What a difference 54 years makes Contrasting pics of Porsche Type 911 T8, Prototype 901-1, 1963 and Porsche 911 Carrera S 1,000,000, 2017. This week Porsche produced their millionth 911 after 54 years of production. The special “Irish Green” 911 will be held by Porsche AG. Before it moves on to enrich the collection at the Porsche Museum, it will embark on a world tour and will take road trips in the Scottish Highlands and around the Nürburgring, and in the USA, China and beyond. Over 70 per cent of all 911s ever built are still on the road
For a beginner, and a student beginner especially, the largest
consideration is price. I have had all the pens mentioned as good starter pens (except the
Al-Star and the Loom, but have borrowed both multiple times from
friends) and they are all good pens. Even the Petit1 is a good
For “credentials”, I have convinced more than two dozen people the
past year to buy their first fountain pen. As far as I know they all
still use the pens. Hashtag penvangelism.
default answer to people who want to buy their first pen is the Pilot
Metropolitan. Why? A lot of people (especially at my age; ‘90s kid) are
used to ballpoints and gel pens. I know exactly one person in my life
who uses a rollerball pen. This means most people are used to thin line
widths which, in my experience, only the Pilot Metropolitan <F>
can offer. I’ve used the EF nib of Lamy and TWSBI and both are
demonstrably thicker than a Pilot Fine.
behind suggesting a pen within the prospective convert’s comfort zone is
that you don’t just want to suggest a good pen to someone, you want the
person to keep using that pen and abandoning the use of non-fountain
pens. Easing them into it helps.
Back to price. In
my country, a Safari is three times more expensive than a Metro. The
Safari does not come with a converter. Even if you want to switch to a
Con-50 or Con-40, the Safari is still more than twice as expensive—I
hate it). In my country as well, the Eco (about $40.00 here) is two
dollars away from being four times as expensive as a Metro. This is a
huge difference because even if we “sell” fountain pens as being built
to last, most first-time buyers are perfectly fine using a $1 Pilot
G-tec. They absolutely love the G-tec. A Metropolitan is fifteen G-tecs.
To stretch the comparison a bit, a Porsche 911 Carrera S is just five Toyota Corollas.
super budget pen would be a Preppy, a Petit1, or a V-Pen. The cap of
the Preppy breaks with regular cautious use and a Petit1’s clip will
break-off. A V-Pen is too cumbersome to refill unless you have one where
the feed can be pulled-off (mine can’t, even with pliers). A Plaisir might be nice but that terrible looking nib and the local price have stopped me from trying. It is pretty cheap in China though (about $12) so..
like Chinese pens because they’re so cheap. Definitely good writers when
you find them (I have bought probably 30+ already this year, some for
myself, most to be PIF-ed or sold and get people into Chinese pens).
There are a few concerns for me if it’s someone getting their first few
pens. First, there will be lemons even if you buy from the “reputable
hear. Even if they all write and are in good
condition, some write better than others. I once bought a lot of 10 pens.
7 wrote well but 3 wrote incredibly incredibly well. Returning them or
contacting the vendor will be a pain. The wait is also excruciatingly long and the pen might not arrive at all.
is consistency. eBay sellers would actually indicate if a Chinese pen
was “M” and in some cases even put nib width “0.5” which is what I think
a lot of pen users here (me included) wished pen manufacturers would do
to standardize how thick pens are. But these listings aren’t always true. A “0.5” actually doesn’t mean “0.5”.
In fact I found a listing last night in Taobao where the seller had a
table that “0.38” is actually 0.38 to 0.6 and “0.5” is actually 0.4-0.8
or something like that.
Now, why would you not buy
a Pilot Metropolitan? Besides an uncommon problem of some people
reporting that it ejects ink into the cap for no reason, the most
obvious are the large step and the design. For quite some time, I didn’t
get a Metropolitan because the design didn’t speak to me. They wrote
well enough but not well enough for me to get over the weird middle
band. I just couldn’t understand why the background of the middle band
was different in shade to the the rest of the pen (in MR1), and later on
the animal bands just horrified me (in MR2). Eventually I got used to
the design and I have three of them right now (I’ve owned five in
total). Then there’s the step. From all the pens mentioned this has the
largest step. I understand why the step is there but I still prefer a
pen that is streamline uncapped versus a pen that is streamline while
capped. I look at pens when they are ready to use, not when they are to
be kept in storage. I have since been able to modify my grip when using
this and similar pens such that they are no more uncomfortable than
other pens (my fingers sort of cling to the ledge of the step). You could also get a Kakuno instead! It is being introduced to more markets and it’s a good writer in fun colours. Somehow, my Kakuno felt sharper than my equivalent Metropolitan though.
