Who needs a pen in this digital age? If you need a pen, why a luxury pen? You might as well ask why anyone needs a watch or a leather handbag. Pens are perfect that says something about the recipient and the giver. Choosing the best pen brands to gift needs careful matching of style and values to delight both parties.
When to Gift a Branded Pen
Good fountain pen brands are ideal for any of the significant life events in the recipient’s life:
- Leaving Home
- New Job
- Wedding anniversary
- Setting up a business
- Buying a house
There are many more, along with the corporate marketing. There are also some traditional gifting occasions for Jewish boys and girls when they reach their thirteenth birthday. Sadly, the gifting scene in a Beautiful Mind is fictional.
Authors, Actors, Heads of State, Royalty, Bank managers, Architects and kids moving up to secondary schools all treasure the blessing of a pen. People treasure the gift of pens for lifetimes with affection for the giver.
How to Choose the Best Pen Brand to Gift?
The best pen brands to give depends on you and your relationship with the recipient. You want to match the best pen with the way your friend, colleague or loved one sees the world. A pen implies that you see them as a creative individual who is out to make their mark.
Pens are for everyone, and that includes leftist’s, rheumatics, people with dyslexia, dyspraxia and those with arthritis. An ergonomic Yoropen implies that you want to help them be comfortable in writing and that you treasure them as they are–it is a caring and enabling offering.
A handcrafted Whitlock pen implies you see them as thoughtful and interested in craftsmanship rather than labels. It also means that you want to give them a pen unique and chosen with meaning–tied to their birth tree or some other symbol of your relationship and their interests.
Perhaps your recipient admires a past or present hero and would prefer a pen like theirs. Boris Johnson uses a replica Churchill pen because he admires Winston Churchill. The president’s office in the United States chooses a pen marque to promote, as do other heads of State.
Alternatively, you may want big label brands and a high price tag to match because this is going to be THE pen that everyone around recognises as being out of their league. Whatever the type and nature of your offering you can find something to delight everyone.
Whitlock Wooden Design (UK) produces these as part of their selection. These are hand-crafted created from a staggering pick of fine woods and resins. Each barrel made and finished individually to give the lucky owner a lifetime of use rather than a mass-produced label.
Price for modest ballpoint pens at £25 to a unique historic one at under £200. You can commission a craftsman to provide a product tailored for delivery on any occasion. See the customer reviews in store to discover what others say.
George Safford Parker founded an American pen company in 1888, focusing on fine point nib’s. Bought and sold many times and diversified into other industries, but it now concentrates on the luxuriousness and largely ignores the mass produced.
Until 2011 it manufactured these in the UK (Newhaven, East Sussex) and holds two Royal Warrant’s one from Queen Elizabeth II and the other from Prince Charles. In 2011 the production moved to Nantes, France, where it remains today.
Quink–a smooth quick-drying ink that doesn’t need blotting paper was part of the childhood memories of many inky-fingers writing letterforms with scratchy school pens. The firm developed this ink along with ink cartridges for less messy refills.
Before moving from the United States, it was the favorite pen from John F Kennedy to Clinton. Cross is the presidential replacement.
Aimed firmly at the luxury market, and one of its offerings is the Duofold Limited Edition–celebrating the 130th anniversary with 1,300 hand-built to order. Each pen contains 22 components, and you can expect to pay £2,690 from new.
You can buy a mass-manufactured plastic, but the standard ones cost upwards of £100 with optional engraving. The guarantee is two years instead of the forever warranty previously offered.
First started by Richard Cross in 1846 (a jeweller) moved into the production of cursive hand writing implements. An employee (Walter Boss) bought the family business in 1916, and his family remain on the board. All that remains of the family link is the name and the boast that high-quality pens are to jewellery standards with an emblematic design.
Their claim to fame is that since 1970 they are chosen by the US presidents (Ford, Reagan, both Bush presidents, and Obama) use for official signings. The presidents give these to witnesses as souvenirs. President Trump began with the traditional choice but has dismissed the iconic fountain pens as too expensive and terrible pens. He favours a customised Sharpie marker instead.
Production has switched to China, but make some custom models for politicians and presidents in New England. One of the most costly is the Century Classic Solid 18 Carat Ballpoint selling at £1,890.
If your pockets are not that deep, they primarily sell to the middle markets and the bottom of the range ballpoint cost a modest £20-30 on amazon. These come with a perpetual warranty, and vintage fountain pens manufactured in the USA are collectable for their consistent build quality.
Lewis Edson Waterman created the organization in New York in 1884. The American business folded, but the French subsidiary in Paris is still in business, producing superior pens modestly priced between £20 and £200 with a three-year warranty. Pens include Rollerball’s, ballpoints, and iconic fountain pens.
