WhatsApp, iMessage and email may be the ways most of us communicate today, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still need a good pen handy. And whether it’s just scribbling a note while you’re on a Zoom phone call or spending some time handwriting a letter to a loved one, a good pen can make a real difference.
In fact, since I use pens a lot less these days, I find that I much prefer having one or two particularly nice ones on my desk rather than a whole bunch of cheap biros. There is still something particularly satisfying about sitting down with a beautiful, well-made pen and feeling inspired to write down a new piece of paper.
Here are my favorite ballpoint and ballpoint pens for beautiful handwriting.
This pen is hand-milled from solid brass in the UK, giving it a stunning, industrial aesthetic unlike any other pen I’ve used. It’s minimalistic in design, with a cigar-like one-piece body with only the twist piece at the top sticking out. The raw brass finish also ages over time, giving each pen a distinct patina that will be uniquely yours, so you don’t have to worry about knocking it off – all this will only add to the charm of this pen as it ages.
Because it is made of brass, it has a lot of weight, almost double the weight of the Fisher AG7 pen seen below. Whether you prefer a heavier or lighter pen is a matter of personal taste, but I found it very comfortable to hold and write with and I loved having that real solid, solid feel in my hand.
Ajoto’s own rollerball refills offer smooth and comfortable writing, but if you want to change things up, you can find compatible alternatives from other brands (including Grovemade, see below in this list).
At £150 ($183), it’s not exactly cheap, but this pen is stunning, handcrafted and with care will last you a lifetime.
Fisher proudly boasts that the AG7 was the original pen used on the Apollo 7 mission and has been used on all manned space flights since. A big reason for this use is the ink cartridge, which is pressurized, allowing you to write at any angle, upside down or even in zero gravity.
But even if you’re not heading into zero gravity anytime soon, the AG7 is still a great pen to write with. It’s comfortable to hold and whatever Fisher has done with this ink cartridge results in very smooth writing that allows the pen to glide across the paper with almost zero resistance.
It’s made in the USA and has a classic and professional look, with a very satisfying top and side button release mechanism that I’m happy to sit and fiddle with for minutes while trying to remember what on earth (Earth, get it ?) that was what I wanted to write.
At just 3.75 inches when closed, the Fisher’s Bullet pen is a great choice if you’re looking for a pen that can sit unnoticed in your jacket pocket. There is no click or turn mechanism; simply remove the cap and place it over the end and it becomes a regular size pen with 5.25in.
With the same pressurized ink cartridge as the AG7 Space pen, the Bullet provides wonderfully smooth writing, although I don’t find it as comfortable to hold as its sibling. As a result, I think this pen is best suited for quick notes on the go, as its size means you never have to leave them behind.
Made in the USA, Fisher offers it in a dazzling array of colors, finishes and various special editions, including models with astronaut signatures or art nouveau designs etched on the barrel.
At £638 ($745), the Leman from Caran d’Ache is the most expensive pen on this list, but it’s a beautiful writing instrument that deserves a place on your desk. It’s handcrafted in Switzerland with silver-plated metals and a beautiful matte black finish that makes it stunning to look at and almost makes you want to pick it up to write with.
It has quite a sturdy body, which I loved because I found it extremely comfortable to hold and type with for extended periods of time, despite having relatively small hands for a 6ft 2 man (my wife calls them “delicates”). The roller ink cartridge allows for beautifully smooth writing, with the lid gently but securely screwing back into place when finished.
Its price point means this pen will only be of interest to those looking for a real statement for their writing, and Caran d’Ache is well known in the luxury market for its pens, many of which cost several thousand dollars. The Leman can then be considered an accessible entry into the luxury pen market, and its stunning build quality and stellar writing make it worth considering.
If you want the luxury name of Caran d’Ache on your table, but the Leman is a bit of a stretch for your budget, then the asking price of £849 53 ($51.75) is about right. The pen’s hexagonal shape, with the brand’s name written subtly below the clip, is comfortable to hold, while its ball point provides decent writing flow.
Its light weight gives it a cheaper feel than the Leman (which it is, by a lot), but the squiggly top is satisfying to play and I expect it to last quite a few years of scribbled notes.
It comes in a range of colors, but the pure white version stood out to me the best. Don’t you want a roller? The body of the 849 can be had with a ballpoint refill, as a fountain pen or even as a mechanical pencil.
Parker’s Jotter line of pens has been an absolute classic since its launch in 1954. The pens have remained largely unchanged since then, because why mess with a good thing? The Jotter is comfortable to hold with a snap top, so satisfying that it even became a plot device as the gun version in the James Bond film Goldeneye.
Recently, the company launched a larger version called the Jotter XL, which has a longer and thicker body. I found it more comfortable to hold and write with for longer periods of time than the standard model, so it’s worth a look if you prefer a larger pen.
Parker’s Jotter ballpoint cartridge provides a nice writing flow, and the refill design has since been copied by many companies, so finding refills is no problem. At around $13, the Jotter is a very affordable way to upgrade your writing from cheap biros, and I expect it to remain a classic for many years to come.
Each Grovemade pen is handcrafted in Vancouver, WA and shows attention to detail. The triangular body looks beautiful, while the subtle twist on the top has just the right amount of “snap” to make it nice enough to make you want to sit with it and turn it back and forth for longer than absolutely necessary.
It’s milled from solid aluminum, which means it’s naturally quite light, so it’ll suit those of you who prefer something less bulky when typing. My tester’s matte black looks extremely sleek on my desk, but it wouldn’t look out of place when pulled from a fancy bag, a well-tailored suit, or a stylish photography bag when you’re in a rush to capture something good. photo spot. The matte coating has withstood all attempts at scratching so far and I expect it to look good for some time to come.
Grovemade also makes a very attractive pen stand which is made of aluminum with a wooden insert. It has a lot of weight so it won’t move around much on your desk and allows the pen to stand upright so it’s always close at hand when inspiration strikes. If you will mainly use the pen at home, it is worth considering.