Fountain Pen Substitutes

Are you wishing you could afford to buy someone in your family, or one of your good friends (or even yourself) a beautiful fountain pen for Christmas or Hanukkah or just because it's the Holiday Season? But does spending more than $100 for a gift, even if it is a wonderful fountain pen, take a little bigger bite out of your budget than you are willing to spend? Well, fear not my friends. I have put together a few options for you.

As I'm sure you know there are a lot of very beautiful and very expensive fountain pens out there. They're gorgeous. They're probably made out of sterling silver, or have a gold nib, or have flecks of abalone shell in the body, or maybe they have a second reservoir for ink storage. Any number of wonderful materials or features can jack up the price of a fountain pen pretty quickly. So I have been on the hunt lately for pens that look kind of like the more expensive ones, are not brand-stealing knockoffs, but still don't break the bank.

Unfortunately, since I don't own any of the expensive versions of these pens, you will need to go to a fountain pen website to compare. FYI, I buy almost all of my pens from the Goulet Pens website and I used their posted numbers for all the pricing I've provided in this blog. And even though the less expensive pens may not have the same features or unique materials as their expensive cousins, I think most people would be more than happy to receive them as a gift.

Pen #1:

Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen in Raden Galaxy

This pen is gorgeous. It has a metal deep black barrel with little bits of shiny multi-colored abalone shells scattered around its middle. It also has a rhodium plated 18kt gold nib. Oh, and of course since it's a Vanishing Point pen, it has a click mechanism that hides and reveals the nib. Very impressive!

Substitute #1:

My suggestion for someone who just can't bring themselves to swipe their card for the $304.00 Pilot, is to check out the Jinhao 750 in Shimmering Sands. This pen is also black with silver accents. It is not a Vanishing Point, but it does have beautiful multi-colored sparkles throughout the entire barrel and cap of the pen. It feels great in the hand and is a smooth writer. And it makes me smile every time I look at it. Oh, and better yet, it's only $9.90!

Pen #2:

Edison Nouveau Premiere Fountain Pen in Autumn Embers

Another really beautiful pen with a black and grey swirled resin body with lava orange streaks running through it. This is a Special Edition Fall 2016 pen for $149.00 made of resin with a silver clip and a silver colored steel nib. It's only available in limited quantities.

Substitute #2:

If you can't bear to put down the bucks for the Edison Nouveau, maybe you can handle the $56 for a Monteverde Intima in Volcano Grey? It also has a back and grey swirled colored resin body and has a matching black steel nib. In the Edison, you get embers and with the Intima you get lava, but both of the pens are hot.

Monteverde Intima in Volcano Grey and Jinhao 750 in Shimmering Seas

Pen #3:

Aurora Optima Fountain Pen in Nero Perla

This pen looks like aged marble. It has hand-finished trimmings and is made from an antique material, marbled Auroloide. It has a solid gold nib and an ebonite feed. Its current price of $445.50 is reflective of its unique materials and personal detailing.

Substitute #3:

At only #$44.00 (and no, I did not put the decimal point in the wrong place) the Conklin Duragraph Fountain Pen in Cracked Ice is a great substitute. This pen is amazingly similar in look to the Optima and I can personally vouch for it being a wonderful writer.

Pen #4:

Pilot Falcon Fountain Pen in Red

This resin body, high polished pen has a wonderfully soft 14k gold nib and only hits the $152.00 mark. It used to be known as the Namiki Falcon. The soft gold nib means that as you change the amount of pressure you put on it, you can change the width of your lines.

Substitute #4:

Monteverde Limonada in Torino Red

This is a long, slim pen with a polished red metal body, chrome trim and a stainless steel nib. Granted, it won't give you the line variation of the Pilot Falcon, but at only $28, you will be the one that has to decide how much that is worth to you.

Conklin Duragraph in Cracked Ice and Monteverde Limonada in Torino Red

I'm sure there are lots of other pen pairings that I could have added to this list. And as I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, the more expensive pens are usually pricier for a reason - better quality, gold nibs, etc. etc. But I just wanted to share a few less expensive options with you of pens that I have used and loved.

If price were no obstacle, I would probably own every Visconti Van Gogh fountain pen that has ever been made and would definitely already own the Pilot Vanishing Point Twilight. But, I'm not rich, so I search for fountain pens that give me visual pleasure and that I love to write with. In the end, buying a fountain pen is a totally personal decision that you and your bank account will just have to make together.

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