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Tag: Pilot

Unpopular Fountain Pen Opinions

Posted in Fountain Pens

Alright, I’ve got a potentially (probably) divisive post for you today. I’m sharing opinions I have that seem to be unpopular based on what I’ve seen and heard in fountain pen groups and gatherings. Let’s jump in, shall we? I’ll start slow, leaving the doozies until the end.

“Rainbow”/”Iridescent” Finish

It’s been on a lot of pens in the past couple of years, and I think it’s ugly and overpriced. From Visconti’s Rainbow Watermark to TWSBI’s Vac 700r Iris and Conklin’s Duragraph Rainbow, pens at all price points are using the colorful finish.

I don’t know what to call it. It’s not a proper rainbow — the colors aren’t in order and there isn’t a good red or purple. It’s not iridescent — the colors don’t change, or even appear to change, at different angles. Regardless, I bought a seven piece cutlery set with the same finish about 3 years ago for $11 thinking it would be super cool and ended up woefully disappointed. I definitely won’t be investing in a pen with it.

Fountain Pen 101: Where to Start (with Pens)

Posted in Fountain Pens

Welcome back to Fountain Pen 101, and happy Fountain Pen Friday! This week, I’m taking a look at what I think are the best pens with which to start your fountain pen journey. This one is rather long, but I wanted to give you a good overview of each pen.

If you’ve never touched a fountain pen before, I’d suggest trying out the Platinum Preppy or the Pilot Metropolitan. They are both solid pens, with far more benefits than detriments. Another good pen, although a “step up” price-wise from the Preppy and Metropolitan is the Lamy Safari. It’s another solid pen that’s unlikely to let you down.

EDIT 2/12/2021: Since writing this post, I’ve changed my mind about the Safari being the best “step up” pen. I’m leaving the review below, because it’s not a bad pen by any means. However, there are two pens that, in my opinion, beat it out for top “step up” pen: the TWSBI 580 series and the Kaweco Sport series.

I’m leaving out the disposable Pilot Varsity, because, although inexpensive, it abandons the best parts of fountain pen use: changing inks and re-usability.

I’ll be rating each of the three pen on reliability (in terms of writing), appearance, durability, ink (both the availability of cartridges and the converter quality/style), nibs, and ease of cleaning.

I also took a look at several major retailers to see who offers the best deal for a “starter pack” of pen, pack of cartridges, and a converter. Prices listed below are in US dollars with the total price first, and the price of standard shipping to Maryland, United States — included in the total price — in parentheses.

Good Times at Bertram’s Inkwell

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

If you’ve been following my blog, you know I like “pimping” companies that I’ve had good experiences with. So far, I’ve discussed Edison Pen Company, Goulet Pens, and Surreal Makeup. This time I’ll be telling you about Bertram’s Inkwell.

Bertram's Inkwell

Shopping Experiences

Photo of a Red Nibbed Platinum Preppy 05Bertram’s holds a special place in my heart as the store where I bought my first fountain pen. It was a red-nibbed Platinum Preppy 05. I don’t have a picture of mine, as it sadly disappeared in my recent move, but I did find this photo from WonderPens. It was my gateway pen, and the experience of purchasing it was so pleasant that Bertram’s was forever fixed in my mind as a top-notch store.

Photo of Lamy Safari Dark LilacThe next time I visited, I picked up a Lamy Safari Dark Lilac, completely oblivious to the fact that I was buying a special edition. I just knew I liked the color and feel of it. I also picked up bottles of Diamine Meadow and Diamine Aqua Lagoon because they were beautiful, bright colors. I’ve since learned that just because a color is pretty doesn’t mean it will make a good writing ink. Meadow hasn’t gotten much use because a full-page of it can be hard on the eyes.

While we were there, Jim bought a Namiki Falcon as a birthday present to himself. I can’t recall if it was Bert or Adam (or both) who helped us out that day — I was too focused on buying my first “nice” pen — but whoever it was was incredibly patient with me as I went through all of the Lamy colors, and let me dip test a few different nib sizes. Jim was also treated very well as he tried to decide if he was actually willing to buy such an expensive pen (oh, how our views have changed).

And now the really fun part. I get to tell you about some of my customer service experiences that I feel went above and beyond what your typical store offers.