Francois Mitterrand is a supporter, and Einstein wrote his Theory of Relativity with a Taper-cap fountain pen–you can see it in the museum in Leiden. Stephen King acknowledges his pleasure in using a Waterman pen to write ‘Dreamcatcher’ as reintroducing him to the joy of engaging his mind with his hand. He was following in the footsteps of H. P. Lovecraft who also favoured the branding. The Armistice was signed with a pen now on display in the Musée de l’Armée.
Unlike most, Waterman does not produce extravagant models that cost thousands of pounds. They are comfortable to handle and elegant that give decades of joy in use.
Walter A. Sheaffer was the founder bearing his name in America in 1912, like so many other fine pen manufacturers he was a jeweller by trade. The Cross corporation acquired Sheaffer in 2014 and now comes under their umbrella. China manufactures the product lines.
In 1924 they applied a trademark white dot to their clip, indicating a forever warranty against defect. For a while limited warranties of one to three years were standard, but from September 2019 offered a lifelong warranty on their goods.
An Ohio printer acquired an original pen salvaged from the USS Oklahoma–sunk in Pearl Harbour. This still-functioning pen created the lettering on promotional material for the war effort. The most famous user is Walt Disney, who drew with a Balance fountain pen. Spike Milligan probably used a PFM (Pen For Men) for his comedy scripts–they show him in photographs with a fountain pen, but it is hard to spot the exact model.
There is a thriving collector’s trade for vintage Sheaffers with prices in the hundreds for sought-after specimens. You can get excellent pens for between £20 and £400.
Josef Lamy was a German salesperson for Parker before he bought the Orthos pen producer and moved into the pen business in Heidelberg, Germany in 1930. After WW2, they changed from Orthos and Artus to launch the first “Lamy” in 1952.
Producing in Germany with price ranges from a modest £30 budget to the extravagant priced up to £350. Offering a two-year warranty. Neil Gaiman (American Gods and Small Omens) is a collector and known to write with a 2000 model.
This Italian pen maker (and other lavish goods) formed in 1912, had a brief period under the Cartier trademark and is back in family (Aquila) ownership since 2009. Montegrappa produces collectables, at eye-watering prices. They celebrate everything from famous people to technology to film. The Lord of the Ring special has a removable golden ring as part of the design. Precious metals, jewels, lacquer–detailing and craftsmanship provided with all the elegance of a Fabergé egg and a pricing to match.
These are well liked with Russian politicians, racing car drivers, European heads of State and actors. Sylvester Stallone likes them so much he is a member of the board and an ambassador.
The starting price for a Montegrappa pen is around £80 for the ordinary person wanting a touch of the Italian magic. You can pay over £100,000 for one of the limited-editions like the rollerball celebrating ancient Mexican civilisations–only 20 made and 18K gold.
Montblanc is a German deluxe goods creator that produces a variety of pens for gifts. All are classically styled, and the cheapest Montblanc starts at £180, the typical starting outlay is £500. They retain their value in the second-hand marketplace.
Popular with actors like Johnny Depp and Rosario Dawson, appealing to lovers of designer writing pens. The flower logo in the cap is the thing with these. Ernest Hemingway wrote with a Montblanc, and Ian Fleming’s famous spy is also a fan.
Caran d’Ache pencils are familiar to artists, but they also produce luxury pens. These launched in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1915. They are the only producer of writing instruments in Switzerland. The range varies from £15 to £2,500.
The name comes from a Russian word–karandarsh or pencil. The trade mark is well known for its luminescent artist pencils and other products.The Caran d’Ache ‘La Modernista Diamonds’ hit the Guinness World Record in 2001 as the most pricey pen, studded with diamond and rubies it set someone back a cool £1.2 million.
You might not have heard of Yoropen–a pen manufacturer whose mission is to make writing easier for differently abled (dyslexia, dyspraxia, arthritis) and left-handers with award-winning ergonomics.
Yoropen produces reasonably priced pen sets for executives at a modest £40 through amazon. Yoropen’s ergonomically designs are the perfect writing instrument for anyone who struggles to write with a standard ballpoint.
Another pen maker, more known for its artist materials than writing implements. One of the oldest pen companies involved with writing tools–1761, Nuremberg, Germany and in family hands.
The fine writing line contains expertly designed rollerball’s that look good and perform superbly. It may not be a celebrity pen, but the nib pen is reliable and lovely to grip. Their e-motion average cost varies from £40 to £80 and features wooden, resin or metal barrels.
The pen did not go the way of the Dodo because handwriting is still an essential part of daily life. Nothing says you care as much as a handwritten note, and your signature continues to identify you on most legal documents. When you have to make your mark on paper–do it with a beautiful pen. When you need a present for any occasion, choose a pen and be remembered with affection and probably thanked in writing.
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