Sunday, 3 January 2010

Accessories: Fountain Pen

Men are generally pretty restricted on jewelry and accessories. Generally a signet ring, wedding ring and watch are about as far as you can go. All kinds of bangles and necklaces are becoming more popular, and there's nothing especially wrong with something simple and tasteful, but men will certainly find it harder to justify extra jewelry.

One option is often overlooked, perhaps because it can't easily be put on display all the time, but that is in fact one of it's best features. A well-made fountain pen isn't flash or attention grabbing, it may only come out briefly to sign a receipt or a cheque, or be used discretely at business meetings. However, when the opportunity does come to use a fountain pen, you will be glad to have an appropriately beautiful one to hand, and can be sure that doing so will mark you out as a gentleman with real style.

I have long been a fan of writing in fountain pen, and have been on the lookout for a chance to make the step up from my current range of fairly ordinary Parker steel-nibs to something a bit more special. As related in a previous post, I had my eye on an Aspinals pen but am very glad that I made a much wiser choice and selected a Parker Duofold in black.

I'd hesitate to try and review this pen - I'm not sure I know nearly enough about pens to know the criteria by which to review them and, in any case, choosing a pen is really a personal thing. For anyone who does intend buying a new fountain pen, I'd strongly recommend visiting a good boutique, such as PenFriends in the Burlington Arcade, and picking one with the help of an expert.

As far as the Duofold goes, it's exactly what I wanted. Slightly heavier than similarly priced Mont Blancs, which I found too light and flimsy-feeling, it's got the simple, classic look that I was after (although there are much fancier designs available, if you like that kind of thing). It's trimmed in 23 carat gold, with a gold and platinum nib, and the difference in writing quality between this and one of the cheap parker steel-nibbed pens is incredible. It's made writing my Christmas thank you letters almost a pleasure.

Now, go out and get yourself a decent fountain pen. It'll last you a lifetime and make handwriting really something to be relished.


  1. Heminway carried an orange bakelite Duofold. Fine choice.

  2. Thank you! I was in Cuba last year, as it happens, and found it very conducive to writing. If only I had had the pen then, eh?!

  3. Not sure about signet rings. All too often they're an affectation; intended or not they end up filed as such.

    A good reliable pen is essential however. Fountain or otherwise. I'm not sure of one as an accessory. Rather, a simple piece of standard bit of kit.

    There's little more unedifying to see a man pull a piece logo infested chewed plastic out of their pocket to take an important note.

  4. You may be right, Mr Brown, although I don't see a problem with them if they have genuine meaning. In fact, in my circle of friends, they're more the rule than the exception, so I don't worry too much about what they will think.

    Of course, I'm sure plenty of other people who see signet rings worn do think it is an affectation, but if I worried too much about what everybody else thought about how I dressed, I wouldn't be able to wear half of what I wear, and I wouldn't enjoy clothes half as much as I do!

    As to a pen as an accessory, perhaps you're right - it is essential, but in much the same way as a watch is, and I treat a watch at least 50% as a potentially attractive accessory. You could think the same way about a pen.

  5. You're right not to worry, there's more to life. Such as making your own rules.

  6. If you are looking for a truly understated elegant and timeless fountain pen, you must take a look at Dunhill's writing instruments. Dunhill's sidecar streamliner collection is truly stunning and I highly recommend purchasing one (I do not have one, but I have written with one and plan on buying one shortly).


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