It’s all about the money boys #3: Pens between £20-£75

OK so you’re not the sort of person who faints at the idea of paying more than £20 ($30) for a pen. Good, that means that there is a whole world of pens out there waiting for your perusal and eventual purchase. Today I’m going to talk for a short while about those in the £20-£75 ($30-$100) bracket. This is a large category that only really exists for the purpose of discussion but in it we are zoning in on a range of pens beyond which you may not ever need or wish to progress. A great deal of writing pleasure is delivered regularly across the world with pens well within this price range and pen snobbery aside that is what using a fountain pen is all about.

In this category we are getting into some major pen manufacturers mid range inventory. Pens that should be designed to work well and last a lifetime, no I’m not joking… at this price point they shouldn’t be merely throwaway items. The materials used in these pens may not be too exotic but should be good quality.  The variety of nibs provided within this price range will be almost exclusively steel unless you’re using your cash to purchase something with a little bit of a vintage pedigree but again there is nothing wrong with steel nibs. If you haven’t read the article by Brian Gray from Edison pens  in praise of modern steel nibs this is well worth a read.

So to some examples, this will not be an exhaustive list and you will probably be able to argue for the inclusion of many pens I have omitted or even ones I don’t even know exist. Rather treat this as pointer or two, if you need it, to highlight certain brands and editions of pen that might pique your interest.

lamyOne of the most popular pens in the lower part of this range has to be the Lamy AL-star, the aluminium version of the Safari and Vista. this pen comes with a wide range of nibs including options from EF up to 1.9mm stub, which is pretty great. It comes in a variety of colours and has something of a cult following. To be honest the styling has never really grabbed me but credit where its due Lamy have carved a significant niche for this pen in the fountain pen market.

regattaOther pens that for me score heavily in this area come from the American manufacturer Monteverde. I have  a couple of their pens like the Impressa and the Invincia and am really liking the look of the re-released Regatta Sport in black and red and black and yellow. So check them out.

IMGP1014Another of my favourite brands is the German manufacturer Kaweco. With its higher class Sport editions such as the AL Sport (one of my all time favourites) as well as the Student, the All-Rounder and the Special FP there are plenty to keep you going in this bracket.

There are so many makes and models that excel within this price range that could make this post endless. Rather than that its over to you… What are your favourites?



8 thoughts on “It’s all about the money boys #3: Pens between £20-£75

  1. For me the best value pens in this category come from TWSBI, my 580 and VAC-700 are stunning pens, chunky, well sized and great performers, they seem to be getting better with their initially problematic nibs, I only have one nib that dries up on me periodically! Recommended….

  2. There are a bunch of great pens in this price range, and most of the ones I own fall into this category. I agree with Potter2 you can’t go wrong with TWSBI.

    Though this price range can also cover some of the lower end Pelikan, Sailor, and Platinum (not counting Preppy’s etc) luxury pens. So you can have a crop of amazing writing instruments in this ball park. Particularly if you shop around, or are willing to import.

    Also I know this post is about the mid range pens, but a good place to look for low cost pens (starting at $4) is they’re based in India, and sell a wide selection of Indian pens you can’t find elsewhere.

    1. Thanks for the comment Adam. I hoped that people would add their opinions and knowledge to the post, and I’m glad that this is the case. Have you personal experince of any pens from India?

      1. I’ve got a couple pens from there, but not a lot. They have such a wide range from loads of suppliers.

        I have their most basic pen from Serwex (the 101) which is a utilitarian eyedropper. It’s nothing special, but then it’s the biro of the fountain pens. A cheap pen for the masses since school children in India still use fountain pens, and they need to make them dirt cheap.

        I also have a Serwex piston filler pen which is similar to the 101, but has a piston mechanism. Again a basic writer, but not to shabby for $6!

        Finally I have one of the pens they produce themselves. The FPR Dilli. It’s also a plastic piston filler, but of a better quality than the Serwex one, and can come with a Flex or Stub nib too for only $15. They have other FPR exclusive pens too, but I don’t have any of those. Also shipping is a flat $3 rate which is pretty damn cheap. Worth a browse.

  3. I think this is one of my favorite categories because there are so many fun options to choose from. Ultimately, my favorite from this price range is one of the less hyped-up models—a NOS Sheaffer Delta Grip pen with a pretty, polished golden body and flat ends (so it can stand on its ends!).

    Specifically speaking, Pendemonium sells a version of this pen with a 0.6mm cursive italic grind for only $40, and it is soooo smooth and buttery that I’ve never felt the need to get another italic since. (A Mr. Italix, on the other hand, might be an exception in the future when I want to write italic letters in two colors.)

    It’s just sometimes the models offered by different pen companies at this price point tend to blend together, so I’m kind of numbed by the choices into skipping them altogether or going vintage to find something unique. I suppose it’s a funny sticking point of mine that my fountain pen outsides should be as unique as my nibs.

    1. Thanks for the comment, looks like I’ll be checking Pendemonium out in the near future… 🙂

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