Sign your Personality in Ink

Sam Kessler (Online Editor)
Exquisite limited editions from the finest pen makers, each with their own individual identities

In the digital age of tablets and keyboards, writing by hand it becoming a rarity, at least any more than the occasional scribbled note. The use of a fountain pen is becoming an occasion, an indulgence in the slightly archaic, yet even so the pens themselves have an unmistakable appeal.

The finest pens are more than mere writing instruments. They function perfectly, of course, their nibs make the ink glide across the paper, but there’s more to them than their intended use. They can be extensions of your personality, reflections of what you enjoy, particularly some of the finest limited editions.

We have selected some of the best pens to mirror what you love so that, next time you take out your pen to write, it could well say as much about you as your own signature.

For the Sportsman: Montegrappa UEFA Champions League, £2,100

Montegrappa UEFA Champion's League Limited Edition

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It seems that the global language of sport is football. There’s simply nothing bigger, more important to so many people than the beautiful game and all it entails. While FIFA may be the global association behind the sport, here in Europe that title belongs to UEFA who, in their latest collaboration, have summed up the renowned champions league in one of Montegrappa’s superlative writing instruments.

Crafted from sterling silver and embellished with lacquer in UEFA’s signature blue, it’s an understated pen – for a Montegrappa at least. As ever, each nuanced detail is a reference to the theme, from the clip which is shaped like one handle of the Champion’s League cup to the double blue lines on the barrel, representing a player’s socks. The most impressive touch however is the low-relief torchon motif along barrel and cap, emblazoned with the name and year of every single winner of the Champion’s League since 1955. If you can name even half of them, this is definitely the pen for you.

For the Writer: Montblanc Writers Edition Leo Tolstoy, £740

Montblanc Writer's Edition Leo Tolstoy

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Arguably the greatest figure in Russian literature and among the most renowned writers in the world, Leo Tolstoy’s works are regarded as true masterpieces. While the lengths of ‘War & Peace’ and ‘Anna Karenina’ have been the bane of many a student’s life over the years, there is no disputing their sheer importance, mirrors as they were to Tolstoy’s own moral outlooks.

The latest in their long line of honorary writing instruments, Montblanc’s Writers Edition Leo Tolstoy tells the writer’s story in its every detail. The silver-coated barrel, for example, is hammered rather than the refined lacquer normally found on a Meisterstuck, a reference to manual labour in the fields in Tolstoy’s later life. The colours of grey and blue symbolise the covers of his first books, while the nib bears his family crest. Fortunately there’s no reference to War & Peace; no matter how much Montblanc can say in a pen, that’s going a bit too far.

For the Stargazer: Caran d’Ache Caelograph, £3,700

Caran d'Ache Caelograph Alpha

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It’s impossible not to be fascinated by the heavens, the myriad twinkling worlds only glimpsed briefly at night. It’s a sight that has dazzled humankind since the pre-history and does so no less today. It’s a feeling that’s impossible to recapture… though Caran d’Ache have made a pretty good attempt.

51 constellations and 353 individual stars are marked on the barrel, itself crafted from Chinese lacquer impregnated with powdered aluminium. This gives the impression of a host of distant starts too far to see glittering in the background. The nib, engraved with a compass, marries the stars with astronomical science. This is furthered with the manually-adjustable rings for month and date, like historical instruments, to pinpoint the constellations above. We might not need to navigate via the stars any more, but it’s nice touch of the celestial all the same. Even taken without that however, the pen itself is simply beautiful – a fitting tribute to the night sky.

For the Aspiring Spy: S T Dupont 007 Spectre Limited Edition, £1,000

S. T. Dupont James Bond 007 Spectre

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Elegance and sophistication are hallmarks of both S T Dupont and the world’s most famous superspy, meaning the two have a lot in common, despite being opposite sides of the channel. No spy is without his gadgets and, while this pen doesn’t explode after clicking it twice, Dupont’s Spectre Limited Edition is a sidearm of flawless refinement.

A self-evident tribute to the latest Bond film, the limited edition pen, based upon Dupont’s famous Ligne D, runs with the opening gun sight motif in the spiralling guilloche of the barrel. This engraving incidentally makes the pen a joy to hold, smooth but wonderfully tactile. The 007 logo is engraved on the clip, while the actual film is referenced in both the Spectre logo on the cap and the number of examples to be made – 1,963, the first year that the shadowy organisation was referenced on screen. It also has a secret compartment to hide potentially incriminating evidence, but if we told you any more we’d need to kill you…

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