That said, Pilot Metropolitan <M> sometimes have a tendency to
skip when you first write with them. The problem miraculously goes away
after a short while. I don’t know if it is baby’s bottom because I
haven’t gotten around to getting a loupe. I have bought and handled a
few used Metropolitans and none have skipped.
why would you get a Safari instead? While the nib width and quality
control is a bit of a lottery and the inner cap does tend to break down,
both problems are easily dealt with. The biggest draws for me is the
easy exchange-ability of nibs matched only by Kaweco among current pens.
Of course, depending on the market a Lamy nib costs more than a
Metro… The section/grip of the Safari is also talked about a lot. It
really depends on your grip and it’s important that you be able to
borrow a pen first before you buy it. There are also people who buy the
pen after trying it in the store and then sell it a week later because
it’s too big or too heavy but these are unusual people.
For me, the Safari is easier to hold than a Metro even if I don’t hold
pens the way Lamy wants me too (only one of my fingers is “where it’s
supposed to be”).
Why don’t you get an Eco? The
grip is the easiest to use and the capacity will not leave you wanting.
To me, the largest barrier is again the price. You must be a great fan
of the demonstrator look and the piston capacity if you want this pen
where I live. In the US it is the same price as a Safari so
that might not be a consideration for others, of course. I do like the screw cap
(I wish all pens were screw caps) but if you post your pens this has the
worst posting experience among all of the pens mentioned. I’m sure it’s
secure but it doesn’t inspire you about its security. I also think it
looks the worse among all the pens. I actually like how the Preppy looks
more than an Eco. The all clear version looks really great though, up
until you fill it and ink inevitable gets on and behind the inner cap…
Eco performs at a comparable rate to the Safari (again, I think they
all write well albeit slightly differently) and it may come down to
personal preferences. Do you value nib-swapping more than a piston’s
capacity? Do you prefer a screw cap to a snap cap? If you want to
experiment with unusual inks you may be better off staying away from the
Eco. There’s too much worrying involved in keeping the barrel pristine.
Is anyone still reading?
a Kaweco Sport is alright and I really like the look. Besides the
possibility of a poor nib (happens to all manufacturers anyway), you
have to be open to dealing with unavoidable barrel wear.
Unavoidable! You also need to post the pen to write with it. Another
thing is that if you want to use cartridges on a transparent Kaweco you
should know beforehand that it looks pretty lame. A lot of people
complain about proprietary cartridges and there was a recent post here
about someone making a permanent international cartridge; Kaweco needs
to make a proprietary cartridge that fills the length of the Kaweco
barrel. Short international cartridges look terrible!
Loom is great and I really want to buy one save for two worries. First,
the cap looks really bad and there is something off in the way it
clicks shut. It also has a terrible looking clip. It is the pit of cap-shutting feel, at the
opposite end of the Prera. Another is that it there is a risk of parts
incompatibility. It’s standard international but not all cartridges and
converters work on it. A friend bought a Faber-Castell converter from
the same store and it didn’t fit..
Prera is great (I really want a slate grey one) but do you want to pay that much more for the same
writing end as a Metropolitan? Locally, it is about thrice as expensive as a Metropolitan. I’m not going to buy one brand new. On the secondhand market? The going rate is about five times.
Again, a Porsche 911 Carrera S is just five Toyota Corollas. It face the same problem of Lamy system pens. You really need to want the different, more expensive body because it’s the only thing you’re paying a premium for.
You also need to post the Prera to be able
to write with it. If you’re Kawhi Leonard don’t even consider it.
the less mentioned pens a Parker IM I think is the most expensive
mentioned here. I have one. The clear coat has come off in spots and
it’s very ugly because of it. I think it’s a good review pen because
it’s so easy to clean even if you can’t remove the nib or the section. I
would not recommend it. It’s a $10 value to me. I also have a Parker 45
and it’s good, smooth, and easy to disassemble. I think it’s also the
one with the most “character” among all the pens. I would caution everyone as
to nib width though. I bought an NOS “45” that had a “fine nib” and wrote
as thick as my Medium Safari. Very smooth writer, sure, but it needs an IG ink
to be at a width I can work with. Otherwise I can only use it to
underline my readings and that would be pretty sad for your first and only (so far) pen.