It’s always hard for me to narrow down my favourite fountain pens. In a lot of ways, I can appreciate different aspects of every nib, and frankly, price-point or perceived performance from the forum hivemind never has much impact on my own tastes and biases.
So here are my top 3 most used/appreciated pens of 2015, in no particular order or justification. Just cos’.
Pilot Falcon (Soft Medium)
The Pilot Falcon features a luscious nib with a lot of character. Whilst not a flex nib, as some (many) forumites will describe it as, it is very unique. My biggest quibbles with this pen have to do with the feedback on angled upstrokes. The tines don’t seem to like going that direction and I think this is the reason why the Falcon has the perception of featuring a slightly scratchy nib (especially in finer nib widths).
The tipping material is, in my experience, very well finished with no snagging or obvious hard angle sections that might be inclined to snag on paper, so I chalk the excessive feedback down to being a consequence of the nib design, rather than any manufacturing flaw.
I know it’s not exactly a singing endorsement, but the Falcon is a unique beast and offers a lot of fun with a very springy, soft nib that likes to play. No way I will ever sell this one, even if it’s not the perfect tool.
Platinum #3776 (Super Extra Fine)
A true .10 mm needlepoint at an extremely affordable (relatively speaking) price-point. I purchased the Platinum #3776 to encourage myself to write with my fountain pens in my Moleskine for daily notes and organization, and whilst that was a complete failure (Moleskine paper being almost nauseatingly finicky), I did really fall in love with well-made uber-fine nibs.
It’s fantastic (I would say, best in it’s class) for technical writing and jotting down numbers in the margins, and while it doesn’t make taxes fun, at least doing them can be a somewhat pleasant experience. Especially with very vibrant inks.
The least “fountain pen” of all the fountain pens I own in terms of feeling. Reminds me of a softer Signo 0.28 ball point, but even finer!
Baoer 388 (Medium)
The Baoer 388 was a real shocker for me, I purchased it on a whim from eBay for the grand sum of $5. Expectations were set relatively low, but to my surprise, it is an excellent, excellent performer.
The nib is incredibly smooth and lays down oodles of ink with no skipping or feed issues. It is by far one of the most satisfying pens I own, and whilst it’s not eccentric in the least, nor does it feature a unique nib, it is very dependable with an almost perfect writing sensation (in my opinion).
I do wish the section was wider, as the pen is a touch anemic for me, but other than that, it’s pretty perfect. Obviously it doesn’t have the beautiful resin of the Platinum or the perfect balance of the Falcon, but it’s remarkable in how unremarkable it is.
An odd compliment, I know. But for a measly five bucks, I would define the writing sensation to be better than my $300 Waterman Exception with its 18k nib.
Looking forward to next year and the inky delights it promises.
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