Jul 28, 20166643 views

What's your grail pen?

Admittedly, compared to most of the people within the writing community I am relatively inexperienced in my knowledge with the pens that are available on the market.
I only started looking into fountain pen after several causal chats with the members of Writing team at Massdrop. It's too easy to be infatuated by the passion of the people working around you, and before I realized it, I've already gotten quite a few fountain pens as well as numerous bottles of ink in all sorts of different shades.
Recently, Edelberg (http://edelberg.swiss/) caught my attention. And I've been lusting over the EB-1023 ever since.
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obilot, Synchopat, and 21 others
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I have two grail pens. For the best writing experience, the Pelikan M805 Ocean Swirl. For beauty, the Visconti Homo Sapiens Silver London Fog.
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My grail pen is this Krone Fiction, in bondi blue and cream. I had the opportunity to buy it, but my wife was so negative, and it was an expense, I think it was $367.00 at the time. Haven’t seen another one like it anywhere. All of them must be in nice pen boxes in several someone’s collection. It probably would cost more to buy from another pen collector, nowdays. What happened to Krone, they seem to have run out of ideas. I haven’t seen any new works from them?
I don't really use fountain pens but I have some old plastic Parker that's served me well. I'm more of a ballpoint guy these days, in which case the full Zebra F-701 conversion to use a 402 clicker and Fisher PR4s. That, a Fisher Trekker and Bullet are my EDC pens.
Waterman Carene. It is everything I wanted in a fountain pen, and I have never had the slightest desire to replace it.
Omas 360 Tourquoise demonstrator
I would love to try it
Would love to try it.
That looks like a nice pen. I like the shape. I've never heard of Edelberg, however, probably because the company is only 9 years old. I've been using fountain pens for about 40 years, since I took up formal calligraphy at about 10 years of age.
My "Holy Grail" pen is probably still the Graf von Faber-Castell 2004 Pen of the Year (https://www.graf-von-faber-castell.us/pen-of-the-year/natures-luxury/poty-2004):

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…but the truth is, I'm not likely to ever actually own one, unless I hit the lottery.
The fact is, my choices of pen may be limited by the ink I've chosen to use, which is Mrs. Stewart's Concentrated Liquid Bluing:

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…which is virtually identical to historical recipes for Prussian Blue (ferric ferrocyanide) ink. It's a beautiful blue:

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…it's waterproof when dry on paper, and archivally permanent, plus it never clogs my pens. It's only drawback is that there is the possibility it might corrode gold nibs, so it is best used in pens with stainless steel nibs.
And for that reason, I limit myself to relatively inexpensive pens like the Pelikan M205 demonstrator:

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the "disposable" Platinum Preppy:

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or my new favourite and EDC for the past year, the TWSBI ECO:

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My third ECO, the Transparent Blue shown here, is currently on its way to me from TWSBI. I use an EF nib to write in my Filofax diary, an M nib for general writing, and I will by this time next week have a 1.1 mm stub nib for cheque and document signing.
This ink and these pens have ruined me for anything more expensive. They are everything I could wish for: beautiful, functional, and inexpensive.
Next thing is getting a new Filofax Classic Croc Personal in Indigo to match:

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…and while I'm at it, maybe a new Warwick Streamer CV:

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The M450 Vermeil Green Tortoise is a worthy grail pen, indeed. I have many beautiful pens, but this one is truly a standout among them.
gcvrsa
This is fascinating! I'm not a huge fan of be ink, but I have to try this!!!
Visconti Homo Sapiens. Just love the material - Basalt
My grail pen is a Parker Duofold in red hard rubber. I've looked at some and thought of buying one, but they've either been in poor shape, or they're in good shape and very expensive. Some day maybe I'll see one in decent shape at a decent price, or else I'll decide to just spend the money to get a really good one. There's a picture of the style I like on Tony Fischier's site:
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https://parkerpens.net/duofold.html
I'm a simple bitch. the lamy 2000 is my grail pen, even though it isn't expensive or complex, it fits all I look for in a pen. most importantly, it fits my aesthetic and is inexpensive enough that if it were to get stolen I wouldn't feel obligated to file an insurance claim.
Probably doesn't quite fit in with others in this list, but, if I'm honest, my "holy grail" pen is the standard Lamy 2000. I saw one for the first time while attending a conference last year and was so taken aback its simple design and fit and finish, I was compelled to stop and ask about it. I can't remember the last time something so small has invoked such a strong response. And, lo and behold, I can actually afford one (and hope to soon)!
I've since picked up a Lamy Safari, Pilot Metropolitan, and a MUJI Aluminum, and I'm kicking myself for not adopting fountain pens sooner--they make writing and sketching an absolute joy.
It would have to be the Montblanc Hemingway
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MikePad
An excellent choice. The 139 shape and clip, along with the #9 nib, make for an outstanding combination.
I'm a really big fan of my Lamy 2000 (despite owning more pens than I'd care to admit to outside of our community). Its my daily go-to pen. But a grail pen that is... expensive? Is that what makes a grail pen? I love the Visconti Homo Sapiens (dark age, because that dark nib is fabulous). The nib is so smooth with just a hint of tooth, and it's comfortable enough to use for long writing sessions. Totally consider one for the future!
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Magicturtle
+1 on this. I cannot come to terms with the price, but every time I see one....
Any of the Visconti Opera Crystal demonstrators, like the Crimson Tide. I'll likely never get it, but I drool over it every time I see it...
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selecting a grail pen is tough! It's hard to know that the expensive pens are going to serve that niche until you shell out the dough. My favorite two pens are my daily writers. Pilot MYU from 1971 (M-nib) that I found on ebay and restored or a parker sonnet (F-nib). After a lot of $$ spent, these are my grail pens, although i'd love to check out a Namiki Emperor in red at some point. :)
My favorite pen to use is the Lamy Safari. It has never given me an issue. I take it everywhere with me
The Parker 88- all around the best, most durable, easiest writing fountain pen I have ever used. I have owned 2, and lost both over the years. If Parker would bring these back, and not the Rialto ones that have plastic nib housings, I would happily buy 5 without even thinking about it twice. Such an amazing, simple and non-finicky producer. I miss those guys daily!
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All this time, and I'm still lusting after a Wahl-Eversharp Decoband. Maybe someday, when its price tag isn't also my rent payment.
My favorite pen to write with from the ones I own is a levenger l-tech, but it is a bit heavy for long writing sessions, so I usually use a pilot metropolitan. It is much drier but more comfortable on the long run. If I ever get a chance to buy one at an affordable price I would love to get myself a lamy dialog 3 in piano black color, it was when I first saw it that my love for fountain pens ignited after years, it is a beautiful piece of art as much as it is an outstanding marvel of engineering, but it is also out of my economic reach right now
Sailor maki-e pen with a stacked king eagle nib. They're only like fifteen grand.
I have found a way to get hold of a few thousand-dollar pens on my very meager salary by deal hunting and saving and buying used, but my real grail pen is the visconti divina metropolitan, in green stacked celluloid with sterling silver inlay, and I just found/bought a used one for about 400 less than MSRP. It's the most beautiful object I've ever seen, though it's not a very good pen, I'll keep using it just because.
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I have been collecting pens for many years And therefore have many favorites. Some I have custom made by artisans such as Seth Roland at WoodNotchPens, 3 of which are above. A Tibaldi Celluloid Emperor Fountain Pen with a No. 6 18k JoWo Nib, a Woolly Mammoth Ivory .960 Argentium Silver Tuscany 1 Fountain Pen with a No. 6 18k Bock Nib, and a Stingray Leather Great Palace Vine Fountain Pen with a No. 6 18k JoWo Nib. Above those is a double-sided (2 nibs) Visconti Alchemy gold & platinum Fountain Pen, and my all-time favorite, the Krone Duke Ellington Solid Silver Fountain Pen with an 18k Krone Nib. Most of these pens are relatively heavy, which I like, personally. While all of these pens are in the $1,000 and above category, I must say that if any of you can find a pen that has a Bock or JoWo Nib, you will get a very nice pen and be quite happy. I personally like 18k Gold or Platinum Nibs, but the Bock and JoWo Stainless Steel and Titanium Nibs write beautifully, too!
My grail pen at the moment is the visconti knights templar. It's one of the only ones left that I REALLY want and dont yet have.
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Sailor King of Pen in Urushi Orange with a cross-point nib. Not that I've thought about it.
Mont Blanc 139. I probably should set my expectations lower :/
I am more of a nib person - but yes that Edelberg does look nice
Namiki Emperor Goldfish, or Montblanc Blue Hour Skeleton with a bespoke small signature nib.
jmccarty3
Personally I would go with the Namiki Emperor Owl, but the Goldfish is stunning too.
I now restrict my collecting/writing to number 6 nibs or larger and non-cartridge converter fill pens. Grail potentials...A Wahl-Eversharp Deco Band button filler would be nice, an Aurora 88 Ottantotto, a Visconti oversized Homo Sapien, a Konid oversized bulk filler. Vintage would be a Waterman 58. MB 149 is not on the list and never will be... My current favorite jostles between my Pilot Custom 823 and my Pelikan 800 with an IB nib.
Interesting question. With literally hundreds of pens to choose from, my grail pen tends to be the one I am working with at the time, and that can vary from an inexpensive Knox nib with a brass barrel, to my GvFC (which currently is my high-end). To me, the issue is what is the best writing nib. I have hoisted multithousand dollar pens that did not write well, while I have dozens of Knox nibs that are workhorses. Never a nick, nip, skip, or ooze. I have a Parker that needs regular encouragement and Levenger's that flow from full to empty with almost the same amount of coverage throughout.
In many cases, I have found that, more and more, I am becoming more of a paper snob than I am a pen snob. I like good pens, don't get me wrong, but good paper makes a marginal pen great in most cases.
Across the top is the Vanishing Point (Stormtrooper), bottom right, Knox (from Birmingham Pens), In the middle my Graf von Faber-Castell, and on the end a new one called Penlux (an aluminum body) that I just acquired.
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I also like TR paper, especially Taroko's 68gsm paper, which is thick enough to easily write on both sides. I believe Taroko also supplies the 68gsm on Goulet, too. Clairfontaine triumphe and rhodaia papers get a decent amount of use.
I have some Rhodia notebooks that I've used and Midori MD notebooks are quite nice to write on but currently behind Franklin Chrisoph firmaflex notebooks. They are sugarcane paper, have a hard cover, and hold up exceptionally well to FP use. They are more absorbent than TR paper so the don't tend to show as much shading but most of the inks I use are very permanent ones that don't tend to show much shading, anyways. (blacks, iron gall blue-blacks, or various noodler's bulletproof inks).
monocline
Follow-up on the Franklin Christoph paper: shading inks like Diamine Ochre show tons of shading on this paper, too.
Omas Arte Italiano Arco celluloids...if not all of them, 7 IIRC, it's pretty close.

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That does not do the material justice. Iridescent with great depth. That's the Brown. I also have the Verde..
Pic of the 7 pet set Omas put out:

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Visually stunning, but also eminently usable, unless you really prefer something heavier. NOT subtle, however. :)
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CraigLewis
Yup, that's the good stuff!
CraigLewis
I hope to build a similar collection some day!!!