In this blog post, we’re highlighting our top 10 picks for fountain pen holiday gifts in the category: Gifts Under $500.
In no particular order, here are ten of our favorite fountain pen-related gifts under $500!
Pilot Custom 823
This vacuum-filling Pilot Custom 823 fountain pen comes in a translucent amber brown color with gold trim, or a translucent smoky grey color with silver trim. It has a 14kt gold nib and comes packaged in a gift box with a bottle of ink, for $288.
The Elmo is one of Montegrappa’s most affordable fountain pens. Available in a wide variety of unique colorful resins, including multiple Goulet Pens exclusive colors, this cartridge/converter fountain pen features a #6 JoWo steel nib. Normally starting at $199, several colors are currently on sale for less!
Platinum #3776 Century
This year’s annual limited edition Platinum #3776 Century is the Shiun, a gorgeous translucent lavender color with many facets. Now available for $376.
Pineider Avatar Deluxe
Featuring Pineider’s soft 14kt gold Quill nib, the Pineider Avatar Deluxe is a joy to write with. Made of virtually unbreakable resin and accented by gold trim, it also features a magnetic twist cap. Available for $294.40.
Beloved by many and growing in popularity, the Zeppelin-inspired Diplomat Aero comes in a wide variety of anodized aluminum colors. It features a smooth writing #6 JoWo steel nib, with some colors also available with a 14kt gold nib. Starting at $156.
One of our best sellers year after year, the LAMY 2000 is an iconic fountain pen. Made from a combination of black polycarbonate and brushed stainless steel, this minimalistic pen comes with a hooded 14kt gold nib. Starting at $199.20.
Newly added to our store this year, the Sailor 1911 has been a new favorite of many. The smaller 1911S features a 14kt gold nib, while the larger 1911L has a 21kt gold nib. With many colors and nib sizes to choose from, you can’t go wrong. Starting at $180.
Conklin Endura Abalone
An incredible value for the price, the brand new Conklin Endura in Abalone is in a league all its own. It comes equipped with a smooth writing #6 JoWo steel nib. Available for $116.
Newly released in Blue and Purple, this popular fountain pen features a resin body and a soft 14kt gold nib for some line variation when writing. A pleasure to write with, the Pilot Falcon is available for $180.
Pilot Vanishing Point
The most iconic retractable fountain pen, the Pilot Vanishing Point is one of our most popular models and a favorite among many. With its 18kt gold nib, this pen starts at $156.
In this blog post, we’re highlighting our top 10 picks for fountain pen holiday gifts in the category: Gifts Under $100.
In no particular order, here are ten of our favorite fountain pen-related gifts under $100!
Sailor Compass 1911
Sailor recently brought this affordable fountain pen to the US market this year, and it has been incredibly popular! Available in clear plus eight other vibrant translucent colors, the Sailor Compass 1911 writes smoothly with its medium-fine steel nib. Priced at $39.20, it comes packaged with a color-matched ink converter and ink cartridge.
Conklin Duragraph Demo
The Conklin Duragraph has been a popular pen for a number of years now, and recently was released in a clear demonstrator version. Available in gleaming chrome trim or our exclusive gunmetal black trim, this fountain pen can fill via converter, cartridge, or eyedropper for maximum ink capacity. The Duragraph Demo is available for $64.00 and currently comes with a free 30ml bottle of Monteverde ink.
Monteverde Tool Pen
Always a popular gift, this multi-function Monteverde Tool fountain pen includes helpful built-in gadgets such as a ruler, screwdriver, and a level! Available in yellow or black for $40.00.
With a simple leather cover available in several colors, the Traveler’s Notebook is incredibly versatile. While it comes with a single blank notebook included, you can customize it with a wide variety of other notebook inserts as well as other handy accessories like pen loops, folders, and pockets. The smaller Passport size is available for $40.95, and the larger Regular size is $49.95.
Noodler’s Triple Tail
Noodler’s has continued to innovate its line of flex nib fountain pens over the years, and the latest Triple Tail model has been incredibly popular. With a clear body, it features a large ink capacity piston filler and a flexible music steel nib. Available for $55.00.
New this year, the aluminum Monteverde Ritma comes in six matte metallic colors and features a secure magnetic cap, gunmetal trim, and a black #6 JoWo nib. At only $36 (plus a free bottle of Monteverde ink), it’s an incredible value.
