Goulet Q&A Episode 191: Noodler’s Pens, Premiumization, and Brian’s 3 Favorite Pens of 2017!

In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about Noodler’s pens, Premiumization, and his favorite pens of 2017!

This week:

Pens/Writing

1) hermit_piper- Instagram (36:43)
In your video introducing the Visconti Homo Sapiens, you briefly mention the six threads and the hook mechanism. I’ve got two questions on that: how exactly does the spring-loaded mechanism in the cap work? And: the threads on the barrel seem to look a bit “feathery” on some of these pens, almost as if they wear out. Is this possible? I wouldn’t think so as I guess both the threads and the hooks in the cap are made of lava – or does the hook and thread thing work with plastic? I enjoy those Q&As a lot, thanks for that awesome effort, Brian!

  • it’s hard to see the mechanism work in a normal pen, but Visconti’s done a couple of demo pens  that show it a little better
  • there’s a spring loaded mechanism in the cap that moved up and down
  • the threads in the pen grip push it up as you push the pen in and rotate it
  • once it’s over as far as it’ll go, the spring pushes it back and it locks into place
  • from what I understand, it’d VERY difficult to get the threads to look clean on the pens
  • some turn out a little better than others
  • the nature of the volcanic material shows that machining more
  • other pens with the hook safe lock look consistently cleaner

2) taking_care_of_momma- Instagram (39:54)
I really want to add a pen with a flex nib to my collection. What are the biggest differences between the Noodler’s pen models?

  • Nib Creaper – smaller pen, smaller #2 nib, smaller ink capacity (1ml), cheapest ($16.10)
  • Ahab – much larger, #6 nib, piston and eyedropper for huge ink capacity (2-6ml), fits 308 cartridge, my favorite ($23)
  • Konrad – more comfortable size for most people, #6 nib, classic design, piston with decent ink capacity (1.5ml), less universal nib swapping (regular, acrylic, ebonite)  ($22-40)
  • Neponset –  largest and most expensive pen, less universal nib swapping #6, music flex, unique nib but VERY broad and wet, not for everyone, fits 308 cartridge (acrylic and ebonite) ($75)

3) Luca D- Facebook (47:47)
I also collect whisky, and we have seen a lot of “premiumization”, i.e. brands charging high prices for average whisky with brilliant packaging, exotic names and weird stories behind the product. Do you feel something similar is happening in the fountain pen world, with new manufacturers selling flashy pen bodies with the universal Bock/Jowo steel nib and prices often above 100$?

  • for sure, this happens sometimes in all niche industries
  • I know this was a huge movement in fountain pens in the 90’s/2000’s with lots of LE’s
  • I don’t see this blatantly happening so much in the pen industry, or if it had, it’s curtailing right now
  • a lot of brands are going the opposite way, looking to develop more entry-level pens to encourage new users to their brands
  • with Bock/Jowo, SO many brands are using them, it’s not that they’re universal, but OEM
  • the nib is a huge factor in the pen obvi, but there’s so much more that goes into it
  • a lot of smaller, independent manufacturers use more generic and obvious Bock/Jowo nibs, and they don’t have economies of scale so they charge in the $100+ price and often use the story of how they started to promote their brands
  • I don’t think it’s intentional “premiumization”, I think we’re actually more coming off some of that having already happened

4) Jason A- Facebook (53:21)
As the year comes to and end, what were your favorite 3 pens released in 2017 that were/are offered by Goulet Pens?

5) Scott S- Facebook (56:39)
Theoretically: What is the point in a fountain pen with no line variance? Without the gorgeous control of lettering it is just another color changeable ballpoint pen. This is not how I feel as I would have a fountain pen just because I love the mechanics, but a valid someone could make. What are your thought Brian?

  • oh c’mon!! Give fountain pens a little more credit than that! 😉
  • I agree in the sense that fountain pens are certainly more capable of having dynamic writing with stubs or flex pens, that’s true
  • but even with no line variance at all, they’re performance vehicles of writing
  • smoother flow, ink color choices, design, ink capacity, nib size and smoothness, bounce and spring in the nib feel, shading, water proofness/archival inks, etc
  • some people want fountain pens that literally look no different on paper than rollerballs! That’s probably the exception though
  • Personally, I think if you’ve got it, flaunt it
  • Fountain pens, for me, are a way to personalize my own writing experience and I want that reflected in the written words on the page


QOTW: What would you like me to ask Lamy in Germany, feedback to give them, or pics/video you’d like to see of their factory? (58:48)

Write On,
Brian Goulet

2017-11-17T11:26:06+00:00 November 17th, 2017|Goulet Q&A|26 Comments
  • Jeff Ellis

    You really need to fix the RSS feed for the blog. I normally use Feedly to know when you post new entries but since you went to the new site that no longer works and I want to keep up to date with what you have going on!

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Hi, Jeff. Sorry about that. Try this link for your Feedly. That should work. https://blog.gouletpens.com/feed

      • Jeff Ellis

        Thank you that fixed the issue! I am much happier now 😉

      • Ben

        Oh, thank you so much. My RSS feed stopped working too and it has been quite annoying. I never otherwise think to visit this blog!

      • Dick Davies

        Thank you. Back on Feedly

  • DragonflyDM

    I know you want more people to sign up..but it is challenging. Hope I win the Thanksgiving giveaway!!

  • David Dewey

    A suggestion for Lamy. I am enjoying my new Lamy Aion very much. There
    things I’d like to see 1) italic options for the new shape nibs, 2) a piston-filler version of the Aion (which I think would be a winner), and 3) more colour options. David Dewy (UK)

  • mulrich1

    I would love Lamy to use international cartridges instead of proprietary sizes. I would have purchased the Aion had it been compatible with international cartridges. I know this probably will never happen but this is my only feedback for Lamy.

