March 5, 2019

A few days ago I read a post by Anthony on the UK Fountain Pens website about his methodology for scoring and rating his pen collection. I thought it would be interesting to look at how my own collection of pens was rated after an assessment along these lines.

A ‘rotation’ of fountain pens

Anthony’s rating system is based upon that used by Anthony Sculimbrene on the Everyday Commentary website and I’ve started from that point too.

Unlike Anthony I stuck with the original scoring of 0 (not applicable or poor), 1 (typical) or 2 (exceptional) across a range of criteria:

Rarity - How difficult would it be to replace this pen?

Visual appeal - Encompassing both design and condition.

Fit & Finish - Quality of manufacture.

Writing experience - All about the nib! Does it flow well, start easily, is the nib smooth and/or special in some way?

Comfort - Is this a comfortable pen to write with? How well-designed is the action? Is it heavy? Are the threads uncomfortable?

Practicality - How easily does it uncap? How much ink does it hold? Is it easy to clean? Does the clip work well?

Sentimental value - How much does it remind me of a specific person, time or place.

If you have read Anthony’s original post you may see I’ve added one more criteria — fit & finish — that I felt to be very important as it reflects how well made a pen is.


How did my pens fare? Out of a possible score of 14, two pens (Nakaya Aka-tamenuri, portable writer and Omas Arco Celluloid Milord) scored 13. Completing the top 5 were my Namiki Yukari Royale Vermilion, Sailor King of Pen and Conid Bulkfiller. Way down at the bottom of the list were a Desiderata BAMF flex pen (5 out of 14) and Noodler’s Neponset (3 out of 14).

Overall, there were few surprises and the pens that were already my favourites made it to the top of the list. I don’t know whether this is true objectivity or just illustrates the power of confirmation bias.

The only real surprise was the Nakaya scoring as well as it did. It’s a great pen but, subjectively, not my favourite of them all.


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