It's all about the written word...

Celebrating three years in publication. Thank you for visiting often!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Yes, it's still 2011...

In 2006 Conway Stewart launched the Elegance series consisting of several limited editions, each created with unique designs. The Deco Diamond was the first of this new series, followed by the Westminster Green, Westminster Teal, Elizabeth Garret Anderson, the Elements Series, Oliver Cromwell, Plumage Grey, Mandarin Yellow Plumage and the Aztec. Each design of the Elegance series is handcrafted at the Conway Stewart factory in Devon, England, from rods of solid sterling silver, carefully engraved with intricate patterns and accented with a hand-applied enamel by award winning craftsman Robert Glover. Conway Stewart very recently launched the Elegance Pen of the Year 2011, a special design that was limited to just 25 pieces in a choice of fountain pen or rollerball. The seasonal design features a laurel motif on the cap band while the gently flowing engraved enamel panels in red are highlighted with a band of evergreen-colored engraved inserts on the cap and the barrel. Here's a look, but, alas, it's sold out.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lifetime warranty

According to the December 20 Mail Online, a 78-year-old British woman visited her doctor complaining of pain and weight loss. After a series of tests, it was discovered that the source of her trouble was a felt-tip marker she'd accidentally swallowed 25 years earlier while "poking her tonsils." The pen was clearly visible on a CT scan, and her team of doctors decided that it should be removed from her stomach, where it had sat for over two decades. The woman is recovering nicely. The marker? It still writes.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A little bit of soul

Another Christmas is upon us, and cards and letters abound. I think I've gotten just about every type of holiday card this year: e-cards, "dear all" letter reprints, photo cards, regular cards (with and without pre-printed signatures), texts and handwritten letters--and I even got a chocolate greeting card, a first. I'm sure it's not hard to guess which I prefer the most (no, it's not the chocolate), though I'm so grateful for them all. The handwritten notes are tops on my list, and while it certainly has a lot to do with my love of pens, that's not the sum of it. More likely it's because I feel like I'm getting a tiny and personal gift with each greeting: someone took the time to write and wish me well during this well-wishing time of year. Life, it seems, is becoming more and more about efficiency at the expense of the soul. Yes, it is much easier to mail en masse, email or even text a greeting, but the result is a bit austere. I prefer a simple straight-from-the heart handwritten line or two with all the messiness and character that goes with real ink on real paper. As I said, it's like receiving a very intimate little present. And I'm all about the presents. Happy holidays to you and yours. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Alfred Hitchcock from Montblanc

Montblanc is introducing the Alfred Hitchcock collection, comprising two editions, each featuring iconography from Hitchcock's movies and career: the Limited Edition 3000 and the Limited Edition 80. The former, available as a fountain pen ($3,745) or rollerball ($3,195), has sterling silver appointments and 53 marks on the section symbolizing every movie Hitchcock directed during his career, which spanned nearly six decades. There are 3,000 146-size fountain pens and 3,000 rollerballs available in this edition. The Limited Edition 80 (pictured) has white gold appointments and features a dramatic swirling "vertigo" effect in black lacquer enhanced with blood red. In addition, the "Psycho" knife clip is set with diamonds. Just 80 fountain pens are available; price available upon request.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Top ten reasons to buy a pen as a holiday gift!

A good pen makes the perfect gift because...

10.    You can find a good pen in any price range.
  9.    No need to worry about buying the right size (but pay attention to pen circumference and hand size).
  8.    A good pen works for both genders.
  7.    A good pen will last forever...or almost.
  6.    There's a fine pen for every taste--conservative or flashy, monochromatic or colorful.
  5.    Most good pens come in their own little box, ready for wrapping.
  4.    Pens are both luxurious and functional.
  3.    If purchased from a reputable retailer, a pen can be returned or exchanged with no hassle.
  2.    A pen is personal without being too intimate, perfect for a special someone or a business associate.

Monday, December 19, 2011

One-Touch Camouflage

Monteverde is adding yet another version of its popular One-Touch writing instrument, the combo ballpoint/stylus it introduced earlier this year. The soft-point stylus may be used on your iPad or iPhone or any other type of touch screen. This retractable pen currently comes in a variety of colors, and early next year Monteverde will be introducing a camouflage style. No one ever saw it coming...

