Finding My Fountain Pen Trifecta in 2021

I can’t believe that I’m claiming fountain pen peace this early on in 2021. I’ve started using fountain pens very early on in my stationery journey, starting with the beginner-friendly Pilot Kakuno that frequents my Hobonichi Techo. As my eyes open more to amazing writing tools and accessories in the stationery community, I come to learn and appreciate fountain pen more as a collector’s hobby. There are trial and errors in the process, but over the years, my fountain pen collection grew to 14 strong (with a few bought and sold in between.)

It wasn’t until 2020 that I started venturing into more expensive fountain pens (what’s expensive? It’s all relative…after all). I used to buy fountain pens in the $30 – $60 range, such as Pilot Prera, TWSBI Eco, and Lamy Safari. However, I was attracted by the elegant and vintage looks of a Sailor Pro Gear and Platinum’s cigar shaped barrels. There’s also the allure of a *gold nib*, as opposed to steel nibs used in cheaper fountain pens.

In 2020, I definitely upgrade to the $100 – $200 range pieces in the fountain pen world. Does this come with the maturity of myself turning 30 years old? Or am I looking for solace from stress in high quality stationery during the pandemic? Nevertheless, I treated myself to a TWSBI Diamond 580 in Rose Gold for my birthday in April. One month later, I got married and my husband got me a Sailor Pro Gear Slim in the Shikiori series as a wedding gift (after some deliberate nudging)!

Since then, I decided that I’m brave enough to start seeking out other cool fountain pens outside of my TWSBI comfort zone (you might notice I have plenty of TWSBI Eco fountain pens)

It’s March 2021, and my first set of “collection” is complete.

My first pen in this green-gold-amazing-ness is Sailor Pro Gear Shikiori series called Manyou. It represents “summer” of the four seasons collection that Sailor introduced in the set of four pens. For those who know me, I love summer time and the liveliness that comes with the season. For this pen to embody that spirit and be in my favorite color – green…I had to get it. On top of the sophisticated look, it also has a 14K gold nib (I got the MF nib size, an in between of Fine and Medium). I love the black tipped finial and the ring of gold trim. It has the shortest build of the trio but I love how dainty it looks in my everyday pouch.

Top to Bottom: Pilot Custom 74, Platinum Century 3776, Sailor Pro Gear Slim Manyou

When people discuss beginner’s introductory gold nib pens, they typically also talk about Platinum’s Centry 3776 fountain pen. With a sophisticated cigar barrel shaped silhouette, Platinum also introduced this line up with 14k gold nibs. When I was choosing a color for this fountain pen, I immediately was drawn to the same green body and gold trim. Pen Chalet was holding a sale, and I can’t help but purchase the Platinum Century 3776 Laurel Green. Sometimes when we buy stationery, we’re not just buying it for the good look, but buying it because of how we relate to the product story. Laurel leaves were a symbol for victory and success and were used as crown and medals for scholars and athletes. I thought to myself…hey! I’m going to feel extremely sophisticated and grand when I use this pen to write in my journals.

The final pen in this trio is the Pilot Custom 74 in dark green. Since I’m trying to collect “beginner’s gold nibs” from the three big Japanese stationery brands: Sailor, Platinum, and Pilot, my friend Kelly recommended Pilot’s Custom 74 to complete the trifecta. The dark green color way is no longer available from most US retailers, so I found a shop called Pensachi that was based in Japan! I chose a broad nib in this pen because I want to try something new since I already have many Pilot fountain pens in EF, F, and M.

Admire the minute details of the clip that differs in each of the pens design. On the gold trim you’ll find the company names spelled out and wrapped around the cap.

Each of these pens write beautifully. The gold nibs are said to be a more pliable material and over time can mold and fit to the pressure you exert when you write. They write very smooth and doesn’t give off the scratchy feeling when you’re dragging a steel tip across the paper. It’s also interesting how each nib gives off a varying shade of gold as well.

A look at the length of each pen and how it sits in my hold. My favorite weight and length will have to be the Platinum 3776.

Just like the feeling after you agonized and picked the final planner line up for the year, I’m now happily satiated in terms of my fountain pen appetite. I look forward to rotating my growing collection of inks into these three beautiful workhorses in my creative lifestyle.

Speaking of my creative lifestyle. Here’s an update on my first urban sketching outing of the year 2021. I met up with my friend and fellow urban sketcher Swagatika at South Lake Union by MOHAI. We sat on a large bench in the park and enjoyed the beautiful sunset of a warm spring day.

I haven’t flex my watercolor muscles out and and about for a while now, it’s nice to actually paint plein air this week. I hope you’re having a good one too!

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