Pick your Perfect Pen
Handwritten correspondence has become a rare treat reserved mostly for special occasions. So when selecting a writing utensil, think of your choice as an enjoyable means of self-expression, similar to wearing your watch every day or donning personalized cufflinks for a memorable gathering. Since the pen you pick will be a focal point every time you use it, be sure to consider both its function and its form.
The ultramodern Carène fountain pen by Waterman, $315, has a gunmetal cap and an 18K solid-gold nib that is highly resistant to wear and corrosion.
For a modern look in a pen, try the Safari by Lamy, $30, crafted from highly resistant ABS plastic specifically designed for both left-handed and right-handed writers.
To the point
The sophisticated Swift Rubinblack in metallic lacquer by Lamy, $60, achieves precise writing and stores easily, thanks to a convenient push mechanism.
The Premier Black Lacquer by Parker, $125-150, is available in ballpoint, rollerball and fountain formats.
The luxurious StarWalker fine liner by Montblanc, $550, is crafted with a ruthenium-coated matte barrel and diamond-cut details.
The fashionable Masquerade Raven ballpoint by Cross, $65, sports a swirling peacock pattern inspired by the art nouveau era.
The polished chrome Affinity by Cross, starting at $65, features Selectip technology, which accommodates refills that convert it from a ballpoint to a fountain pen.
Assess your needs
If you often write checks and dash off quick notes, you'll want a pen with ink that dries rapidly and can handle heavy use. But if you tend to spend time on more meaningful correspondence, a richer look from a rollerball or a fountain pen is a better fit.
Wrap your hands around it
Make sure that any pen you're thinking
of purchasing feels comfortable in your hand. Some pens feel better for right-handed people than for lefties-the only way to tell is to try them out. For instance, if you have an unusually tight grip, a heavier pen may be more comfortable and help your writing to look more relaxed.
Read the script
Does the writing you do with this pen reflect your personality? Is the tip fine enough for small spaces or heavy enough to make a bold statement? Are you more about clean and direct lines, or are you better described as having a flourish? Even the choice between black and blue ink (when not dictated by business) reflects personal taste.
Stow it away
Especially if you often take your pen away from your desk, avoid ink disasters by assuring that its cap closes securely and
its closing mechanisms work properly.
There's nothing more irritating than purchasing the perfect pen but being
unable to find the ink to fill it. And if you like to write in colors other than black and blue, make sure those hues are also available when replacement time comes.
STAN WILLIAMS is a lifestyle writer and the author of The Find (Clarkson Potter, 2009).