There’s something incredibly adult about owning, and writing with, a nice pen. When I was 12 and bought my first suit (in the husky kids’ section of Wal-Mart, no less), it was the exact same feeling as when I bought my first Montblanc. Oh, so this is what growing up feels like.
In our utterly digital age, it’s hard to convince people to pick up a pen, let alone drop a few hundred dollars on one. But owning a nice pen does to your writing what putting on a tie does to your suit: it enhances the experience and makes one feel polished. It also creates a little ritual for your day, forcing you to pause and sit and actually think about what you’re doing. This is especially true of fountain pens, which are my preferred medium when writing longhand.
But most importantly, it’s something to be proud of and hold onto. These small instruments become heirlooms over time.
Whether you’re the writer in your family or you know someone who is, these five luxury pens on the market today combine old-school charm with a bit of style.
Montblanc Meisterstück LeGrand Fountain Pen
It’s hard to deny the standard that Montblanc has set for more than a century. With a subtle design and gold trim, this pen embodies the phrase, “Money talks, but wealth whispers.”
While brand recognition may be one appeal of a Montblanc, it’s also an incredibly smooth writing experience. Montblanc grinds and tests each nib by hand. Thanks to this pen’s gold nib, you can expect a buttery feel as it glides on paper, which is great for longform writing and cursive.
Sailor 1911S Fountain Pen
The Japanese cousin to the German Meisterstück, the Sailor 1911S’s cult following is well-deserved. Similar in style to the Montblanc Meisterstück, the black and gold body makes it a more subtle status pen. The Sailor brand has nibs that are a little finer than major European brands, giving the writing experience a bit more toothsomeness to it that’s more akin to a pencil than a fountain pen in some cases. For something a little different, the Sailor has a few colorways, including A Pirate’s Life, which is a beautiful mustard yellow that is quite rare for a pen color.
Esterbrook Estie Honeycomb
This is a brand your grandparents would have known, as it was a ubiquitous American company throughout the 1800 and 1900s. At the height of its popularity, Esterbrook pens were used by everyone from school children to Presidents. The brand was revitalized a few years ago and has become the standard-bearer for American pens. The Honeycomb is a mainstay color in the collection and is a gorgeous pen that nods to the Art Deco era’s infatuation with acrylic pens while giving it a modern update. Available in fountain, rollerball, and ballpoint, this is a great pen at a lower price point for any sort of writer.
Aurora Optima Fountain Pen
The Italian brand Aurora has been making pens for over a century, and the Optima is a perennial favorite for writers of all types. The brand’s proprietary celluloid produces unique, almost luminescent color blends that only get better with each release. Fitted with a 14-karat nib, you can expect a very smooth writing experience. Many love the Optima model because it’s a bit more diminutive than other fountain pens, so it’s great to hook into a notebook, portfolio, or your jacket pocket.
Otto Hutt Design 07 Rollerball Pen
If Montblanc is about German elegance, then Otto Hutt is about German engineering. The Design 07 has timeless style and is functional for everyday use. Made from sterling silver, this pen has some weight that gives it more presence in one’s hand or on the desk. The linear etching on the pen has a bit of an Art Deco-meets-Gordon Gekko feel to it. I’d suggest a rollerball for this one, as the weight of the pen will write smoothly with the gel ink and can still be capped like a traditional fountain pen, making it the best of both worlds.