We’re at the end of the year, and I’ve been contemplating doing some year end “top” posts. One that seemed pretty easy to write was one about the pens that I have used and loved this year. Once I started writing the below, though, it ended up not being nearly as simple as I expected. I decided that I would limit myself to five pens, or at least models of pen.
I say “used and loved” because, for me, pens are used in a variety of contexts, and my most used pens, while I should and do love using them, aren’t the only pens that I have loved using this year. Also, this is all about me, and how I use pens, pens are a personal taste, and what works for me may or may not work for you, I’m a weirdo. So take this with a grain of salt before you run out and buy any of the below.
To start with the easiest to identify. In my work bag, I carry a simple zip up pen/pencil case from United Bees that I picked up at Maido in San Francisco a couple of years ago. This case is filled with two varieties of the Uni-ball Signo pen in a variety of colors. I use these pens in my daily work life more than any other pen I own. The Uni-ball Signo UM-151 Gel Pen in the 0.38 mm has been the mainstay of my work writing for several years, and last year, they introduced the Uni-ball Signo Needle UM-151ND Gel Pen, which is a 0.38 needlepoint version of the same pen. As you can see from the picture, the colors are all over the map, but I do tend to always use one of the darker colors and one of the lighter colors together, for instance Blue Black and Mandarin Orange go together very nicely, giving me a highlight color in my bullet journal, and visually keeping things interesting. I have to say that the Blue Black and Green Black are my favorites. To be honest, I was a little surprised when I dumped the bag and there was only one Blue Black pen in there, I guess it’s time to buy more! I typically order these from Jet Pens, and there’s a large vessel in my home office that is also full of these pens.
The next most obvious pen that I have used and loved this year is the one that’s in my pocket every day. It’s paired with my Stuff Sheath, and hasn’t been dethroned from my daily carry in about three years, although I have tried several other options. This pen is the Sunderland Mk1 from Sunderland Machine Works. In the age of Kickstarter pens, I have yet to find a better designed and engineered pen in this class. Especially notable are the lack of exposed threads on the grip inside the pen, and the high quality clip that they provide. I use the refill out of a Pilot Juice Gel Pen – 0.38 mm – Blue Black in this pen. It’s been my refill of choice in Pilot G2 compatible pens for as long as I’ve known about it, and I think I have the Pen Addict himself to thank for turning me on to it. While I have this pen body in both nickel and black, I tend to use the black one a lot more. One other pen that I did use as my daily pocket pen was the Schon DSGN pen in Punk Rock pink and black. This pen is a stunner, and really well made too. Unfortunately it fell out of my pocket on a business trip, I think in a Lyft, and it’s gone. I did really enjoy using it. In the end the sweet gel refill that fits in the Sunderland would have won out over the ballpoint in any case. Sorry that the Sunderland pen is currently sold out, but maybe they will make more soon. I wouldn’t mind picking up another color too.
The next pen is one that I just love to use on a regular basis, the ystudio Brassing Portable Fountain Pen. Mine is a Fine nib. After lusting after this pen for a while, I finally rewarded myself with it on a trip to Toronto for work two years ago.
This pen is both aesthetically nice to look at and a joy to use. It has a really nice solid feel in my hand, and putting it’s cap back in place has this satisfying click to it that makes me want to play with the pen at my desk all day. I really like the hexagonal body style, and that wasn’t something I had in my pen arsenal prior to this pen.
The last pen on my list is my beloved Sailor Pro Gear Blue Lagoon. I own a few Sailor pens, and a couple of other Pro Gear pens, but this one is just the best looking pen I own, period, in my opinion. I’m borrowing someone else’s image of it, because I haven’t been able to take a picture of this pen that truly does it justice.
It’s one of those things where I missed the release of this pen, which is a part of Sailor’s Cocktail Series, in 2016, and then realized that I really wanted one, but months went by, and I couldn’t find anyone who had any intention of selling one. I had pretty much given up on ever getting one. Then, by complete coincidence through a friend in Seattle (thank you again!) I found out one was available and bought it immediately. Since then, it’s remained in my pen setup, and I don’t think that will change anytime soon. Sailor just make great product, and this one is my favorite that they’ve made in recent memory. I have no idea what it would take to knock it out of it’s spot, but it’s my top pen.
Well, here we are, at the end of the list and at the end of the year. Looking forward to trying new things in 2019 to see if anything can dethrone the items on this list for 2018.