Great College Pens

What do Elvis, bullets, safaris, and grips all have in common? They are all popular collections of “college friendly” pens. Each of these collections is unique, reasonably priced, write fantastic and are the perfect pens for college bound students.

Acme Studios now has an Elvis Collection. Expertly crafted with state-of-the-art components, each Acme Studios model comes in its own impressive presentation case.  Fun, colorful and highly expressive, these Acme Studios writing tools are sure to provide their owners with plenty of creative inspiration…..which everyone could use as they head off to class.

Image result for Fisher’s Bullet CollectionDo you sometimes like to escape to the far corners of the library or to the back of the local café in order not to be tempted by all the fun things that accompany college life?  Are you not one to be sitting at a conventional desk either,  rather on the floor or in bed with your pen facing upward?  You may want to consider Fisher’s Bullet Collection.  These Bullet pens are considered space pens because they have been selected by NASA for spaceflight; they were the only pens after rigorous testing to work in the extreme conditions of space so no matter where or how you end up studying you’ll know your pen will be reliable.

Image result for lamy pens safari collectionEach year of college is like going on a new safari.  You don’t know what strange creatures you’ll meet or circumstances you might find yourself in. Similarly, dorm and campus living can be a little more rigorous without all the comforts of home. Lamy Pens now has the Safari Collection. Safari pens are designed in sturdy ABS plastic, so they’re rugged yet light weight. They have a contoured grip which makes them easy to hold. The spring-wire clip slides into and out of any pocket with ease and they come in great eye-catching colors.  Why not be ready for the jungle this year?

Image result for Grip 2011 CollectionFinally, you’ll need to “get a grip”  as you prepare for another tough year of studying, completing papers and having to spend many a late night at the lab. Faber-Castell now offers the Grip 2011 Collection. “The silvery pencil with the black grippy dots has acquired two functional and good-looking brothers: the Grip 2011 ball pen and mechanical pencil. They have the same ergonomic triangular cross-section as the Grip 2001, while the non-slip grip zone helps provide a comfortable and relaxing hold for those marathon writing sessions. The mechanical pencil has a very tough 0.7-mm lead; a twist-out eraser is ever at the ready under the end cap. Thanks to the retractable guide tube, the pencil will not make holes in a breast pocket. ”

Well here’s to another year of academia, I wish you the best.  Remember to truly be successful in college you must both work hard and play hard and what better way to equip yourself then having the best college friendly pens close at hand!

The Best Pen for School Children

Screen Multi System Pen Red;Now that the school year is upon us, it is once again time to purchase writing instruments for our children as they head into another year of academia.

Instead of the same old routine of buying a package of ballpoint pens, pencils, stylus pens and highlighters; why not get one perfect pen to handle all four of these functions.

Not only will you keep your child more organized, you will help the environment by reducing the number of pens purchased and because these pens are refillable, you are reducing the future purchasing of pens as well!

Simplify your life and your child’s life and by purchasing a Multi-Function pen today!


Pen Collectors

PensPen Collecting, Pen Clubs & Organizations, Pens Shows……The World of Pens. Who collects these wide assortment of writing instruments and how do they spend their time?

Now that I am submerged into the world of pens I’m kind of flabbergasted by the vast amount of ballpointsrollerballsfountain, felt-tip, erasable and limited edition pens available and the prices some people will pay to get these very coveted objects!

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Cross Ballpoint Pens

First I’m curious to know who these people are! Do they have a particular kind of personality?  Do they come from similar backgrounds?  I myself do not collect a thing. My mother was a depression child,  so she has a hard time throwing anything away…. as a result, in my household now that I’m all grown up,  you better not set anything down for too long or it will end up in a bag headed for Goodwill or some other charitable organization.

After doing a little research I’m finding pen collectors do not really stand out as any one particular personality type, in truth, I really cannot get a good answer about who these mysterious people are and why they like pens so much. From what I can gather, pen collectors come from all different walks of life, have all different types of personalities and are scattered all around the world!

