Pen Review: Platinum Prefounte Fountain Pen

Pen Review: Platinum Prefounte Fountain Pen

The Prefounte ($10) is a new entry-level fountain pen from Platinum. It features a similar design to the Preppy but with an upgraded metal clip and more sophisticated body colors.

Platinum Prefounte

The Prefounte pen comes in retail display packaging with one cartridge. The pen is large enough for a converter and it’s probably possible to eyedropper fill it too if you’re particularly bold.

I picked the Dark Emerald body color which is a deep green with a hint of blue. It’s a really pretty color. In the hand, uncapped, the Prefounte is exactly like the Preppy. The body has the same shape and size as the Preppy and essentially the same weight.

Above is the Platinum Carbon Desk Pen (PCDP) ($13.75), the Prefounte, and the Preppy ($4-5). These are the entry level plastic pens from Platinum. The Prefounte and Preppy are clearly the same size and shape with the clip being the only difference. The Carbon Desk Pen is much longer and doesn’t profess to have the “1 Year No Dry”  promise but the nib is wicked fine.

The Prefounte and Preppy both feature snap and seal caps. The PCDP has a friction seal cap. I love the PCDP. It writes super fine and handles permanent carbon ink with aplomb. It’s fugly as hell though.

Above, the nibs are pictured side-by-side. My Preppy nib is dirty! But despite being in a drawer for who-know-how-long, it still writes which is what the Prefounte also professes to do.   The PCDP usually has a steel nib. Mine is a special 14K version I found on a Japanese web site. My steel nib PCDP have all been given away. Artists love the PCDP for drawing and replaces the thousands of felt tip pens we all seem to churn through.

In writing tests, the Prefounte 03 is super smooth but a little wider writing than a lot of Japanese fine or extrafine nibs.

So, I imagine you want to know if I recommend the Prefounte? If you already own one or more Preppy pens, then you don’t really need to purchase the Prefounte.

If you are looking for a gateway pen to get someone into fountain pens, the Prefounte may be more convincing than the Preppy. Aesthetically, its nicer looking than the Preppy however, Platinum pens do require a proprietary cartridges or converter ($8.25).

For the same $18+ dollars, you could buy the (IMHO, fugly) TWSBI Go ($19.50) which is a piston-filler pen so there’s no need for proprietary cartridges or converters. The Kaweco Perkeo ($16) takes standard international cartridges or converters ($2.50+) so it’s also in a similar price range and easier to find cartridges/converters for newbies. Finally, the Pilot Kakuno ($11.75-$12.50) is a similar-sized pen and there’s one proprietary converter ($7.25) I recommend. So, the winky Kakuno is also a good option.

The looks of the Prefounte is probably the most sophisticated of the lot but I’m not sure that validates the $7 price hike from the Preppy.

DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Pen Review: Sailor Lucky Charm and a Music Nib

Pen Review: Sailor Lucky Charm and a Music Nib

By Jessica Coles

Recently I wrote a post about a local art supply store (Meininger’s) that happens to have a wonderful selection of ink and fountain pen friendly paper. Well, I did forget to mention it also has a huge variety of pens. Among these pens I forgot to rave about are Sailor pens. But last weekend, there were so many more Sailors!

On February 9th, Sailor sent a representative (Rachel) to our little corner of the world to offer Coloradans a chance to use all of the standard Sailor nib sizes, see all of the standard Sailor pens side by side, hold and see up close the newest North American exclusive Sailors, and to even see a few King of Pens and Bespoke nibs. The event was called the Sailor Trunk show and there was a great turn-out of pen folks.

Later in my visit, I learned that my new friend Rachel (the Sailor representative) had the privilege of being the one to choose the names for the most recent North America exclusive Sailors – the 4am and the Lucky Charm pens.

I had a terrible time trying to decide between these pens. The ruthenium trim on the Sailor 4am called to me, even though I typically stay away from the 1911 series in favor of the Pro Gear Slim (these two models only differ in the shape of the end cap and finial). But it was the teal color and the two-tone nib that won me over in the end. Pro Gear Slim pens do not often offer a two-tone nib and it looks amazing on the Lucky Charm pen.

