Holiday Season at Pen Boutique!

Holiday Season at Pen Boutique!

Holiday Season at Pen Boutique is always a very exciting and busy time, and this year we have more going on than ever, with recent special events featuring John Ryan from Lamy, Nibmeister Kirk Speer from Pen Realm, and Scott Hammer from Sailor. Next we will have Bill Pearcy from Pilot on December 2nd, Mario Campo from Girologio and Omas on December 8th, Gary Lange from Pelikan on December 9th, Cary Yeager from Kenro Industries (AuroraEsterbrookMontegrappaOtto HuttSheaffer, and ystudioon December 16th-17th, and Ken Jones from Yafa Brands (ConklinDiplomatDeltaMonteverdePineider, and more) on December 19th!

These events are always lots of fun, with special gifts, giveaway raffles, sales, and jaw-dropping pens that the representatives share along with their in-depth knowledge of the brands. I love to see our favorite customers come in to talk with the friendly reps and with each other. At times like these, Pen Boutique itself almost feels like a holiday party!

As you may imagine, holiday season can be very intense for our staff, so we all look forward to a nice rest after it's over, and do our best to stay strong and healthy for the month of December.  I know it's an intense time of year for a lot of people, so hopefully this article will help you with some ideas that will make your holiday shopping a little easier and more fun.  It's easy to find great gifts at Pen Boutique, even for people who aren't into fountain pens!

[Pens pictured in the cover image above: Hanukkah Oil and Christmas Twinkle from Benu, Montblanc 146 Geometric Dimension and Burgundy Lacquer, and the Pelikan M600 Art Collection Glauco Cambon.]


A Visit from Lamy

As I mentioned, we actually started off the season a few weeks ago with a very fun store event featuring John Ryan, our representative from Lamy. It was fantastic to get to know John, and we all loved his visit!  We had a great time joking around with him and watching customers get passionate about their favorite Lamy pens.

I learned that John's favorite pen is the Lamy Studio, an excellent choice when you want a classy, interesting, and reliable pen that's a step up from the entry-level classics Safari and AL-Star, but still sits below $100. I often recommend the Studio to customers who want to buy a gift that's nice but not too expensive, and that looks more modern and different than a traditional gift pen like a ParkerSheaffer or Cross.  My favorite thing about the Studio is the cool twisted clip that was inspired by an airplane propeller.  The fountain pen version uses the same tried and true nib as the Safari and AL-Star, but, even if your recipient isn't into fountain pens, the Lamy Studio is a great gift choice, because it's also available in ballpoint and rollerball, and all three variations have the stylish look and premium feel that raises this pen to the next level.  The Studio comes in ten different color variations so you can choose the perfect one.

[Pictured: Lamy Aion ballpoint in Dark Green, along with Lamy Studio fountain pens in three colors:  limited edition Matte RoseBlack Forest (a subtly shimmering dark green) and the rich and sophisticated special edition Dark Brown with subtle sparkle, which is also available in a gift set.]

For new fountain pen lovers (or people you want to convert into fountain pen lovers!), the Safari setsVista set, and AL-Star sets are also ideal holiday gifts, because, like the Studio gift set, they include everything someone needs to get started in the world of fountain pens. Okay, I'm not a fountain pen newbie, but I'm actually eyeing the White Silver AL-Star set for myself.  I love that futuristic and icy looking color, and the sets are such a good value because you don't have to buy a converter, ink, or cartridges separately.  Plus, that one comes with a matching silver pen sleeve that I love, and these are just great pens to use and to collect in different colors.  Another great gift set option from Lamy is the limited-edition Lamy Scala Fountain Pen set in Majestic Jade, a gorgeous green that comes with matching ink and a lovely 14k gold fine nib.

In honor of John's visit, Leila and I did an all-Lamy Battle of the Pens on Instagram. The Battle featured a face-off between five Lamy favorites:  the Lamy Safari, Lamy Studio, retractable Lamy Dialog CC, Lamy Imporium, and Lamy 2000.   Our viewers declared the Lamy 2000 (a classic since its introduction in 1966!) the winner with 15 votes, but all the pens received passionate support, with Imporium (12), Studio (8), and Dialog (8) all taking the lead at various points. 

