by Shameera Nair Lin

This is the moment I’ve been waiting for; you are about to witness months of painstaking research, meticulously laid out for your writing pleasure. In case it isn’t clear, I am slightly obsessed with fountain pens. And inks. And stationery. In this installation of a new three-part series on stationery, I will be recommending a few options to get you started. As this list is primarily aimed at those who have not used fountain pens extensively, I will stick with the most beginner-friendly options.

Before I get started, however, here are two reasons to continue reading: fountain pens are environmentally-friendly, cheaper to use in the long run and ink options are endless, leaving you with more motivation to put your thoughts to paper. Before you ask, yes, I have tried everything I am about to list down.

The Classics: 

1. Pilot Metropolitan (MR)

This slender, cigar-shaped powerhorse is often touted as the ‘best’ fountain pen for beginner writers. I’ll leave that to you to decide. Nonetheless, it is every bit as smooth as far costlier options, making for a trusty pen. If you like pens with fine nibs and guaranteed quality control, you cannot go wrong with a Pilot Metropolitan (MR). The MR is priced between RM90-108, and is available online. 

2. Lamy Safari

The Lamy Safari is a popular line from the German brand Lamy, known for their sturdiness. A more beginner-friendly option than the MR, perhaps, the Safari comes with a triangular grip meant to train your fingers for a ‘fountain pen grip’. It also comes in many colours, as well as annual limited edition ranges. This was my first foray into the fountain pen world, and I have not looked back since. If you like broader lines and firmer grips, a Lamy Safari is a great investment at RM140 or less. 

Other options

3. Wing Sung 601

Chinese-made fountain pens often divide users, but are all the rage in the fountain pen community. The Wing Sung 601 is designed as an impressively similar alternative to the classic Parker 51 fountain pen, and it certainly does not disappoint. If you want a classic design without forking out the money for it, this is a sound alternative at RM70. 

4. TWSBI ECO

Want to start your fountain pen journey, but keen to experiment with an alternative look? The TWSBI ECO, a trendy option that has risen in popularity over the past few years, is the pen to start with. Although I am personally more inclined to choose the ECO as a second fountain pen, the transparent design of the pen — which means being able to see the different inks you use and enjoy the variation in colour (tip: this makes life easier when you need to refill your pen) — is a winner at RM120.

Budget hero:

5. Pilot Kakuno 

I am obsessed with the Kakuno, and will recommend it to just about anyone. Priced at merely RM32 and nibbed with the same nib as the Pilot MR (there’s also a cute smiley face on the nib; look closely), this was a pen initially designed for Japanese school-going kids to begin their fountain pen adventure. However, this is a smooth and stable writer, and comes in different colours. If you are looking for a clean design you would not hesitate to use at the office, the transparent option is the way to go. 

All options are available in different nib sizes. I would highly suggest trying out these fountain pens at stores around KL, such as CzipLee, Pen Gallery and KSGILLS, before making any purchases. Trust me, your pen becomes part of your personality at some point, as this entire article has proven about me. Write away! 

Fun fact: Did you know that Malaysia has a fountain pen scene? (I didn’t, until recently.) There’s a Facebook group called ‘Fountain Pens Malaysia’, with more than 1.4k members at present. 

Next up: Fountain Pen Inks — what are the types and differences?