Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Top 5 Fountain Pens for Graduation Gifts

Fountain pens have long been a popular gift item for graduations, retirements, and major milestones in peoples’ lives because of their longevity, functionality, and the fact that whenever they’re going to use that pen they will be thinking of their own achievement as well as you, who helped them along the way.

These are the important factors to consider when shopping for a fountain pen as a graduation gift:
  • Presentation- is your recipient going to be impressed? 
  • Longevity/durability- is this a pen they’re going to be using for years, perhaps the rest of their lives? 
  • Ease of use (cleaning, writing)- is the pen enjoyable to use? 

Here are my top 5 fountain pens for graduation gifts (in no particular order):

These are purely my opinion based on a variety of factors, and I’ll give you my thoughts about the pros and cons of each one:

Lamy Studio ($79.20-159.20)

Lamy Studio (in Imperial Blue)

Pros: - looks really nice - several neutral color options - affordable - uses Lamy cartridges or converter for bottled ink (included) - great nib selection, EF, F, M, B, 1.1-1.9, fine recommended for newbies
Cons: - slick metal grip, not ideal for long writing sessions - box could be more impressive

Edison ($149)

Edison Nouveau Premiere (in Cappuccino)

Pros: - American made - Gorgeous resins - Dependable writers - Great nib selection (EF, F, M, B, italics)
Cons: - a little more expensive - light weight might seem less ‘quality’ to the unaware

Lamy 2000 ($159.20)

Lamy 2000 (in Makrolon)

Pros: - 50 year reputation - workhorse pen - great ink capacity - snap cap is perfect for the work environment - hooded nib is great for keeping nib wet - subtle elegance - good nib selection, EF, F, M, B; EF or F recommended to newbies
Cons: - small ‘sweet spot’ can take getting used to - not flashy - doesn’t take cartridges, bottled ink required- box could be more impressive

Monteverde Invincia Deluxe ($108)

Monteverde Invincia Deluxe (in Rose Gold)

Pros: - very impressive visual appeal - heavy (many equate heaviness with quality) - takes cartridges or converter for bottled ink - good nib selection, F, M, B, italic; fine is recommended for newbies
Cons: - heavy (might be too heavy for some) - large pen, not as ideal for those with smaller hands - flashy pen might draw unwanted attention for some

Platinum 3776 Century ($176)

Platinum 3776 Century (in Black)

Pros: - best sealing cap in the market, nib won’t dry out - classic pen design fits in all work environments - takes cartridges or converter (included) - draws a fine line, great for cheap work paper - good nib selection available, EF, F, M, B
Cons: - most expensive of the group - nibs write rather stiff, takes getting used to for some - cartridges are proprietary Platinum brand

Honorable Mention:
Pilot Vanishing Point ($140)

Pilot Vanishing Point (in Black Matte)

Pros: great pen for the active enthusiast - many color options - very practical pen with the click - several nib options, EF, F, M, B
Cons: strange to hold for the first time, makes it a bit of a gamble as a gift

If you're unsure exactly what pen is best for your graduate or you know they're pretty particular about what they want, keep in mind that a gift certificate is always an option. It’s worth mentioning that along with fountain pens come ink and paper, and it’s always nice to set up your graduate so they’re good to go. Click here to see my Top 5 Favorite Fountain Pen Inks. Be sure to check out package sets with these pens and many others with our favorite combinations of accessories.

Do you agree with my choices? I'd love to hear! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. I totally bought the LE Al-Star for my baby brother's girlfriend's uni graduation gift. It's her favorite color and because the cost is a little lower, I was able to include a bottle of ink, several ink samples, ink cartridges, and the converter without going totally broke (because I am kind of poor myself). My bro & I don't know how much she'll use fountain pens, so we didn't want to get too expensive, and he's really into the Safari/Al-Star design... Including the samples of different colors and some cartridges means she won't be limited to one ink and can experiment to see what she likes! Plus, the interchangeable Lamy nibs and their warranty/repair system makes it easier on her as a newbie.

    I hope I picked out a good variety of inks :D I tried for well-behaved and lots of brand variety - Aurora Black, Waterman Serenity Blue, Diamine Soft Mint, PR Avacado, R&K Cassia (for a nice purple), and then Lamy Turquoise carts and the bottle of Eau de Nil I have but hardly use at the moment (I'm going to fill a sample phial up for personal use before I hand the bottle over).

  2. Brian, you have very solid choices in all the pens in your selection. All are great. I have a Vanishing Point used daily at work for well over a decade with no problems. It has sat for up to two weeks unused during vacations and started writing at once with no hard start. Very smooth and wet writer. The Lamy 2000 is a workhorse, built like a tank, writes so smooth, also wet, and has an understated elegance. The smooth piston fill is wonderful. A family friend gave my brother and me each Sheaffer Lifetime fountain pen/pencil sets for our high school graduation in 1965. It was not used much until I rediscovered fountain pens in 1996 and started using it again. Still being used and writes wonderfully.

  3. I'm still trying to decide which pen to get myself for my own graduation gift this spring. I want a VP, but I would want to try it before buying it. I've really been looking at the Pilot Custom 74. (In part because it comes so highly recommended here.) The Royal Red Lamy Studio, though...

  4. Ha! I coveted the red Studio for so long that it's out of stock now. Better focus my attentions on more attainable pens now, I suppose.

  5. All great choices, IMO, except for the Monteverde, which to me seems just too ugly for words. I know it's a matter of taste, but if someone gave this pen to me I wouldn't keep it. But why not the Custom 74?

  6. The Monteverde pictured above looks like something Captain Nemo would use aboard the Nautilus. And, maybe an Art Deco look too. It probably goes with the Steam Punk theme that is so popular now.


Don't miss anything! Subscribe to our Weekly Email Newsletter!

Disqus for Goulet Pens Blog