Timeless. Durable. Comfortable. Finding a pen that can stand the test of time can, well, take some time! You want something that bucks trends and has that classic appeal that will last for decades. It also needs to be made of tough stuff, to stand up to years of hard writing. Finally, it must feel good in your hand not just now, but in 20, 30, 40 years.
The plethora of antique fountain pens in the world that are still in working order tells us that fountain pens are made tough. That being said, the number of antique pens requiring a little (or a lot!) of TLC proves that not all fountain pens are made the same. That is especially true in this day and age, with new and more economical materials and methods of production.
While all of our fountain pens will last you much longer than your average plastic rollerball, we’ve put together a selection of fountain pens that you’ll want to make a long term commitment to. They are stylish but not faddy, durable but not bulky, smooth writers but never boring. In short, they are the buy-it-oncer’s dream pens.
The Lamy 2000 is made of matte black fiberglass with brushed stainless steel accents. With a gold nib and large filling capacity, it is a pen that will serve you well and for a long time. The design is sophisticated and pleasing, while the weight and balance of the pen make it an incredible tool to hold. To get the best writing experience, this pen may require a bit of getting used to, so be prepared for an adjustment period. That being said, the smoothness of the nib and stunning design make this a pen you won’t mind making a lifetime commitment to.
Karas Kustoms (No Longer Available)
(No longer available) Hand machined in the USA, Karas Kustoms fountain pens were created with durability in mind. They are made to be thrown in your pocket, purse, or bag and rattle around next to your keys and wallet. In fact, the scratched and weathered appearance they acquire after a few years is part of the appeal to some. They are offered in aluminum, brass, and copper with swappable nib and grip sections, for personal customization. Depending on the material used to create them, they can range in weight, so make sure to double-check that if you don’t enjoy heavy pens. They come in two models, the Fountain K and the Ink, which have the same aesthetic but are different sizes (the Fountain K is smaller). To test their durability claim, Brian literally threw this pen across a parking lot once and it came up slightly scratched, but with no noticeable writing problems. If you have a tendency to go really hard on pens this could be your one and only, forever and ever, fountain pen. Karas Kustoms fountain pens range in price depending on the model and material used.
The Platinum 3776 Century has a classic design that will never go out of style. If you are only a sporadic writer, don’t enjoy changing ink, or just hate the cleaning process that comes with fountain pens, this could be a good option for you. The Platinum 3776 comes with a “Slip & Seal” mechanism which keeps your ink from evaporating for up to 24 months. The gold nibs are gorgeous and give just a hint of feedback when writing. It comes in a number of beautiful colors including black, blue, burgundy, and a clear demonstrator. From time to time, Platinum will release a limited edition, which are made with equal care and attention but aren’t available for long.
Pilot Custom 823
The Pilot Custom 823 is striking in amber with a gorgeous gold trim. The fountain pen goodness doesn’t end there – the vacuum filling system holds an incredible amount of ink and the 14kt nib glides smoothly across the page. It’s a bit larger than other Pilot pens we carry, but still comfortable in the hand. The resin is a smoky amber demonstrator, so you’ll be able to watch your ink level in the body of the pen. Additionally, this pen is incredibly well balanced and truly a pleasure to hold in your hand. It’d make a great pen for a lifetime because of the smooth nib, incredible balance, and ink capacity. The Pen Addict has a great pen review, which you can read here.
Edison Nouveau Premiere fountain pens are known for their beauty. Their designs are classic, smooth, and made of stunning acrylics in a variety of shades. One of the things that distinguish these pens from others is that you can change a number of things about them. You can use a standard international converter (which comes with the pen) or eyedropper it for increased ink capacity. The nibs are also easily swappable and come in two varieties, steel or 18kt gold. Both nib styles are extremely smooth and a joy to write with. They are also fairly lightweight with an ergonomic grip section perfect for long writing sessions. While the Edison Nouveau Premiere is a favorite around here, the Collier, Beaumont, or Pearlette fountain pens all have their advantages.
Visconti Homo Sapiens
The Visconti Homo Sapiens joins this list for a number of reasons. First of all, the pen is made from basaltic lava, a fact that is fascinating but also provides incredible strength to the body of the fountain pen. It is virtually unbreakable and hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs the moisture from your hand as you are writing. This is especially helpful if you are prone to long writing sessions which can sometimes result in slippery grip sections. This pen has a number of other incredible details that make it a top contender to be your be-all, end-all pen. The 23kt palladium nib is wonderfully smooth, although quite a wet writer. It features the Visconti Hook Safe Lock, which means it won’t come unscrewed in your pocket and create an inky disaster. Additionally, the vacuum power filler is resistant to ink corrosion, making it a safe bet for long term use. It comes in two sizes, regular and midi, so you have some options if you prefer larger or smaller pens.
The line of Namiki Maki-e pens actually comes with a lifetime guarantee. Urushi lacquer, which is used in every Namiki pen, is an incredibly durable material for all that is a natural substance. Each pen is not only gorgeous, they are well balanced and come with incredibly smooth nibs. The designs are intricate and would be fascinating to behold, even 20 years from now. The understated and classic color palette on each pen won’t go out of style. While the Emperor might be a bit large for everyday use ( or not!depends on your hand size), the Nippon Art Series, the Yukari line, and the Chinkin Collection will fit snugly in most hands. The Namiki Maki-e fountain pen collection range in price based on the model and are available at GouletPens.com.
A couple of tips if you are purchasing a pen with the idea of using it for the next fifty years or so. You’re going to want to take care of the inner mechanisms and the outer body. Even the best-engineered pen will become finicky if you don’t maintain a regular cleaning schedule.
If you plan on carrying it around in your pocket or purse, a pen case or sleeve made of leather is your best bet for body protection. You might see some wear and tear on the leather after a decade or so, but your pen should be just fine inside. We carry Aston and Visconti pen cases that would work perfectly for this purpose and vary in price.
Those are our top picks. What do you think of our selections? Do you have a pen that you’ve purchased for lifetime use? Leave a comment below and let us know!
The Goulet Pen Company Team