Friday, December 16, 2011

New from Edelberg

The Gemino collection, from Edelberg, is a collaboration between BlackOut Concept and Edelberg--both Swiss brands. Based in Geneva, BlackOut Concept is an innovative brand that works with a specially formulated black PVD coating used on luxury-brand watches. The skull and crossbones is its logo. Shown is the Edelberg Sloop Teskio Gemino_02, a limited edition of 99 pieces in matte and 99 pieces in glossy coating. Each is priced at $1,390.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Writing is just plain better

See what Kevin Purdy has to say about why "writing things down, with your actual hands, is just plain better at getting you to remember and execute good ideas." Read more.... 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Capri Night & Day from Delta

The Capri Night & Day collection from Delta welcomes two new versions: the Capri Night and Capri Day. The former offers a combination of ivory resin with a natural turquoise stone in the cap crown. Capri Day offers a combination of dark blue resin with a natural coral button on the cap crown. The pens are made of resin, and each is offered as a fountain pen, rollerball or ballpoint. The fountain pen is priced at $250.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Montegrappa's UAE National Day Pen

The star-studded Chequered Flag Ball returned to Abu Dhabi on November 11, as celebrity guests and members of Abu Dhabi society kicked off a weekend of glitz, glamour and Formula 1. Hosted by British TV personality Kirsty Gallacher, the elegant black-tie ball, now in its third year, took place at the St. Regis Hotel Saadiyat Island Resort. British soul singer Mica Paris and former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan also took to the stage as headline acts for the glittering evening of  entertainment. Montegrappa was this year's Platinum Sponsor, and the evening was attended by the Montegrappa Middle East team, Montegrappa CEO, Giuseppe Aquila, who flew in specially for the occasion, and Abdullah Al Sayegh, from Al Sayegh Jewellery, Montegrappa's retail partner for Abu Dhabi. Although the event took place on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 2011, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had a more illustrious date, the second of December 2011, when the country celebrated its fortieth Anniversary since unification of the seven Emirates in 1971. This special occasion was marked by the first public unveiling of Montegrappa's UAE National Day pen, a Limited Edition pen celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the unification of the UAE. One of the Limited Edition National Day pens, appropriately, number 1111 (out of 1971), was sold at auction over the course of the evening with funds raised being given to the Christina Noble Children's Foundation, an international charity organization dedicated to serving underprivileged children in Asia. The pen raised 8,500 Dirhams (equivalent to about $2,500) for this cause, and the pen was taken home by the winning bidder. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Craig Robins speaks onstage at Montblanc Presents The Montblanc De La Culture Arts Patronage Award
at the Moore Building on December 1, 2011, in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Daniele Venturelli/Getty Images for Montblanc)
On December 1, Montblanc honored Craig Robins, longtime supporter of art, design and culture, in the twentieth anniversary year of the Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Awards. The award was presented by Pharrell Williams at a gala event in the Miami Design District during Miami Beach’s celebrated Art Basel show in the company of numerous design and fashion stars. There was also a performance by French top band Yelle and a live art piece created by Jona CerwinskieRobins joined a prestigious list of award winners from the 12 participating countries in this anniversary year including: Yoko Ono (Japan), His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales (United Kingdom), Her Majesty Queen Sofia (Spain), Liao Chang Yong (China), Yoyo Maeght (France), Harald Falckenberg (Germany), Chung King Fai (Hong Kong), Andree Ruth Shammah (Italy), Young Dal Yoon (Korea), Aurelio Lopez Rocha (Mexico), and Valery Gergiev (Russia). Robins was chosen by an international jury in honor and recognition of his role support of art, architecture, design and culture in civic, institutional, educational and commercial contexts, as well as his leadership in the redevelopment and revitalization of South Beach, the Miami Design District and other projects instrumental in improving the lives of the city’s residents. A native of Miami Beach, Robins has been at the forefront of city’s cultural and architectural resurgence for more than 25 years. The Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award has celebrated the work of outstanding private patrons of the arts throughout the world each year since 1992. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

From the Chopard Spring Collection

Chopard's new Haute Joallerie writing instrument collection, slated for Spring 2012, features diamonds, diamonds, everywhere. Each is 18-karat white gold and is crafted at Chopard's workshops and is available exclusively at Chopard boutiques. The price is available upon request. The spring collection also includes gorgeous new watches and stunning jewelry. But what else would one expect from Chopard?

Friday, November 25, 2011

New from Onoto

The Sir Winston Churchill Pinstripe from Onoto is completely handmade in England, and it is based on the style and shape of the Onoto Magna 1937. A percentage of the sale from each pen will go to the Churchill Heritage, which supports good causes and education initiatives associated with preserving the heritage and legacy of Sir Winston Churchill. This fountain pen features pinstriped acrylic, Churchill's signature, and a cigar-style band on the cap. It is priced at around $565.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Do the Wave...

