the models of the big pen companies and trying to rate their
overall appearance and might lead to some serious discussions
and is indeed a very interesting topic.
is my take:
wrote down a couple of thoughts regarding pens comparing to
each others, their prices and the German market for modern
fountain pens and, as you mentioned their future.
I can rate some from own experience.
you mention the Sheaffer Legacy which really counts as one
of the best modern pens and definitely is the top model of
Legacy I was priced in (Germany) for around 200 US $ (at that
time 450 DM) which was really a good price for such a pen
(I bought mine for brand new 100 - 110 US $).
II was (and still is) 550 DM ( well in Euro now of course
) which is around 245 US $ and is still a goof buy; referring
to its superb writing qualities.
Montblanc Meisterstück Le Grand would be more expensive.
M 800 is about the same price I think.
compare the Legacy to Parkers top of the line model (which
would have been the Duofold so far - I don't know about the
Eclipse yet), the price difference is Germany is not as big.
The International size sold for around 215US $ and the International
size for 260 US $ (while the de lux version is 45 US $ more
expensive) - so they do compete directly with each other.
really seen or tried the Eclipse yet, so I cannot comment
on that pen, but from the data-sheet it would compare to the
Legacy even better than the Duofold.
no problems with my modern Duofolds so far but heard from
different believable sources of flow problems.
interesting to see that the price difference in the US is
much bigger between both two models and I don't really see
a reason (for the customer and user) to spend that much more
for the Duofold (the company could argue with the manufacturing
process for turning the acrylic body of the Duofold being
more expensive than the lacquered or electroplated brass construction
of the Legacy - but I really don't know about that! and if
this would be the case why are they of similar price in Germany
is hard to fit into a category because of its many different
finishes and nibs (just like the Sheaffer Targa which was
available from around 40 US $ up to 4000 US $ in solid gold),
but is also a reasonable offer in it's "normal"
lacquered version with gold nib, but somehow seems to miss
the status of a Duofold or Legacy simply because of size (I
think of the China lacquered versions very highly and as top
of the line pens, but it stays a smaller medium sized pen)
take a look at Waterman as a competing company, prices are
are not as easy to justify I think.
pen would you compare the Legacy/Duofold to?
Carène fountain pen is a little bit smaller than both
of the above pens, but has a 18kt gold nib, too, so being
priced at around 125 US $ in Germany (compared to 200 US $
in the US) it's a pretty pen for a good price (even if it
has not the size and status as a Legacy or Duofold).
in line (not looking at the new Charlston nor the older MAN
100/200) would be the Liason for 270 US $ (compared to 340
US $ ) which is a bigger pen with a plastic or hardrubber
over brass construction.
really see a reason (beside paying for a superb design) why
to pay 440 US $ ( 600 US $ in the US ) for the Sérinèté
(Waterman argues that it needs a lot more efforts and work
(costs more money) to make and polish the curved body of the
pen but I'm really not sure about that !!!).
that the next model in line, the Edson also seems to take
a special place being priced at 622 US $ (US: 795 $). Maybe
the double wanded body or the so called "ink engine"
(nobody really could explain to me how this really works)
need more work, but does it justify such a big price difference?
having a tough time to find the right model to compete the
Waterman models too!
Sheaffer Intrigue would easily compete against the Waterman
Carène I think (The Intrigue now is strangely enough
far more expensive than in the US - the fountain pen does
cost 200 US $ compared to 140 in the US, leaving a price difference
of only 45 US $ in Germany to the Legacy, which would make
me recommend the Legacy over the Intrigue because of it's
writing qualities being far more bigger than 45 US$ - with
the US price difference of 135 you really have to think about
that and maybe choose the Intrigue).
I would prefer the Intrigue (because it's slightly bigger
and has a cool filling system) to the Carène, but would
recommend the Carène to somebody else over the Intrigue
because of its big price difference to the Intrigue in Germany!
the Sonnet fits in this category better!
pens are pretty reasonable priced in Germany as well, as e.g.
the Lamy 2000 which makes a superb writer (if you're able
to hold it comfortable, which I really cannot, unfortunately)
with great looks and is priced almost "really cheap"
at 75 US $ for the plastic and 155 US $ for the 2000 Edition
in stainless steel compared to what Lamy charges in the US
( US $ 145 in the US ) - I paid 55 US $ and 108 US $ for both
of the models at a pens store - which makes it the most affordable
pen with a semi flexible 14kt golf nib!
pens are of good quality and sell pretty good in Germany (mostly
lower priced models as the Safari (which is really expensive
in the US, too) or the ST line).
has some pretty good pens at reasonable prices (Talentum for
128 US $ compared to 195 $ in the US) or an Optima.
went higher and higher the last years, but quality issues
and the mentioned raising prices resulted in almost all pen
stores selling out there Omas pens without ordering new ones
really want to discuss Montblanc pens here because they still
seem to be a bigger status symbol compared to other brands.
