Yes, we may be living in the digital age where tablets and smartphones come with a stylus for note taking, and everything is done digitally now through computers, but it will take some doing to dislodge the good ol’ pen and paper.
Think of it as one of those old school trends which, when the world thought it was moving away from, are making a huge comeback. Like butter. And alternative medicine. And traditional foods. Even corduroy.
Over the years, we have seen Office programs not only become the go-to writing medium, but take over accounting too, more so with the proliferation of tablets and advanced software.
The same has befallen drawing which is going digital, with graphic tablets slowly becoming the tool of trade for many artists, designers and architects.
We no longer scribble down our shopping lists, choosing instead to enlist the help of the likes of Alexa to replenish our food supplies. Heck, even sticky notes are facing an incursion from their digital counterparts.
Despite computation infiltrating every aspect of our lives, however, a lot of us still swear by pen and paper.
Because let’s face it, typing may be efficient, but nothing can replace the feel of a good pen in the hand (and smell of new paper).
Besides, this old school craft has been shown by science to boost creativity, so it’s gratifying for sensory reasons as well (hello journaling!).
That said, all pens are not equal.
Luxury pens are stylish writing instruments that can add flair to your writing (they look good on the desk too). They fetch much more than your ordinary pen, but for those who value the art of penmanship, it is a cost well worth incurring.
The Best Luxury Pens that Won’t Empty your Wallet
Luxury pens make for perfect gifts for both young and old. Actually, bar very few occasions, this is one of those gifts you can never go wrong with.
Some buy them for their writing needs, personal or work-wise, others are investing in them as collectibles that, on the higher end of the spectrum, are proving fine pieces of investment. Which explains the renaissance of collectors, key among them the younger people.
So no, it is not an old timer’s pastime.
If you are looking for the best luxury pens that don’t cost like a car transmission, this is for you.
We have put together a couple of options worth your consideration.
Duofold is one of the most notable pens in the illustrious history of Parker Pen Company.
First released in 1921 as a fountain pen, the Parker Duofold range has undergone multiple alterations through the decades and today includes a rollerball and ballpoint pen in addition to a recalibrated fountain pen – each a masterstroke in its own right.
Looking at the Duofold Ballpoint Pen, the pen giant’s excellence and commitment to offer its outstanding craftsmanship to its legion of customers is not lost on anyone.
That very much is evident gauging by how well thought out the detail of the pen seems to be – from the characteristic design of the ace to the glorious finishes carved from precious metal.
Then again, as with all Parker luxury pens, this one too has been meticulously brought together by hand, not only culminating in good aesthetics, but also ensuring the user enjoys a great writing experience.
With a retractable twist mechanism, it feels solid in the hand.
The ballpoint tip itself is medium-sized. This, coupled with the 21 individual pieces and range of precious metals that make up the pen (21 high quality pieces in total) promises the finest writing experience.
As one Amazon customer puts it, the Parker Duofold Ballpoint pen is an “extraordinary pen, luxurious yet unpretentious”. He goes on to add that despite the sleek look, the pen boasts a comfortable and secure grip that is not slippery at all, with a nice, solid heft to it.
Indeed, it is the weight of this pen that asserts pressure to the ball point. This in turn results in a perfectly even flow of ink, culminating in one of the steadiest looking ballpoint writing you will have the pleasure of enjoying.
For anyone who enjoys the art of penmanship, the Parker Duofold Ballpoint can turn out to be one of the savviest investments you can make.
Well cared for, this is a pen that can virtually last a lifetime. No need to worry about the ink running it as this is a refillable ballpoint.
It is available in 9 different colours and a few barrel designs. A choice of trim finishes ranging from, among others, Chrome to Palladium and 23-carat gold, explains the varying prices.
The Parker Duofold Ballpoint Pen comes in that unmistakable gilded Parker box.
- Quality rollerball allows for optimal, consistent ink flow
- Quick drying
- Fine grip ensures little writing fatigue
- Elegant matte finishes with trims that marry well with the pen
- Variety in colour and trim
- Easy refills
- Pen may take time some getting used to on the hand due to size
Parker Duofold Fountain Pen Version: See Price on Amazon
Waterman is one of the leading manufacturers of fountain pens in the world.
