Six Month Review: Favorite Pens From 2019, So Far

Every year I take time off around Memorial Day to go on vacation, and while there won’t be any new content until the first week of June, I typically will post a series of short recaps in which I revisit some of my favorite products and reviews from the first six months of the year. First up is pens. All links are links to my own full reviews. Enjoy!

Leonardo Officina Italiana Momento Zero. Though these aren’t supposed to be in any particular order of preference, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the Leonardo Momento Zero made this list. I now own SIX of these pens - three celluloid and three acrylic - and carry at least one with me every day. The fact that you can get one of these pens well under the $200 price point amazes me, though you will have to pay a premium for unique materials such as celluloid or ebonite.

Desiderata Soubriquet. I waited a long time to pick up my first Desiderata. Too long, apparently. The Soubriquet is the biggest pleasant surprise of the year, if not the entire blog. I love this pen, especially the Briar Ebonite material. Now that Pierre is making these pens with JoWo nibs, those who like the look of the Soubriquet and other Desiderata Pens won’t be limited to the Zebra G Calligraphy nib, which itself is a great option/feature if you’re looking for a fountain pen to do calligraphy.

TWSBI ECO Transparent Orange. While I’ve always considered it a good pen, especially considering that you’re getting a reliable high capacity piston-filler for around $30, the ECO’s design has never appealed to me as much as TWSBI’s 580 line. Something about the acrylic on the standard white and black models made the faceted cap look too chunky. That changed with TWSBI’s release of clear demonstrator versions, especially the orange version that came out this year. Sometimes you find a pen that just checks all your boxes: a great price-to-value proposition, just the right pop of color, a large ink capacity, and a good nib.

Montblanc Starwalker Rollerball. Despite the premium price point, I like Montblanc rollerball refills because they come in a finer tip and generally don’t write as wet of a line as Schmidt refills, which have become the default for rollerball pens such as the Retro 51 and the Baron Fig Squire. I’ve also been wanting to add a Montblanc Starwalker to my collection for years, but have held off purchasing a fountain pen because this particular model is cartridge-only and has developed a reputation for spotty nib quality over the years. But a Starwalker rollerball? On deep discount? I snapped it up immediately.

Baux Pens. Though the 22Pen might be a close second, the Baux Pen is probably the weirdest - in a good way - Kickstarter project I’ve ever backed. A premium barrel for a Bic Cristal refill? Sign me up. I’ve used these pens on a daily basis since they made their way into my hands. I highly recommend the Xtra Precision refill if you find the typical Bic Cristal too wide.

Editor’s Note: I’m traveling this week on vacation, so I’ll likely be slow to respond to e-mails and comments. I’ll catch up with all of you when I get back the week of June 3.