(Our champion, the Lamy 2000, with one of my favorite inks, Lamy Crystal Azurite.  The 2000 is also available in ballpoint, rollerball, and pencil!)

I know the Lamy 2000 is on a lot of people's wish lists, and is a perennial favorite in the fountain pen world, but the battle also stirred up a lot of curiosity about the Imporium, which I personally think is the most beautiful Lamy pen, and it's one that's been on my wish list ever since I first saw it.  I love the elegant Art Deco style and two-tone nib.  The Imporium is available in ballpoint, rollerball, and pencil as well.


Hammer and Speer Teamup!

Last week, we had a fantastic three-day store event with two of my favorites, Nibmeister Kirk Speer from Pen Realm and Scott Hammer from Sailor Pens.  Kirk Speer was here all three days, and Scott stopped in for a whirlwind visit on Saturday until 2 PM.  We all wished he could have stayed longer!  Both Kirk and Scott are so genuine, kind, and knowledgeable about pens.  Kirk made so many people happy with his custom grinds and nib tuning, even using his magic touch to add feedback for one of my favorite customers, Josh, transforming a nib that Josh found too smooth and glassy so that it ended up feeling like the nib on his favorite Sailor! We hope to have Kirk back again next year, and I know many people who are looking forward to that already.  Once you get a taste for Kirk's unique custom nibs and the way he can turn a pen that made you sad into your new favorite, you always want more!  Some customers brought three or four pens for Kirk to perfect.

(Charlotte uses one of Kirk's TWSBI Eco tester pens to pick out her favorite new grind for a pen.)

We were also very thankful to have Kirk as the very first guest on our new YouTube show, For Your Penjoyment!  Tune in to our nibs episode see my interview with him, and watch Leila get her first custom ground nib.  Thank you so much for putting up with our silliness, and sharing your immense talent, Kirk!

Meanwhile, Scott taught us some of the finer details about Sailor pens, and ignited a passion for Sailor in our whole team with his enthusiasm and love for the brand.   It was wonderful to see him inspiring customers, and to hear about some of the coolest new releases, like the stunning Ringless Galaxy 1911L fountain pens.  They come in five beautiful sparkling jewel tones inspired by space:  "Pleiades" (deep navy)," Orion" (deep crimson), "Crab Nebula" (vivid teal)," "Andromeda" (an unusual shining amber), and Magellanic Clouds" (lustrous amethyst).

These pens were originally a Japan-only release, but are now available in North America at a special price, exceptionally low for the larger sized 1911L. Scott told us this was because the larger size is less popular in Japan and they ended up with a surplus.  Japan's loss is our gain! Americans love the 1911L size, and my first Sailor, which I bought earlier this year, is a 1911L.  It's a fantastic pen with an exceptional 21k nib. The silver sparkles in the Ringless Galaxy pens are so festive and perfect for this time of year.

(Scott showing some of his collection to Pen Boutique owners Leena and Raj and their daughter Shriya.)

(Scott Hammer with Shriya, along with Scott's beautiful array of Sailor pens.)


Ink Lovers' Dream

Another new release from Sailor that I am particularly excited about is the Sailor Compass Hocoro dip pen.  I got one of the Dipton sets (which pairs the pen with a bottle of special extra-shimmery dip pen ink) right before I wrote my article on Pink Inks, and then also used it to test all 25 inks in this year's delightful Diamine Inkvent Calendar.  I absolutely love this pen and I highly recommend it for anyone who likes trying lots of inks.  Every other dip pen I've tried in the past has frustrated me.  I've never found one to write reliably, and I've often ended up dipping fountain pens instead, to get better writing samples.  Dipping fountain pens produces a good sample, but it takes a lot of time to clean the nib and feed in between each ink, so, if you're testing a large number of inks, this can be extremely tiring and time consuming.  The Hocoro pen is very easy to clean. All you have to do is rinse the nib in water.  Not only does this pen control ink very well, the fude nib allows you to effortlessly try both thin and thick lines because the line width is dictated by the pen's angle.  If you hold it at a high angle, it writes fine, and, at an angle low to the paper, it's very broad.

