Alright, here’s the last PenBBS review for a while, or at least until I place another order for more of these excellent, reasonably priced workhorses. Up today is the PenBBS 469 “double-sided” or “double-ended” (i.e., two-nibbed) fountain pen. Pens with two nibs have gotten a lot of attention from time to time over the years. The first time I recall seeing one was when my friend Thomas commissioned a custom double-ended Edison Pearl from Brian Gray of Edison Pen Company. Other custom pen makers have produced their own versions, but custom pens are expensive and run in the hundreds of dollars. Until now, I have not seen a double-ended pen at the sub $50 price point, which is where this one sits.
The key selling point of a double-ended pen is to allow you to have two nibs: one with a broad tip for general writing or highlighting, and another fine tip for annotations and notetaking. The two nibs on the PenBBS 469 don’t really deviate from the norm, but the fine nib on this pen does have the same slightly upturned tipping that you find on other PenBBS pens, while the broad nib has a more traditional round shape. In my recent reviews of the PenBBS 456 (vacuum-filler) and the PenBBS 355 (syringe-filler “bulkfiller”), I remarked on how much I enjoy the upturned nib, which makes for a smooth writing experience with some line variation.
So how the heck do you fill a double reservoir pen? Obviously, it would be extremely difficult (but maybe not impossible?) to use two converters without making the pen unwieldy and huge. Therefore, most are eyedroppers, like this one, which actually comes supplied with a glass dropper in the box. No silicone grease is necessary, because the sections are fitted with o-rings I’ve had zero leakage, despite the pens jostling around in my work bag all week, and have experienced only a minimal amount of ink burping into the cap, even with one of the nibs needing to be inverted at all times.
Each of the two reservoirs holds a fair bit of ink. I’ve been using this pen for the better part of two weeks, and there’s still plenty of ink left. If you’re someone who needs (or simply likes) to switch colors for annotation or notetaking purposes, the PenBBS 469 could easily be your one-pen workhorse.
Takeaways and Where to Buy
I have yet to be disappointed by a PenBBS pen, and I’ve frankly been stunned at the level of quality they manage to produce at their current price point. The PenBBS 469 is no exception, offering a unique writing experience for less than $50, where you otherwise would have to pay $200+ for a custom pen. I just want them to make more of their pens available in this red material.
The two primary ways to purchase PenBBS pens are via the PenBBS Etsy Store, which usually snags you the best price, or via eBay, where certain sellers may have more variety. (As I’ve noted before, for some reason PenBBS carries less diverse stock in their own store, probably to focus on limited or special edition materials while pushing most of their standard stock to their retailers.) Here, the PenBBS 469 costs $29.99 in the Etsy store, while the transparent/red-webbed pen featured in this review runs just under $40 from most eBay Sellers, and can include an optional rollerball attachment if you don’t want to use two fountain pen nibs. I’ve not tested out the rollerball, but Susan over at the Pen Addict has had a positive experience. Check out her review here.