An Admission

Looking at the pens in my three-pen everyday carry case this holiday week, I am ready to acknowledge publicly that all three are modern pens. This is pretty heady stuff for someone so devoted to vintage pens. No, I’m not preparing to rename my company “xxxx, formerly known as timsvintagepens”, because I do still love everything about vintage pens, from their variety to the complexity of their restoration to their histories. However, for some years, a couple of modern pens have captured a lot of playing time in my collection of 50, and then two recent additions took hold. The time has come for me to talk about my modern pens and why they fit in. (Note: pictures are in Tim’s Collection.)

First, for three years I’ve been carrying a 2014 Pilot Legance, a Japan-market pen that was given to me by a friend who abandoned New York for Paris. It has been my steady subway pen; speckled brown resin body, nice chrome trim, expressive and smooth medium Pilot nib. Like every Pilot I’ve used, it writes evenly to the last drop. No shaking or licking this nib; when it’s done it’s done. 

Second, my Lamy 2000, given to me by a pen friend for addicting him to pen restoration. It’s pretty close to design perfection: the fact that the piston filler joint is not visible until turned is the exclamation point for the rest of its virtues. It’s the one not in my pen case. 

Third, a bright orange, feather-light limited edition Sailor, with a Japanese fine nib. It was also a present from a friend who insisted that this was a modern pen that would earn its keep, even though it is orange. Its simplicity and very high quality manufacture, complemented by the enjoyment of writing such tiny letters, make this another effortless, maintenance-free carry. 

Finally, I don’t just accept modern pens as presents, I bought one. My fondness for vintage Auroras has often led me to look twice at the modern Aurora 88s. None hit me right until a few weeks ago, when one of the black polished resin 88s from a few years back appeared for the right price in an Instagram post of a pen seller I respect. In a word, it’s exquisite: a delicate, soft medium nib with long tines for perfect expressive handwriting. It feels wonderful in the hand, the deep black resin smooth and enticing. 

I don’t think it’s noteworthy that none of these is American; each has its own special character, and they’ve become special for me because of their individual attributes. Will these replace my vintage pens in daily use? Hard to say; I imagine the Pilot and Sailor may start alternating their pen case time with home desk time, so a vintage will fill it. The Aurora is still in its first fill, and may be in steady use for awhile. I’ll let you know!