To make the Horoco pen even more wonderful, Sailor just released a whole series of different Horoco choices, so now you can either 1) buy the fude pen in a pretty little Dipton set paired with shimmer ink or sheening ink (both of which are gorgeous and perfect for the holidays), or, 2) you can get the pen individually in white or gray and with different nib choices (fine, medium, 1.0 mm stub calligraphy, 2.0 mm stub calligraphy, or fude), or, 3) you can buy the pen barrels, nibs, and feeds separately for the ultimate mix-and-match power!  Note that the fude and 2.0 mm stub nibs come with feeds because these nibs need to be able to hold more ink, but if you want to add a feed to the other nibs and hold onto your ink longer, you can.  The nib is easily removable to swap out or clean, and can be reversed to fit inside the pen barrel for protection when you aren't using it.

[Our store display helps you envision the mix-and-match choices!]

This pen is so fun, easy to use, and useful!  I can't wait to try some of the other nib options and the sheening inks. I think the Dipton sets would be perfect little holiday gifts or stocking stuffers, even for someone who isn't into fountain pens.  They are sturdy and easy to care for, and the shimmer and sheening inks that come with them are so beautiful and inspiring.  Sometimes it's fun just to get creative and play.  For ink fanatics, any of the Hocoro dip pen options would be a super exciting and awesome gift.

We also have a bunch of other great ink gift sets that would be a dream gift for the fountain pen lovers on your list.  Any ink set is a fantastic gift idea when you don't trust yourself to pick out a pen, or just to make any ink lover very happy.  An ink set is something that people rarely splurge on for themselves, so it's extra-special to receive. 

We have beautiful ink sets from Pilot IroshizukuSailorTacciaJ.HerbinColorverseAnderilliumTWSBI, and Monteverde (including the fun Color Changing Ink!).  All of these are very nice and feature lovely ink color choices.

[Pictured:  Pilot IroshizukuTaccia, and Sailor boxed sets, along with Mellow Forest and Ice Dance Sailor Dipton ink bottles and one of the Sailor Dipton dip pen/ink sets, along with a selection of our beautiful Kartos writing sets and Girologio repurposed Italian leather writing mats.  The Kartos writing sets and leather writing mats are the perfect gift for anyone who loves pens!  The gorgeous paper and envelope sets are extremely fountain pen friendly, and the writing mats enhance your writing surface to improve the performance of any type of pen.  They are also impervious to ink spills and double as a mousepad.  I myself own three different colors and use them regularly.  I think a Giologio writing pad and/or Kartos paper set is also the ideal add-on gift when you are buying someone a pen and really want to make it extra special.] 

The Diamine Inkvent Calendar set is also incredibly fun if you're a fountain pen ink lover, and is joyous to open during December either as a family or alone. This advent calendar -style set comes with 25 small bottles of ink and 25 windows to open, so you can be surprised each day.  All the colors are new releases and consist of Standard, Shimmer, Scent, Chameleon, Chameleon & Sheen, and Star Bright style inks.  (Chameleon is a very cool type of shimmer ink, where the color changes depending on the angle of the light.  Star Bright is new this year, so you'll have to get one to find out what that's like!) I got to swatch all 25 inks from the calendar, and they are awesome!  I will be sharing one every day on Instagram in December. I highly recommend buying the calendar for a little treat each day. At 12 ml, the bottles are small, but large enough to fill your pens many times in the year ahead. (There is also one special 30 ml bottle for the 25th day.)

Oh, and they aren't packaged as a set, but Robert Oster also has some new fun Holiday Ink colors this year!


Pen Gift Sets - The Easiest Gift

As I touched on briefly above, gift sets are wonderful because they are packaged nicely and come with everything you need to give an impressive and useful gift to your recipient.  Most fountain pen gift sets come with a pen, ink, and converter, and some also include a matching pen case.  Some sets package a fountain pen and ballpoint pen together, or combine pens with other types of writing instruments like a mechanical pencil.  There are also sets that pair a pen and notebook, calligraphy sets with different nib options for your pen, and, of course, the sets of inks I mentioned above.  Sets are a bargain because the items included would be much more expensive if you purchased them each separately.

These are some of our favorites:

- Pelikan Classic M200 series special edition sets: beautiful translucent blue ApatiteMoonstone, and new Rose Quartz.  The Apatite set was originally $310 and is on sale for $129.97, a huge bargain for a Pelikan M200 series pen, let alone a special edition boxed set paired with matching Pelikan Edelstein ink!  I love Pelikan M200 pens myself and highly recommend them.  (You may remember me gushing about them in my Pelikan article.)

