My current obsession: Fountain pens

Hi folks, if you’ve been following me on my social media channels, you’ll know that I went to Cameron Highland last weekend for a wedding.

As much as I like to write about the road trip, I kept getting writer’s block so I give you another post instead.

I’ll be talking about my current obsession (apart from playing Skyrim and improv which I’ll get to these one of these days)–fountain pens. I have these little spurts of obsessions from time to time. I can’t really remember my other obsessions (um, travel?) so I’d better jot this down.

My fountain pen use history

Filling fountain pen with ink

I have been using fountain pens since university. My dad bought me my first Parker and I was in love with it. I dropped it after a year or so and the nib just didn’t write as well.

Fast forward to a month or so ago, I was using two different pens at work. They are decent but nothing to write home about.

One is a Parker that’s probably the same as my first pen so I love it a lot. But, I dropped the cap two years ago and it is now using a cap that doesn’t fit well.

The other pen is an Allan D’Lious. It would be an awesome pen if it weren’t leaking at the sides so much. [Update: I gave the pen a good wash and now it has stopped leaking. It’s now one of my favorite pens.]

I was content with these two pens. But one day, while I was out on the streets, a thought hit me, “I need to get a good fountain pen!”

I went in search of a good pen but balked at the prices. Anything over $50 doesn’t seem worth it to me.

In the end, I did some research and found out that Mustafa Centre sells cheap pens.

Fountain pens from Mustafa Centre

Fountain pens from Mustafa

I got four pens from Mustafa. They cost me about $11 in total. The most expensive was the Pilot Non-Self Refill Tank Pen. (The name’s not the correct name.)

The Hero-brand pens were around $1 each. I bought them for fun. But I really do not recommend them because two out of three leaked on me. They’re also pretty scratchy.

But the Pilot Tank Pen writes like a dream. A beautiful dream involving Takeshi Kaneshiro, lots of strawberry shortcake (the Japanese type) and coffee. Mmmm!

It’s called a “tank” pen because the whole barrel is used as an ink reservoir, compared to other pens which might just a tiny tube for ink. The Pilot Tank Pen (below) can fill more ink due to the reservoir.

Pilot tank fountain pen

The awesome, the good and the ugly fountain pen purchases

I won’t go too deep into details but here’s a quick comparison of the pens I bought:

The awesome award goes to the Pilot Tank pen. Quoting a non-fountain pen user, “It feels like a ballpoint pen.” Yup, it’s as easy to write as a regular ballpoint.

Pen test: Pilot Tank and Parker

The good award goes to the Platinum Preppy. I’m currently using these two Platinum Preppy pens, in hopes of using up all their ink so I can hack them into eyedropper pens. (Woah, look who’s fancy using lingo.) I’ll update you when I finally begin my conversion.

Platinum Preppy

The ugly award goes to the Hero pens. For $1 plus, I guess I can’t expect much. I’m sad to report that the Hero pens don’t write smoothly and have the tendency to leak in the middle.

Hero 331 fountain pen

I’ll continue writing with my pens offline. When I do find the inspiration, we’ll meet again.

PS, there’s actually a Fountain Pen Lovers community in Singapore. How awesome is that? I’ll suppress my social awkwardness and go to one of their meetups.

What are you currently obsessed with? Tell me in the comments below~

More about Liau Yun Qing

Yun Qing is a writer, improviser and curious person. She loves finding little adventures in life. In 2013, she went on a 130-day round-the-world trip. She wrote a book to help those who also want to go on a career break.

14 Comments

    1. I love my fountain pens. I had some cheap ones when I was at school, never got on with them, and then treated myself to an entry-level ‘nice’ one last year and haven’t looked back. It’s one of those things where paying a bit more is really worth it, although you can end up going down the rabbithole and getting carried away.

      1. Uuuh, could you share which is the entry-level nice pen that you got?
        I’m now looking at a dupe of Lamy but I’m kind of holding back because the reviews are mixed.

        1. It seems to be discontinued, unfortunately, but I got myself a Kingsley Buckingham and have loved it. Dex, a brand of the same company, make pens that are aimed at first-time buyers, usually school age. They’re quite cheap, have very nice nibs, and come in a few different designs.

    1. Why don’t you look at Kaweco Sport. They are reasonably priced, $30+ and write really well. I am a lefty btw.

    1. Where did you purchase the Platinum Preppy from and how much did it cost? Also does Popular bookstore sell the Kokuyo loose leaf paper?

      1. I bought the Platinum Preppy at Kino’s bookstore for $3.80. I realize that Tokyu Hands sells it even cheaper for $3.40 but they only have boring red and black colour with 0.3 nib.
        I’m not that sure about loose leaf paper though.

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    1. Pilot alwayls makes great nibs. Actually all the japanese pens come with great nibs.

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