What are my top five fountain pens under £75.00? There's certainly plenty of choice below this price point and, although you probably won't get a gold nib, and, if you're looking at European manufacturers you probably won't get anything other than a cartridge converter filling system. However, there is a choice of some good looking, characterful and interesting pens in this range.
1 Lamy Aion
Topping my list of top fountain pens under £75 is the Lamy Aion, coming in at a very reasonable £49.00. In spite of its unpronounceable name (Eye-on? Eye-ee-on? Ay-on?) it’s a great pen. Two things make this pen stand out from the competition.
Firstly, the barrel and cap are drilled out from a bar of aluminium, which gives it a feeling of solidity, heft and balance that is, in my view, unmatched for a pen in this price range. Secondly, that nib... For the first time since the introduction of the Z50 Lamy nib, used on all Lamy's steel nib pens, they've introduced an new shape - the Z53 - and it's an improvement.
It is not just that the shape perfectly complements Jasper Morrison's design, but it is just that little bit softer.
2 TWSBI Vac 700R
But if it's filling systems you're interested in , go for the TWSBI Vac 700R at £75.00. Amazing technology for a pen costing well under £100. The plunger filling system is hardly new, being essentially the same system as used in Onoto's “The Pen” in 1905.
Generally it is only available in top end pens like the Visconti Homo Sapiens, but at eight the price. The TWSBI Vac 700R is a chunky oversize pen, with massive ink capacity and a German Jowo nib from EF to 1.5 stub.
3 Cleo Skribent Classic
Cleo Skribent Classic (£75) is a bit of a wallflower: it doesn't force itself on you, but has the sort of virtues that will lead you to developing a lifelong, rewarding relationship with it. Made in the countryside between Berlin and Hamburg, it
has all the hallmarks of top German quality. Indeed, Cleo Skribent are probably better known in the pen trade than outside, as they do the complicated, fiddly bits like nib finishing for some of the best names in German pen making. They have excellent nibs in steel or for another £40 or so, 14ct Gold. The pen has a good, solid feel in hand and, for me, the delightful detail of a screw in converter. Worth getting to know.
4 Conklin Duragraph
The Conklin Duragraph's delights are plainer to see. A recreation of a great pen from the 1930s it features fabulous resins and a look that and recalls pens from the golden age. It’s a simple cartridge-converter pen (they provide the converter) with a straightforward and serviceable nib available as fine, medium or stub. Well worth a look - what will be your favourite resin? Overall, a great package.
5 The Planets - Fine Writing International
I'd like to finish with the Planets from Fine Writing International. It's a relatively new pen on the market. It offers fantastic value as it can be used as with a supplied converter as well as an eyedropper.