Lamy Safari fountain pen gift set.

Lamy AL-Star fountain pen gift set.

Lamy Scala fountain pen gift set.

Faber-Castell Grip fountain pen/ballpoint sets.

Faber-Castell Ambition rollerball and notebook set.

Monteverde Innova Viva Magenta set.

Monteverde Ritma Carbon Fiber special edition set with fountain pen, rollerball, ballpoint, ink bottle, and refill.

- Cross Calais ballpoint pen and journal gift set.

- We have lots of wonderful Retro 51 sets with different combinations of rollerballs, fountain pens, and mechanical pencils, including the beautiful Frederick Douglass set and our store exclusive Apollo-Soyuz Project collectors' set. The sets that are a collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art are especially beautiful. I love the Iznik Garden, the Geometric, and KandinskyDr. Gray is also very cool for skeleton lovers or those in the medical profession.  Single (non-set) Retro 51 pens or pencils also make perfect gifts because you can really get creative matching the subject to your recipient's favorite interest. These high-quality writing instruments write wonderfully and are very popular with our staff.  For inspiration, check out my blog article where I talked about the Buzz and others. A lot of the Retro 51 pens also have matching Rickshaw pen sleeves, for the ultimate gift pairing!

- For Sailor lovers, the Sailor Seasonal Festival fountain pen and ink sets or Sailor Manyo fountain pen and ink sets would be an absolutely lovely gift. Each set comes with a delicately colored Sailor Professional Gear Slim fountain pen paired with a matching bottle of ink presented in an elegant gift box.

- The Visconti Van Gogh Collection is available as a fountain pen, rollerball, or ballpoint.  The fountain pens are paired with a matching bottle of ink, and, while the others aren't exactly sets, all three styles are beautifully packaged in a box to match the Van Gogh painting they pay tribute to. Each one also comes with a matching bookmark. These handsome pens are very popular gifts for art lovers, and, because the color mixes are natural resin, each one is unique.

- The Pilot Custom 823 in Smoke or Amber also comes beautifully boxed on a satin bed with a bottle of ink.  Read my blog recommending these pens! They are one of the best serious fountain pens you can get for the money and are phenomenally smooth writers.

Other interesting sets include: 1) the J. Herbin Medieval Writing Set with a quill pen,  2) Rotring Isograph sets, and 3) our store exclusive lokta paper stationery sets. Check out my blog article about this special artisanal paper.

Calligraphy pen sets are very popular gifts for people who have learned how to write calligraphy and for those you think would like to learn.  We carry them in a number of different brands, in a variety of price points. These include: 1) Kaweco fountain pen calligraphy sets, 2) Lamy Joy fountain pen calligraphy sets (regular or aluminum version), 3) J. Herbin La Perle Des Encres Wooden Box Set (calligraphy dip pen with nibs and ink), and 4) the beautiful Graf Von Faber-Castell Tamitio black fountain pen calligraphy set.


Very Special Sets and Limited Edition Pens

These high-end sets are sure to delight and impress your recipient:

- Montblanc Meisterstuck Rollerball and Notebook in gold or platinum trim.

Montblanc Meisterstuck Ballpoint and Notebook.

Pelikan Souveran Fountain Pen - M800 - 40th Year (Limited Edition).

- Any of our many limited edition beautiful Visconti or Aurora pens.

[Pictured: Visconti Divina in Elegance Bordeaux (top), Visconti Van Gogh in Orchard in BlossomVisconti Medici Astral in Nova Red, and Visconti Opera Master Essence limited edition in Stargazer green. 

Many other limited edition pens also come breathtakingly boxed with a bottle of ink and gorgeous pen case.  Some of our favorites in our limited edition display case right now include the Namiki Emperor 2023 White RabbitTaccia Miyabi Empress Winter's Breath King of Pen, and Sailor Maki-e Sakura Nagare King of Pen. The Montblanc Limited Edition pens are also full of detail and very collectible.  We have a large variety of exceptional limited edition pens to choose from; feel free to call our customer service (410-992-3272) for advice if you need help picking one out. Customer service is open Monday to Friday, 9 AM to 6 PM. 