The size of the nib was another factor that pulled me toward the Lucky Charm pen – a music nib. Over the years, I have acquired each Sailor nib size offered in the standard line-up (no special Bespoke nibs). Since I typically prefer fine line widths, I stayed away from the Zoom and Music nibs – these produce a much broader line. But last year I dove into a Zoom nib and found that I loved the experience.

The Sailor Zoom nib is a nib that changes line width based on the angle at which it is held. When the pen is held at a low angle (closer to horizontal), the width can be quite broad (broader than a music nib). As the angle increases (going toward 90 degrees away from the page), the line changes to fine. The nib can even be flipped over – reverse writing – and the line is extra fine. The nib on the left is a Zoom nib.

I have yet to find a Sailor nib that I dislike. Below are nib sizes (from left to right) Zoom, music, broad, medium, medium-fine, fine, and extra fine.

Here’s a view of the pens themselves.

I was a bit tickled when I found out that I had several Sailor models that my new friend Rachel had never seen! With the incredible number of Sailor variations and special editions available, it shouldn’t be surprising, though. Sailor seems to have a special talent for colors and combinations that make each pen into a story.

Thank you to all of the staff at Meininger’s and our Sailor representative Rachel who had to deal with many very excited pen fans! I hope this gathering is not the last of its kind!

DISCLAIMER: All of the items included in this review were purchased with my own money for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Link Love: Ain’t Getting It Done

Link Love: Ain’t Getting It Done

This week is the week leading up to the impending lay-offs at work. So, the sign above, from a post on Design You Trust, suits my outlook to a tee. I added in a screenshot from another Design You Trust post featuring honest Valentine’s greetings. Right now, it’s snowing buckets in Kansas City and I am getting a new laptop at work (the irony of the timing!) so I am definitely not getting anything done today as I race the clock, the weather and the weirdness of setting up a new laptop. Sure, there’s some “set-up” with a new notebook but it never leaves me with the kind of dread that a new laptop does. How about you?



Notebooks & Paper:

Art & Creativity:

Type & Calligraphy:

Other Interesting Things:

Pen Review: TWSBI ECO White Rosegold Fountain Pen

Review by Laura Cameron

I haven’t bought a new pen in a while, though I’ve been tempted by many of TWSBI’s recent offerings (I’m looking at you MINT BLUE). But when the ECO White Rosegold (Lemur Ink, $49.99) edition came up for sale, I didn’t really stop and think, just hit pre-order.


The ECO White Rosegold is basically exactly like the rest of the TWSBI ECOs, with the exception of the Rosegold plating on the nib, clip and rings. TWSBI shares that the plating process is a bit more intensive for the Rosegold editions, and so this run is a limited and a bit pricier than most runs of ECOs.

I do have a clear ECO to compare it to, so I’ve done so here.

I love my TWSBI ECO. The first one I bought was over 3 years ago, and it has served me well. My original ECO has a medium nib and is almost always full with Platinum Classic Lavender Black. Though I’ve been warned that iron gall inks can stain pens, my TWSBI seems to have escaped that fate. It’s a consistent writer and, even if I put it down for long periods of time, writes well as soon as I pick it up, rarely even needing water or priming to re-start.

My biggest dilemma when using the Rosegold ECO was what color ink to choose? I opted for bright pink (Diamine Hope Pink) thinking it would complement the Rosegold, but I also think a bright green would do it justice. What color would you use?

Overall, I like the finishing work on this ECO so even if it isn’t vastly different from the first one I own, I’m happy to have another TWSBI in my pen case, and one that sparkles a bit differently at that!

DISCLAIMER: All of the items included in this review were purchased with my own money for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Notebook Review (and Giveaway): Baron Fig Savor

Notebook Review (and Giveaway): Baron Fig Savor

I hadn’t invested in any of the Baron Fig guided notebooks to date as I didn’t really see a need for them. My notebooks tend to be a lot more haphazard. I have trouble reserving notebooks for one specific task. My brain is a permanent brain dump. That said, when I recently discovered that I am lactose intolerant AND decided to go vegetarian (again.) I realized I needed a notebook to compile recipes and recipe modifications in one place. Voila! A use case for the Baron Fig Savor notebook ($24).

