One of the discussions taking place in FPG at the moment is “which is the best pen?” Of course there can be no right answer to that question – too many people and too many pens for too many purposes but that doesn’t deny us the enjoyable debate on the qualities of pens that has ensued.
For me, the first divide would be between vintage and modern. Vintage is always going to win out for me, principally because of the nibs. Among all the splendid old nibs – and I restrict myself to British pens here, just because – Onoto, Swan, Parker, Waterman, Mentmore and so many more, it would have to be Swan, whether flexible or firm. Mabie Todd also made the very fine pens to back up their glorious nibs. I have a Leverless 1060, quite firm but capable of some line variation without effort. That’s the pen, the very best pen!
I don’t entirely ignore modern pens. Many Italian and German pens are really out of my price range. I can buy them to sell but not to keep and, in all honesty, I’m not tempted. Japanese pens are another matter. I have a Capless that is not only a wonder of convenience but it has a truly splendid fine nib. I have a couple of inexpensive Platinums too with very pleasing nibs. They seem to be kept inked a lot. Sailors, to my regret, have not worked out for me. They look good, sit well in the hand, but seem to have an irritatingly small sweet spot. That’s just what I have found, others love them.
When all that is said and done, I return to what I said earlier: the Swan is THE pen.