When I was in college, my roommates & I loved to end our long day of studies by watching Late Night with David Letterman, and our favorite part of the show……Dave’s Top Ten List.
With Graduation fast approaching, now is the perfect time to make Executive Essentials very own Top Ten List to help our many customers find the perfect graduation gift for their sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren.
Executive Essentials Top 10 Best Selling Graduation Gifts:
In case you haven’t noticed, it’s 2012. Time to say good bye to the fun and fortunes of 2011 and welcome in the year the Mayans predicted would be our last. Well, with every new year comes a batch of checks in the first week with all the dates scratched out and rewritten appropriately. Along with that comes a new year promise that we make to ourselves and those around us. My resolution for the new year was going to be to quit smoking. Surprisingly enough, I managed to kick this habit back in late October, leaving me to find another worthwhile resolution that would change my life for the better. It didn’t take me long to decide on one though.
Like most people with a family, my home is organized in the loosest sense of the term. Yes, we have a hall closet. Yes, it has jackets in it. Yes, it also has tennis rackets, old comic books, a vacuum cleaner and an odd assortment of other things that have no real place of their own. It’s not that we don’t have enough space, it’s just that we don’t take the time to utilize it efficiently. Now is that time and I’m suggesting it for others as well.
In the process of getting organized, so many other great things will happen to you that you’ll wonder if it’s Christmas again. In the process of getting organized, you will be forced to take actions that you forgot you were supposed to take. Like hanging the pictures you forgot about in the corner of the blue room behind the boxes of holiday decorations that you never took to the basement. Or finding those old comic books in the closet you misplaced the last time you were cleaning during the surprise visit from your in-laws. Yes, getting organized hurts a little bit, but it’s well worth the effort with all the treasures you’ll find and tasks you’ll accomplish.
For the pen collector, getting organized means an opportunity to check up on old pens that have been relegated to the desk drawer for the bulk of the last year. It means taking stock of supplies and perhaps finding a better system to organize, catalog and perhaps show off some of your prized possessions for visitors to see. In fact, one of the best ways to organize your pen collection (besides a nice pen chest) is to show a few of them off on your desk with a decorative pen stand. And lucky for you, Executive Essentials has many to choose from.
You’ll find a few dozen statues ready and able to hold your pen tight and display it anywhere in your house in the EE catalog. Jac Zagoory Pen Holders are available at Executive Essentials. My favorite is the Jac Zagoory Lion Pen Holder. This pewter statue has the lion in a lazy, yet powerful position where the pen will lay perfectly across his paws from front to back.
Second in line would be the Jac Zagoory Butterfly Symbol of Life Pen Holder. Again, this statue is made of pewter and depicts a butterfly with its wings slightly spread to hold not one, but multiple pens at a time. This is a great piece for showing off collections or for holding several pens with multiple uses.
For those feeling a bit dangerous, I’d recommend the Jac Zagoory Snake Pen Holder. This twisted, coiled piece of pewter has a menacing grace to it and at the least will keep small children from trying to run off with your prized writing instrument. Made of pewter it also has the ability to hold more than one pen.
These are just a few of the many pen holders at Executive Essentials. Go ahead and look around and treat yourself to a little gift for getting organized. Have a great 2012.
Last week, I gave the inexpensive pens picks for my 2012 gift guide. In this second half of my pen gift guide, I give my picks for mid-range and luxury collections. Though the price tags are larger, the prices are still small compared to the years of writing these quality pens can give.
In this second part, I also go over my picks for essential pen accessories–pen cases, stands, and displays. Every owner of a fine pen should have at least one good case to keep their favorite writer protected. Onward to the pens!