As is true of all Baron Fig hardcover notebooks, the Savor comes in a lovely paperboard box (these make great pen trays so don’t throw them away!). The box is white with tomato red ink and gold foil accents.

Inside the box, the tomato red fabric cover is debossed with a graphic of plate, fork and knife. The book includes a white fabric pagemarker and a matching red elastic for closing the book.

The inside end papers are picnic blanket, red plaid with a space for your name or other annotation.

The first page of the book has an explanation for the icons and how to use the guided pages.

I’ve entered several of my recipes already (using fountain pen) and discovered a couple plusses and minuses. The three columns for ingredients provide lines that are short for most ingredients, even with my small handwriting. Longer or more complicated recipes really require using two pages. So, something like the Mediterranean Sweet Potatoes recipe shown above would work much better if I had started it on the left hand page for the main potato part and used the right hand page for the sauce and garnish. As it is, the recipe is a little cramped on the page.

I like the guides along the edge but I would redesign the placement to provide a space for oven temperature (where applicable) and a bit more space for more recipe types — soups/stews, salads, and maybe baked goods/breads that is separate from desserts… because with the current icons, where am I supposed to put cornbread? It’s not a dessert, main dish or appetizer… so it’s a side dish? Hmmm….

I love the icons at the bottom for dairy-free, vegetarian, gluten-free and low carb.

My next recipe to try is this Tofu stir fry. I found it in a magazine and cut it out and pasted it into the Savor notebook. I was able to add a diagram for cutting the tofu for frying (which I messed up the first time I drew it… smart, Ana!). Once I make it, I’ll add in my star rating.

I also have some print outs jammed in the back of the book of recipes I’m still adjusting. I am still trying to find the perfect vegan pancake/waffle recipe. I’ve tried a lot and none of them have been “just right.”

That said, the Savor is giving me the perfect place to put recipes I love, with notes and adjustments and keep them all in one place. Recipes are definitely something I want ALL in ONE PLACE. For me, this notebook is a great start on my new (accidentally) vegan diet.

If you also need to collect your recipes in one place, Baron Fig sent me an extra Savor guided notebook to giveaway.

Giveaway Details

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below and tell me your favorite recipe is — vegan recipe ideas are most appreciated and yes, cocktails count (there’s an icon for that!). Play along and type in something. It makes reading through entries more interesting for me, okay? One entry per person.

If you have never entered a giveaway or commented on the site before, your comment must be manually approved by our highly-trained staff of monkeys before it will appear on the site. Our monkeys are underpaid and under-caffeinated so don’t stress if your comment does not appear right away. Give the monkeys some time.

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Friday, February 14, 2020. All entries must be submitted at, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Monday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your actual email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear. If winner does not respond within 7 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. Shipping via USPS first class is covered. Additional shipping options or insurance will have to be paid by the winner. We are generous but we’re not made of money. US and APO/AFO only, sorry.

DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by Baron Fig for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Retrospective: Retro 51 Pens

Retrospective: Retro 51 Pens

This photo was posted two years ago when we bought our first Retro 51 display case. Well, in two years, we acquired enough Retro 51s to fill a second tray… and then some. When I say we, I mean Bob and I both collect Retro 51s. It’s a pen collection that we can embark upon together. So, it’s with a heavy heart that I must consider the world without Retro 51 in it.

retro 51 retrospective

For Bob, the Retro 51 Tornado was really his gateway drug into fine pens. I think one of his first Retro51s was the Pinball, Kona or Vintage Surf.

For me, I bought a lacquer lime green Tornado very early on in my collecting since it was relatively inexpensive  and a chance to experience a refillable pen with a refill known to be as good as the Japanese gel pens. While I am one of the few people who doesn’t love the Schmidt refill, I love that I can use other refills like Parker-style or hacked refills.

retro 51 retrospective

retro 51 retrospective

One of the aspects of the Retro 51 designs that I haven’t seen mentioned is the design on the packaging tubes. Early on, Retro 51 had appropriately retro-styled graphics. The yellow box on the far right of the photo is very old package that contains an aluminum tube. Later package design carried the graphics from the pen on to the paperboard tube.

