In an era where communication is done through email, novels are written in word processors and bright ideas are dictated on your cell phone, you’d think there’s no more use for pens in the office world. While you may rarely need a pen these days, there’s something to be said about using them in favor of typing digitally. Taking notes on pen and pad in a meeting looks miles more professional than tapping them into Evernote, signatures always look better in ink than scribbled on a tablet, and even the briefest handwritten letter looks more meaningful than any email could ever aspire to be.
In short, writing in pen shows that you’re distinguished and give a damn about good taste, so take your handwriting seriously, and use a solid pen. From affordable disposables to luxurious fine writing utensils, these are some of the best pens for carrying out your daily office tasks, from note taking to working on the Penske File.
For the Supply Closet
Distinguished, but Disposable
Staedtler Pigment Liner
Though their intended application is for sketching, Staedler Pigment Liners make great writing pens because of the bold, crisp lines they make on the page and their smooth writing action. Staedler also advertises an 18-hour cap-off time, meaning if you’re the forgetful type, you won’t be out a pen if you accidentally leave off the cap.
Ohto Slim Line
At 0.3mm, the Ohto Slim Line is one of the finest-point ballpoints around. Besides being handsome, the Slim Line’s thin aluminum body is small enough to tuck away in smaller notebooks, and Ohto’s longstanding Japanese craftsmanship means it can hold up to a lot of abuse.
Craft Design Technologies Item 20
Designed by Japanese stationary company Craft Design Technologies, the Item 20 is based on Pentel’s plastic-nib Tradio fountain pen but puts it in a cleaner, simpler and more elegant package. The CDT Item 20 has the same kind of smooth writing action as a traditional fountain pen, but the plastic construction it makes it a lot more easy to stomach if it becomes lost or broken.
Left to Right: Marvy Uchida Le Pen ($2) Uni-ball Jetstream Pack of 12 ($19) E+M Sharper Ballpoint ($4) Pensée Wooden Pens ($8) Zebra F-701 ($5) Monteverde Poquito ($14)
For Everyday Carry
Don’t Lend ‘Em Out
If you aren’t so keen on plastic nibs and don’t want to spring for a more expensive fountain pen, the Pilot Metropolitan is one of, if not the best entry fountain pens. The Metropolitan has a hefty but streamlined body reminiscent of fountain pens 20 times its price and has a smooth writing action.
Kaweco Classic Sport
The Kaweco Classic Sport lives up to its name: it’s based on a design from 1935, but is compact and sleek, perfect for everyday use. The gold-plated steel nib is a step up in quality for new fountain pen users, and the Kaweco’s iconic hexagonal shape will keep it from rolling off any uneven surfaces.
Fisher Original Astronaut Space Pen
Designed in the ’40s and eventually used in NASA’s Apollo missions, the Fischer Space Pen is without a doubt one of the most iconic writing utensils of all time. Thanks to a pressurized ink cartridge, the Fisher can be used at any angle in extreme temperatures.
Left to Right: Tombow Object Roller Ball ($65) Nemosine Fission ($31) Caran d’Ache Ballpoint ($20) Tactile Turn Raw Machined Aluminum (Learn More) Karas Kustoms Bolt ($70) Machine Era Pen Solid Brass ($38)
For the Executive
The Ultimate Writers
Though we admire almost all luxury fountain pens, they sometimes have a tendency to look a little bit stuffy. Waterman’s Carene is a perfect example of what a contemporary fountain pen should look like. Most notably, the 18-carat solid gold nib of the Carene is integrated into the pen body, making for a sleek, attractive writing instrument.
Montblanc Meisterstück 149
Montblancs are synonymous with fine writing instruments, but if you’re looking for the top-of-the-line pen from the Hamburg brand, you’ll want the Meisterstück 149. The Meisterstück Series has been Montblanc’s flagship range for over 90 years and the 149 was introduced in 1952 as the very top of the range. If nothing but the absolute finest writing instruments will do, this is your pen.