The Riviera Waves is from Loiminchay’s Qika collection, which includes seven designs. It is a demonstrator pen with a classic Japanese wave design in maki-e painting on the barrel. The blue transparent pen body conjures a lovely image of calm, crystal-blue waters under clear blue sky.  The body of the pen is made of transparent Italian resin, embellished with a sterling silver dolphin clip and ring. It is available as a piston-filled fountain pen only, with an 18-karat two-tone gold nib available in fine, medium and broad sizes. There are just 38 pieces in the edition; limited editions of eight Qika sets as well as individual pens are available.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Learn World Calligraphy

There's a new book by world-renowned calligrapher Margaret Shepherd, Learn World Calligraphy. And an exhibition of art taken from the book, entitled "The World of Writing," is on display at the First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough St., Boston, now through December 10. Learn World Calligraphy, introduced in September, is an opportunity to discover African, Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Hebrew and many more types of calligraphy. It includes 192 lushly illustrated pages with examples of historical and modern calligraphic designs with practical instruction. It's priced at $24.99, available at art and bookstores.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ulysse Nardin teams up with Visconti

Swiss watch brand Ulysse Nardin has teamed up with Visconti of Italy to produce a fountain pen. Crafted from resin, with either 18-karat or sterling silver appointments, it features the famous Visconti power filling system, bayonet closure system and triple channel ink feed. It also features many of Ulysse Nardin's marine motifs, such as the stylized anchor visible on its watches. The gold pen is priced at $10,900, and the silver, $3,200. The pen comes with a traveling inkwell.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Just my size

I can't say the "I've seen it all" by any stretch of the imagination. At least I hope not. But I'm rarely completely surprised by a new pen product. I must say, though, that Taccia by ITOYA's new Altitude ballpoint really caught my eye when I first saw it. It's priced right, it's great looking, and it serves a niche. At just four inches in length, the pen is perfect for a pocket, purse, checkbook or briefcase--or in my case, an evening bag. I'm never without a pen (and it must be GOOD pen), and it's tough to find one that looks great and will fit in those crazy tiny bags that we women use when we go out for a dressy evening. S. T. Dupont came out with one several years ago, but at a much higher price, and so did Visconti, also higher priced, and these have fit the bill for me thus far. Priced at around $30, the Altitude is a steal. It has a guilloche finish and some really fun colors: Noble Violet, Aero Blue, Quicksilver Sage and Serene Pink. It uses a standard mini-ballpoint (D1) refill. And I like the packaging, too: it's all wrapped up and ready for gift giving, either to a friend or to oneself for making it through another round of holiday shopping.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dialog 3 in black

The Lamy Dialog 3 is now available in black. At just $300, it features a retractable 14-karat gold nib. Its sleek and modern look is enhanced by a precise closing ball valve to prevent leaks and a retractable clip. Nib sizes include extra fine, fine, medium and broad.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sylvester Stallone designs a pen

Montegrappa is introducing the Chaos pen collection, inspired and designed by Montegrappa brand ambassador, filmmaker, writer and actor Sylvester Stallone. A long-tme collector of Montegrappa pens, Stallone will also serve as the face of Montegrappa in the company's new advertising campaign. Apparently Mr. Stallone drew inspiration for the design of the pen from his film The Expendables. He worked with Montegrappa's artisans to produce it, intending to demonstrate the juxtaposition between Renaissance art and our current technological society. The limited edition pen is made of black pearlized celluloid with an overlay in either sterling silver or 18-karat gold. The overlays are hand finished by Montegrappa craftsman, and they feature an antiqued finish with accents in red and yellow translucent enamel with images of life (reptiles representing the early forms of life on Earth) and death (skull). The pen's clip is in the form of a sword. The Chaos pen is the first in Montegrappa's Cult collection and is available as a limited edition of 1,000 fountain pens and 912 rollerball pens in sterling silver. There are also 100 fountain pens and 100 rollerball pens in 18-karat gold with precious stones. A rock crystal inkwell is also available. The Chaos pen collection ranges from $5,000-$70,000.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Learn from the Master

