A Proper Writing Implement

Why a well-designed fountain pen is the only ink a civilized man really needs to get.
Photo: Associated Press

Decider-in-chief: Jack selects from the presidential coffers.

We all know it’s mightier than the sword, and yet too many men use a pen that looks like it was left behind at Kinko’s. Yes, like an umbrella or a pair of gloves it’s an easy item to lose, and it takes a certain amount of upkeep, but that just makes it all the more impressive when you pull a fountain pen from your jacket to sign your bill at the 21 Club. It’s a signal that you’re not averse to civilized pursuits, that you take the long view, that you wouldn’t dream of holstering a Blackberry to your belt.

Like a good bottle opener or a briefcase, a well-designed pen anticipates your needs: It’s weighted beautifully, feels like it belongs in your hand, and leaves a lovely line. And once you get used to it—just like the beloved clutch in your car—there’s no going back to a Bic. A Montblanc, of course, is instantly recognizable in all of its luxurious variations. But the Lamy Safari is just as smart: $35 for pitch-perfect German design. They even stock a rollerball version for insistent skeptics.

It was not always thus: The expectation that a gentlemen carry a proper pen was so widely held that English mainstay Smythson used a form of paper in its diaries designed to absorb a fountain pen’s ink without bleeding.

The more our correspondence travels over the internet, the more satisfying it is to put pen to paper. A man who carries a pen appreciates the analog pace, and the time it takes to make a personal connection. That’s a connection no number of pixels can approximate.

One method of obtaining such an implement: this S.T. Dupont pen sale, happening today at 3:00pm ET on Gilt MAN.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    2 things – first, don’t bring your fountain pen on a plane, they leak d/t the change in air pressure. Also, try the waterman phileas, which is under $40and less skeletal than the lamy

  2. Kevin says:

    Eh…most modern fountain pens don’t leak on planes. It is always best to have the pen either completely full or empty just to play it safe. I have used vintage Jade Duofolds in planes before with no leaking of any kind.

    The Safari is more of a utilitarian design but an amazing writer. People should check out the LAMY Studio or 2000 for amazing pens under 100 dollars.

  3. Douglas says:

    I prefer the Lamy All Star. I own 2 right now (aluminum) and have for close to 12 years. love the balance.

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