I’m not going to call this an “everyday carry” post, because these aren’t pens that I carry everyday. These are, however, the pens that form the solid core of my rotation, and you’ll always find anywhere from 3-5 of them in my bag at any given time. They’re durable, good looking pens that are both highly functional and blend well into the somewhat staid professional world in which I live. Anyway, these are my faves, from left to right, in no particular order of preference:
1. Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto Lumio Multi-pen: Purchased from Jetpens. This matte black multi-pen is a recent purchase which earned a permanent spot in my pen case over the past week. I take a TON of notes on what are generally very long legal opinions, which I have to outline and annotate to make any sense of them at all. The ability to conveniently color code notes with this pen has revolutionized my life. I have this loaded with the .4mm refill. I’d recommend stocking up on refills as they go pretty fast, but you can find them cheap out there (especially from retailers who offer free shipping with a $25 purchase). And no, I’m not revealing my sources, yet.
2. Karas Kustoms Render K with Pilot Hi-Tec-C .4mm black refill: A huge thank you to Brad Dowdy (PenAddict) for alerting me to this pen’s existence. I love the Hi-Tec-C, but don’t like carrying around plasticky-disposable-type pen barrels. The Hi-Tec-C refill is a great annotation pen. I also use it for general note-taking.
3. Karas Kustoms Bolt with Pilot G2 .5mm blue refill: This Karas Kustoms pen (unfairly) gets much less attention than the Render K, and also their newest pen, the Retract, IMHO. I ordered the model with the Pilot G2 barrel, and while the G2’s probably a bit “ordinary” for most of the pen community, I think the .5mm refill is a great daily user. The refills are cheap and easily available, and now there’s an excellent machined aluminum housing with a crazy-cool bolt-action knock.
4. Montblanc 146 fountain pen with customized Richard Binder .9mm Stub Nib: It took me a long time to come around to this pen. I originally purchased at the 2012 Washington DC Fountain Pen Supershow. The nib had a terrible baby’s-bottom on it and skipped on the downstroke, even after it was initially stubbed by Richard Binder. At a later show, Mike Masuyama tweaked it perfectly, and now it has a permanent home on my desk at the house. It’s a classic, black pen, with a huge ink capacity and lays down a wet .9mm line.
5. Sailor Professional Gear Imperial Black Edition fountain pen with fine nib: My personal favorite of all the pens I own. Gorgeous matte-black with black rhodium trim. A smooth fine nib expertly tuned by Mike Masuyama, who used to work with Sailor pens. This pen is always inked and goes with me everywhere in my briefcase.
6. Pilot Vanishing Point Matte Black Edition fountain pen with fine nib: Probably the perfect professional work pen for the fountain pen user. This pen has been reviewed to death, and I generally agree with everything that has been said about it. For work notes and a shirt-pocket fountain pen option, there’s nothing better. The clip can, however, get in the way of writing with the pen for extended periods of time, so most people probably won’t be using this to draft a novel.
7. Retro 51 Tornado Stealth: As you might guess, I have a thing for matte-black pens. The Retro 51 takes a Schmidt liquid rollerball refill, which is very, very smooth. Mine came with a .7mm, which is slightly too broad for my use, so I’ll likely switch it down to the .6mm, which I have in another pen and like a bit better.
These pens are what have been getting me through 80% of my days. I always have additional pens (both vintage and modern) in the rotation, and new stuff comes in all the time, so who knows how long this will last. . . .