The Playbook For The Modern Man

The Best Ballpoint & Fountain Pen Brands To Help You Dominate The Boardroom

Sign away your life – in style.

We all use pens nearly every day, especially those of us who work in the corporate world, whether you’re noting down plans for your next deal or signing cheques.

But it’s not just practicality we look for when using a pen, it should also send out a statement to your associates and clients – a sign that you mean business.

Choosing the right one is just like any other accessory, it should feel comfortable, serve its purpose and fit in with your overall look. Here we’ve highlighted a few of the best pens on the market so that you can sign off in style.

HAY

HAY 2 Tone Ballpoint Pen Silver & Bright Blue

When it comes to well-designed products, you can always rely on the Danish. HAY is one such designer (born in 2002) that has always had the ambition to create genuinely useful products that both perform well and look great.

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If you’re looking for a sleek design that sits at the lower end of the price ladder, then this 2 Tone Ballpoint Pen might just be the jotter you’re after. This black ink roller is split into two colours, one half silver-plated copper, the other a refreshing light blue. It’s contemporary, stylish and practical enough for everyday use.

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LAMY

Lamy 2000 Matte Black Fountain Pen

German stationery brand Lamy was founded in 1930 by Josef Lamy, a former sales rep for Parker Pen, although it didn’t take on the name until around 1950 (it was originally known as the Orthos Füllfederhalter-Fabrik). Lamy made its mark in 1964 with the launch of Germany’s first ballpoint with a large-capacity refill and stainless steel tip. Sales increased exponentially in the late 1980s and cemented the brand as a go-to for reliable writing instruments.

The LAMY 2000 fountain pen has been a mainstay in the company’s catalogue for several years and has won awards along the way. The fibreglass and stainless steel casing will feel comfortable in your hands while the platinum-plated 14kt gold nib will remain tough and sturdy, while also having that little bit of luxury.

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Caran d’Ache

CARAN D'ACHE Ecridor Chevron palladium-plated rollerball pen

In a country famed for its world banks and housing of the world’s elite, its no surprise that Swiss pen manufacturer Caran d’Ache has stayed successful for over 100 years. Recognised for its highly sophisticated pens and pencils, as well as the extensive range of colours used within those collections, a Caran d’Ache pen represents something of true quality.

The Ecridor Chevron chrome-plated brass ball pen is a perfect example of this, sitting comfortably in the hand thanks to a hexagonal body and each cartridge is good for some 600 pages of A4 writing.

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Montblanc

German brand Montblanc is no stranger to the luxury space. Founded in 1906 and with its first products actually being writing instruments – which not only found the company its Montblanc naming but gave rise to the Meisterstück family of pens – Montblanc has remained a leader in the pen space ever since.

Montblanc’s Heritage Egyptomania collection of pens is a modern-day reimagination of the ‘Egyptian Fountain Pen’ produced by the company in the 1920s. Genuine hieroglyphs can be found on the cap, which translates to “white stone mountain”, the closest Montblanc could get to its name. The whole family of pens is worth looking into, with ballpoint, rollerball and fountain all taken care of. All pens benefit from a 14K gold nib with an embossed scarab and black resin casing.

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YStudio

YStudio is a Taiwanese producer of high-ends writing instruments, with every single pen being made locally and in temperatures of up to 1,000-degrees. The company says simplicity within the design of its products is of the utmost importance, along with the fact we should all tear ourselves away from electronic devices to put pen to paper instead.

Specialising in brass fountain pens, the elegant Brass and Copper Fountain Pen comes with its own holder, and could be considered an ideal desk pen, easy to grab and use mid-call or meeting. It comes with a German made filigree gold nib and is coated in a black lacquer that disappears after long term use, leaving traces of your fingertips on the barrel.

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Graf Von Faber-Castell

Graf von Faber-Castell Magnum Perfect Platinum-Plated Cedar Pencil

Graf von Faber-Castell is a series of premium writing instruments produced by the larger Faber-Castell. Founded in Germany over 250 years ago, the company – both Graf and Faber-Castell as a whole – has become associated with high-quality pens and pencils that garner significant attention.

Catering to the gifted people within the world of arts, Graf Von Faber-Castell’s Perfect Pencil is made for those who enjoy sketching or creative writers that are never far away from jotting down a twist in their narrative. This 4B pencil is made from fluted cedarwood and rounded off with platinum plating, while the cap has a clever two-in-one built-in sharpener and eraser, adding both style and practicality.

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Smythson

Smythson Viceroy Rollerball Pen

Smythson, or Frank Smythson Ltd, to give it its full name, has been creating luxury leather accessories for the elite on London’s Bond Street since 1887. Their clientele includes royal families, politicians, and more recently fashion conscious business types. With a history of customers that includes the Royal Family, Queen Victoria, Madonna and Grace Kelly, you will not only be in esteemed company by owning a pen of your own but can rest easy knowing you’re buying of genuine quality.

Smythson’s Viceroy family of pens are all handmade in England from solid silver and can be had in ballpoint, rollerball and fountain varieties. No matter which you choose, it will come with its own presentation box and a Yard-o-Led guarantee – Yard-o-Led being another English manufacturer of pens, and provider of the mechanism used by Smythson.

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Dunhill

Dunhill Sidecar Palladium-Plated Rollerball Pen

Alfred Dunhill – known by you and me as ‘dunhill’ – is a British purveyor of luxury goods that was founded in 1893. Upon its founding, the brand was associated with the motoring world, producing “everything but the motor” but rather an extensive selection of motoring accessories and attire. In the 100+ years since, dunhill has become synonymous with luxury British fashion as an overruling category, with products across clothing, footwear and a wide range of accessories.

That includes pens, and this immaculate Sidecar Palladium-Plated Rollerball Pen has a textured finish with a screw tight lid to avert any risk of ink spill. It’s in the high-end price range, but you certainly get what you pay for, which is a design that’s both highly functional and visually stunning.

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Best Ballpoint & Fountain Pen Brands FAQ

Which is better, fountain pens or ballpoints?

There's no definite answer to this, as each pen type offers a different writing experience. Fountain pens use water-based ink so they require less pressure to write, but they sometimes bleed through the paper. Ballpoint pens have oil-based ink, so they can write on any surface, including the glossy paper found in textbooks.

How often do you need to clean fountain pens?

You need to clean your fountain pens about four times a year, more often if you do not use them for longer periods of time. Simply remove the ink cartridge and run the front end under warm water.

Can ballpoints be refilled?

Yes. Generally, you will not find this option with cheap and bargain ballpoint pens. Refillable ink reservoirs can be found in mid-range and find writing range of pens.

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