Top 7 Next Level Pens

We get lots of questions from former fountain pen newbies who have graduated from a Platinum Preppy or Pilot Metropolitan, and are seeking out the next challenge.

While the Preppy and Metropolitan are great pens for newbies or experienced writers, we understand that the initial enhancement these pens bring to your writing experience also gets you wanting more. That’s why we’ve put together a great list of second pens, or “next level pens,” as we call them.

Of course, if you’re not quite ready to make the step up to a next level pen, you may be looking for some fountain pen training exercises to help you traverse that introductory learning curve. Don’t you worry, because we’ve got a sweet ’80s-style training montage that will supercharge your writing abilities.

Here are the seven next level pens:

1. Conklin Duragraph

Conklin Duragraph - Cracked Ice

2. Platinum Cool

Platinum Cool - Blue

3. Faber-Castell Loom

Faber-Castell Loom - Orange

4. TWSBI 580

TWSBI 580

5. Platinum PTL-5000A (Update August 2016: The Platinum PTL-5000A is no longer available)

6. Lamy Studio

7. Monteverde Invincia

Monteverde Invincia

Write On,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

2017-10-11T14:17:07+00:00 May 5th, 2015|Shopping Guides, Top 10 Lists|39 Comments
  • Ryan

    Haha! Love it. I just bought a Lamy Studio Wild Rubin the other day off you guys with a 14k nib! Can’t wait to receive it!

    • Madigan

      Hi Ryan! I’m sure you’ll love the Studio. 🙂

  • Ryan

    Haha! Love it. I just bought a Lamy Studio Wild Rubin the other day off you guys with a 14k nib! Can't wait to receive it!

  • I would consider the Lamy Studio with the 14k nib another step up from this batch. But I use my Lamy Studio with a steel nib quite a lot, so I agree with it on this list. I am trying to figure out what Conklin, Platinum, and TWSBI would be good for me since I don’t own any of them. As the budget allows I might start with a more expensive pen in the line up of each brand. Not sure just what pen that means in each case.

    • Madigan

      Hey Jack! Yeah, I’d definitely exclude the Studios with the 14k nibs on another level. The steel nibbed pens are fantastic and I’m glad to hear you are enjoying that one. You can’t really go wrong with any of those choices. Maybe we’ll have to do another video on 3rd tier pens… hmm… 🙂

      • jordanjay29

        I think once you get past $100, it becomes MUCH harder to recommend a pen. There are so many options in the $100-200 range, and so many people have different preferences when it comes to pens like that approaching a premium price.

  • I would consider the Lamy Studio with the 14k nib another step up from this batch. But I use my Lamy Studio with a steel nib quite a lot, so I agree with it on this list. I am trying to figure out what Conklin, Platinum, and TWSBI would be good for me since I don't own any of them. As the budget allows I might start with a more expensive pen in the line up of each brand. Not sure just what pen that means in each case.

  • Otter

    Brian, that was HILARIOUS! Thanks for making the list so entertaining as well as informative. 🙂

    I have the Conklin Duragraph in orange, and like it so much I’m going to pick up the cracked ice version from you next. I also have TWSBI 580 (Rose Gold) and Faber-Castell Loom (violet). The 580 is gorgeous and writes pretty well, if a little dry. The Loom is smooth, and I have a Faber-Castell Basic that’s even smoother — I would recommend either of those pens.

    A couple of pens you didn’t mention that I bought from Goulet and love are the Delta Unica (really beautiful resin and writes well) and the Monteverde Impressa (pretty pens with some finish issues, but the nibs are incredibly smooth). One that you don’t carry (and to be honest I’m not sure if they make them anymore) but which falls into the category is the Sheaffer Prelude. (I have the green shimmer, and really like that brand overall.)

    Great list — I hope you will update both this one and the one for newbies as time goes on and new pens come on the market.

    • Madigan

      Hi Otter! So glad you enjoyed the video. We had a lot of fun making this one. The Delta was on the short list and we were torn between several Monteverdes. Great minds think alike! 🙂

  • Otter

    Brian, that was HILARIOUS! Thanks for making the list so entertaining as well as informative. 🙂

    I have the Conklin Duragraph in orange, and like it so much I'm going to pick up the cracked ice version from you next. I also have TWSBI 580 (Rose Gold) and Faber-Castell Loom (violet). The 580 is gorgeous and writes pretty well, if a little dry. The Loom is smooth, and I have a Faber-Castell Basic that's even smoother — I would recommend either of those pens.

    A couple of pens you didn't mention that I bought from Goulet and love are the Delta Unica (really beautiful resin and writes well) and the Monteverde Impressa (pretty pens with some finish issues, but the nibs are incredibly smooth). One that you don't carry (and to be honest I'm not sure if they make them anymore) but which falls into the category is the Sheaffer Prelude. (I have the green shimmer, and really like that brand overall.)

    Great list — I hope you will update both this one and the one for newbies as time goes on and new pens come on the market.

