Top 5 Pens - 2014

It's a long time since I have updated my list of my top 5 pens. It was a time when I have yet to discover the mighty fountain pen. As you can tell, my blog have evolved into a review site for all things fountain pens related. Without further ado, here are my top 5 pens.

Number 5 - Sailor ProColour 500
It's a clear blue demonstrator pen from Sailor one of the big 3 pen makers in Japan. Though the pen is very light on the hand but the nib more than makes up for it.

Number 4 - Lamy Safari
This is almost the standard beginner's fountain pen. No, it isn't mine but it is a pen that all fountain pen lover should have in their arsernal. It is durable and looks good, plus it comes in so many different colours.

Number 3 - Pilot Prera
I have the clear grey demonstrator version of the Pilot Prera. It is one of my work horse pens. Most inks play nice with the Prera even the harder to use ones. I love the ease of cleaning of the pen.

Number 2 - Pilot Metropolitan
This is my first fine Japanese nib pen that wasn't scratchy to my hand. Plus, it is a cheap pen, $24 that includes the pen, a converter, an ink cartridge and a box. What more could you ask for?

Number 1 - TWSBI Diamond 580
Finally, my top dog pen, my ultimate pen. Excellent ink capacity, piston filler demonstrator and a smooth nib. Look at the ink slooshing around inside. It's the prettiest thing I ever seen.

Kickstarter - Nock Co

All pen nerds rejoice! Brad Dowdy, master pen addict and Jeffrey Bruckwicki, master sewer have recently joined forces and created a new company - Nock co. They have launched a fantastic Kickstarter to raise money for their new business. Nock Co. has introduced 6 varying models of pen cases.

The Chimneytop is the standard zip pouch type pen case that most Singaporean adults are using. The is the one that I would go for because I can use it for a wide variety of travel purposes.

The Maryapple is a bi-fold notebook case. It is not really a pen case though I am sure you can clip your pens into the pouches. The Maryapple is more of a notebook protector pouch. I am not too interested in the Maryapple because the notebooks I use tend to have a hard cover so this is probably not necessary for me. And I don't keep my old notebooks around when I am done with them

The Lookout is a 3 pen holster style pen case. I am really looking forward to get my grubby hands on it. I have been hunting high and low for a suitablely affordable pen holster for my everyday carrying needs.

The Hightower is a 3 pen + 1 notebook case. It allows you to keep your notebook and pens all in one case. I think this would be one of the most popular choices it is the best of both worlds.

The Sassafras is a 5 pens bi-fold case. For anyone who couldn't decide which 3 pens they want to bring along, they can check out the Sassafras (no idea how this is pronounced).

The Brasstown is a zippered roll case. A good combination if you want the ease of use of a zip case and the protection of individual holder for each individual pen. The Brasstown seems to be an intriguing option for one when I posted the link to the Kickstarter page on the Singapore Fountain Pen Lovers group's Facebook page.

Note, I do not have a physical pen case in front of me. Everything above just my opinions based on the photos on the Kickstarter page

Personally, I have backed the USD$50 tier where I would get the Chimneytop small, Chimneytop medium, The Lookout, The Sassafras and The Brasstown. I am still on the fence I want to switch to the USD$75 tier. I really want to give the Hightower a try. Hopefully I can get it seperately once the campaign has ended. I highly recommend anyone who is interested to click through and check out the pen cases. Back the Kickstarter to get a good deal on these well designed pen cases.

Regardless, congratulations to Nock Co. but a successful launch of their Kickstarter campaign.

For a review of the Lookout, check out Ed Jelley's site. For a review of the Sassafras, check out From the Pen Cup. For a review of the Hightower, check out Well Appointed Desk and No Pen Intended

The Chimneytop

The Maryapple - Field Notes not included. 

The Lookout

The Hightower

The Sassafras

The Brasstown

Top 5 pens - 2013

Number 5 Pilot G2 - 0.7mm

This is my go-to pen when I was still studying in school. It is a work horse pen for me. 0.7mm is my preferred size. However, one issue I had with the Pilot G2 is the dry time. Being a lefty, I tend to smudge the ink as I write. Otherwise, the Pilot G2 is a very good pen for me.

Number 4 Fisher Space Pen - Blueberry Bullet

I got the Fisher Space pen because it was recommended in many many sites as a good pen for lefties. The pen works like a wonder. It writes under every situation. It is small, light and so pocketable. Everyone should check it out if they are looking for a portable pen.

Number 3 Pilot Rexgrip pen - 0.7mm

The Pilot Rexgrip is my alternative to the Pilot G2 - smooth writing without the smudging. It's another worthy pen to check out if you haven't had the chance.

Number 2 Retro 51

I was first introduced to the Retro 51 pens when I listened to The Pen Addict podcast. Out of curiousity I ordered one from The moment I put pen to paper, I was in love with the Retro 51. It has everything. Looks, style and great smooth rollerball ink refills. Thus far, I owe 4 Retro 51 pens.

Number 1 Uni Mitsubushi Jetstream 0.7mm

Finally my number 1 pen, the Uni Jetstream specifically in 0.7mm. The writing experience is in my humble opinion the best amongst the pens listed here.

Review - Retro 51 Franklin edition

I have been using the Retro 51 Tornado Vintage Metalsmith Roller Ball Pen Franklin edition. It is a very well made pen with intricate foral patterns all along the barrel. The nib of the refill is retracted back into the barrel by twisting the knob at the top of the pen.

My initial thoughts were the pen was too heavy for my liking and the barrel was a little too tapered down for me to get a good grip. I didn't particularly liked the ink that it came with because I found it lay a line that was too thick and heavy. I was also worried that the clip of the pen would get in the way.

3 weeks later, I realised that I like that the Retro 51 is heavy. I like the heft it has when I hold it in my hand. It makes the pen feels expensive, similar to that of the iPhone 4 and 4s as opposed to the iPhone 5's lighter weight. Though I wonder if the regular edition Retro 51 would have any difference in weight.

I also like the diamond patterns cut around the knob, it helps me get a firmer grip on the knob to twist it. The clip turned out to have never been in the way at all.

I still felt that the refill that the Retro 51 came with was too heavy and thick to my taste. That was easily remedied because I have purchased the Parker Quink gel ink refill when I ordered the Retro 51. The Parker Quink gel ink still lays a thick dark ink but it is not as thick or heavy as the Retro 51's original refill. Though I have to say the Parker refill feels a little loose inside the barrel. There is a rattling sound when I shake the pen from side to side. (This problem is fixed when I reinsert the refill into the pen again.)

Overall, I fully recommend the Retro 51 to anyone. I purchased my Retro 51 from Jetpens at USD$31 shipping not included. Retro 51 classic pens are available in Singapore at Aesthetic Bay, located at Orchard Ion.

"Life is too short to carry an ugly pen" - Retro 1951.