A step up from the popular Safari and AL-Star models, the LAMY Studio features a sleek design. Available in a variety of sophisticated colors including the special editions Aquamarine and Glacier Blue, these pens feature interchangeable LAMY nibs. Starting at $79.20.
One of our best selling fountain pens, the TWSBI 580 ALR model was recently released in two special edition colors: Prussian Blue and Punch Pink. The 580ALR model features a clear barrel, piston filler, and colorful aluminum trim including a textured grip section. Starting at $60.
This limited edition Monteverde Innova fountain pen features a black carbon fiber barrel accented by gunmetal or shiny chrome trim. It comes with an included bottle of ink, as well as a bonus Monteverde Gemstones 30ml bottle of your choice. A great value at $52!
This commemorative Conklin All American Courage collection celebrates and honors our essential workers in the medical field. Available in three colors, each features the rod of Asclepius on the clip, and a heartbeat on the centerband. At $100, it also comes with an included bottle of ink as well as a bonus free bottle of ink with purchase.
Brian Goulet journeys into the unknown searching for silver and gold shimmer with Jacques Herbin 350 Vert Atlantide fountain pen ink. The truth, Brian was a little bored at home and created an over-the-top movie trailer for the video intro that you can enjoy, then reviews the ink and shows the color and shimmer. If you’re a fan of the other Jacques Herbin shimmering inks in the 1670 and 350 series, you’re going to like this one, too.
The Jacques Herbin 350 Vert Atlantide is a dark green shimmering ink with both gold and silver added particles. This color is the special anniversary ink for 2020, and will continue to be produced ongoing. It is available in a 50ml square glass bottle for $29.95, or you can purchase our 2ml ink sample for $2.25 if you want to just try it out first.
In this blog post, we’re highlighting our top 10 picks for fountain pen holiday gifts in our budget category: Gifts Under $35.
In no particular order, here are ten of our favorite fountain pen-related gifts under $35!
Our best-selling fountain pen of 2019, it has held strong through this year too. Available in more colors than ever, this fountain pen appeals to both beginners and collectors. With a piston filler and a variety of nib size choices, the TWSBI Eco boasts an incredible value at $30.99.
The “grown up” version of the popular Platinum Preppy, the Platinum Prefounte fountain pen comes in five subdued translucent colors at $10 each.
We recently brought in a variety of designs of “pretty” Clairefontaine notebooks as a special order from France. All of these notebooks feature Clairefontaine’s super smooth bright white 90g lined paper.
LAMY Safari Candy
You may have missed this launch while we weren’t shipping in the midst of the early COVID-19 days, but this year’s LAMY Safari special edition is actually a collection of three different colors: Aquamarine, Mango, and Violet. Each features a smooth matte finish and a matching colored clip for $29.60 each.
Our newest (and biggest!) expansion to our ink lineup this year was Sailor! Between the various collections, we added a total of 142 new colors to our store. One of the most popular colors has been Sailor Haha, a high shading ink that is part of the Manyo series and set in a beautiful 50ml square glass bottle at $24.
Art of Cursive Penmanship
Know someone who wants to improve their handwriting? With cursive not taught much in schools anymore (or if you’re an adult who forgot what you learned), this Art of Cursive Penmanship book by master penman Michael R. Sull is a lifesaver. This 253-page spiral notebook contains instructions and workbook pages, all for $19.95.
Available in eight colors, the most popular color of the Diplomat Magnum is our exclusive Prismatic Purple. Not only is this pen a great value on its own at $21.60, but it currently comes with a free 30ml bottle of Monteverde ink (a $10 value).
Rickshaw Bagworks Pen Slips
Keep your fountain pen cozy in a plush-lined Rickshaw Pen Slip. The single pen sleeve is available in our exclusive Inky Blue design, or the humorous “No Borrow” design, both available for $15 each.
The entry-level Pilot Explorer fountain pen comes in six vibrant metallic colors and is set in a gift box with a converter and ink cartridge. Lightweight and easy to write with, it’s a great value at $23.60.
Random Ink Sample Set
For the adventurous spirit or the fountain pen enthusiast who has it all, the perfect gift is our “Surprise Me!” random ink sample 8-pack. It’s literally just that – we randomly select eight of our ink samples from our 750+ colors. It’s a great way to try new colors you may have overlooked.