Established in 1884, the Paris-based brand today falls under the Newell Brands umbrella, the conglomerate that also houses luxury pen brands like Parker Pen Company and Berol.
Now, for a company that has been around since the 19th century, it goes without saying that Waterman has established a stellar CV in the luxury pen market.
Known as the Heart of Parisian Elegance, their pens bring together three key elements that constitute a great quality pen – innovation, excellence and design.
At a time that few value the tradition of creating fine and stylish writing instruments, Waterman has managed to recapture the style and savoir faire through a number of releases.
One we would like to bring to your attention is the Waterman Carene Fountain Pen, a pen that typifies the company’s engineering excellence.
The Waterman Carene Fountain Pen features a range of fountain pens with subtle differences in design, a factor that has contributed to the price difference in all 14 pens in the collection.
The pens differ in colour, barrel and cap design, and you can also select between a medium nib and fine nib. There is no good or bad choice when it comes down to selecting the best one – this depends on your style of writing or preference.
The Waterman Carene Fountain Pen is undoubtedly one of the finest fountain pens in the market, a pen that brings a professional touch to your writing while ensuring you genuinely enjoy its refined experience.
The company flaunts it as more of an inspiration tool for writers versus just a pen. And we agree. The Carene is one of those pens that give you every little excuse to whip it out and jot something down, no matter how trivial.
Its 18-carat solid gold rhodium-plated nib gives you a supple thrill as it effortlessly glides on paper, creating fluid curves and consistent lines in the process.
The barrel is fashioned out of lacquer, with a wonderful finish that provides a transcendent grip.
The whole pen is handcrafted and assembled in France and comes packaged in a Waterman gift box, complete with a converter and box of 8 blue cartridges.
As one buyer states, this is something Waterman should be commended for, given there are too many expensive pens that are supplied without these days.
- Sophisticated and luxurious product that is entirely created by hand
- 18k gold nib with its plunging bow is a thrill to work with
- The pen can be engraved
- Golden outlines with an assortment of colours to select from, meaning you can customise it
- Carries a three-year international warranty that can be extended to five provided you register
- It is economic, and Waterman fountain pen cartridges and ink are readily available
- Available in 8 stunning ink colours
- Waterman nibs are broader than normal and the Carene is no different – its Fine may come across as a Medium (and the Medium broader than what you’re probably used to), so something to definitely keep in mind when buying
Waterman Carene Rollerball version: See Price on Amazon
For many, Montblanc is the first name that springs to mind when it comes to luxury pens. Rather like Rolex for watches or Rolls Royce for cars.
Founded in 1906 and backed by the Richemont Swiss luxury group, the Hamburg-based manufacturer caters to the luxury market with a slew of other offerings that include watches, jewellery and travel products, in addition to writing instruments.
Sticking to the latter, Montblanc pens are known for their conservative designs, and the Montblanc Meisterstuck Fountain Pen is a good personification of this. Its name alone sounds not just classy, but royal.
German for “Masterpiece”, the Meisterstuck is a line of luxury pens comprising ballpoints, fountain pens, rollerballs, pencils and even a highlighter pen.
The Montblanc Meisterstuck Fountain Pen is a large, elegant pen that assumes the shape of a cigar, with a torpedo-shaped barrel and cap. It is available in different sizes, ranging from 144 to 149.
The pen gets longer and fatter the higher up the series you go, but it terms of writing experience, they all promise an experience unlike any other.
If you have large hands or desire a full size fountain pen, the 149 would work best for you. But if you are like me and fancy a standard size, the 146 (aka Le Grand) should work a treat.
Technically, it is a marvel.
It features a two-toned 14-carat gold medium nib (unlike the 18k found on the higher versions) with iridium tip that guarantees smooth operation throughout, gliding easily across your pages.
It provides just the right amount of strength and softness, with zero degradation on the ends of letters.
Made of precious resin, it feels solid on the hand with a satisfying heft to it. In true Montblanc fashion, the style is minimalist but you can’t help get the feeling that you are in the presence of greatness once you uncap the thing.