Mid-Range Pens ($75 – $150)
Italian pens dominate the second half of the gift list this year. The first entry on the lists goes to an underappreciated writer, the Aurora Ipsilon. It and its more expensive big-brother the Aurora Ipsilon Deluxe (which boasts a 14k gold nib, and a $200 dollar ) aren’t stars in the fountain pen world. But among writers who want a pen that will always put ink on the paper, the Aurora Ipsilon is tops. The barrel has a thin brass core under the resin to give the pen a bit of heft; the body is well-balanced for long writing sessions. The Ipsilon has multiple nib types available, depending on your preferences: steel, gold-plated, or 14k gold. Aurora pens are known for their “tooth” – a distinctive, resistive feel when you put pen to paper that some like, and others don’t. Often the highest praise goes out to the broad-nib version, which puts a hearty amount of ink on the page (yet writes like a medium in American brands). It is a favorite for many pen collectors, earning it a place on this year’s list as an excellent buy. The only way to know for sure if it’s going to be your next favorite is to ink up one and give it a try.
Before the Bon Voyage, Stipula tested the waters with a little pen, the Passaporto. The Passaporto revived a tradition of eyedropper fountain pens in mid-range priced pens. An eyedropper is a fountain pen where the cartridge is done away with completely, and the barrel of the pen becomes the ink reservoir. It is filled by (you guessed it) an eyedropper in the inkwell. The Passaporto could hold nearly five times the amount of ink a regular cartridge-filling fountain pen could. The downside: the Passaporto was diminutive in larger hands, and its lack of clip made it harder to carry around (not to mention, the Passaporto’s round body had the tendency to roll off the desk with a light nudge). Enter the Bon Voyage, which keeps the main aspects of its predecessor’s translucent design and adds a clip and O-ring to keep the barrel more secure when it is used as an eyedropper. The Bon Voyage can still be used with cartridges, for those who don’t want to hassle with bottled ink. As an update to the Passaporto’s design, the Bon Voyage is a winner for long writing sessions, travel, or for folks who just don’t like to refill their pens every week.
Available as a Fountain Pen or Speedball (a rollerball that uses fountain pen ink cartridges).
Delta Markiaro Posillipo:
Delta is a company whose sterling reputation has made me keen to try a pen in their line but found them price-prohibitive as a casual pen collector. Enter Delta’s newest entry-level pens under the Markiaro name, the Markiaro Gaiolat and the Markiaro Posillipo. Of the two collections, the Markiaro Posillipo is the more elegant; its body is a shining, gently marbled resin. The rich colors on the Posillipo are gorgeous reflections of their Italian origin. The lower cost of the collection (compared to Delta’s normal offerings) is, in part, due to its steel nib (rather than its wide array of more expensive gold, or fusion nibs that are gold with a steel inlay). Delta’s steel nibs are smooth, firm, on the wet writing side. The grip section on the pen is metal, which may detract some writers who find it to be too slick to comfortably grip for long writing sessions. But pen collectors and pen aficionados who are interested in branching out into Delta will be well-served by the Posillipo. Aside from the just-under-two hundred dollars Capri Day and Night collections, the Posillipo is the least expensive—and one of the more striking—ways to experience a truly classic Italian pen brand.
I am a recent convert on the Meisterstuck Classique. When I had a chance to review the Classique this fall, I was struck by three things: the timelessness of its resin-and-gold appointments design; the way it felt like a natural extension of my hand after a few minutes of writing; how durable and well it had held up over the last quarter century. The Classique is durable, luxurious, and—well—priceless. The Classique is the first heirloom-quality pen on this list. I have no doubt that it will continue to function admirably for the next twenty-five years. The Classique has only a modest number of trims available: gold & platinum. But the number of options aren’t what you consider when you buy a Montblanc. You think about how effortless it is to write a page in a journal or sign a name to an office invoice. The Classique does not come cheap, but it is worth the price.
