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  • Writer's pictureThe Moot Times UCalgary Law

Glenn’s Pens: Dream Pen Edition

By Glenn McAleer

After a long (and expensive) summer of high-handicap golf, I am back again to write another edition of Glenn’s Pens. The costly summer has left me lacking in funds; I have yet to purchase another writing utensil.

Instead, we will be talking about some pens that I don’t have in my collection, but wish I did. Starting with the lower-cost pens, many of which are reasonably priced, all the way up to some dream pens I wouldn’t dare splurge on.

#5 – Twsbi Diamond 580 ALR (Prussian Blue) - $100.00

Likely my next pen-purchase, the Twsbi 580 ALR has everything that makes a Twsbi Eco incredible, with some fine-tuning around the edges. As my readers may know, purchasing a Twsbi Eco is what started my obsession with fine pens (was this the pen that launched 1000 ships)? The Twsbi Eco is also my top recommendation for a beginner’s fountain pen. The 580 ALR adds some finer finishes to make the pen more comfortable and elegant than its entry-level counterpart.

The Diamond 580 ALR gets the “diamond” in its name from the pen’s angular barrel not seen on the Eco. The “R” in ALR stands for “ribbed” as the pen boasts a ribbed grip section. The ALR also has a nicer finial (the brand logo that adorns the top of the pens cap) and a larger nib that flares out more dramatically at the edges like a classic fountain pen. Finally, the 580 ALR has a ton of unique colour patterns not found on the Eco. I am partial to the Prussian Blue, pictured below (Just imagine the demonstrator barrel filled with a beautiful shimmering-blue ink)!

#4 – Pilot E95s (Burgandy & Ivory) - $230.00

The Pilot E95s Fountain Pen boasts an elegant design, available in two styles: classic black & gold or in burgundy & ivory (I am partial to the latter). Initially called the Elite 95s in Japan, the name was changed in North America due to an existing trademark.

Perhaps the most obvious design element on the Pilot E95s is the inlaid nib – a nib unit that is flush with the grip-section of the pen’s barrel. This is similar to a hooded nib that one might find on a Lamy 2000, but the inlaid nib does a better job of showing off the beautiful 14-karat gold nib that is featured on the E95s. As my readers may be aware, gold-nibbed pens are known to flex more than their steel counterparts, creating a more comfortable writing experience.

While the inlaid nib may be obvious, it is not what sets the E95s apart from similar pens. In the picture above, you may notice that the E95s’ are both “posted” (with the caps adhered to the back of the pens). Whether a pen can post and whether the user wants to post can weigh heavily on a person’s decision to purchase a pen. The E95s is a remarkably short pen unposted at only 4.7 inches. Whilst posted, it becomes a full-length pen at 5.8 inches. The pen achieves this with a remarkably small barrel and long cap.

The design is peculiar, but it makes the E95s an excellent choice for either a pocket pen that can be taken on the go and used to jot a quick note or a pen that can be posted for an outstanding desktop writing experience.

#3 – Pilot Vanishing Point - $250

I know, I know, another Pilot pen. While Pilot is not known for crafting “luxury pens,” their adherence to quality at a reasonable price point, nibs made in-house, and unique designs make for some great choices that I may actually purchase in the near future.

The Pilot Vanishing Point is a unique pen that has inspired many knockoffs, one of which I own (The Majohn A1). I will be brief about the Vanishing Point, as I talked a lot about it whilst reviewing the A1 in a previous article.

The Pilot Vanishing Point is a capless fountain pen that features a retractable gold nib, not dissimilar to a standard ball point pen that features a retractable tip. While I love my A1, I have noticed some issues with hard-starts (ink not flowing immediately upon writing) and ink drying up if it is not in frequent use. A quick clean each time I refill is usually enough to keep the pen up to speed, but a less fussy version with the same satisfying click would be appreciated.

#2 Pelikan M1000 - $1000

The M1000 includes some of my favourite fountain pen features: an internal piston-filling mechanism to ensure a large ink capacity and a boisterously large gold nib that writes wet and leaves lots of ink on the page. The large gold nib makes it extremely soft, providing a nice flex and line variation while writing.

Normally, the Pelikan M1000 sits at about $1000.00, but some hand-made limited editions (like the M1000 Raden Green Ray) can cost over $5000. Raden refers to a Japanese artisanal technique, typically used for lacquerware. The coloured stripes on the pen are created with particles from Australian abalone, which overlay the beautiful black Urushi lacquer. Each pen is individually signed and numbered by the artist. Only 400 of the limited-edition Raden Green Ray were ever created.

#1 Visconti Homo Sapiens (Bronze Age) - $1325

And finally, onto my “Holy Grail” fountain pen. The Visconti Homo Sapiens was first created two decades ago and has since seen many editions. These pens are extremely unique and may actually have some substance behind the price tag beyond prestige, brand recognition, and limited editions. The Homo Sapiens is unique in that it is crafted from basaltic lava, collected from Mt. Etna in Spain, ground and mixed with resin. This creates a uniquely light, stone-like barrel that is soft and cool to the touch. The lava rock is porous and has hygroscopic properties, acting as a natural moisture wick. I have not had the opportunity to touch one of these pens, but many people have stated that the pen feels cool to the touch compared to other pens when stored in the same conditions. The lava-forged pen could be perfect for longer writing sessions, especially those heated through hatred and emboldened by underlines.

The Homo Sapiens also features an internal filling mechanism, allowing it to boast a large ink capacity. Unlike the piston-filling mechanism featured on many other pens on this list, the Homo Sapiens comes with a vacuum filler. Another stand-out feature of this pen is that the cap uses Visconti’s “Hook Safe Lock,” which enables capping and uncapping with a mere ¼ turn of the cap without having to worry about the pen opening in your pocket.

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