the list next year, but that’s because I expect I’ll have some pretty amazing new pens, not because there’s anything wrong with this one.
So, what’s changed in the past year? Well, first of all, I got new pens. The ARTUS pens, the Rock Garden, Mr. Cypress pens, new Iron Feather Creative pens, the Tamenuri Studio, the Delta, the Stacked Pride, the Timascus, the Custom 74, and the Den’s Pens pens, are all new. And, in order to add pens, I had to remove some.
Some pens simply fell off the list because I got newer pens: Sailor Pro Gear Tequila Sunrise, Aurora 88 Venere, SmithCrafters Shredded Money Writer Gold Rush, 18111 Standard Model Green Ivies & Harley Quinn Custom, Visconti Medici Rose Sovrano, and Stipula Leonardo da Vinci Olive Wood Limited Edition.
The Stipula Etruria Rainbow Prisma 88 and the Lamy Safari Dark Lilac have both fallen out of favor a bit. I still can’t ever see myself getting rid of them for their sentimental value, but I have such amazing writers, and such unique nibs, that these just can’t keep up. The Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze Age is it’s own unique thing. Like the Prisma 88 and Dark Lilac, it has sentimental value. On top of that it’s a really cool, and fairly unique, material. But it isn’t sparking joy like it used to. We’ll see what happens with it over the next year.
So there were are. My top 10 and top 20 pens, and what changed since last year. That was difficult, and there are so many pens I could have named. *sigh* But that’s a good thing. I want to consider all of my pens favorites, after all, so this should be hard to do. Focusing on the way I feel about un-inking my pens helped some, but I still had difficulties, especially when I got to #15 and on.
What do you think of my list? Is there anything you disagree with? How about the changes? Did anything surprise you? Let me know in the comments.