Before I understood that luxury pens existed, I was constantly trying to find a pen that would work for my specific needs. I was like Goldilocks and the local office supply store was the bears’ house. I would grab a pen and think, “No, this one is too small.” I’d grab another, “No, this one is too thick.” Ultimately, I would get frustrated, buy one that was on sale, and hope it would work.
It never did. Instead, I spent years writing with Sharpies, felt tip markers, Bics, and even the occasional mechanical pencil. I had this almost Platonic ideal of what a pen should be and somehow it was simply not within my grasp (pun intended).
That was until I began using luxury pens. In the same way I upgraded from a Nissan to a Mercedes for my 23rd birthday, I upgraded from cheap ballpoints to finely crafted writing utensils once I knew what money could buy.
Now that I work full-time in the industry, friends of mine will ask if it’s worth investing in a quality pen. Without hesitation, I always answer in the affirmative. If you’re on the fence, I’ve compiled five reasons why luxury pens just, simply, are better than their economical cousins.
1. Unparalleled Quality
This one is probably most obvious, but because of that reason I am including it on the list. Many luxury pens are made better and of course the price of the pens correlate to this. Manufacturing standards are elevated to provide the brands’ customer base with a writing utensil that will ultimately lead to brand loyalty. Just look at Samuel Naldi’s YouTube videos on visiting pen factories across Europe. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PO2-waYhADg)
No one would expect a Lamborghini to be a lemon, just like no one would expect a Montegrappa to fall apart after a month of use.
2. Buying Heritage
Brand longevity eventually becomes a piece of national heritage. When I think of Germany, I think of Otto Hutt’s 100-year history. When I think of Aurora, I think of Turin. And when I think of Esterbrook, I think of American craftsmanship. It’s this associative connection with brands that leads to a collector’s mentality of buying. I know that a culture’s identity becomes a part of a pen’s mechanics and aesthetic, which only makes me appreciate the artistry of the pen’s design more.
Money may not be able to buy happiness, but it can help with one’s penmanship. When engineering a pen, luxury brands think of the entire experience of holding the pen. They address the problems I mentioned earlier during my Goldilocks moments. One can expect weight, balance, and ink flow at the helm of design. All of these factors play into better handwriting. A bit of wizardry happens when I pick up a well-made fountain pen: my chicken scratch becomes almost legible.
4. An Unexpected Heirloom
When buying a luxury pen, you really only have it on loan. At the end of the day, it’ll be an item that’s just as much for your children and grandchildren as it was for you. Pens make a great heirloom. While a watch may have more panache or a wedding ring more value, it’s a pen that will be used daily, giving the heir a piece of your personal history and a chance to remember you every time they write a letter. What’s more special than that?
5. It’s Better for the Environment
The backbone of the economy pen industry is disposability. Most stick pens don’t allow for refills. They come in packs of 20 to be lost in bags, cars, and ultimately thrown away. Between banks, restaurants, and hotel bars, that’s got to be a handful of pens wasted every day. In fact, it’s estimated that in the United States alone, Americans throw away 1.6 billion pens annually. Now, expand that to a global scale and hide these figures from Greta Thunberg.
From pen repairs to fountain pen converters, the luxury pen industry has always had a sustainable element to it. By its own existence in investing in quality and design, it eschews the notion of quick money and long-term environmental risk. It’s a green solution I can get behind.