So Many Stocking Stuffers

I had a lot of fun thinking of Pen Boutique stocking stuffers with Shirya!  These small gifts would also be great as little presents for friends at work or school.

- Pen Boutique Crab pen holders in redgreen, or blue.  These cute little crabs are very popular online, and, from what I've been told, we actually originated the trend at Pen Boutique!  Here in Maryland, we are famous for our blue crabs (which turn red when cooked), so Pen Boutique started offering the pen holders many years ago, and now you see pens posing on crabs all over the Internet!  Both kids and adults love the crab pen holders, and they really do work well for holding your pen.  The crab is strong and stable enough to support anything from a Pilot Varsity to the Montblanc Moctezuma!  This gift is sure to be a hit. The only question is, which color?

Pilot Varsity and/or Platinum Preppy.  I remember many customers coming in last December and buying handfuls of these inexpensive fountain pens for stocking stuffers or to give out to their friends.  And this year, the Varsity and Preppy gift buying has already started!  Pilot Varsity is a disposable fountain pen that only costs $3.37 and comes in seven fun colors.  The ink color matches the pen.  The Platinum Preppy is also very inexpensive at $6.00, but can be refilled with Platinum ink cartridges, or used with a Platinum converter and bottled ink. It comes in a variety of colors and nib sizes, each with a matching ink cartridge, and also has a Limited Edition version in six different cool colors/patterns for a few dollars more. (All the limited edition pens come with black ink and a fine nib, regardless of color.) The Preppy features a "Slip & Seal" mechanism that prevents the pen from drying out even if it's not used for a long period of time, and I've had many customers tell me it truly works and that they rely on their Preppy even though they own more expensive fountain pens, too. Both the Varsity and Preppy write surprisingly smoothly, and are an excellent way to introduce your friends and family to fountain pens, especially when you aren't sure if they'd like or be willing to take care of a fountain pen. These pens are good for both young people and adults.  A lot of our customers buy a Pilot Varsity in each color and give them to their kids or grandkids, or hand them out to coworkers! Share the love!

[Pictured:  crab pen holderRickshaw pen sleeves, Pilot VarsityPlatinum Preppy regular and Limited Edition fountain pens, and Pen Boutique Yak Leather pen sleeve in Brown Glitter.]

- Definitely consider Kaweco for fun, small, and inexpensive pens that make great stocking stuffers. These include the pocket-sized Kaweco Sport (Skyline or Classic) and the Kaweco Perkeo (a full-sized but lightweight pen). These pens come in small packages and lots of colors, so they make great surprises!  The Kaweco Sport is available in fountain pen, rollerball, ballpoint, and even as a mechanical pencil, and the Perkeo is a fountain or rollerball. I love my Kaweco Skyline Sport in Iridescent Pearl. The fountain pens use standard international short cartridges or a mini converter for bottled ink. I think the more premium aluminum AL Sport in Collector's Edition Ruby is an especially beautiful rich Christmas-y shade.

The Pelikan Twist is another fun, colorful stocking stuffer fountain pen that comes with minimal packaging.  Both kids and adults go for them.  Their ergonomic grip makes them easy to hold, and the chunky shape is sturdy and different.  We display these on our counter near the register and people are always picking them up to try, then having trouble choosing between all the great colors. Like Kaweco, they use standard international cartridges or a standard international converter.  One thing to note about the Twist:  despite the misleading name, it does not have a twist cap!  "Twist" refers to the shape of the pen.  Nine times out of ten, customers who pick them up attempt to take off the cap by twisting, and I have to tell them it's a pull cap when they are unable to open the pen. We always end up laughing over the confusion. This pen is a very smooth writer.

The Lamy Pico and compact Fisher Space Bullet Pen ballpoints are both cool and so useful. I was showing some customers the Pico this Saturday in the store and they all went nuts when they saw how the pen starts out as a tiny capsule when closed, then springs open to full sized when you click the back. When they asked in amazement, "How does it do that???" I just said, "Magic." The Fisher Space Pens are also incredibly compact when closed, and feature a pressurized ink refill that works in all kinds of adverse conditions, like on greasy surfaces, underwater, upside down, and in extreme weather. Plus, if you happen to go to outer space, you definitely need one for writing there.