Lamy Fountain Pens

Interestingly enough, I did come across a woman in Germany, Angelika Unverhau, the world record holder for ballpoint pens…. 220,000 ballpoints from over 146 countries!  Now that would be an interesting household to grow up in.  I wonder what affect she’s having on her kids?

With the emergence of the electronic age you think you would be hard pressed to find a pen show; not the case, you can still attend pen shows all over the world….from Chicago to London to New York and beyond.  There are vast numbers of pen online forums, clubs and trading sites as well.

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Parker Rollerball Pens

I don’t know what rock I have been under for the last four decades but it seems that these things we use to write things down with have quite the following.

You too can join the thousands across the globe that have joined the fascinating world of pens.  Where shall you begin?  MontblancWatermanCrossKroneAurora, Libelle, Fisher, Lamy….the list goes on and on!

Graduation Gift Ideas 2011: The Other Majors

College graduation presents are on everyone’s mind right now and for good reason. Graduation in most areas of the country is in a few weeks. As students scramble to finish up long ignored final papers and try to figure out how to patch that hole in the wall or finally get that (insert food item here) out of the carpet the rest of us tagging along in their lives are trying to find the best graduation gift. There is a multitude of possibilities out there and frankly, the easiest is cash. But, what is easy doesn’t always do a good job of representing how proud we are of them and doesn’t nearly convey the good wishes we want to send their way. Finding a graduation present that says something and can be cherished for years to come will beat out money any day of the week.

We know, from years of experience that fine writing instruments make great gifts for college graduations. In fact, a fine, executive pen is a great way to start a freshly minted graduates career. With that in mind, we have set our sights on revealing some of our favorite pens here at Executive Essentials. In recent blogs, I tackled Science, History, Law, Medical, and English degrees. Today, as one of the last blog posts on the issue I’m going to jump around a bit and pick 5 of my favorite pens for different degrees. Let’s get started.

Nursing Graduation Gift Pen — Lamy Studio Ballpoint Pen in Black

Image result for Lamy Studio Ballpoint Pen in Black

Nursing is a profession that dates back to the fifth century B.C. when Hippocrates became, “the father of modern medicine.” Over the centuries, the profession has grown and changed, but the people who practice have not. It takes a dedicated, smart, caring person with a superhuman ability to multi-task and pay attention to be an effective nurse.  Focus and concentration are vital when dealing with multiple patients and their treatments while juggling the emotional dilemmas involved with the opinions of families, doctors and other co-workers. For these hard working folks, I’d suggest the Lamy Studio Ballpoint Pen in Black.

Nurses are on the go and they need a pen that can move with them. A ballpoint is durable and functional, easy to take out and put away. This twist pen makes it easy to jot quick notes while on the go. The clip is specially designed for, well, clipping to your pocket faster and easier than other narrow, tight clips. And, overall, the pen has a great shape with an excellent matte finish. Function and looks.

Music Major Graduation Gift Pen — Visconti Opera Rollerball Pen


Music majors have a deep understanding of how music works in ways that can have us standing on our feet chanting in joy, or sobbing into our pillows morning the end of the world. In all the types and forms of music, the oft misunderstood opera is by far one of the most complex and glorious expressions of vocal and instrument arrangements created. The intricate symphonic scores, interwoven into vocal storylines filled with passion, betrayal, love, and hate have churned the souls of listeners for hundreds of years. The best pen for that music major graduate in your life is the Visconti Opera Rollerball Pen.

This Visconti Opera Pen is a distinguished black tie affair made out of richly vivid resins. Like the musical operas, this pen has a depth of character that is subtle, yet bold. The banded silver cap gives it a sense of playfulness and breaks up the otherwise monotone exterior.  It’s a pen that won’t distract the user from writing the next big number.

Religious Studies Major — Visconti Christian Bible Fountain Pen Vermeil


The study of religion is more than Sunday sermons and interpretations of thousand-year-old languages. It’s the immersion into a culture and a way of life that has long since evaporated, yet remains in an evolved and powerful belief system.  It is the study of politics, culture, humanity, and compassion. And although there are many religions in the world, what better way to commemorate a Religious Studies Major than with a pen that symbolizes one of the most prominent religions in the world.