The long-awaited American Cursive Handwriting by master penman Michael Sull with the assistance of Debra Sull is now available. This monumental 350-page work includes the historical background on American Cursive handwriting, a lesson plan, exercise sheets, the "ten most important rules of handwriting," sources of supplies and so much more. As America's foremost living Spencerian penman, author and publisher of numerous educational materials in vintage American handwriting, Sull is recognized internationally as a leader in handwriting instruction. Cover price is $35.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sheaffer's Friends of Winter

The new Sheaffer 100 Special Edition 3 Friends of Winter Collection offers nature-inspired designs—specifically Bamboo, Pine and Plum—since these plants thrive during the winter months and symbolize fortitude while inspiring people to persevere and flourish under adversity. Each finish is available in a gloss-black fountain pen, rollerball and ballpoint with nickel-plate trim, each priced under $50.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A New Twist from Porsche Design

The P'3140 Shake Pen Twist is a new variation on Porsche Design's popular Shake pen. The new ballpoint features a milled solid aluminum barrel with matte chrome front and end pieces. A small indentation at the end of the ballpoint prevents the pen from rolling on a sloping surface. Why is it called "Shake?" Well, I'll tell you. By moving your wrist with a brief snapping motion, the writing point is catapulted out of the barrel by a small weight in the end piece--and the pen is ready for writing. If you repeat the movement, the cartridge point disappears back into the housing. Shake Pen Twist sells for under $200.

Friday, October 21, 2011

William Henry commemorates wine...

In 1975, the Eyrie Vineyards in Oregon's Willamette Valley produced the first American pinot noir to compete successfully in France with the renowned pinot noirs of Burgundy. William Henry is repurposing the 35-year-old-wood from the original and historic grapevine in a beautiful new limited edition writing instrument. The RB8-Eyrie rollerball pen features vine wood, ebonite and titanium, with hand-forged mokume gane and Damascus steel accents. The pen features the revolutionary spring-loaded Wavelock closure, and the clip is set with a red topaz evoking the color of the wine. Just 100 pieces have been created, available at authorized William Henry dealers or online.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

You know the Pilot pen company, and you know it makes great pens. Newest is the Pilot Prera Demonstrator Fountain pen with a crystal clear barrel and a touch of color at the top and bottom. The pen has a steel nib available in fine or medium sizes, and it uses a cartridge or convertor. The pen retails for about $70--not bad for a really eye-catching pen from a proven brand. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

MoonFighter from Romaine Jerome--the sky's the limit!

Romain Jerome has created the MoonFighter pen: a writing instrument that is part Back to the Future and part Space Invaders--with a splash of whimsy thrown in. The pen is entirely made in Switzerland, although it looks as if it has just emerged from a NASA lab or from the desk of Major Boothroyd, the iconoclastic inventor of the James Bond accessories. This tribute to "third millennium design" features moon dust encapsulated in the cockpit bubble and a carbon-finished docking station. MoonFighter is available in three versions, Heavy Metal, Black Metal and Vintage, and each is adorned with 48 hand-applied rivets. The pen comes with a leather pouch for transport in pocket or purse. Available as a fountain pen with titanium nib or a rollerball, this pen will surely take you away.... 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Porsche Slim Line Graphite

Following the success of the original P'3125 Slim Line series of writing instruments, Porsche decided to create the series in graphite. It comprises fountain pen, ballpoint and mechanical pencil, all made from high-quality stainless steel. The individual components are sandblasted, then finished with a scratch-resistant, graphite-colored PVD coating. FInely, milled grooves along the cap and barrel are added.The Slim Line Graphite fountain pen has a rhodium-plated 18-karat gold nib, and the grip section is finished with a special soft-touch varnish. Both the ballpoint and the mechanical pencil are equipped with a special feature: when the twist mechanism is activated, the lead is pushed forward and the clip is lowered in the barrel. All writing instruments in the Slim Line series come in a high-quality Porsche Design case.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Parker Ingenuity

