Pens, it is all about style...
I am sure, that like me, as you read the various pen magazines such as Pen World or Stylus some of the pens featured catch your eye for the right reasons, and others for other reasons. I hear myself asking the question "Who buys these pens?" This year, the pens that were highlighted in the Pen World Reader's Choice Awards generally have what I consider classic looks. I thought about the Reader Choice Awards over the past years and wondered how consistent the type of pen that readers had voted for varied in style. So I looked back over the various issues that I still have, going back as far as 1994. What I found was that the pens that individuals returned votes as "Best..." generally had very classic lines and are pens that will stand the test of time in terms of style and appearance.
|Top: Faber-Castell, Pen of the Year 2008
Bottom: Monteverde Sleeping Beauty
|Top: Conway Stewart, Evolution
Bottom: Omas Arte Italiana Wild, the Paragon
A good example is the Faber-Castell Pen of the Year 2008. This is a limited edition, numbered on the inside of the plunger, and uses parquet of Indian satinwood. The inspiration for this came from one of the drawing rooms of the Faber-Castell castle. The herringbone pattern on the pen body reflects the pattern of one of the writing desks in the castle. The company offers great service as registered owners of the pens get a once a year complimentary cleaning and check-over. The pen has a classic look. It was awarded the distinction: 2008 Best Pen, Creative Use of Materials.
I am a big fan of Omas pens, and the Arte Italiana Wild Paragon stands out. It is a pen I may pick up this year in Italy. The pen reminds me very much of the Galileo Galilei limited edition (1993). That pen I remember seeing in many of the pen shops in Italy I had visited over the years. The Arte Italiana Wild, is the classic Paragon model, replicating a twelve-sided Doric column. The Paragon pen just feel good in the hand. The style of this pen is impressive in black and white celluloid. Piston-filled, the Paragons hold a good supply of ink. This pen was awarded the distinction: 2008 Best Pen, Contemporary Design. And who knows, I hope it soon holds the distinction: Cherished Marcus Pen Collection!
As I looked back the pens that were awarded "Best Pen" for the various categories all had what I consider a classic look. Each year the categories changed somewhat. Sometimes to reflect the pens that were produced. Best Retro Styling was repeated for a few years — Conway Stewart Churchill (2001), Sheaffer (1998), Parker Snake Pen (1997). Best Pen Technical Design was a category that was also repeated 1998 (Jorg Hysek, Carbon Fiber) and 1997 (Alfred Dunhill AD2000).
|Top: Alfred Dunhill AD2000
Bottom: Montblanc de Medici
|Top: Parker Pearl and Black
Bottom: Waterman Edson
I looked back to 1994, the Best Pen, Contemporary, Loyal to Company Heritage — was awarded to the Parker Pearl and Black. It has an art deco look, so if they had the theme best retro, it would have probably won that designation. A beautiful acrylic body with a 18 K two tone nib. Timeless then, and so is it today. The pen was discontinued in 2004 when the supply of material used for the body was exhausted. Thankfully, in 2007 Parker re-issued the pen in both the Centennial (largest) and International sizes. Generally, that is the pen that is available on the market now.
The Waterman Edson was the Best Contemporary Design for 1994. It was first issued in Blue and Gold. The most recent models (2007) included the Black Diamond. Ever since that pen was issued I have held this pen is high regard. I have the Blue, Green and Red colours. I had special ordered the Black Diamond when it was released, however, it did not have the same appeal when I went to pick it up at Vancouver Pen, so it was one of those few that I put down and leave.
As I looked at the various pens that received "Best" awards for the various categories there was a comfort in the types of pens that were selected. I am sure that as I flip through pen magazines there will be some models of pens that have a shock value, but there will continue to be classics that are a pleasure to hold and look at.
Enjoy your pens! Your pen, an expression of you.