Reader Follow Up On The Pen Resolution

The pen ceremony from A Beautiful Mind, which was a beautiful scene in a beautiful movie that brought dignity to mental health management.


There’s so much good stuff in the comments and I fear a lot of it gets lost – the pen discussion really took off so I thought it would be of service to postpone for one more day the Part 2 of the Ivy Resolutions and collect the comments on the pen discussion here.  Oh, and a watch and a Princetonion guitarist.

Parker Jotters, ball point, got the most comments for sure.  This is they:

This is not Justin and his three Parker Jotters, but it is a Parker pen, which is apparently the favored pen of Her Majesty.
THIS is the Parker Jotter, ballpoint, the overwhelming Ivy pen pick.

Sarah uses the Lamy – pictured here on the Goulet web site.

The Lamy is also crazy popular, but at the bottom I have a pen for you that you should try if you like this. Hang on a sec.


Charlottesville wrote about the Tiffany ballpoint that he got from a travel agent, I don’t know if this is it BUT – this is a Tiffany ballpoint and while I am not a ballpoint fan this is great looking.

What’s a travel agent?

I think this is the Sakura Pigment Pen (brush) that my friend Evan was talking about – I used to love these …

Evan’s brush pen? These pens raise the level of your handwriting because of the diversity of width to the lines.


… until I found these.   The Stabilo.

The Stabilo. I am working on a few pieces for an Ivy-Style tie and ocbd (unless we license that) – and I had a whole collection of these on my desk, which made me feel so very 1990 Art Director. They come in amazing colors, which, it turns out, doesn’t help you if you can’t draw anyway. So now I am letting the experts handle that part.


Robert Archambeau noted the Montblanc JFK.  They make such great looking pens, if they advertised here I would link them (hello ad sales team).

Good looking guy with a good looking pen. I have not had luck with Montblancs. They run through ink the way I run through, pizza?  Ink heavy, it is called, when a pen runs too much ink through itself.  It is great for signatures where you want that distinctiveness, but at three handwritten pages before 5 in the morning, it is like trying to powerwash a journal.


From Nutmeg Andy, which get’s the Best of 2021 Ivy-Style Fake Name Award, is the Bic Cristal.  I get what he is saying.  They are… affordable, and if you have spending money on anything at all, then this is the pen for you maybe.  But I have never held one in my hand that I didn’t have to pull the ink cartridge out of.  And then once it is out, I can’t stop putting in back in and pulling it back out.  But he makes an argument.  Here –

I dunno, I get frugality to be sure but I just can’t carry the same pen my dentist’s receptionist hands me to sign in with. You know?

Other end of the spectrum again, from Sacksuit (Will), the Porsche Aluminum P3120.

To be fair, Will’s is 20 years old, and that is pretty Ivy. I dunno, to me Porsche is one of those companies that was having a good hair day and decided it could make anything look good.


Finally, from J.G., the American Trench (never heard of them, let me know if you have?) Machine Era pen.  I like the design, maybe a little SteamPunky?  But if I pulled this out to sign the dinner check, I would not ruin the evening.

American Trench Machine Era Pen


In Part 2 of the Ivy Resolutions there is a bit about watches, but Old Bostonian beat me to the punch here.  Check out his Timex T20501:

One of the best Ivy lessons of my life. I belonged to a club a bit back, and it was pretty showy. When you walk into your club, you are supposed to get a lift, a sense of accomplishment for having made it there, and then that lift fades as you settle into whatever you went there for. That is, if the club is authentic to you. At this club, that lift was the whole point of belonging to the club in the first place. Everyone looked at everyone else’s everything, to see if it was more expensive, and so forth. At the time, I had a rotation of watches that was, shall we say, ostentatious? It was one of my things, especially Omega. One day the chef came out and I saw a watch on his wrist. Never forget this. In a fit of egalitarianism, I said, “Hey Jimmy, that is a great watch.” He lifted his wrist and said, “You think? I really like it. Timex!” And it was the T20501, and it looked great, and he was proud of it and I was an ass. I don’t have the Omega’s anymore. Or the attitude.


Finally, Princeton guitarist Stanley Jordan as referred by Hardbopper.

Check out Stanley Jordan here:





17 Comments on "Reader Follow Up On The Pen Resolution"

  1. John,
    Keep up the great work in the New Year !
    BTW, the picture of the Tiffany pen is the Parker Jotter.

  2. I’ll (re)post about older piston fillers– German reliability and, oh, the ease of use. The same cannot be said of American (Esterbooks, for example) and Parkers. Trust me–I’ve tried ’em.