Parker aims to gain a new generation’s interest in fine writing by creating a one-of-a kind pen that is as beautiful to use as it is to look at. A new innovation consists of a cutting-edge refill tip and an engraved metallic hood designed to combine consumers’ favorite features of each of the four current writing modes—the classic beauty of the fountain pen, the smoothness and precision of the rollerball, the ease and longevity of the ballpoint pen and the smudge-free, fluid experience of the porous point. Parker has thus come up with the "5th Technology," creating the Parker Ingenuity Collection in the process. The collection features a smart glide tip that adjusts to your personal writing style after just a few words; ink designed to produce a vivid, clear script and prevent hand-smudging; a simple, clean refill process with a refill tip designed to maximize cap-off time and eliminate ink leaks induced by pressure, impact and temperature.
The collection comprises two categories, Classic and Premium, both available in two sizes and six different finishes for a total of twelve options to suit any personal style. The Premium collection draws from the latest trends in the watch, jewelry and cosmetic industries, while the Classic collection is classically elegent. The Standard Classic ($160) features black lacquer with either gold or chrome trim, the Standard Premium ($190-pictured) features pink gold PVD, pearl lacquer with PVD trim, black rubber with pink gold PVD trim and brown rubber with pink gold PVD trim. The Large Classic ($160) feature black lacquer with either gold or chrome trim. The Large Premium ($190) features black metal and rubber, brown metal and rubber, black rubber, and chrome PVD, each with chrome trim.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sheaffer in Times Square!

Sheaffer Pen is highly visible to New Yorkers and visitors in Times Square who are shopping for that perfect “Gift That Matters” during this holiday season. Sheaffer’s newest ads will be shown on the “Geoffrey-Tron” screen, located above the Toys 'R Us store in the heart of Times Square from October 1, 2011 through January 1, 2012. The campaign will run two times each hour, appearing more than 4,300 times throughout the holidays and creating millions of impressions with passersby.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Collection Princesse Grace de Monaco (cont.)

Celebrating 1929, the year when Grace Patricia Kelly was born in Philadelphia, this edition from Montblanc is limited to just 29 pieces. A fitting tribute to a Princess, the fountain pen is richly decorated with precious stones and the finest detailing. Princess Grace's monogram is engraved on the cap and barrel, which is varnished with a rose colored lacquer. The solid gold fittings in an elegant champagne tone are decorated with white diamonds (~0.55 ct.), and the clip of the fountain pen is set with a drop-cut pink sapphire (~0.45 ct.), another reference to the Grace de Monaco pink rose. The 18-karat gold nib displays a heart-shape breather hole. The pen is priced at $37,300.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Collection Princesse Grace de Monaco (cont.)

As a tribute to Princess Grace's three children, whom she considered the most important of all things in her life, this rare Montblanc fountain pen is limited to just three pieces. Crafted entirely from champagne-colored solid gold, the pen is further embellished with diamonds (~2.69 ct.) and rubies (~ 0.26 ct.) on the cap and barrel. The feminine neckline shape of the cap top and clip reflect the elegance of the Princess. Princess Grace's monogram is finely engraved on the cap-top and the clip sparkles with a drop-cut diamond (~0.41 ct.). The cap is also adorned with a circle of rhomboid-shaped cut rubies, inspired by the Principality of Monaco coat of arms. The pen is priced at $107,700. Still more to come...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Collection Princesse Grace de Monaco

A collection of writing instruments honoring Princess Grace was launched by Montblanc on September 8 at a gala event in Monaco. There are three versions, the first of which is the Special Edition Writing Instrument, available as a fountain pen ($950), rollerball ($795) or ballpoint ($690). Embodying Princess Grace's style, this edition is crafted from a deep purple precious resin, creating a contrast with the champagne-toned gold fittings. The pen features a feminine neckline design and a lavish addition of a drop-cut pink topaz on the clip. Both the gold-plated cap and barrel rings are intricately engraved with a rhombus pattern, inspired by the Principality of Monaco's coat of arms. The fountain pen's 18-karat gold nib is decorated with a heart-shaped breather hole. Princess Grace's monogram can be found on the cap top. More to come...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Royal touch

Visconti created a pen in honor of the royal wedding of HSH Albert II of Monaco, Sovereign Prince, and Miss Charlene Wittstock, held July 1 and 2.   

The royal couple agreed to the release of a special limited edition pen of just 388 pieces, and all profits from the subscription of the pen will be donated to a Monegasque charity chosen by the newlyweds.