Overall, the Montblanc Meisterstuck Fountain Pen is a great writing instrument, although its classic design may not be for everyone.
- It’s a Montblanc
- Perfectly balanced provided you select the right size for you
- Smooth and uninterrupted writing with no break in flow
- Size variations are a definite plus
- Conservative design is not for everyone
- Fakes in the market are something to be wary of, though, there are tips to help you in that regard
Montblanc Meisterstuck Le Grande Ballpoint version: See on Amazon
If you desire a great luxury pen without having to break the bank for it, the Capless Retractable Fountain Pen from Pilot suits the bill perfectly.
The thing with most retractable pens out there is that they are shabbily made with inherent flaws here and there. Not with this little guy.
The Pilot Capless Retractable Fountain Pen spent six years in development prior to its release in 1963. And the effort that went in is clearly apparent from its performance.
It works without any skips or lags and bleeding isn’t something you will experience with this pen, making it suitable for use on your blotter or calendar.
Available only in a medium nib, the nib is made from 18 carat gold.
It is a famous assumption that Japanese nibs run small, so some people tend to associate Japanese mediums with Western Fines. Don’t make that assumption with this one. The Pilot Capless’ nib is actually thick.
You will love how it writes as this is one of those pens which mask small inconsistencies, so if you are still working on your penmanship, this is an excellent pen to aid towards your efforts.
What’s more, it is capless and only needs a simple click to deploy the nib and a second click to retract it.
You will love the fact that the ink never leaks or dries up, so no need to be concerned how you position the pen in your pocket or bag. This is one of those little things that matter.
The Pilot Capless Retractable Fountain Pen works with cartridges or a convector and is available in a Gold and Silver trim.
This is a pen that punches well above its weight.
As one user notes, the sheer practicality and fun of the Pilot Capless is hard to match even by the more expensive collection of pens he owns, including Montblanc’s John Lennon, Graf con Faber Castell, and even the incredible Parker Duofold.
It comes in a gift box, complete with a convector, a black ink cartridge and cover cartridge.
- Excellent build quality with a fine grip
- Performance is top-notch and can actually enhance your writing
- Convenience of writing with just a single click
- Does not leak ink or dry up
- Excellent value for money
- Hard to gauge how much ink is left as the ink window is a bit tiny
One pen that delivers an almost similar performance as the Pilot Capless is the Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen, another medium nib offering.
Lamy is one of the leading pen manufacturers in Europe and has evolved to become one of the world’s leading luxury pen brands, amassing a loyal fan-base along the way.
Although not retractable, the Lamy 2000 also falls within the same price spectrum as the Capless from Pilot.
The Cross brand has been creating fine writing instruments for longer than any company in the Western world. Founded in 1846, Cross pens have been a particular hit with every US president since Ronald Reagan all through to Donald Trump.
In fact, President Obama switched from the Cross Townsend model, which was also favoured by George W. Bush and Clinton, to the subject of our discussion today: the Cross Century II.
See the Cross Townsend on Amazon
The Cross Century II collection comprises ballpoints, rollerballs and fountain pens. The ballpoint version has been put together from high quality, individual pieces and finessed with precious metal.
The skillful weighting and balancing of the materials has resulted in a pen that scores high in both performance and aesthetics, something that is not always easy to capture even for the most luxurious pens out there.
Embracing evolution while ensuring it doesn’t veer too far from tradition, the Cross Century II is thicker than the original Classic Century, with bolder colours to boot. Its elegant metal finish is as lavish as they come.
A medium ballpoint promises a smooth performance, with a fluid lay-down of ink almost akin to a fountain pen’s.
Overall, this is an exceptional refillable ballpoint whose price can be greatly deceiving. It comes with the CROSS Lifetime Mechanical Guarantee, wrapped in a quality gift box.
Fountain Version of the Cross Century II 10CT Gold: See on Amazon
- Superior writing experience when used with its specially formulated ink
- Precision balanced and weighted for a rich, tactile experience
- CROSS Lifetime Mechanical Guarantee
- Multiple finishes and trims to select from
- Reasonable price
- Not for the purist