The Visconti Christian Bible Fountain Pen has a sepia Scrimshaw with New Testament scenes of Jesus Christ’s life on the cap and Old Testament parables on the barrel.  The scrimshaw is painted with aerograph technique by Claudio Mazzi. This limited edition has only 99 pieces. The barrel is made of an ivory colored resin. The nib is made out of 18-carat gold with an ivory feeder.

Architects and Engineers — Caran d’Ache Metal X Mechanical Pencil


Pens, Pens Pens – you’d think that was all we cared about at Executive Essentials. Well, it’s not true. There are a great many pencils floating around the site catalog, although they are fewer in number. When I think of pencils, I think of architects and engineers. These two professions do a lot of scribbling and scratching, theorizing and testing. I’ve noticed that both of these groups seem to attach their hand directly to an inner part of their brain that circumvents consciousness.  They invent and draw from a realm of thought that defies intent. Miracles of structure and science can spring forth from this reservoir of creative mastery, but so can mistakes.

This Caran d’Ache Mechanical Pencil is the perfect pen for them to channel that creative energy though.  Made in Switzerland, it has an aluminum body that is durable and lightweight. The color of the pen is done by electrostatic powdering which makes it wear resistant. This mechanical pencil has an eraser and spare supply of leads, with a diameter of 0.7 mm, integrated at the back of the pencil. The eraser and leads are accessible by removing the pushbutton.

Engraved Graduation Gift Pens

My last suggestion to you isn’t a single pen, but rather a group of pens; engraved pens. There is a huge selection of great pens that you can have engraved with your graduate’s name and an inspirational message. This is a great way to personalize your gift and give them something that they can remember you by for years to come.  Take the time to check them out and you won’t be disappointed.

And that is all for now. I hope we have given you some college graduation gift ideas that you can use. And as always, please contact us or leave a comment if you have any questions at all about our pens or our service.

The Stylus: A Second Chance for An Ancient Tool

In ancient times, the Mesopotamians used pieces of dried reeds, bone, bits of wood and pieces of metal to write cuneiform – one of the earliest forms of written expression – into semi-dried clay tablets in order to record their history and document events. The utensils they used were called styluses. These styluses evolved and changed and eventually were used by potters to make designs in pots and vessels. Also, a specific variety of stylus is used by the blind to write braille.

Beyond the history of its invention and its limited uses in pottery and Braille, the stylus has been a little-used tool by the general populace. But, the stylus has enjoyed a slow rise to prevalence once again as it finds its place alongside some of the most popular inventions of modern times. Now that nearly everyone has a phone with a touch screen, a PDA, an iPad or another portable device with a screen interface, the stylus is more important than ever. And when an item becomes popular, designers start to create items that people want. This is true of the styli we have at Executive Essentials.

Image result for Lamy Pen Stylus ComboExecutive Essentials carries seven different styli from 3 distinct companies; Lamy, Monteverde, and Fisher. All three of these great styli are unique in that they double as pens. That’s right. If you need to write on paper, these pens will do the trick, acting as smooth writing ballpoints. If you need to switch gears and turn your attention to your electronic touch screen companion –these pens convert into a PDA stylus ready to do what your fingers can’t.

The Monteverde Stylus/Ballpoint pen has a straightforward concept, which makes sense coming from a company that is known for unique concepts and luscious designs. Their One Touch™ Stylus writing instrument offers a brand new smart design that incorporates a soft rubber stylus for touch screens into the top of the convenient click-action retractable ballpoint pen. This pen is uniquely engineered to write as a pen or operate on electronic devices like smart phones and tablet computers with just a flip.