Each pen is made from ivory-color resin and features a hand-crafted sterling silver filigree plated in 18-karat rose gold, evoking the Monaco Crown. The pen is available in either a fountain pen ($2,950) or rollerball. The fountain pen fills using Visconti's patented Double Reservoir Power Filler and features Visconti's 23-karat palladium nib in extra fine, fine, medium, broad, double broad and stub sizes. Each pen is displayed in a wooden box lacquered in pearlescent white with the official wedding crest embossed on top.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tough stuff

Tuff-Writer pens are precision machined in the US to aerospace tolerances. Made from 6061-T6 aluminum, hard anodized to MIL-A-8625 “F” standards for maximum durability, the pen's custom-designed steel spring clip is attached with hardened bolts and then chemically bonded. Tuff-Writer pens utilize a pressurized cartridge made by Fisher, which writes at any angle, even upside down. All Tuff-Writer pens are guaranteed against material and workmanship defects for the life of the pen.
Tuff Writer, Inc., located in Phoenix, Arizona, designs and manufactures tactical pens used by special operations groups, military personnel, tactical officers, emergency response personnel and civilians under the most extreme working and environmental conditions.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

International Opening

The Sheaffer Pen Company is hosting a fundraising gala to benefit the Sheaffer Pen Museum today and tomorrow, September 21 and September 22. 

Tim Williams, general manager of Sheaffer Pen, noted that, “Everyone who works at Sheaffer is passionate about the Sheaffer brand and legacy. While building our wonderful brand for the future, we recognize all the achievements of Sheaffer’s glorious past. A central pillar is the long-standing link of Sheaffer with Fort Madison, Iowa and its people – now perfectly captured in the wonderful Sheaffer Pen Museum, which we are so proud to share with our distributors who will be joining us for this event.”

Richard Canella, president of the Sheaffer Pen Museum, noted. “It was important for us to keep the Sheaffer history in Fort Madison as part of its heritage, and to share that with the public. Much of Sheaffer history touches on world history, like Sheaffer® pens used to sign the Japanese peace treaty and the United Nations Charter. We have creatively integrated Sheaffer’s history, art and science in our demonstrations and displays.”

The Sheaffer Pen Museum is a non-profit 501(c)(3) Corporation operated entirely by volunteers. The museum is open to the public Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays from 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. Group tours are welcome by special appointment. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Montblanc Gala

Montblanc hosted a black-tie gala event in Monaco on September 8 to pay tribute to the iconic Princess Grace of Monaco in the presence of members of the royal family, such as H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, H.R.H. Princess Caroline of Hanover, and Princess Charlene of Monaco. Three-hundred and fifty VIP guests and celebrities such as Naomi Watts, Jerry Hall, Elsa Pataky, Olivia PalermoEva Herzigova, Viktor & Rolf, Carmen Cass, Daryl Hannah and Natalie Imbruglia celebrated the global launch of the Montblanc Collection Princess Grace de Monaco collection. Montblanc supports to the Princess Grace Foundation USA, and this collaboration will provide aid to emerging actors, designers, directors, filmmakers, choreographers and dancers in this sixtieth year since Grace Kelly’s silver screen debut. Before the collection was unveiled, guests enjoyed a one-night-only-event production by Robert Wilson at the Opera Garnier. Attended by H.S.H. Prince Albert of Monaco and H.R.H. Princess Caroline of Hanover, “Grace for Grace” is a tribute in three acts: a musical and visual journey through Princess Grace’s life from Philadelphia girl to Hollywood star and finally to princess. The performance featured singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright, opera stars Bryn Terfel, Diana DamrauShenyang, prima ballerina Gillian Murphy and singer/songwriter Martha Wainwright.  The costumes were specially designed by Viktor & Rolf.

Photo Credit: Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images for Montblanc

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Beatles!

The long-awaited Beatles collection from Acme is now in select stores, with various other Beatles writing instruments and memorabilia being introduced through 2013. Nine distinct pens were developed for the nine years the Beatles were together. Shown is "1962," a limited edition of 1,962 lacquer-over-brass pens. It is priced at around $100.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bright idea...

The most prolific inventor of all time, Thomas Edison is probably best known for his invention of the incandescent light bulb. And his developments resulted in over 1,000 patents during his lifetime. The Krone pen company is paying tribute to Edison with its newest limited edition, the Thomas Edison collection.
The Italian resin from which the cap is made is shaded from dark to light and houses a functioning light bulb. Edison’s distinctive autograph decorates the sterling silver cap band, and the barrel, which features a hand-painted portrait of Edison, is embellished with a gilded light in gold leaf. The pen’s blind cap is reminiscent of the base of a light bulb (WARNING...this is for decorative purposes not plug your pen or any part of it into any electrical source...injury may result and then you will feel really silly).
The Thomas Edison is available in a worldwide limited edition of 388 piston-filled fountain pens, each with an 18-karat nib available in fine, medium or broad sizes, and 38 rollerballs. The fountain pen is priced at $5,900, and the rollerball, $5,700.