The holiday season is upon us! Wait, is that right? What month is it again? (Checks calendar) Oh yeah, okay, guess it is that time…whew, okay. Well, with that in mind, we wanted to make this blog post which outlines our order deadlines to help you receive your holiday orders in plenty of time (probably, I mean, it’s 2020 so who knows).
While we’re not able to guarantee particular delivery dates, everyone here at Goulet Pens is working as hard as we can to make sure things are out the door and on the way to you as quickly as possible. 2020 is certainly an exceptional year with wildly unpredictable shipping delays with every carrier, higher e-commerce holiday volume overall, and unpredictable staffing with COVID-19 impacts as we enter into the colder weather. With all that in mind, please expect our typical turnaround to be closer to 2-3 business days from when you place your order to when we ship it out. We normally aim for 1-2 business days, but we’re just trying to anticipate the unanticipatable (okay, that’s not a word but you get what we’re saying).
Shipping within the US for Christmas delivery:
Order by Tuesday, December 15th if you are shipping via USPS.
Order by Sunday, December 20th if you are shipping via FedEx 2-Day.
Order by Monday, December 21st if you are shipping via FedEx Overnight.
Basically, we encourage you to order ASAP. We cannot make any guarantees for delivery dates this year, as COVID-19 has caused unprecedented delays with both shipping carriers as well as customs clearance. We wish we could offer more certainty, but that’s just not something that’s in store for 2020. As always, please be aware delivery cannot be completed if customs duties/import taxes are not paid, and we are not responsible for any delay that failure to pay these duties may cause.
Bottom line: The sooner, the better when it comes to ordering your holiday gifts! And hey, worst case, we also offer e-gift cards which don’t have to be shipped at all!
Our office will be closed on December 24th and 25th to spend time with our families and recuperate from…well, this whole year. 😉
We’d love to help you as you shop so feel free to send us an email (email@example.com), live chat with us on GouletPens.com, or give us a call (804-368-0482) if we can help!
In early 2018, the OmniFlex nib was first introduced on brands like Conklin and Monteverde. This is a stainless steel #6 size nib with a distinct shape and design to allow for increased softness, flexibility in the tines, and variation in line width based on your writing pressure. After going through iterative changes for the first several years and looking to increase their supply and quality of these nibs, the parent company Yafa embarked on a lengthy process involving significant investment of time and resources to get their nibs manufactured by the German nib company JoWo. JoWo (pronounced Yo-Vo) makes nibs for many of the brands you likely enjoy, including our very own Goulet nibs, so this was very welcome news to us when we heard about it.
But of course, with the announcement of any nib change come a lot of questions about how they perform and what to expect, especially when these nibs are coming on pens as attainable/affordable as the Monteverde and Conklins, many of which are sub-$50-100. So we wanted to give you a little bit of a preview of that here with these videos and this blog post. While we haven’t had the nibs long enough to do extensive tests over time, we feel confident enough to be able to give you a pretty good impression of what to expect so you can feel good about whether or not a pen with the JoWo-made OmniFlex is right for you.
Overall, the shape of the nibs are similar to the previous version. They’re made of stainless steel and have the same general shape and appearance that they used to with the cut out wings to increase the softness of the steel as the tines flex. The breather hole is now round instead of heart-shaped, and it has JoWo’s signature ornamentation (aka squiggles) like you see on other JoWo-made nibs. The stamped branding “OMNIFLEX” now goes vertically down the nib, though the fit and finish on the JoWo nibs is better. Here’s the original and new version for comparison:
Original non-JoWo OmniFlex nib
JoWo OmniFlex Nib
They have a distinctly different appearance than the non-flex nibs offered by Monteverde and Conklin, pictured before. The non-flex versions of both brands of nibs changed over to JoWo manufacturing in late-2019, and have enjoyed a more consistent reputation for writing performance as a result. We anticipate a similar response to the JoWo OmniFlex.
OmniFlex Writing Performance:
Alright, so this is where we have to tread lightly, as any nib with the word flex associated with it in any way immediately sends pen fans into a fantasy world where they will effortlessly produce a Spencerian or Copperplate script with no railroading or hard starting, with cupids playing harps flying about them feed them grapes. I’m sorry to say this isn’t the reality with flex of pretty much any kind (particularly with modern stainless steel nibs), so if you can get the dream sequence out of your head, you can enjoy a unique, practical nib within its limitations.
