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What’s the hype with expensive pens?


In our everyday lives we write down a lot of things. Whether you are writing a quick note to memorize a phone number, make notations of reading material or a lecture, or perhaps for your own personal journal. For most of us this is a given and we do not really think about it all that much. Pen and paper are to most us then nothing more than simple tools to get the job done. Go to any store and you will probably be able to buy pen and paper, cheap and quickly. Nonetheless there is a big market for high quality and ‘expensive’ pens, such as the montblanc meisterstuck fountain pen or a park fountain pen to name but a few. Admittedly,   it struck me as odd at first too. Why spend up to a few hundred euros/pounds/dollars on an object that you can buy in most stores for a few cents? But at closer inspection there are a few good reasons for buying an ‘expensive’ pen. Here we will highlight a couple of them.

Subjective preferences and practical concerns

First, though, it is important to stress that when we are discussing ‘expensive’ pens we are dealing with subjective terminology. Some of us would argue that a pen exceeding 20 euros is expensive, whilst others set their limit a lot higher. There is no right or wrong here, just different preferences. 

Okay, but why buy a, what you would consider to be, expensive pen? If you are just a daily writer, using your pen for making notes, school assignments or signing official documents you have every reason to buy a nice, proper pen. Often your box standard bic pens have low quality ink and are uncomfortable to hold. This is also because these pens are mass produced and not designed for long duration writing.

Pens made by Parker, Cross or Montblanc on the other hand are specifically designed for longer duration writing. That is, they are far more comfortable to write with for longer periods. Add to that the superior quality of ink used, and your writing is bound to improve. 


Obviously, here we should also add that what one deems comfortable is subjective. Nonetheless, it is hard to argue against the supreme craftsmanship that goes into a pen of Montblanc as opposed to those of Bic. Quality, however,  comes at a price. But for a regular writer, the investment will likely be worth it, also considering that you can easily buy refills for pens. For instance, Cross pen refills allow you to enjoy your pen for a vastly superior time than a simple bic.

Memories and collectors

But apart from these practical concerns people often buy an ‘expensive’  pen for sentimental reasons. A quick search on the internet results in stories of people buying a specific pen to write in the journal of one’s daughter, diary writing, book writing or as a graduation gift. Such sentimental reasons are obviously perfectly permissible reasons for buying a nice pen. In addition, pens have also become the interest of collectors. Expanding one’s collection is a legitimate reason for many to pull out the big cash for a pen. Others, more financially minded people, see pens as an investment opportunity. Either way, the world of pens is full of surprises, but not as strange as it appears to many of us from the outside.