Thomas EdisonTM Licensed by The Charles Edison Fund, Represented by GreenLight.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11

As I ponder the horror of 9/11, now ten years ago, I can't help but think about all the phone calls, texts and notes that were instigated during the harrowing time after the attack. It's an undisputed fact that when it looks like our life as we know it is over, the first thing that occurs to us is to communicate with those dearest. September 11 will always be a day of meditation for me. And if it's true that the only way to make sense out of tragedy is to raise something good from the ashes, I'm living this day to the fullest. I'm also making it a point to let my loved ones know what they mean to me, since so much of our humanity is buried in the rash surprise of our mortality. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

In Memory of Otto Bock

Otto Bock, son of the founder of Peter Bock AG, died on September 5. The firm, best known for producing widely acclaimed fountain pen nibs since 1939, is located in Handschuhsheim, a suburb of Heidelberg. Mr. Bock became involved in the 1950s, positioning the company for growth worldwide. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sandringham from Conway Stewart

Conway Stewart Sandringham follows the Balmoral and Windsor in the company's Prestigious Series. The fountain pen, in sterling silver and green resin veneer, is hand engraved by master engraver Marcus Hunt, one of England's premier engravers. Based on the Duro model, the Sandringham limited edition fountain pen features an 18-karat gold nib available in eight sizes, from extra fine to extra broad, as well as italic fine, italic medium and italic broad. Just 15 pens were produced, each priced at $3,300.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bold move in Precious Metals from Krone

The new Bold limited edition from Krone features lavish lacquers, sterling silver, guilloche and gemstones. Bold comes in two colors, Steep (charcoal gray) and Brave (royal blue), and two modes, fountain pen and rollerball. The beautiful "wave" guilloche in sterling silver is visible through the transparent lacquer.The fountain pen is priced at $1,600 and the rollerball, $1,500. The edition is limited to 388 pieces in each mode.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

All About AL-Star

I am a huge fan of the Lamy AL-Star, and its most recent rendition is in Ruby Red anodized aluminum. It's a limited production model, with all the AL-Star details that we've come to know and love: chrome wire clip and see-through grip in charcoal gray plastic. It is available as a fountain pen, rollerball and ballpoint, priced at $45, $40 and $35 respectively.

Monday, August 29, 2011

More from the DC Pen Show

Brian Gray, founder of the Edison Pen Company, was at the DC Pen Show in August, and his array of pens just keeps growing and getting stronger. The Collier, his latest production pen, is crafted from acrylic and is priced at $150 with a steel nib and $275 with an 18-karat gold nib. It is available from a select group of retailers. Visit Brian's site for more information, including an interesting video about the Collier's production.

Friday, August 26, 2011

I like Richard, and I like his pens

Have you seen the new Terzo pen from Richard Greenwald? I saw the new models firsthand at the DC pen show a couple of weeks ago, and I really liked it. Terzo, meaning "third' in Italian, was first designed in 2008 as a button-actuated ballpoint pen approximately 5.5" long and weighing about 1.1 ounces or 32 grams. The plastics, internal brass fittings, external sterling silver fittings, and the engraving were all produced "in house" in Potomac, Maryland, as were most of the tools and taps used to produce the pen. The easyFLOW 9000 refill is from Schmidt. Greenwald's pens are available at Bertram's Inkwell the Pen Haven, both in Kensington, Maryland, or directly from Richard.

I visited Richard's home-based manufactory a couple of years ago, and it if you like well-equipped and well-organized workshops, which I do, you'd like this one. He mixes all his own plastics (some are quite interesting), and his first-rate operation is right in his basement. But this is no ordinary basement, and Richard is no ordinary guy. He retired from his former career a few years ago and now structures his day around this new avocation. He has a variety of other interests he avidly pursues, including art, photography and cars--and fine cigars, which I had the pleasure of experiencing "second-hand" in his smoking room that, no surprise, is also well-equipped. Fun.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

DC Pen Show

The DC Pen Show, held last weekend, was lots of fun. Many pen manufacturers and distributors were in attendance, including David Oscarson, Yair Greenberg of Yafa, Jerry Yeh of Laban, Joel Blumberg of Kenro Industries, Mark Cole of Visconti, Jin Takemura of Sailor, Mary Burke of Conway Stewart, Scott Franklin of Franklin-Christoph, Brian Gray of the Edison Pen Company and more--including the amazing and ever gracious Joe Cali. Two pen manufacturers from Europe--first time visitors to the show--were there, and I think they had a good experience: Luca Viti of Stipula (now distributed by Yafa) and Carlo and Samuel Naldi of Edelberg. Welcome!
Luca Viti of Stipula
Samuel Naldi of Edelberg

