Do you feel like you’re seeing fountain pens everywhere? From the humble Lamy in a classroom setting to an esteemed Parker in the office. More and more people are rejecting the crude ubiquity of the biro and embracing the lasting quality of the fountain pen.
Sometimes it’s hard to articulate why a trend or an object suddenly becomes popular. For example, one stylist will tell you the Bucket Hat is making a return because of Y2K nostalgia another will point to the rise of Jacquemus who consistently present the look on catwalks. Something that once seemed rare is suddenly everywhere and no one quite knows how it happened.
This article considers the plethora of factors that have brought the fountain pen back into public consciousness and why luxury fountain pens are suddenly everywhere you look.
Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough
Whether these two icons of the fight against global warming use fountain pens isn’t important, although we suspect they might. However, it’s their ongoing arguments for sustainability that are driving the uptake of the fountain pen. They have propelled the idea of sustainable production into the global consciousness. Just as many of us now reject one-time-use disposable plastic straws and carry our own keep-cups, the idea of having a drawer full of disposable biros is an anathema. To switch to a single beloved fountain pen is to do our part to help reduce unsustainable plastic waste. As the late Vivienne Westwood once said, “Buy less, choose well, make it last”.
Eagle-eyed viewers of certain smash hit films and TV shows on the streamer might have noticed their favourite characters ditching the ballpoint scrawl in favour of the fountain pen flourish. Wednesday Addams, already an aficionado of a Juwel Model 3 typewriter, is a perfect match for the retro glamour of the fountain pen. Speaking of Wednesday, we also spotted Larissa Weems as the principal of Nevermore Academy using a Montblanc Writers Edition Antoine Saint-Exupery. Likewise, Detective Benoit Blanc from Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery chooses to make notes with a fountain pen. As ever, when something enters the popular cultural narrative its prestige grows.
Maybe Netflix isn’t really your thing and you are, instead, an avid follower of sports. During recent transfer windows, the legendary Cristiano Ronaldo and defensive midfielder Daley Blind both signed with new clubs. To press ink to paper, both players chose the symbolism and esteem of the best contemporary fountain pens. Autographs and symbolic signatures have become devalued in recent decades by the thick black line of the sharpie pen. Hopefully, their choice here marks a return to the elegance and grace of signing formal documents with a fountain pen.
The final reason is as much about psychology and our perception of the past as it is about our experience writing with a fountain pen. Away from the tangible pleasure derived from the writing experience, fountain pens help connect us with an imagined age where our troubles and worries dematerialise. In trends and fashion nostalgia is a powerful tool. We all perceive the past as a place with less complexity than the present. We look back to a time before the pressures of social media, the ballooning economic crisis and the threat of global warming. As we wind the clock back the objects of the past become imbued with innocence. When you hold your 1950s-inspired fountain pen in your hand you can briefly disconnect from the present and enjoy the innocent past.
The resurgence in popularity of the luxury fountain pen is about all these factors and many, many more. As we each rediscover the pleasure of writing with a hand-crafted nib, we also want to share our delight. We advocate for the fountain pen and even gift it for special occasions. In reality, the pen itself is the main reason for its exploding popularity. Because why wouldn’t you want to write with an instrument designed for unrivalled and lasting pleasure?