In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about QC on high-end pens, TWSBI ECO vs. 580, and great pens for small hands. Enjoy!

This week:

  • Choir concert, whole family
  • Some leadership strategic planning for end of year, always important and busy
  • Last push for holiday delivery, we’ve reached basically all our holiday deadlines now
  • I’ll be taking off Q&A for two weeks, spending time with family
  • No Write Now next week, so videos publishing will be a little lighter
  • We do have some 2019 pen and ink roundup videos in the works, so expect those in a couple of weeks
  • New products:
    • ST Dupont Atelier Line D, sort of snuck that in there this week with a soft launch, we’ll talk about that a little more in future videos, very high quality pens made in France, urushi lacquer finish, distinctive snap cap sound that matches their lighters
    • TWSBI Eco T Mint Blue launched Tuesday 12/18
    • TWSBI ink not in time before Christmas but will come right after
    • Lamy AL-Star Turmaline Feb 2020


1) jubin_alikhanian- Instagram 

Hello Brian, in the last 2 months I went all out and bought 3 expensive pens that shall not be named. All of them skipped and hard started even after multiple cleanings and I ended up returning all of them. This left a bitter taste in my mouth and I am starting to question this hobby. Did I just have very bad luck? Is my writing angle just weird? Or are getting qc issues out of hand these days. Thanks in advance 😀

  • This is a tough question for me to answer specifically because I lack the details here to give me proper context
  • I can say definitively that like all things in life, spending more on something doesn’t always guarantee that you’ll like it more, this goes for pens and all other products
  • I would like to hope that they aren’t all QC issues, and while it would be quite rare to get 3 expensive pens all with true QC issues it could happen, and that would be bad luck!
  • It could be writing angle or something else related to your specific writing style…sometimes when you go to softer nibs (which can be found on more expensive pens) they can take a little getting used to, or write scratchy if you’re pressing hard or rotating too much
  • I do empathize with the bitter taste after big purchases, I’ve experienced that myself before, it’s hard to have missed expectations
  • Go back to the pens you know and love, and enjoy them, find what brought you into the hobby in the first place
  • then ease into higher end pens naturally, see if you can try before you buy either with a friend’s pen, at a show, at a physical store or pen show, and that’ll build your confidence
  • or reach out to a retailer (like us) and talk through what happened, see if we can coach you through it and advise you in the right direction on your next pen
  • Don’t lose heart, there is light at the end of the tunnel!

2) mush_abd_- Instagram 

ECO vs 580… I’m just a beginner.. is 580 worth extra 30 bucks???

  • that’ll be a matter of preference, honestly
  • I love both pens, so could easily recommend both
  • I think if money is tight, the Eco is a great option and I would say that’s a great option for a beginner
  • going up to the 580 is worth it once you get your feet a little wetter, you’ll have to make that call when you’re ready

3) kristinakaotic- Instagram

Very short pens? I have VERY small hands and I like using the Kaweco Sport unposted.


4) mandomandy- Instagram 

Are there any good dupes for Snow Storm from the Diamine Inkvent Calendar?

  • Diamine Moon Dust is pretty close, maybe slightly redder
  • I’ve seen reviews/comparisons on MountainofInk and Pen Addict, conversation on Goulet Nation
  • We have been revealing the colors all month in our Instagram stories but just haven’t had time for full reviews, but there are some good ones out there if you search a bit

5) disrupting_self- Instagram

Will there ever be Pilot Frixion ink for fountain pens?

  • Frixion is a thermo-sensitive gel ink that disappears with friction (heat)
  • It’s become incredibly popular, a huge success for Pilot
  • They’ve not given me any indication they’re developing it into a fountain pen ink, but I’ll pass the word up that there’s some interest
  • I’m sure they probably could develop it into a FP ink, but I have to wonder how big of a market that would really be and if it’d pay off
  • what do you all think, would that be worth it?


6) artofkatiealleena- Instagram 

Do fountain pens and inks go through color trends (ie: pantone etc) or do cool designs just sometimes become trendy on their own?

  • oh for sure, there are color trends
  • some manufacturers lean into that a little more, Lamy I feel is on top of color trends with their SE Safaris and AL-Stars
  • Kaweco Frosted Sports were popular when they launched
  • neon was popular a while back, we saw brands like LAMY, Faber-Castell and Leuchtturm lean into that (Leuchtturm is doing a new Neon line next year)
  • matte black and demos are always pretty popular
  • rose gold has really grown in popularity in the last few years, many brands have leaned into that
  • I do feel like many designs just stand on their own, and aren’t completely tied to greater fashion trends
  • pen-specific materials like ebonite and celluloid, Visconti’s Voyager 30, Montegrappa’s Ammiraglio and Miya are popular for its own reasons
  • often it has to do with what looks really good within the brand/model
  • ombre is something that became more fashionable, we saw that in Waterman years ago, Pilot Vanishing Point Twilight and Crimson Sunrise
  • LAMY, TWSBI, Visconti, Kaweco, Pilot, Sailor, Pelikan and many others will come out with regular special editions and things that are unique and on trend
  • It can always vary of course, but I do feel like the pen industry as a whole has kept more on trend with fashion colors and designs with special editions and limited editions in the last 5-10 years


7) thepencouple- Instagram 

Would you let your kids use your fountain pen collection when they start to write?

  • of course! I already do
  • I’m selective about it, and let them use pens that I know they can handle
  • my 7yo (soon to be 8) daughter is hard on the nibs, so she gets steel ones of lesser value
  • they have Pilot Varsities (easy, always ready to go) and Jinhao Shark pens (fun, cheap, cool colors) of their own
  • I do let them see and write with my nicer pens with supervision, and I’ll introduce them to them more and more as they get older
  • both of them (innocently) say they want to work at the Goulet Pen Company when they grow up, so I’ll introduce them to the pens (but not force it on them) and take it a day at a time

QOTW: As 2019 is coming to a close, what have been some of your most memorable Goulet or fountain pen experiences of the year?

Write On,
Brian Goulet