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Here's Tsuka

It's one of a kind, it's faux ivory and Damascus steel, it resides in a museum, it's a collaboration with sculptor Jose de Braga, and it took several months to complete. Oh, and it's from Grayson Tighe...but you probably already knew that.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dinner with Smokin' Joe

Do you own a Montegrappa Thrilla in Manila sterling or gold limited edition fountain pen? Montegrappa has just announced the possibility of a private dinner with Smokin' Joe Frazier in either New York or Philadelphia for owners of this fabulous pen. Dinner will run about $2,000--but, hey, that probably includes dessert. No transportation is included. If you are interested, respond here--and soon, since numbers will be limited. Incidentally, I met Joe at the Philadelphia Pen Show earlier this year, and he was an enthusiastic and interesting conversationalist, though I was a bit tongue tied in such a sport icon's presence. Should be a fun time. Oh, and Happy Birthday to me.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Location, location, location

ACME is opening its first shop-in-shop in the US at the Art Brown International Pen Shop in Manhattan. The official opening is this month, and the store location is 2 West 45th Street near Fifth Avenue. The display--located at the front of the store--houses ACME's collection of pens, card cases and accessories created by an eclectic selection of architects, artists and designers, from Frank Lloyd Wright to Shepard Fairey. Lesley Bailey, ACME's co-founder and vice president, says, "To say that Art Brown is the obvious choice for an ACME shop-in-shop would be an understatement. Their reputation and prestige coupled with ACME's design and production standards make this the ideal partnership." Art Brown has been a Manhattan staple for 87 years. Family owned and operated since 1924, it has welcomed a number of prestigious clients, including Norman Rockwell back in the day. If you're in NYC, it is well worth a special trip to visit Art Brown--both to meet the friendly and knowledgeable Browns (Warren and Marilyn) and to view ACME's absolutely gorgeous display. Congrats, all.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Man with a mission

Ralph Stillwell, Michigan pen collector, member of the Pen Collectors of America (PCA) and personal friend, likes to spend some of his free time teaching children the joys of using fountain pens. His classes include the history of pens and writing and the correct way to use a pen, and each child comes away a little smarter (and all smiles). He is an enthusiastic supporter of the Pens for Kids program, hosted by the PCA, and he has held his classes for children all over the country via pen shows. Ralph frequently teaches in his home territory at public libraries; here he is pictured in a Detroit public school.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Great curves

Always one to buck tradition with amazing new shapes and materials, Jean-Pierre Lépine elevates penmaking into a realm much closer to sculpture than anything else on the market today. His recently introduced Sunday Afternoon ballpoint pen, while not yet available in the US, is a gentle curve of a pen that required, according to Lépine, special tools and mechanisms that he produced himself. Lépine's manufactory is in the Jura region of France, a picturesque place I visited many years ago. Its pastoral setting and long winters have been conducive to watchmaking and, at the hand of Lépine, pens. The Sunday Afternoon is aluminum and will be available in various lacquer finishes.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tibaldi honors Michael the Archangel

         The Sanctus Michael Archangelus limited edition of fountain pens and rollerball pens is trimmed with either sterling silver or gold. The silver version comprises an edition of 324 pens each; the number represents the earliest reference to Saint Michael in the Old Testament. The solid gold version comprises 50 pens each to represent the 50 angels in Christian and Islamic tradition. The pen has a hand-painted resin body; the fountain pen nib is 18-karat gold. The sterling silver fountain pen is priced at $10,500 and the gold, $37,900. The silver rollerball is priced at $10,050 and the gold, $43,700. Tibaldi was founded in 1916, with headquarters in Florence, Italy.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bring out the biker in you! The new Harley-Davidson collection from Retro 51 is available in matte black with orange pin stripes or brushed charcoal with textured etching. The magnetically capped ballpoint has a sculptural metal mid-ring design; it uses an Easy-Flow refill. The pen comes in a canvas pouch and is priced at $60. Also new from Retro 51 is the Stroker--a click-top ballpoint that also comes in two styles: Ivory Eagle ($25) and Pink Exotic, with 19 Swarovski crystals in the clip ($30). Finally, the new Flathead ballpoint, with its unique rectangular body, has an extra large clip and shiny chrome accents. It is priced at $22.50.