The Faber-Castell Grip comes in both fountain pen and ballpoint, and is another nice inexpensive but high quality and colorful option that is delivered in a small package.  I own two Grip ballpoints and love them! The fountain pen has an excellent nib, and, again uses standard international cartridges or a standard international converter. The sparkly Glam Edition pens and  seasonal Mistletoe and Berry colors are especially festive. The Grip pens are also packaged in several nice colors as a gift set.

- The Sparkle Pencil is another one of my favorites from Faber-Castell. I love these and have a bunch myself. They are only $1.50 each and are so pretty, they are hard to resist for both kids and adults. These high-quality pencils have an ergonomic triangular grip to write comfortably, and feature contrasting recessed dots that feel nice to hold and aid in traction.  The dots and ends are sparkly, but they write with normal black/grey lead, so you can use them at school, work, or wherever. If you buy them in the store, you can choose your pencil colors, but when you order online you will receive random colors.


(Pictured: Faber-Castell Glam Edition Violet Grip fountain pen, Metallic Highlighter Textliner, Sparkle Pencils, and holiday edition Grip colors: Mistletoe and Berry.)

More fun small things:

1) Colorverse Mini inks (my current favorites are Supernova and Hayabusa Glistening... I've noticed that another especially popular one is Cat Glistening).  If you buy 3 or more, you can save 50 cents a bottle.

2) Punilabo pen stands, available in the shapes of six different cute animals.

3) Fun Rickshaw or simple and classy Pen Boutique pen sleeves to protect your pen. The "No! You cannot borrow my pen" and "Down the rabbit hole!" sleeves are especially perfect for the pen fanatic in your life. 

4) Pocket-sized Field Notes notebooks come in so many great designs. The National Parks series is especially nice, and Red Alert is great for a Christmas-themed red color choice.

5) Fountain pen friendly A7B7, or A6 sized Maruman Mnemosyne notebooks and Write Reporter Notepads and Pocket Notebooks are always handy. I love both brands.

6) Last but not least, Shriya's favorite:  the Sailor Compass Shikiori Markers, available in 20 beautiful colors modeled after the famous Sailor Shikiori fountain pen inks. Each dye-based marker is double-sided with both a fine tip and a brush tip, and you can layer them or blend the colors with a wet paintbrush. They are so enjoyable to experiment with, and sure to bring out your creative side. These markers are also available packaged in a set, the perfect gift for the artist in your life.

[Pictured:  Sailor Compass Shikiori Markers, Sailor Professional Gear pens in Christmas Pudding and Christmas Spice, Sailor Shikiori ink cartridges, and Punilabo Chick pen stand. Sorry, I reused this photo from last year, so we don't have the limited edition Sailor pens anymore!]


More Gifts for Kids or the Young at Heart

Many of the "stocking stuffer" ideas I already mentioned are great for kids and teens, but here are a couple more ideas that are a little larger: the Punilabo Pen Cases in the shape of cute animals are super popular (also excellent for pencils or other small supplies!), and the Colorverse Coloring Sheets are a wonderful way to relax and get creative.  They are fountain pen ink friendly, so you can use your pens or watercolor paint brushes with ink to color them! I really enjoyed trying these on a day off.

Speaking of young people and new fountain pen users, if you want to buy someone their first fountain pen this holiday season, I got some excellent input from my customer Erik, who first got into pens by using a Pilot Varsity in 8th grade, and then fell down the rabbit hole at the age of 20 and now has quite the collection.  He told me, "My handwriting was chicken scratch all through school, but it's improved noticeably from using a fountain pen regularly." His recommendations for starter fountain pens are the Pilot Metropolitan (this was also my first fountain pen), Lamy Safari (also available in a nice gift set with a bottle of ink and converter), the previously-mentioned Kaweco Sport, and the very popular TWSBI Eco. And don't forget the cute Pilot Kakuno, a great beginner fountain pen that writes just like a Metropolitan but has a lightweight body and a smiley face on the nib!

Meanwhile, the Pilot Parallel isn't really for kids, but it's very fun to experiment with. This inexpensive writing instrument comes in six wide flat nib widths and can be used for calligraphy and to create spectacular lettering or art effects.