Retro 51 always knew how to do packaging well.

retro 51 retrospective

Some of my favorite pens from Retro 51 are the Pen Addict special editions. I have all four of the special editions together in my display box. Next to them are the bright pink prototype that Lisa from Vanness Pens got for me. Then, my original kiwi lacquer Tornado. I bought a sterling silver prototype mini pen at the Dallas Pen Show a few years ago and then finally the first and most tiny Crossword pencil that Bob bought for me years ago. These are my extra special pens.

My all-time favorite is the Twinkle. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it for the photo shoot, even after tearing my house apart looking for it. I fear that I may have lost it since it was the pen I always carried in my bag. If anyone happens to come across it, it was #1000.

retro 51 retrospective

I’m tickled at the numbers I’ve accumulated. The 003s are all the Pen Addict models which Brad kindly saved the first few for himself, Myke and I. The very first Pen Addict model, I didn’t get the 003 originally. A lovely fan of the show brought the 003 to me at the DC Show and I was speechless.

Somewhere, Bob has his pen tubes. Bob’s Zodiac is numbered 007 which amuses us to no end.

retro 51 retrospective

The pens in this bamboo tray are Bob’s (plus my System pen because they look good together. I couldn’t find my System pencil for this photo either which hangs out with the pen twins.)

retro 51 retrospective

retro 51 retrospective

The focus of Bob’s collection is, of course, the space- and plane-themed. When Retro 51 unveiled the Launchpad pen stand, we couldn’t order one fast enough. He didn’t order the Gemini because he felt like it was “too much” but now he’s a bit bummed he missed his chance. If there’s another space or plane Retro 51 before they close up shop, we’ll order it in a New York minute.

retro 51 retrospective

Bob ordered the full set of spirit-related Retro 51s to give as gifts to friends and clients. We still have the beer Speakeasy. Bob thinks he may keep it for sentimental reasons.

retro 51 retrospective

There were a few pens we realized we could not share so we have two. I guess a family who Retros together, stays together?

I wonder what pen company will fill the gap that Retro 51 will leave? Maybe Caran d’Ache would consider stepping up and using the 849 form factor as a canvas for new designs and graphics. Caran d’Ache has already experimented with printed designs and various finishes, even the Nespresso recycled cup pens… so they are a strong candidate. Baron Fig and their Squire is another contender. They’ve already done several collaborations and experimented with etching on the aluminum barrels. Could they print on the barrels or add texture? The Squire is definitely a good option and uses the same Schmidt refill as the Tornado does.

I guess we must wait and see what the future of custom pens might bring. What are your thoughts? What were your favorite Retro 51 designs?

Book for the Desk Set: Pencils You Should Know by Caroline Weaver

Book for the Desk Set: Pencils You Should Know by Caroline Weaver

Oh, what a delight it was to find a new book from the inimitable Caroline Weaver of CW Pencil Enterprise fame. After the Pencil Perfect, I couldn’t imagine what other book she might publish but Pencils You Should Know: A History of the Ultimate Writing Utensil in 75 Anecdotes is a perfect follow-up. The book itself is designed as a tall, slender book with an exposed binding tape spine. Inside, the book features a life-size photo of each pencil on one side of the page and an essay on the merits and importance of the pencil on the facing page. It features pencils from around the world, both historical models still in production and newer pencils created to satisfy modern needs and tastes. I would hate to spoil the delight you will get from leafing through the book and reading Caroline’s opinions on pencils you may be familiar with as well as pencils you might not have seen. Of course, this will lead to making a list of pencils to purchase. Where better to get them than CW Pencil Enterprise, of course!?!

Pencil stash

Caroline was kind enough to include a bouquet of the pencils featured in the book for me to try including a few custom stamped pencils from the legendary custom pencil foil machine housed at CW Pencil Enterprise.

Pencil close-up

Not to be toochildlike but I think my favorite in the bouquet will be the “This pencil belongs to Ana” one. I mean who doesn’t love having their name on their pencil? Maybe just me?

DISCLAIMER: Some of item in this review include affiliate links, some were sent for review purposes. I was not compensated for this review. The Well-Appointed Desk is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. Please see the About page for more details.