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Jan 1 / Leigh Reyes

Top Ten Pens, 2008.

I first had two lists: top ten modern pens and top ten vintage pens. That I had acquired enough pens in 2008 to make two lists plus have others that didn’t make it to either list gave me pause.

I decided to stick to one list. That was harder than I’d expected. What about the Well Koi and the Sterling eyedropper, my flex-nibbed surprises? Or the Visconti Mazzi Dragon with the stub nib? None of those is in the list, because – well, as much as I treasure them, they do have minute issues. The Visconti is a hard starter (but flows very well once it does start), the Well Koi has a crack at the bottom of the barrel (a definite minus for an eyedropper) and the Sterling’s nib has hardly any iridium left, and so must be used sparingly.

Top Ten Pens, 2008

Top Ten Pens, 2008

What did make it to the list:

1) Danitrio Silver Wave – an aesthetic delight to use, and once I adjusted the flow, the flexible extra-fine nib can now handle the pressure I inflict upon it in the name of line variation.
2) Nakaya longer Piccolo in the ishi-me kan-shitsu finish – a direct order from Nakaya, placed during my visit to the Platinum table at the Hong Kong Stationery Fair in January 2008. Its nib is an elastic extra-fine.
3) Nakaya Piccolo in kuro-tamenuri – with a stock flexible fine nib, this seminal Nakaya pen sees regular use.
4) Sailor Hannya Sutra – wards off evil spirits and signs checks at the same time.
5) Sailor 1911 Demonstrator – I just wanted one. This has a music nib which, like all Sailor nibs I’ve encountered, lives up to Sailor’s reputation as the smoothest nibs on the market today.
6) Pilot Custom 742 – not the most original in looks, but definitely the most flexible modern factory nib I’ve used.
7) Oldwin, classic ebonite marbrée – bought in Mora Stylos in Paris, my largest pen and one of my most used.
8) Waterman 7 in red ripple with Pink flexible nib – it’s vintage Waterman, it’s a 7, it has a wonderful, expressive nib, and I am a sucker for red ripple.
9) Frankensnork! – the only Sheaffer that’s ever made it to any top ten list of mine, this Snorkel is here because it is made from five different Snorkels, is fitted with a rare flexible stub nib, and most of all because it’s from a dear friend.
10) Wahl Pen 3 – A small beauty, not in any way difficult to find, but this one is a most elegant writer.

Top Ten Pens, 2008 - the written list

Top Ten Pens, 2008 - the written list

  • dannzeman

    Great list. I really enjoyed it. Now I’ve a got a few more pens to add to my list.
    I love the Nakaya Piccolo in kuro-tamenuri and the Wahl Pen 3, one I may really try to add to my collection.

  • http://flexinibpens.com john corwin

    enjoyed your list and your handwriting. i suspect our taste i pens is similar.
    john c.

  • http://leighreyes.com Leigh

    dannzeman: The metal-covered Wahls I have all have outstanding flexible nibs. I don’t know if it was common to all Wahls of that type, but they’re worth keeping an eye out for.

    john: Thank you – just looking at your site URL, I’d say yes, it is. :D

  • TAO

    I don’t know if there were *no* surprises on this list. I excpected more danitrios. Thanks for the list!

  • http://leighreyes.com Leigh

    I only had one Dani arrive in 2008. ;) There’s another one coming this year, which I’m sure will make it to the 2009 list. :D

  • Carl

    The Oldwin is still a stunningly beautiful pen. Now that’s worthy of a wallpaper. ;)

  • http://officesupplygeek.com OfficeSupplyGeek

    I really like the Sailor Demonstrator, very nice pen, I am jealous. :)

  • http://leighreyes.com Leigh

    Carl: Working, working… :)
    OSG: I finally managed a review of the Sailor 1911 Demonstrator. Well, not really a review, more like a ramble. :)

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  • Carl

    No pressure, no pressure… :P

  • http://noerasing.wordpress.com ChrisCP

    A red ripple with a pink nib? I don’t think I’ve actually been envious of someone I don’t even know before now. That Frankensnork definitely has a unique look. :)

  • http://leighreyes.com Leigh Reyes

    ChrisCP: I did have a red ripple 52 with a Pink nib before; those are easier to find. I gave mine to Neil Gaiman in a fit of fanhood. ;) As serendipity would have it, Al Mayman of Penultimate (who passed away last year), had a 7 I immediately pounced on. A regular BHR 52 can give you the same flex, or more, but there is something about the way the Pink nib springs back after a heavy downstroke that feels better. :)

  • http://forcedefrappe.com Thomas

    Everytime I see that Oldwin my wallet starts to cry! :P I think I will finally break and get one.