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Fisher Stylus and Pen Combo

The Lamy and Fisher styli also do double duty as a ballpoint pen, but each in a different way. The Lamy has a cylindrical, matte, stainless steel finish that accents the modernistic technology of the pen itself. Just a twist of this pen switches between the ballpoint and the stylus. Fisher’s new multi-action pen features not just a ballpoint pen and a stylus, but a pressurized red ink pen and a pencil as well. Overachiever! The Q-4 features a beautiful dark gunmetal finish with a rubber lower barrel. The lower barrel has an excellent grip for comfortable writing.


So take the time to look over the great styli we have at Executive Essentials and get rid of those old plastic pointers that came with your first Palm Pilot. The world is changing and fortunately, Lamy, Monteverde, and Fisher are allowing us to change with it – in style.

Lamy Safari and Lamy Studio

In the world of collectible pens, there is a common misunderstanding that price equals quality. True enthusiasts know, however, that when it comes to pens, price equals the cost of materials and labor. With a little extra added in for profit of course. The reality is that no matter how shiny or sleek, a pen’s real value is tangled up in the way it performs on paper. Regardless of the precious metals forged into the barrel or adorning the clip. The Lamy Safari and the Lamy Studio are two excellent examples of pens that have a modest price but have a great value.



Safari Fountain Pen White;
Lamy Safari Fountain Pen


In Swahili, safari means, “long journey”, which fits well with Lamy, a company that has been producing high-quality pens for decades. The Lamy Safari is a reasonably priced line of multicolored pens that steal from the design features of Lamy’s higher cost writing instruments. High-cost metals and gemstones have been swapped out with rigid ABS plastic that gives the pen a more affordable price, without sacrificing the feel of other Lamy lines. The contours of the barrel mold to the hand to reduce fatigue and a sturdy functional clip keeps the pen from rolling off any table. The Safari comes in ballpoint, fountain and rollerball styles.


The Lamy Studio is the modern art twin of the Safari. The Studio has a much more refined presence without being pretentious. The barrel of the Studio is wide and metallic, with pin-straight lines, making it easy on the eyes as well as the grip. Having a barrel of metal gives the Studio a substantial weight that feels good in the hand. What is most striking about the Lamy’s Studio is the clip, which has a half twist that adds a very museum-piece like quality to the overall look of the pen. The Studio also comes in ballpoint, fountain and rollerball styles.


Lamy Studio Fountain Pen


Go ahead and spend some time looking through the wonderful pens that Lamy has to offer at Executive Essentials. But, as you do look, don’t forget to take into account that price doesn’t always mean quality. There is a slew of great pen deals at Executive Essentials on pens that won’t break the bank. A modestly priced pen like the Safari and Studio can give you excellent writing quality and aesthetics as well. And, they make perfect gifts for any time of the year.

Tis the Season — A Penaholic’s Gift Guide to Luxury Pens

For the next several posts we will be featuring guest blogger Tracy McCusker.Tracy is an avid pen buff & unrepentant word-slinger. Fascinated with pens from a young age, she converted to fountain pens in 2000 after being introduced to the Parker Frontier and Parker Vector. Today her pen collection numbers in the hundreds. Tracy is a staunch advocate of “going analog” for writing & creative brainstorming. When she’s not hanging out at her local fountain pen shop, her digital presence can be found guest posting at the Surly Muse.

The Penaholic’s Gift Guide Picks

While pens are seemingly becoming obsolete by touch-screen technology and ever-smaller keyboards on everything, time spent away from all of the screens that clutter our lives can be invaluable…and a pen can always be an invaluable part of that time. Writing longhand has its own pleasures, which for brevity’s sake, I won’t try to sell you on here.

If you are thinking of giving a luxury gift this holiday season, a pen can be a splashy, yet thoughtful, gift for a loved one or friend. A pen need not cost an outrageous amount. While there are some expensive pens (and some very much worth their sticker price), buying a pen doesn’t mean busting the bank.

