It’s that time of year again – time for putting up the Christmas tree, lighting menorahs or kinaras, and spending time with family and friends. With the holiday joy comes the joy of giving gifts to those we love. If one of those people in your life loves fountain pens, then this post is for you!
Depending on your budget, there are a number of great options for the main course of your gift for the fountain pen lover. I will outline some of the best options for both small budget and large, and some accessories to go along with it.
Lamy Safari & Al-Star
These two pens are one of the most popular fountain pens for beginners, or persons new to the hobby. The Safari is more lightweight and made from plastic, whereas the Al-Star is a bit heavier and made from aluminum. Both come in a variety of colors to choose from, and each year or so there is a special edition color that is released. These pens feature interchangeable nibs, so you won’t have to worry about making the wrong choice on nib size. Note that they do NOT come with a converter, so you’ll want to purchase one along with it so bottled ink can be used.
Lamy Safari: $29
Lamy Al-Star: $37
Karas Kustoms Fountain Pens
My Karas Kustoms INK continues to be one of my favorite pens. Karas is known for their high quality, hand-made pens cut from various metals in their machine shop in Arizona. Their pens are heavy duty, quality made and a joy to look at. They offer the classic INK model, as well as the new Fountain K which is a bit smaller. They offer a variety of anodized colors and standard nib options.
INK: starting at $95
Fountain K: starting at $75
Pilot Custom 74
If you’re familiar with Brian Goulet or the Goulet Pen Company, you know that this is his favorite fountain pen. I learned of it from him, and bought one myself; I must say it is my favorite pen currently. Its nib writes like butter and the pen’s balance in the hand and contoured grip make it comfortable for long writing sessions. The pens comes in see-thru grey, orange, purple, blue and clear and comes in nib sizes from Fine to Broad.
Pilot Custom 74: $160
Franklin-Christoph Fountain Pens
The folks at Franklin-Christoph have taken a step outside the box when it comes to their fountain pen designs, making them a very unique piece of art. They are well known for their “ice” designs, which allow the user to see their ink sloshing around inside a frosty clear barrel. Of their various models, the Model 02, Model 40 Pocket and the Model 66 Pocket tend to be the most popular. Most of these come in Emerald, Blue-Violet, Black and the ever popular Ice barrel colors.
Perhaps what sets Franklin-Christoph apart the most from other pen manufacturers is that they offer custom-ground nibs from the amazing Mike Masuyama – one of the best nib meisters in the country.
Model 02: $165 (steel nib) / $255 (gold nib)
Model 40 Pocket: $129.50 (steel nib) / $209.50 (gold nib)
Model 66 Pocket: $149.50 (steel nib) / $239.50 (gold nib)
Masuyama nib upgrade: +$15
Noodler’s Black, 54th Massachusetts & Lexington Grey
These 3 inks are some of my favorites from the Noodler’s Ink company. Noodler’s is best known for having high quality inks at very affordable prices. Noodler’s Black is your everyday standard black-colored ink, 54th Massachusetts is a blue-black ink (dark blue) and Lexington Grey is a middle-of-the-road grey that doesn’t learn warm or cold. All 3 have the added bonus of forgery-resistant properties.
All 3: $12.50/3 oz bottle
Pilot Iroshizuku Take-sumi, Shin-kai & Kiri-same
The Pilot Iroshizuku inks are excellent as gifts because of their exceptionally beautiful bottles. These look amazing on any fountain pen lover’s desk. A bit more pricey for less ink, they can be considered a bit of a novelty ink; but keep in mind that you are getting an excellent ink that behaves well in almost any fountain pen. Take-sumi (bamboo charcoal) is a nice black with just a hint of grey undertone; Shin-kai (deep sea) is a dusty blue-black; and Kiri-same (autumn shower) is a nice slightly warm grey that is a nice step away from your standard blues and blacks.
All 3: $28.00/50ml each
One of the most important aspects of the fountain pen writing experience is the paper. Without a good fountain pen-friendly paper, the pen and ink will feel and look lackluster at best. Chances are if you’re buying for someone who is already into fountain pens, they already have a paper of choice; but if you’d like to give them an extra supply or possibly something new to try, these options will not disappoint.
Dot ruling is fairly new to the paper world, but most fountain pen geeks seem to love it. Rhodia has some of the best fountain pen paper money can buy, as it balances both good ink resistance and affordability. I myself use the #16 dotpad, which is fairly close to a 5×7 size. If you prefer to get something larger, go with the #18 dotpad to get closer to an 8×10 size. Rhodia does also carry blank and lined rulings if you just can’t wrap your hard around dot ruling.
Rhodia #16 top spiral bound: $6.25/80 sheets (80gsm)
Rhodia #18 top spiral bound: $11/80 sheets (80gsm)
Clairefointaine Classic Notebooks
Clairefontaine notebooks are another great choice if you prefer a slightly thicker paper (I find its not too much different than Rhodia) or other rulings/bindings. Most Clairefontaine pads come in lined from the various online dealers, but you can get blank and even French-ruled (if you don’t know what that is, probably best to pass on it for your gift). One plus side is that Clairefontaine pads come in different colors, though they are a tad pricier.
Clairefontaine Classic (various sizes/bindings): $6.50-$12.50 (90gsm)
I hope these suggestions help you find the perfect gift for the fountain pen lover in your life! I am happy to offer more specific suggestions or ideas for other occasions. Feel free to shoot me a message on the contact page of my blog! I hope you have a very happy holiday and a great new year – thanks for reading!