I think some models are just to expensive (they kept raising
there prices over the years also!!!), but they are not as
bad either as some pen folks like to point out (I really had
serious problems with MB pens also, but I must mention I had
some Sheaffer pens also which just wouldn't write).
is also a company which makes great reliable products at reasonable
prices (I don't know how prices compare here and I heard that
the new US distributor dropped some prices as well) and stays
at the top list of pens I would recommend for both price and
big Sheaffer fan myself, and I have to see that this brand
almost totally disappeared from the German market after many
distributor changes (one of the recent distributors didn't
deliver ordered new products for almost two years, so the
stores and many warehouses got tired of this brand )
even order new Sheaffer products from its new distributor
which finally seems to be a good one, so I'm afraid right
now there are no big chances for Sheaffer in Germay so far
(I really hope for the better, but I actually don't believe
very positively surprised on a stay in France that even very
small towns would offer a big selection of Parker, Waterman
and Sheaffer products (even the more expensive models) - and
again compared to Germany prices very much higher!
Fountain pen user (not as pen collectors) I see only Waterman,
Cross, Pelikan, Lamy and Montblanc really competing on the
market (Parker is presented very underrated in the higher
priced section in Germany - you're having a hard time to find
a store offering the Duofold line or the more expensive Sonnet
no experiences so far with Cross pens, but to me they also
seem very reasonable priced and I haven't heard (serious)
complaints about this brand and Cross products are widely
I'm trying to say with this (very) long reply is that it seems
from my point of view that the pen manufactures try to position
a pen on the market by it's price (which does not always reflect
the quality or value in my opinion).
difference of pens in Germany and the US is most likely connected
to the currency and to what people earn in their country,
but it's interesting to see that price differences between
some models in one country are differing a lot from price
differences in another country! which seems to tell me that
I'm not that wrong with my above mentioned theory.
your thoughts about the fountain pens' future in common, I
also see Shaeffer in a transitional position to a more modern
company with fewer, selected products (which must not be what
a fountain pen collector wants) - but as mentioned above -
not in Germany so far.
seems to be disappeared from the higher priced section in
most pen stores in Germany since a couple of years, and I
don't know if this will change in the near future. Only lower
priced models as the Vector or Reflex which are really very
reliable writing instruments. Changes which become slowly
visible browsing through there newer products aren't visible
on the German market yet.
really had some striking new models and is seen more often
now in the higher priced area ( I must say now I really find
most Waterman models very appealing, compared to some years
ago I wouldn't really find a pen in the catalogue I'd really
have liked, except for the Edson and MAN) and is doing great
work with their products. Just the pricing policy might be
confusing not only to the more common customer (explain to
a "NON" pen enthusiast who just wants a writing/working
fountain pen to use, why a Edson costs 5.3 times as much as
a Carène). Waterman sells some really popular and quality
products in the lower price segment.
plays a negligable role on the German market and seems that
LVHM (the company owning Omas) wants to place it in the absolute
luxury section but has no big success so far.
seems to gain popularity in Germany and is seen in few stores
since a couple of years now, but doesn't get the customers
acceptance it should deserve so far.
the market's leader so far with everything priced lower than
the 2000 (I remember reading somewhere, that the Accent is
the best selling fountain pen over 25 US $ in Germany ) and
on the "students" and "everyday user without
having a really abnormal passion for pens" sector, also
with writing modes being different from the fountain pen.
The 2000 for sure and thinking some higher priced models like
the Lady and maybe even Persona sell pretty good, too, to
customers who want something more "expensive".
remains as one of the most popular pens and I think deserves
as well seems to be one of the leading (ballpoint-) pen selling
brands and gained a lot of market with the introduction of
the ATX. The whole marketing is very future orientated and
I'm pretty sure will succeed over the near future.
really know about Rotring, Dipomat and Senator, but I'm sure
they will have their share in the lower and medium priced
section also (at least in Germany).
seems to sell well, too (I can't remember if the Meisterstück
144 is on second or third place of the most often sold pen
over 25 US $ in Germany, and that is a really over priced
little pen, I think!) regardless of higher and higher prices.
The Bohème model did good here. MB tries to be sold
separately from other company as a definite luxury products
( MB wishes to sell over it's boutiques only, one could think).
of many different "non" pen related products like
watches, cuff-links, jewellery, perfume and so on... seems
to be a proof that MB wants to be seen as luxury company selling
also pens rather than the pen company selling luxurious pens/products.
seem to be enough rich people who are willed to pay a premium
for such products s far.
pen enthusiasts seem to react for sensible on such changes
(but they aren't as much of us to have a company change their
future of the higher priced fountain pen seems not as shiny
as we would wish.
boom of the classic fountain pen of the early to mid 90's
seems to have slowed down massively and everybody seems to
have a fountain pen now (well of course not everybody, most
of us will never have enough pens :-) - I'm talking of the
"normal" user), so stores sold less higher priced
pens recently if you ask them.
curious myself what the future will bring us (near future
will hopefully bring us some great new pens from the Frankfurt
Paper World which starts this weekend), but I'm sure there
still will be more nice pens out there than we can afford
and just think about all those great vintage pens....mmhhhh.
this thoughts went into a different direction as intended
by Johan, but still might give you an overview, how I would
rate the German market and some pen companies (!!!Only regarding
their modern products!!!).
are many, many great pen making companies out there I didn't
mention, not because they are not important to me, but they
don't have a big share on the market.
nice pens and ink