First, let’s explore how flex nibs work. As the ink flows down from the ink chamber through the feed and to the nib, it’s working by capillary action down a very thin channel that ends at the tip of the nib when it touches the paper. Properly tuned nibs will have a slit that tapers slightly from the breather hole to the tip to assist in this capillary action. When you’re flexing a nib, you’re pressing down on the nib, which bends the tines upwards and apart from each other, which essentially is a controlled deformation of the nib. If you do it within the physical boundaries of the metal’s reformation limits (known as “spring back”), the flow of ink will increase as you’re pressing these tines apart and then they will come back together where they originally were when you let up on that pressure.
Old OmniFlex Nib In Action
Doing this produces a variation in your line width that gives a dynamic, calligraphic look to your writing that is hard to achieve in any other way. Traditional calligraphy achieves intense line variation in a similar way, though with slightly different tools. Calligraphers are often using oblique nib holders with disposable nibs made of spring steel (a softer, cheaper steel that does not last a fraction as long as stainless steel), and thicker calligraphy ink. It’s not uncommon for traditional calligraphers to stress flexible nibs to the point of springing them apart past the point of return, or even snapping the tines off from the weakening of the steel due to the intense pressure put on them. However, fountain pens aren’t designed with such an intense line variation in mind, and trying to produce this same dramatic writing is pretty much asking for trouble.
What you can realistically hope to achieve with a stainless steel flexible nib, and indeed from the JoWo OmniFlex nib specifically, is a line variation safely about double the width of the nib when unflexed. The OmniFlex is only available in one nib size and doesn’t specifically state the size, but we find it to write a line with (unflexed) comparable somewhere between a fine and medium in the JoWo-made Monteverde or Conklin nibs. We find it to be slightly broader than the previous version of the OmniFlex, which some of you may like, others, maybe not. It’ll be a matter of personal preference.
Because the old version of the nib started a little finer, the line width appears slightly more dramatic. That said, when flexing the previous version of the OmniFlex, many writers found that the ink flow would be challenged to keep up consistently (which is the case with just about any flex nib), and it would take a concerted amount of pressure to get it to flex this much.
The JoWo OmniFlex feels smoother, more consistent, and takes less pressure to flex, which is a delight for an everyday writing experience. With some moderate pressure, this is a nib that just about anyone can enjoy with dependable performance. THAT SAID, if you are looking to use this nib to try to push it to its limits and get the most dramatic line variation possible, you’re likely to spring the tines past the point where they’ll come back together as they were set from the factory. You want to be very conscientious of how hard you’re pushing this nib, because it has limitations (as we’ve tried to show you in this video).
Pens currently available with the JoWo OmniFlex nibs:
It’s been well over a year in the making to bring these nibs to market. Yafa has made a significant investment of time and money to make this happen to improve the availability and reliability of the OmniFlex on their pens, and they are opening it up to basically every model under the Monteverde and Conklin brands (and potentially future brands). JoWo is still working on delivering their initial order of nibs, and the first ones rolling out in Oct 2020 are the polished stainless steel (silver color). Next to arrive will be black and rose gold nibs, which have additional plating services required that will delay these nibs for an unknown period of time, hopefully not more than a matter of weeks or months…though with COVID being what it is, everything is subject to change.
They will also be offered as standalone nib units, so if you have an older Monteverde or Conklin pen, you are likely to be able to replace the nib unit with a JoWo OmniFlex if you’re so inclined, as the housing/threading has been intentionally kept consistent with the new nibs (the feeds are also the same, in case that matters to you).
Models you can expect to see available with the OmniFlex nibs include the following (as well as others perhaps not mentioned here):
You can view all our currently available JoWo Omniflex pen offerings here.
Final thoughts on old vs new OmniFlex nibs:
We’re incredibly excited for these new nibs, as it’s been a long time in the works and we expect the quality and consistency of JoWo to make these enjoyable for more pen fans than ever before. The new nibs are a slight compromise in terms of dramatic line variation from the old version, but kept within its boundaries, we find it to be a smoother, softer, more enjoyable experience overall. Flex writing isn’t necessarily for everyone, and it should be approached with an attitude of open-mindedness of writing technique and paper/ink selection, willingness to practice, and intentionality around how flex writing is performed. With that said, we think you’ll really enjoy this nib as an everyday performer that can give you some flare and dynamism to your personal writing style and we think it’s worth exploring if you’re into that.
For more information about OmniFlex and the pen offered with these nibs on it, be sure to visit GouletPens.com.