Throw a dart at the Montegrappa catalog, and you will hit a vibrant pen that’s the envy of any desk. I’ll admit it was a struggle to pick between the Emblema and the expressive Piccola (which is half the asking price of the Emblema). In the end, the Emblema won out for its well-balanced celluloid body that seems to post its cap better than the Piccola. The Emblema features an 18k gold nib that offers a tiny bit of flex and a very smooth writing experience. Of all nibs, the 18k nib is in the sweet spot. 14k nibs are often stiff, and anything more than 18k is just fancy talk for a gold inlaid piece of jewelry. The 18k nib is just soft enough to offer the slightest bit of line variation in writing (called flex, this quality is highly valued by many pen collectors), but strong enough to stand up to hours of serious writing. Like vintage pens, the Emblema is crafted from celluloid, a plant-based resin that has been used in first-class pens for more than a century and a half. With its engraved silver band and its appointments, the Emblema looks like a piece of luxury furniture. It is, frankly, stunning. If you have the resources–go for the Emblema. You will not be disappointed.
Pen reliability could be called “S.T. Dupont,” and I would not argue the title. As the most expensive collection on this list, the S.T. Liberte is neck-and-neck with Montblanc for prestige, quality, and luxury in a writing experience. Whereas Montblanc pens are known for their lightness in the hand, S.T. Dupont pens have more heft. Liberte owners sing the highest praises of their flawless writing experiences. And they are gorgeous. More restrained than the colorful Montegrappas, the Liberte shows off its style in simple black or white with silver appointments. The Liberte is considered a “feminine” pen range; its “masculine” counterpart would be the Defi Collection, with finishes in carbon fiber (and an even higher price tag). Honestly, a sleek pen is a sleek pen to me, and I enjoy both the Liberte and the Defi. I find the prices on the Liberte to be slightly more in line with a pen that I’d want to show off on my desk (and use to write on special occasions). Whatever the case may be, any S.T. Dupont will give you as smooth a writing experience as money can buy.
Available as a ballpoint, rollerball, or fountain pen.
Since I’ve rather breathlessly praised some very beautiful and very expensive pens, the next question that comes to mind is: how do you keep these pens safe?
If your gift recipient is anything like me, they are not content to let their favorite writing instruments luxuriate on their desks, untouched and unloved. For the on-the-go writers, pen cases are a great gift accessory. A good case is key to keeping luxury pens pristine and work-horse pens free of infuriating dents and dings in their resin.
Libelle’s Double Pen Sleeves keeps everyday pens safe. For more expensive pens that I don’t want accidentally brushing each other, I turn to pen cases with individual pen loops like the Namiki Nylon Pouch or cases that look like cigar holders (Libelle or Aston Triple pen cases). For an extra touch of luxury, Montblanc offers pen sleeves with their distinctive logo on the front of the case. Of all of the pen cases that I’ve used, Libelle and Aston top my list as the most dependable and most stylish (for a reasonable price).
While I can’t say that pen stands are a necessity (I’m a true believer in a hands-on approach to pens—all of my work pens are hauled around in roll cases), there is some attractive pen stands that may suit your recipient… especially if you are purchasing a luxury pen that is meant to be ogled as much as it is to be used. Minimal pen stands are the best choice for pen-lovers, because they emphasize the pen. The Jac Zagoory Ripple Pen Stand does just that: the stand is no more than an attractive base that holds the pen upright. It shows off the pen as a true work of art. If having a pen-at-hand on the desk is more important than an artistic display, Bey Berk’s double pen stand may be just what your giftee needs.
Pen collectors will attest to how necessary it is to have a pen display case. They make a good gift for a budding collector who’s just bought their first few pens; they make a great gift for the collector who needs to upgrade their storage to accommodate their habitual increase in collection size.
Reed and Barton make one of the most attractive pen chests on the market. Its cherry wood finishes pairs well with most dark wood furniture pieces. My cherry wood case (a six-pen display) next to my journal collection is the most conversation-starting piece in the room.
For us truly recalcitrant collectors, Laban makes a wonderful line of pen chests that range from 10 to 40 pens. Display case plus pull-out drawers for storage…could a collector ask for more?