    And I’ll get a head start on the watches: find an older Rolex Explorer — and wear the hell out to it. It will either retain purchase value or appreciate (we can say this about how many things?). Like good shoes (wearing C&J Harvard’s today), good cars (see previous mention of legendary MB i6), and well made suits and jackets, send it for repair — as needed. “It will last forever if you take care of it” are the sweetest ten words (when spoken together, in order) in the English language.

  3. The various discussions/essays/interviews/conversations presented here during the last several months are such a pleasure to read (and even reread). “Great stuff!” as Cary Grant used to say.

    Kind Regards,


  4. Minimalist Trad | December 30, 2021 at 12:32 pm |

    The Timex 20501 is a gem!
    It may be hard to believe, but this model has been around since 1977.

  5. I’ve never been a watch guy, mostly because if I have the kind of money to spend on a nice watch, I’d rather spend it on things I’m more interested in. (This usually means coveted music gear or menswear.) So I wear a Timex easy reader. It does its job as well as any. I might like to get the Marlin as a “dress” watch at some point, but I’m in no hurry about it.
    On pens, I’ve only this year taken up writing with a fountain pen. It’s a cheapie “starter” pen from an art store. But it makes the act of writing a kind of meditative experience. I never used to get the fountain pen thing, but I was clearly missing out. I’ll definitely be upgrading on the fountain pen front. I still carry around my Fisher Space Pen, which is always with me. If I ever need to write something while under water, engulfed in flames, or floating in orbit, I’m covered.

  6. Robert Archambeau | December 30, 2021 at 6:04 pm |

    If you’d like to get more than a few words out of your Mont Blanc JFK before that firehose blast of ink runs out, I’d suggest trying a different nib. A wide one is good for signatures, which is what many people reserve their fountain pens for (I use a Mont Blanc Jules Verne with a wide nib to sign books) but a fine one may keep you from buying ink by the barrel.

  7. I’ve noticed, in a very subtle way, that in a few clothing youtube videos, the host was wearing a pen in his jacket(sport coat) breast pocket. Just wondering, if a nice pen is a future replacement or alternative for a pocket square?

  8. CanadianTrad | December 30, 2021 at 7:44 pm |

    For pens, I’ve had a lot of success with Pilot Metropolitans. My wife bought me a beautiful Vaer watch for my birthday. Sapphire crystal, screw down crown, silent quartz movement and reasonably priced. Oh and it’s made in the USA.

  9. A word of caution on passing through airport security with the Trench pen, uncapped it looks like a rifle cartridge.

  10. Minimalist Trad | December 30, 2021 at 9:54 pm |

    Note: “Easy Reader” is the name of an entire range of Timex watches, but the 20501 is the original model. One plus not mentioned above is that it doesn’t show the date.

  11. I think Charlottesville’s pen is the most handsome of the lot. The one I mentioned is sold by American Trench but made by Machine Era (

    Here is a picture of Heavy Tweed Jacket’s pen case:

    Happy New Year, folks.

  12. @ Nevada

    I understand about the watch but a good watch (in good condition) will either retain value — or appreciate. So, you may, unlike clothing and cars (always, from a purely financial/fiscal point a view, liabilities), regard it as an asset. That Rolex 1016 somebody bought ten years ago for $13,000 is now worth a lot more.
    My “two cents.”

  13. In gradeschool we would pull the ink cartridge out and remove the rear cap from the Bic Cristal which made for a pretty accurate spit wad shooter.

  14. @S.E. — Good point about some of the finer watches out there, and I do get it — these are as much marvels of analog engineering as they are of aesthetics. There’s the ad slogan for Patek Phillippe which is a very nice thought indeed. It’s more a matter of interest for me than anything. To spend big money on something you use to tell time, one really needs to be a geek about such things, and I guess I’m a geek about other things.
    @Hardbopper, that brought back memories.

  15. Matthew Robare | December 31, 2021 at 1:09 pm |

    For pens I live by Pilot Precise roller-balls. Good dark line, feel good in my hand and I was able to find them with click-tops at Bob Slate in Harvard Square when I needed something with which to take notes while on the phone. The click-tops are even refillable.

  16. I was looking forward, but missed the pen/watch discussion because I was away. I have a collection of Parker Jotters and use Schmidt P900 refills for these. Also, anything Bic writes “first time, every time,” which can be a problem with certain pens on smooth paper, like Clairefontaine notebooks. A classic look is the old Bic Clic pens that can only be bought now in batches of 150 as advertising pens.

    I really like Timex watches on nato straps. I have a Reader and Weekender. Grossgrain straps from Eliza B. are nice, but these don’t change out easily without having to remove the pins, because of raised metal parts on the eye holes on the strap.

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