  • Tom Johnson

    Wow, look at all the new stuff! I’m dying to know what is coming in the future that Brian cannot talk about. The resins on the Avatar and Grande Bellezza are wonderful, I can’t pick a favorite. The “soft magnetic” cap closure is so neat, a great idea. Never seen this concept used before. As you describe it, the cap pulls onto the pen’s grip and rotates to lock with only placement of the cap, no pressure required. That is so cool.

    Q# 5 – when I started using fountain pens the aspects Brian summarizes are what sold me over ball points and gel pens: pressure less writing; rich wet inks – dark, colors, special properties. Natural, low angle writing – more comfortable and less straining. Beauty of the pen designs, almost unlimited ink choices from invisible to deepest black that no ball point can deliver. Most of my writing is with “regular” nibs: from EF to B. Flex is used rarely, and stub nibs used for special things. And one thing you can do with a fountain that you cannot do with a ballpoint: write continually on a vertical service. Ball points require gravity to keep writing, fountain pens do not. Good answer Brian.

    QOTW: Brian, can you ask Lamy if the stainless grips and clips on the Lamy 2000 are hardened? I ask this because these are made from 400 series stainless alloys, which is usually used when the part is to be hardened.

  • Sergio Nathan

    A different color for the Lamy 2000. Blue, red, racing green, or even a demonstrator. And while at it, offer a stub nib for it. Would be nice if they offered the nibs separately.

    Bring back the terracotta for the Lamy Safari. Matte colors seem pretty hit right now.

  • _s_s_miles

    I am SO excited for the new Pineider FPS! I’ve known Dante for years and consider a good acquaintance, if not a close friend. He actually showed me a prototype of his soft magnetic lock just before he left Visconti, and I can’t wait to see what his artistry comes up with under Pineider.

    One thing I think you left out in answering Scott’s question is the ease that a FP gives to the writing experience over ballpoints. I have rheumatoid arthritis – which destroys the joints in the fingers leaving them swollen, painful, & sensitive – and the seemingly small amount of pressure it takes to write with a ballpoint causes me great pain. The graceful, effortless flow of a fountain pen allows me to write for hours instead of minutes.

    QOTW: My wife really likes the Al-Stars, and wants you to strongarm them into bringing back her preferred EF nibs to the US market. I am a fan of the Dialog 3 (I have the “piano” set of Black & White), and I’d like to see more tactile options for their finishes. The smooth lacquered metal is nice, but more grip would make me happy.

    • Tom Johnson

      What you say about the comfort aspect of fountain pens is so true. When I was taught penmanship in grade school (some 60 years ago) they emphasized that. The teacher would sneak up behind us and pluck the pen from our hand as we were writing. If we were gripping the pen with any force we were told to loosen up our grip. You only have to hold a fountain pen to support and guide it. That went out the window when ballpoint pens were allowed, they have to be pressed down with force at an uncomfortable angle to work.

  • Shaavazul

    Thank you for being our voice to Lamy!

    Lamy, I want: a sub $50 pen without the triangular section, bonus if it’s a forest green. I’d also like a Studio that doesn’t have a slick metal grip section.

    • Kak_arctic

      Lamy logo is a sub $50 pen w/o triangular grip. But that pen is super slim and made of metal. No sure if you will like that…

      • Shaavazul

        Thanks! Honestly I did forget about it because it’s so thin and not in my range of comfort.

        • Kak_arctic

          Yeah, I understand. Lamy logo is just a weird pen imo… It is as thin as a pencil. But at the same time, not exactly as light as a pencil. And the metal doesn’t help that much…

          • Shaavazul

            Yes! I really wanted to love it, but when tried a friend’s I realized it was probably the worst pen for me. That said, I love Lamy pens.

  • Twoznek

    Lamy Dark lilac ink back. STAT. Please…

  • David L.

    QOTW: Bring back the Copper Orange Al-Stars (most important), EF nibs back to the U.S., and try to make a Navy Blue 2000. That’s all I can think of at the moment.

    Definitely getting that new Singularity!!! By far my new favorite. Also can’t wait for that calendar!

    This is the first tome I have been able to watch a Q&A in the past few weeks. It feels so good to get back on track!

    • Tom Johnson

      I knew you’d be interested in that calendar David! How many times have you asked for one?

      • David L.

        I asked about it a few times after the interview with Ryder Carroll, but I cannot put down an exact number. I think I can make room for one in my upcoming order. 🙂

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      I would covet a Navy Blue 2000 ALL THE HEART EYE EMOJIS!!!!

  • Kak_arctic

    QOTW: I really really really really want the red Al-Star to be back…. And more interesting inks!!!!

    • Kak_arctic

      Oh! And any chance for Lamy to do something like what they did with Line here in the USA? Like a snoopy pen with a clip. It will be a perfect to my snoopy loving friends.

  • John D’Alessandro

    Brian would you ask Lamy if they’ve made or are still making the Lamy All Star in colors of the various Bundesliga teams. The Bundesliga is the highest league of professional soccer teams in Germany. Specifically if we can buy them here in the United States?

  • Risto Alanko

    I have a modest collection of Lamy Safaris and Al-Stars. I also have some of the Chinese copies, most are of questionable quality, but some can even be fitted with Lamy nibs. You could ask Lamy how they could stem this flow of cheap copies, some even have Lamy name on them. But there is a snag: all copies use international cartridge/converter, Lamy has a proprietary cartridge…why?