  • Madigan

    Hi Ryan! I'm sure you'll love the Studio. 🙂

  • Madigan

    Hey Jack! Yeah, I'd definitely exclude the Studios with the 14k nibs on another level. The steel nibbed pens are fantastic and I'm glad to hear you are enjoying that one. You can't really go wrong with any of those choices. Maybe we'll have to do another video on 3rd tier pens… hmm… 🙂

  • Madigan

    Hi Otter! So glad you enjoyed the video. We had a lot of fun making this one. The Delta was on the short list and we were torn between several Monteverdes. Great minds think alike! 🙂

  • Scott Rogers

    Great video – love the training montage! You’ve clearly got the nib of the tiger. While it’s hard to argue with any of these choices, the only one that strikes me as an absolute must-have is the TWSBI 580. The other six are good pens, but the TWSBI 580 (in any version) is the one pen from this list that I’d say any fountain pen writer must have if he or she can afford a $60 pen. It’s a great writer, it holds seemingly oceans of ink, and it’s by far the most beautiful demonstrator pen I’ve ever seen. A person can pay orders of magnitude more money for a high-end demonstrator and not get the clarity of materials the TWSBI offers. Get it in full clear if you love ink, or the red and blue version if you love America, or one of the several other colors if that’s your thing, but if you’re considering a pen at this price level, start with the TWSBI 580.

    • Madigan

      Hey Scott! The 580 has a definite fan base. It’s a great pen. 🙂

    • Mary Bucklew

      Sing it, Scott! My personal fav as well!

  • Scott Rogers

    Great video – love the training montage! You've clearly got the nib of the tiger. While it's hard to argue with any of these choices, the only one that strikes me as an absolute must-have is the TWSBI 580. The other six are good pens, but the TWSBI 580 (in any version) is the one pen from this list that I'd say any fountain pen writer must have if he or she can afford a $60 pen. It's a great writer, it holds seemingly oceans of ink, and it's by far the most beautiful demonstrator pen I've ever seen. A person can pay orders of magnitude more money for a high-end demonstrator and not get the clarity of materials the TWSBI offers. Get it in full clear if you love ink, or the red and blue version if you love America, or one of the several other colors if that's your thing, but if you're considering a pen at this price level, start with the TWSBI 580.

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  • Tommy N

    Love the video! I found it informative, punny, filled with wit and creativity. I give it a ….. 10, but that is just my o-pen-ion. Thanks for the smiles.

    • Madigan

      I see what you did there. 😉 Thanks Tommy!

  • Tommy N

    Love the video! I found it informative, punny, filled with wit and creativity. I give it a ….. 10, but that is just my o-pen-ion. Thanks for the smiles.

  • Madigan

    I see what you did there. 😉 Thanks Tommy!

  • Madigan

    Hey Scott! The 580 has a definite fan base. It's a great pen. 🙂

  • jordanjay29

    I think once you get past $100, it becomes MUCH harder to recommend a pen. There are so many options in the $100-200 range, and so many people have different preferences when it comes to pens like that approaching a premium price.

  • NorthenLight

    I JUST received my Platinum PTL 5000a from you all and took it to work today. It’s a touch finicky but I think that when you get a Japanese EF, there’s a bit of a learning curve. That said, I’m falling hard for this pen. I love the line variation, and how it looks. I have the TWSBI and the Cool on my list of future pen purchases so I’ll.Be.Back!

  • NorthenLight

    I JUST received my Platinum PTL 5000a from you all and took it to work today. It's a touch finicky but I think that when you get a Japanese EF, there's a bit of a learning curve. That said, I'm falling hard for this pen. I love the line variation, and how it looks. I have the TWSBI and the Cool on my list of future pen purchases so I'll.Be.Back!

  • Julian Peters

    Noodler’s Neponsit. Difficult to get though, so makes sense to be on the shortlist. I love mine. The finish and the grip section in particular.

  • Julian Peters

    Noodler's Neponsit. Difficult to get though, so makes sense to be on the shortlist. I love mine. The finish and the grip section in particular.

  • Eva Yaa Asantewaa

    Faber Castell Basic. I love the design, and the pen never fails me. It’s a class act.

  • Eva Yaa Asantewaa

    Faber Castell Basic. I love the design, and the pen never fails me. It's a class act.

  • I would include one of the Sheaffer pens in that price range. I have a Sheaffer 100 and Prelude and they are both great pens, so based on that, I would assume the 300 and Sagaris are also great! Very punny video by the way! 🙂

  • Suggest the Pelikan m200 as a next level pen. Can't go wrong. Mr. GOULET, can u carry the Pelikan m200 nibs replacements and especially the italic replacement to fit my m200? Is that possible? Help a felllow fountain pen lover out……you guys are the greatest by the way:)

  • Mary Bucklew

    Loved the video! Love your energy and passion, Brian! Hands down for me would be (any of) the TWSBIs – especially the 580AL. I have a vast collection of high end name brand fountain pens from having been a collector before I retired, and I assure you, the TWSBI 580AL can go nib to nib with any of them as far as pure writing pleasure and ease of use.

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