I like to think of my pen collection as a microcosm of my own wardrobe. There are my more formal pens, for instance a Montblanc Classique. There are my everyday go-to’s, like my Sailor 1911S. And, occasionally, there are my pieces I wouldn’t be caught dead in, other than the privacy of my own home – a certain Conklin or two fit that description.
And, just like my wardrobe, there is one key color that’s modern enough for any occasion, while still being neutral and unobtrusive: blue.
Blue pens are a great alternative to traditional black, especially chromophobes like yours truly. I always gravitate toward neutrals, but a black pen can just be a little too depressing, a little too formal, for me. Even my own Montblanc can occasionally remind me of a stoic bank teller or (shudder) the headmaster at my school.
To help avoid those depressing associations, here are five of my favorite blue pens right now.
Otto Hutt design04 in Blue Wave
Traditionally speaking, Otto Hutt is phenomenal at creating monochromatic pens that complement their sterling silver bodies. The additional guilloché application around the barrel and subsequent design adds a bit of contrast to the German company’s functional design aesthetic. Because it’s Otto Hutt, one can expect a great deal of attention to performance and balance during the writing experience. Me personally? I love the new way they added some fun to their design04.
Sailor Professional Gear KOP Fountain Pen 2021 – 21k LE
For more than a century, Sailor has been perfecting the silhouette that I am most attracted to for fountain pens. A bit of curve, a bit of dimension, but no less handsome. This Sailor is bathed in a resin that is a cross between slate grey and turquoise, giving it a pop, even when displayed among other blue pens. Accompanied with a 21-karat gold nib and only 500 in production, this pen is a piece one will value for a lifetime.
Aurora Optima Auroloide Blue CT
Another silhouette I’m quite fond of is that of the Optima. A design that was popular in the 1930’s was the inspiration for this classic Aurora line. The Auroloide celluloid has the ability to produce luminous color patterns and the contrast of rich and light blues makes this pen a showstopper.
Montblanc Meisterstück Around the World in 80 Days Solitaire LeGrand Fountain Pen
What I appreciate about Montblanc is their ability to hone in on a theme without making it somehow reductive. Take the Around the World pen. Inspired by the first part of Jules Verne’s famous novel, this pen was inspired by the opening chapters where the protagonist traveled by steamboat from London to Bombay. This is represented in the barrel of the pen with ocean waves against the blue sea. Rich and subtle at the same time, what else could you expect from a Meisterstück?
Esterbrook JR Fantasia
Coming in at a lower price point, but no less intriguing is the JR Fantasia. Released this week, the Fantasia is a nod to magic itself. And coming from the JR line, one can expect a vintage design from the Esterbrook archives, reimagined when the brand was resurrected in 2018. A rich blue barrel fleck in sparkles, this pen may not be as muted as the above on this list, but it’s still managed to catch my eye.