When I say Mid Range I am talking about something pretty good in the FP world now. The reigning king here has to be TWSBI. It’s a writing instrument from Taiwan which had taken the pen world by storm. Big, see-through, with a reliable start up and lay down nib, piston fill (very very popular), AND a wonderful reputation for customer service, this is a real great pen. You can change the nibs if you can screw in a lightbulb, so go from an extra fine to a double broad in minutes. Your choice. Writes smoothly every time.
The higher end Lamy pens are very popular as well. The Studio model is a racy brushed steel with black softer material around where you grip. Feels quite substantial and writes smooth and easy. And you can change the nib to any size and material you like. Want a gold nib? You can have that but you have to buy it separately. Neat-o.
The Pelikan is a very prestigious and respected pen and their serious series M200 starts at about $100. Plain Jane black or marbled green are the usual colors, and there is a wide choice of nibs (F to B). It might not be an ultra fancy pen, but it has all the features that make Pelikans great. If you want to get into serious pen collecting, this is your gateway. There are places which do sell the M200 with more particular nibs (like italic) but I am not going to confuse matters here.
At the upper end, the Pilot Custom 74 is a beautiful pen. Smooth nib and see through body is quite a combination. You will love the feel of such a highly polished, bump free tip on the Pilot. They are famous for a buttery smooth pen. The see through body lets you tell how much ink you have left, and it’s very cool to look at the inner workings of the instrument. By the way, all see through pens are called “demonstrators” and can be clear, amber, smoke, violet or any color you can imagine. The Custom 74 is about $150, perhaps a bit more in some places.
This might be a good time to call to your attention that there are two kinds of merchants selling these higher end fountain pens. First, some merchants get the pens in a box from the maker and store them, sell them, and go on to the next customer never opening the box. This kind of merchant usually sells for the lowest price and does high volume. The do not tune nibs and do not tweak pens for you. You would consider this sort of a merchant if you are not picky about your nibs and you are buying a pen with a great reputation for being super right out of the box with no fiddling. The low price merchants are best for buying high end pens which have a tendency to be better quality all around so you can just take them out of the box, ink them up, and enjoy them.
If you need to have the nib tuned, you want to buy your pen from a “nibmeister” sort of a seller. This is a store which will adjust the nib for your kind of writing. If you like a right handed, “wet” writer which responds to light pressure, they can give it to you with a deft polishing which makes the nib react the way you want. The also test a pen and rewrap it up so you have the fun of “unboxing” it when you receive it. The nibmeister will try a pen out before he ships it to you to be sure that he is not passing on a lemon, which can happen even in the highest end pens. You pay a bit more for nibmeister pens but the chance of them being out of the acceptable zone is much lower. Most nibmeisters will stand behind their product and have reputations to uphold.
Personally, after a few purchases, I would recommend that you buy your pens from the nibmeister kind of a seller. A nib that does not suit you is not going to be part of a pen that gives you anything but trouble and pain. Pay the small extra and have your new pen come in the way you want it. Even though the majority of pens from companies in the $50+ range are perfect, there is always one that makes it through without detection. I just bought a Pilot pen from a box merchant thinking that the nib was going to be AOK out of the package, it wasn’t. I sent it back to the manufacturer and they are coping with it. Not the end of the world, but if I had gotten it from a nibmeister, they would have turned it around and could have even done a bit more customizing for me if I had wanted it. But it’s your call.
Next Possets Blog is going to be about Blue Ink. Think that is boring, it isn’t. Blue can be one of the most scintillating colors out there. In the meantime, take a look at the Possets website. If you are looking for great perfume at a great price, www.possets.com is the place to search.