Boligrafo Connoisseurs - Help me find the perfect pen!
March 22, 2013 4:52 PM   Subscribe

I want to buy my dad a nice pen (preferably the Parker brand), but googling and amazoning around has only made me more confused about what pen to get.

My parents recently celebrated a landmark anniversary. We got my mom something, but not my dad (I wasn't sure what to get and didn't want to go the typical tie/cologne/power tool route).

I want to get my dad a nice pen (to replace one he lost). I've been looking for a pen that is:
1) greater than $50 but less than $100
2) one of those twist top pens (or anything but the ones with a cap)
3) preferably Parker, but any respected brand will do

My google-fu (usually strong) and amazon-fu (usually weak) did not help me out. It made me even more confused when I came across pages that said some pen styles are for women others are for men, that's when I gave up.

Could someone recommend a nice premium pen that my dad will take pride in keeping in his pocket? Also - if you can educate me about pens and pen styles in general, I would be deeply grateful.
posted by nondescript to Shopping (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
If you want a pen that doesn't have a cap, you're talking about either a twist-type or click-type ballpoint or capless rollerball. A ballpoint has paste ink, a little bit slower to write with, but smudgeproof. A rollerball uses liquid ink, which is easier to write with but smudgeable, and can bleed through thin paper.

The Parker model within your price range is the Sonnet. It's a beautiful pen and totally unisex; you may want to stay away from some of the finishes that lean a little more feminine, like the rose gold.
posted by payoto at 5:06 PM on March 22, 2013


I use a Cross fountain pen, and have done for a while. Costs about £60, so probably $100, and always writes beautifully. (Which is nothing to do with my actual handwriting ...)

(This one, I think:pen shop)

I'd recommend something with a gold nib, and as someone who chews pens, a metal barrel. Some people like heavier or lighter pens, or smaller / larger. I like something to hold onto, which has a bit of weight to it.

Umm. And now I'm reading your bit about not a pen with a cap. Oops. Well, if nothing else, people always talk to you when you write with a fountain pen! (Gets coat)
posted by lucullus at 5:08 PM on March 22, 2013


My long-time favorite is the classic Cross twist-top ballpoint, in 14K or 18K. But I gather that they're made in China now, and the quality is grossly inferior to what they used to be. A Cross pen used to be an engineering pleasure to hold and use, so this makes me sad.

Now, I would probably say to get a Pelikan, made in Germany, like this one.

If you're looking for a fountain pen instead, Pelikan or Lamy (but those have removable caps).
posted by Fnarf at 5:21 PM on March 22, 2013


"a nice premium pen that my dad will take pride in keeping in his pocket?"

May I suggest also a Fisher Space Pen? Models range from $10 to $120.
posted by at at 7:00 PM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yessss to the Space Pen if your dad is at all a science/space/engineering/mechanical/artsy nerd. IT WRITES UNDERWATER UPSIDE DOWN.
posted by vegartanipla at 8:31 PM on March 22, 2013


I think there is an easy dichotomy here. Fountain pen or Fisher space pen.
posted by oceanjesse at 11:26 PM on March 22, 2013


Does the "boligrafo" in the title mean that you're looking specifically for a ballpoint pen? I'll assume so for now. With the caveat that pen choice is hugely subjective, here's what I think.

I agree that Fisher Space Pens are the coolest thing since freeze-dried ice cream, but personally I don't find them pleasant to write with -- the ink's too dry and I need to apply more pressure than I find comfortable. For writing, I honestly prefer a 20-cent Bic to a Space Pen (unless of course I am writing under water on an oily surface in zero gravity at 90 degrees Celsius).

Parker is not a bad choice -- I like their rollerballs, which don't dry as quickly as a "biro-type" ballpoint but give a much smoother writing experience. The "pen chooser" on their website is a bad joke ("what sex are you? What kind of public transport do you like?" WTF?) but as far as I can tell they don't do a retractable rollerball. They do have lots of retractable dry-ink ballpoints though: See this page.

If you want a retractable rollerball, search for the word "retractable" on this CultPens page. This Monteverde looks promising but I can't vouch for it personally.
posted by pont at 3:06 AM on March 23, 2013


I've used this Cross ATX Basalt pen for 15 years and it still looks like new.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 5:34 AM on March 23, 2013


Fnarf: "My long-time favorite is the classic Cross twist-top ballpoint, in 14K or 18K. But I gather that they're made in China now, and the quality is grossly inferior to what they used to be. A Cross pen used to be an engineering pleasure to hold and use, so this makes me sad.."

Short Attention Sp: "I've used this Cross ATX Basalt pen for 15 years and it still looks like new."

I have a Chinese made Cross pen and an original one, same colour and same style, and the difference in quality is sadly rather noticable, so I wouldn't count on a new Cross pen being as durable as the one Short Attention Sp is talking about... In the past, I would have definitely have recommended Cross, not so sure anymore!
posted by Ms. Next at 2:45 PM on March 23, 2013


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