Other Ideas When You Don't Know What To Get

There are countless additional options in the world of pens, and it's best to come into the store to browse if you want to pick out a unique pen in another category. A sales associate can help you narrow down the options if you need help, or a customer service representative can assist you if necessary when you order online.

Remember, even if you love fountain pens, you don't have to get your recipient one. First think about whether they'd really enjoy and appreciate a fountain pen.  If not, there are many beautiful ballpoints and rollerballs that can still elevate their writing experience!  I took a couple of photos of pens from around the store yesterday to illustrate a range of options.

[Ballpoints pictured:  Retro 51 Tornado (actually a rollerball/ballpoint hybrid), Pilot MetropolitanAurora IpsilonPelikan K600Parker JotterMontblanc 164 Le Petit Prince & the PlanetFisher Space BackpackerWaterman Expert, and Monteverde Tool Pen.  Sorry these store photos are a little darker than my usual blog photos!  The lighting in the store can be challenging.]

And, below is a selection of some of my very favorite rollerballs: Montblanc Meisterstuck Classique rollerball with Red Gold Trim, Otto Hutt Design 4 rollerball in Black Wave with Rose Gold Trim, the ystudio Bihex rollerball in Glamour Evolve Absinthe and Glamour Evolve Marsala, and the Waldmann Tango rollerball in Fine Square Pattern.  Two of these pens are on my personal wishlist!

That said, a Montblanc Meisterstück fountain pen, rollerball, or ballpoint is always a classic and very classy gift, and you can read my blog article on these pens (focusing on fountain pens, but also talking about Montblanc and Meisterstück in general) to learn more about why. My article on Choosing a Graduation Gift Pen also has a lot of useful information on other excellent gift pens.  The Montblanc Starwalker is a great alternative for a Montblanc with a contemporary look, and you can read about it in my article from September.

Here are a few final ideas for that hard-to-shop-for person. (You know, when you aren't sure about their pen taste and you don't know what they already have.)

For a fountain pen lover, fountain pen friendly paper is usually very welcome. I recommend a Rhodia Rhodiarama notebook, Oasis notebook (especially one of the new National Park editions, which feature beautiful covers!), Tomoe River paper (if you can find it in stock!), Write Pads (a local brand from Baltimore), or the stunning Italian Kartos writing sets.

A bottle of pen flush is always useful, and splurging on fancy inks like Montblanc, BunguboxJacques Herbin, or a Colorverse two-bottle duo is a special treat.  

For the Montblanc lover, what about Montblanc accessoriescufflinks, or notebooks?  We also have a beautiful Montblanc pen case that holds twelve pens. 

I also love the new super-soft vegan denim pen cases along with the repurposed Italian leather writing mats from Girologio, and I actually already bought one of the denim cases as a gift for someone on my list!

And, for people who have everything, I recommend...

1) Visconti's limited edition Leonardo Da Vinci Machina Vermeil fountain pen (the display box alone must be seen to be believed!), 2) a handcrafted David Oscarson pen, 3) the Namiki Emperor 2022 Elephant limited edition fountain pen, and 4) the Montblanc Patron of Art Limited Edition 888 Moctezuma fountain pen. This pen is probably the coolest and most unbelievable pen in the store!

Or, you can't go wrong with a Faber-Castell Hexo, of course. :-)

Well, it's time for me to go to bed!  Tomorrow I plan to record the new episode of For Your Penjoyment with Leila, and Saturday is our store event with Bill from Pilot, which I'm really looking forward to, so I definitely need to get a good sleep for both.

Farewell for now, and I'll see you in the store, on Instagram and YouTube, and in my next blog article.  In honor of our upcoming Pilot event, I'll close with some more of my favorite Pilots in pretty holiday colors.

 -Laura P.

I love comments on my blog!  Please leave comments if you like the articles, and, if you have any questions about this article, or any of the other blog articles, you can e-mail  Thank you!


[Pictured: Pilot Falcon in Metal Burgundy, Pilot Custom 74 in Grenadine, Pilot Vanishing Point SE in Ruby Red Marble, and Pilot Pen Sheath in Cypris Red. These are all amazing pens that I highly recommend, and they come in a gorgeous range of other colors if you don't like red. The pen case is stunning and is a true luxury gift. Any of Pilot's beautiful pen cases would make a wonderful gift for the Pilot/Namiki lover in your life.]