Discover more from Extra Fine Writing
Behold the best workhorse fountain pen
LOOK ON ITS WORKS, YE MIGHTY, AND DESPAIR
Quick: what is the best “workhorse” fountain pen?
Go ahead and search for that real quick; you’ll find a lot of pens described as a “workhorse.” The best sort of opinion on this will give you a list of contenders but then end with something like “the right workhorse pen is the one that works for you,” which is a fair and honest and humble way to approach it.
BUT ALSO TOTALLY WRONG because there is one pen that so far and away outclasses all other “workhorse” pens that it can only be the One True Workhorse. Indeed, in the wake of this pen’s awesome functionality all other pens are novelties bought by simple-minded fools.
And no, it is not the Lamy 2000.
Sure, the 2000 has a piston and a gold nib and blah blah blahaus design, but that’s it. It’s merely a fountain pen.
Workhorse? No. SHOW PONY.
Kaweco Sport? More like KAWECO SHOW PONY. All it does is write!
Yes, it is cool that the Fisher Space Pen was made by aliens, but again—it just writes and that’s it. Also, it’s not a fountain pen.
Workhorse? No. SPACE PONY.
DING DING DING WE HAVE A WINNER
This is the Monteverde Tool Fountain Pen. You may recognize it as a pen you saw and were like “wait, what?” I recognize it as a surprise gift from my supportive wife.
Here is the appropriate response to getting this pen, and I really must insist you watch this video before continuing as it will be the best 50 seconds of your day:
Why doesn’t Monteverde embed this video everywhere this pen is sold? Are they afraid they couldn’t make it fast enough to keep up with demand? Do they have too much money?
It boggles the mind, because I have watched this video A LOT and it really nails that this is the ultimate workhorse pen. There is no doubt.
Oh, your Fisher Space Pen can write on any surface? That’s fine, but how are you going to know if the surface is level? The Monteverde Tool can tell you THANKS TO ITS SPIRIT LEVEL.1
Your Kaweco Sport can fit in a pocket? Well, the Monteverde Tool has FOUR RULERS AND CAN ALSO FIT IN A POCKET IF YOU BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.
Your Lamy 2000 has a piston filler? Nice, but how are you going to fix your glasses with that? The Monteverde Tool has TWO SCREWDRIVERS. Enjoy your Lamy AND BLURRY VISION.2
The Tool is a “nine-function” pen, but this is only if you agree that the different scales and screwdrivers count as different functions, in which case this straightedge I keep in my journal is a six-function tool.3
And like, I dunno about that. It’s definitely true but it’s also a little underwhelming. I’d rather say it’s a five-function tool that has a pen, level, stylus, ruler, and screwdriver (with a double-sided bit). And five things is still A LOT OF THINGS—I refer you again to the video.
The pen part unscrews at just the nib, which was funny to both me and my wife for some reason. Maybe it just looks really dainty relative to the rest of the design.
It only takes cartridges, and the entire “pen” tool comes out like this so you can fill it. The nice part is that you can reinsert it pretty much any position you like, which is helpful if you write at a bit of an angle.
The nib looks to be the same size as a Kaweco Sport nib; I’m pretty sure it’s a Schmidt. It writes well. The pen is also surprisingly comfortable given its overall weight.
The various tools are pretty solid, with the spirit level being the most fun4 and the weakest being the rulers/scales in my opinion. The hexagonal shape means you can’t put the ruler flush to the surface you want to measure unless you get down to a really low angle. I think I read somewhere you can also use it as a “straightedge,” which suffers from the same problem.
Here’s a relaxing GIF of me testing out the screwdriver, though.
In conclusion, the Monteverde Tool is the only true workhorse pen.
If you want to buy any other pen you are going to have to justify it to yourself on some lesser basis, like “I appreciate the artistry” or “I want people to make more things like this” or, worst of all, “I just like it.”
And no matter how much you love that other pen, no matter how often you use it and how many years it serves you as a faithful companion, you will have to acknowledge that it was a frivolous purchase because you could have been using a pen with a level and two screwdrivers in it instead.
Now you know.
Note that “spirit level” is not a Britishism when used here, just a recognition that the bubble in the Monteverde Tool’s level is, in fact, a ghost.
If you can’t read this footnote then you have blurry vision and need this pen so you can fix your glasses. (If you are reading this out loud for someone else, tell them that and then also tell them they look nice today but pretend you are just saying that part spontaneously so it’ll be a nice moment between the two of you.)
Seven if you count using it as a sword
Especially if you pretend it’s a ghost