GROWING up during the turn of the millennium had its perks. Back then, we’d eagerly wait for the years to fly by till we were old enough for schools to allow us to own our first pen. And a fountain pen it would be. Where I grew up, ballpoint pens were frowned upon during a student’s formative years of secondary education. Which is why, owning a humble Hero pen from China would trigger several peer level conversations. The ink market was largely dominated by Camel and the shades we were allowed to explore were minimal. But that’s what I attribute to creating a generation of youth with impeccable handwriting. That and the sense of ownership. Fountain pens, with their ornate nibs and often flimsy barrels, would easily get damaged or even worse, squirt ink all over one’s homework and occasionally, school uniforms.
In hindsight, the fountain pen taught an entire generation to be more responsible.
Then came the age of pixels and with it, the idea that all pens, let alone just fountain pens, would slide off the shelves and become obsolete keepsakes. But the trusted fountain pen pulled through. First, against the surge of ball-point substitutes and now through the digital age, where students learn on Tablets. Due credit should go to the generation that grew up nurturing these simple devices, and can now afford fountain pens in their more splendorous avatars. Yes, the useful fountain pen is now a luxury accessory for many. High-end materials such as gold and titanium are used to improve the writing experience as well as the value of such pens.
Whipping one out and scrawling a cursive signature on a legal document still holds its worth as it did back when Thomas Jefferson used his trusted fountain pen to write history. We’ve handpicked four pens that are successfully blotting out all notions of obsolescence of this timeless writing device.
Montblanc James Dean Special Edition Fountain Pen
THERE’S A rebel in the fountain pen, reflected in its stubbornness to still stay around as a cultural icon. Much like James Dean did in Rebel Without a Cause (1955). Montblanc pays tribute to his iconic performances with a specially crafted pen that dresses his part with a red resin cap and barrel that is reminiscent of his red leather jacket from the film. Taking inspiration from the actor’s 1956 film Giant, the clip is a gun. The cap ring has a message that is as much engraved in the history of cinema as it is delicately represented on the pen. It reads, "Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today," a line famously quoted by Dean. The cone of the pen has the coordinates of the James Dean Memorial engraved on it. The Au 585 solid gold nib is platinum-coated and the pen can be refilled with Mystery Black, Royal Blue, Midnight Blue, Burgundy Red, Lavender Purple, Oyster Gray, Toffee Brown, Irish Green, and Corn Poppy Red shades of Montblanc ink. This pen is part of the Great Characters Limited Edition collection that has paid tribute to greats like Mahatma Gandhi, The Beatles and Alfred Hitchcock, among others.
Pelikan Herzstück 1929 Limited Edition Fountain Pen
GERMAN penmakers Pelikan have been one of the front-runners when it comes to piston ink-filling systems in fountain pens. This is the 90th year of the company and to celebrate the momentous occasion they unleashed a new limited edition — The Herzstück 1929 fountain pen — recently. The name of the pen translates to ‘most important part’ in English and reflects several design inspirations from the first pen created by Pelikan.
The barrel features a translucent window through which you can view the level of ink while the nib is an 18-carat medium sized one. The company has produced only 462 fountain pens in this line, each with its distinct number marking, to commemorate the last three digits of the original patent number. Buyers will also receive a bottle of Royal Blue Pelikan Ink.
Montegrappa Game of Thrones Pen Set
IF WRITING instruments of today were used to write messages ferried by ravens in the world of Westeros, they’d probably sing a different tune. But they weren’t, because Westeros doesn’t really exist. What does exist is this fantastic set of Game of Thrones-themed writing instruments from the house of Montegrappa. The collection represents four houses from the show, namely Stark, Baratheon, Lannister and Targaryen. Each series consists of a fountain pen, a ballpoint pen, a rollerball and ample design hints to represent the house that you favor. The barrels and caps of all are made with lacquered resin with clips shaped like the sigils of the houses. So you have a dire wolf, a stag, a lion and a dragon to choose from. All nibs are made of steel, albeit not Valyrian steel as some of you may have already begun imagining them to be.
Montblanc 1906 Rogue Et Noir Limited Edition Fountain Pen
ONE OF the first fountain pens created by Montblanc was the Rogue Et Noir, way back in 1906. It was hailed as a technical marvel in its time since it didn’t need the writer to dip the nib into an ink pot, which was common then. It’s been well over a century since the pen’s invention, and today the company has revived its innovative offering with a rendition that celebrates the timeless splendour of its famed fountain pen. Only 1906 pieces of the Rogue Et Noir Limited Edition pen will be created, making it extremely rare to get a hold of, even for serious collectors. This version will feature a modern piston-filler technology, while the cap and barrel will be made of hard rubber, just like the original.