A pen is a very individual tool. What works for one person may not be optimal for another. A buyer should ask themselves some questions to find the pen that fits their recipient best. If you’re familiar with basics of pen-buying (how thin/thick, how heavy, what type of pen, for what type of writer etc), skip on down this introduction for the Penaholic Gift Guide Picks. If you are daunted by the thought of selecting a good pen as a gift, read on.

Locate your favorite pen. You know the one I’m talking about. The pen that you reach when you need to write a check, sign a document, or jot down a sticky note.

If you are planning to give the pen as a gift, try to scope out your recipient’s usual writing instrument.

Take a moment to examine this pen. If the recipient likes thin to medium pens (e.g. a standard office-supply store Bic), you may want to stick to thin or medium pens. If the recipient uses a thick pen, a pen with a cushioned grip, or complains about uncomfortable thin pens–you should avoid buying a thin pen at all costs. Images may provide a clue to the thinness or thickness of a particular pen, but pictures don’t tell the whole story when comparing two pens against each other. You may want to hold one of these pens for yourself at a local pen shop. A good online pen shop will provide a description of how thin/thick a pen is to help you decide which pen is right for you.

The second factor to consider is the weight of a pen (whether light or heavy). How heavy a pen is may not matter to someone who uses a pen to sign checks; in fact, the heavier a pen feels in the hand, the more important it feels. If you are buying a pen for an avid journaler, a student, or an office worker who prefers to work non-digitally, lighter pens are preferable because they can be held longer without hand fatigue. Sometimes it takes a bit of research to find out how heavy a pen is. A good pen store may provide a description of the pen’s weight or of the material the pen is made from. Resin and plastic barrels tend to be on the lightest pens. Pens with chrome or brass barrels that are lacquered are usually on the heavy end. Depending on how heavy the pen is, you may prefer to write with the pen cap posted (on the end of the pen) or unposted (off). If losing track of small objects is a concern, it may be prudent to look for pens that are balanced (and feel comfortable) with the cap posted securely on its end.

Image result for types of pensThe third factor is the type of pen you are looking for (ballpoint, rollerball, fountain pen, pencil). Does your recipient prefer a type of pen—the smooth ink-to-paper feel of rollerballs over ballpoints, for example? Is your recipient interested in trying a fountain pen for the first time, or maybe they are a fountain pen only collector? Ballpoints are the most-used and most-gifted types of pens. Most people are intimately familiar with ballpoints: they write uniformly; they don’t dry out; their refills are easily available at most office-supply stores. Fountain pens are nibbed pens that are used mostly by enthusiasts who like the richness of their ink and the feel of the nib against the paper. Rollerballs are somewhere in the middle; smoother than ballpoints, they lay down a thick, wet line. Rollerballs do this without the hassles and joys that come with a nib.

Once you have settled on the type of pen to buy, then the color, brand, and “look” of a pen be the final set of decisions. The Penaholic’s Gift Guide will help you narrow in on the right pen.

Traditionally, a gift guide is broken up by budget range. I have selected pens for every kind of budget. A good gift pen generally is a pen that writes reliably, has a solid reputation, and/or is stylish or colorful enough to be a pen worthy of gifting. At the same time, a good gift pen will likely please any and all recipients. If you know that your recipient has certain tastes (dislikes the color blue, enjoys colorful pen barrels, wants something high-tech), be sure to check out the entire line of a pen that strikes your eye.

Pen recommendations also can differ based on the type of person who is receiving the pen, so this guide provides further recommendations depending on what kind of recipient you are buying for.

Pens Up to 50 dollars

Fountain Pens: Lamy Safari Vista ($27.99) and the Lamy Safari Al-Star ($35.99)

