Five fountain pens

The earliest record of a ‘reservoir’ pen — one that delivers ink straight to the nib — dates back to the 10th century. However, it was only after three key inventions, the iridium-tipped gold nib, hard rubber and free-flowing ink, that fountain pens became a popular writing instrument.

Today, despite the advent of modern technology in this fast-paced world, we can’t deny the joy of lightly dragging an ink-filled fountain pen across documents, allowing swirls of ink to seal deals. The keyboard will never replace a sleek fountain pen, just as hand calligraphy triumphs over type fonts.

Unlike cufflinks or ties, a fountain pen is largely seen as a personal item and should not be lent to others, as the nib adapts to suit the owner’s writing style over time. We bring you the top five fountain pens that should make their way to your private study room.

1. Pele

Tibaldi is the first Italian manufacturer of fountain pens, and remains one of the world’s leaders when it comes to writing instruments. Apart from collaborations with Bentley, the brand produces pieces that pay tribute to the world’s greatest, including Brazilian footballer, Pele. The brand recognises Pele’s charming personality on and off court with the Tibaldi Pele; its barrel features blue sapphires sitting on a background of white diamonds, while the cap is encrusted with yellow sapphires and emeralds in celebration of the Brazilian flag. A total of 1,923 precious stones totalling 23.47 carats adorn the piston-fed pen, which is finished with an 18k-gold nib that boasts an engraved Pelé logo. The pen was recently sold for US$150,000 during a charity event.

2. Edson Sapphire Blue

The Edson collection by Waterman is highly regarded as the pinnacle of fountain pen designs, and is named after its founder, Lewis Edson. The Waterman Edson Sapphire Blue fountain, termed “the writer’s Ferrari" by American novelist Douglas Kennedy, sports a distinct sapphire blue barrel, striking a pleasant contrast against the 23k gold-plated clip. Deep-blue ink runs through its veins and cascades smoothly through the 18k-gold nib with every ebb and flow.

3. Oberalp

The Swiss maison located in Geneva started out as a humble pencil factory and drew its name from Caran d’Ache, the pen name of Russian-born French illustrator, Emmanuel Poié. The brand is known for its limited-edition collections, including the 1010 collection that pays tribute to the Swiss’ world of Haute Horlogerie. Its latest piece, the Oberalp fountain pen, features black lacquered motifs of edelweisse flowers, known for their ability to survive the harshest climates, on the mountains, on its hexagonal body. The piece is carved in polished palladium, and is encased in a Swiss-styled chalet box crafted in lacquered beech wood.

4. Fountain pen with zebra décor

The panther has always reigned supreme in the French jewellery brand’s designs. However, its most recent source of inspiration is another African animal with equal beauty. Limited to just 15 individually numbered pieces, the statuesque fountain pen with zebra decor transforms writing into a bejewelled art. The lavish zebra head displays a blend of black lacquer and sterling silver in palladium finish, while its eyes gleam in silvered obsidian. The pen is fitted with a rhodium-plated, 18k-gold nib. Unlike other fountain pens, this piece is designed solely for the private office, as a black-lacquered, sterling-silver base sits in place of its cap.

5. Writers Edition: Leo Tolstoy

Many know Montblanc for its Meisterstück, a series that became the face of writing culture. As such, it came to no surprise when the brand designed the Writers Edition Collection to pay homage to remarkable characters of the literary world, and whose works are respected to this day. The Writers Edition: George Bernard Shaw was one of the 11 pens issued and this year, the brand presents Writers Edition: Leo Tolstoy. Pillars at the entrance of the Yasnaya Polyana estate are etched onto the pen cap, while the signature of the author wraps around it. Tolstoy’s family’s aristocratic coat-of-arms is engraved on the rhodium-plated 750 gold nip, highlighting his provenance, and the value he placed on family.

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Published 8th November 2015