Al-Star Limited Edition Fountain Pen Charged Green;
Lamy Safari Fountain Pen

For a fountain pen under 50 dollars, it is impossible to beat the Lamy Safari. With a distinctive large metal clip on its cap, the Safari has a modern, functional aesthetic. Its thick plastic barrel is light, yet resistant to denting/scratching. The Safari has one of the smoothest steel nibs on any fountain pen; the nib has a generous give (more than the gold-plated steel nibs on Parker Sonnets), rendering a line with subtle variations. The biggest draw is that the Safari has one of the least-scratchy extra-fine (EF) nibs for those of us searching for the holy grail of both a thin line and smooth pen-to-paper experience. Unlike some other pens of its size, The Safari is actually balanced to write with the cap posted or unposted. Its faceted grip provides a comfortable grip that is larger than a standard ballpoint/gel pen, but still comfortable for note-taking or journaling. Though the Safari range comes in multiple colors (including the Al-Star which is a very attractive purple), the clear Safari Vista demonstrator is the pen of note in the line. Not only is the feed system to the nib visible, you can also see how much ink is left in your cartridge/converter through the clear pen body. Demonstrator fountain pens are themselves a collector’s item; for the money, the Vista is the cheapest demonstrator that a budding pen aficionado can get on the market. This pen would be perfect for prolific writers, or recipients that enjoy functional German design.


The Safari is made in Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, and Bold. Different nib sizes will have different availabilities. It takes Lamy T-10 cartridges or the Z24 Converter

Rollerball: Tombow Object ($20.99) or the Parker Urban ($36.80 – $48.00)

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Tombow Object Rollerball Pen

It is hard to find a good rollerball below 50 dollars, as my previous favorite rollerball on the market was bumped up to the next price bracket thanks to the upward creep of prices. I was, therefore, more than surprised to find two selections for under 50 to replace it. The Tombow Object has a brushed aluminum body that resists smudges and other minor blemishes. It’s tapered grip with rings make holding the Object easier than smooth, but the rings may begin to bite if you grasp your pens too tightly (I cling to mind like I’m drowning). The bright color of the Object makes it a cheerful companion for long study sessions, and the two-tone black Object looks just slick enough to be a fashion statement, just formal enough to use in the office.


If you have a few more dollars to burn, Parker offers a slightly more upscale rollerball in the Parker Urban. The curving line of the pen body, coupled with its signature arrow clip, is the kind of touch that I have come to associate with Parker. Parkers tend to be on the heavier side, and while I have never held an Urban in my hand, I would bet that the Urban (with its chrome appointments) would feel more solid in the hand than the aluminum Towbow. The Urban looks awkward with its posted cap; it is probably meant to be used with the cap unposted. The Parker also gets a thumbs up for its refill track record. Parker rollerball refills are usually superb; they aren’t finicky, or spotty like Waterman rollerball refills traditionally are.


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Parker Urban Rollerball Pen


Overall, I would recommend the Tombow for fans of brightly-colored pens or technical pens. The Urban is recommended for recipients looking for a more executive touch to their pen (and who aren’t likely to lose pen caps).

Ballpoint: Taccia Aviator ($36.00)

This is the pen that I would ask for from my loved ones. The Aviator is a lovely twist-action ballpoint that clocks in on the smaller side (around 5 inches), with a substantially thicker body than most ballpoints of similar size (the Aviator is thicker than the Cross Century or the Waterman Hemisphere). The thickness is slightly less than the Lamy Safari. The body is made of resin, making it lighter than the metal/chrome pens at the same price point. The Aviator has no dedicated pen grip, so maintaining a comfortable grip over long writing intervals may be tricky. The Red, White, and Blue Tie are, to me, the signature colors in the line. The tuxedo look of the single band of color below the clip is appealing—and quite unlike any other pen luxury/executive pen that I have bought. It looks elegant (reportedly even lovelier in person) and would not be out-of-place in a shirt pocket or a leatherette pen case. Like many international pens, the Taccia uses Parker refills, making it easy to find a refill that will match your writing style (Monteverde and Visconti ballpoint refills will fit this pen). Parker also offers gel refills that can make your ballpoint into a rollerball, making the Aviator one versatile pen.

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Taccia Aviator Ballpoint Pen

I recommend the Taccia Aviator for someone looking for a classy ballpoint to replace their cheap pens at work or to find a pen that looks equally good signing a contract as writing in a personal notebook.

Up Next, Pens From $50 to $100.