For workaday use I like a black gel rollerball, medium to find point. UniBall makes excellent ones. The JetStream has a nice heft, soft rubberized grip, and nifty retro styling, but is a little too much pen for daywear. I like that both of these are retractable, meaning you never lose a cap.
Before I got into Uniball, Pilot was good, too.
Now, for real hot pen action, you've got to have a fountain pen. Got my brother one of these a few years ago (beware, music and pen porn vid). One day I'll get a really nice old Bakelite pen. IN the meantime, I still have the plastic Schaefer cartridge pen I used in high school, and a few steel-nib ink pens for calligraphy-type use.
My favourite is a black Uni-ball Signo DX (aka Gel Grip). I like it because of its very fine point size (mine is 0.38) -- my handwriting is rather compact and it can get very messy if I use an ordinary ball point pen.
In ball-point, they must be medium width. Fine point sucks ass. And I'll go with the clear Bics over the other kinds of Bics because I like seeing how much ink I have left. Also, it's blue for me, over black. I'm not entirely sure why.
We use Papermate Comfortmates here at work and the rubberized barrels make the pens feel like they have slightly tacky mucus on them.
But my pen of choice are also gel pens. I like the way the ink looks, the way it flows, the way the pens feel in my hands. I fell in love with the wacky pencil shaped Uniballs in wacky colors for a while, but then I came to my senses. Blue. All the way.
Black ink, medium point, ballpoint. I'm very finicky. A cushy grip's nice, too. I grip my pen rather tightly, with big calluses at the base of my thumb and tip of my middle finger (I always did get an A in penmanship, though; my handwriting looks just like those charts above the blackboard). My insistence on black (and not blue) ink nears fetish-level.
My favorite pen has a black-and-yellow casing that reminds me of my first bike (yellow frame with a black-and-yellow banana seat and great sand-skidding peddle brakes).
After years of trial and error (and a several desk drawers and boxes full of former Pen d'jour's) I've settled on the Cross Century Classic Black Ball-Point pen with a fine point refill. I carry two of them, one with black ink and one with red ink. For about $20 I have a reliable pen that's a little nicer than a Bic or Papermate and much more durable. Around Christmas most big box office suplly stores have gift boxes with two of the pens for about $25.
And I've noticed that since I've stepped up the pen a bit I have never lost or misplaced it. I write very small, so it has to be fine point. Plus I've noticed that fine points blot or smear less than medium points. The gel pens smudge too much, but I loved the flow of their lines when they work.
And as for Sharpies, there are always at least a few in my bag.
I'm terribly fond of the Cross Townsend and the ATX series. I also tend to carry one of their IONs around with me. The tip extracts and reveals in a counter intuitive manner.
In high school, I was a fan of the standard Parker (metal head, plastic body). Sniffing its ink on a freshly written essay on the subject of Lincoln's entry wound was as close as I would ever get to huffing.
Okay. There was the purple mimeograph ink, but we all did that.
getoffmylawn: My friend is obsessed with blue bic pens with what she calls re-enforced nibs. What this actually boils down to is the colouring on the plastic on the writing side of the pen HAS to be the same blue colour as the top.
She insisist it makes a difference.
Me personally. I like gel pens. If they're scented or sparkly I like them more.
I'm a fan of the Staedtler triplus gel-liner. I hold my pen between my index & middle fingers (rather than resting on the index), so its thinness is a bonus, and the triangular shape is so comfortable. It flows nicely, doesn't blob up, and isn't grossly expensive. I became obsessed with pen design while in university--who else here noticed that in an exam, bionic-speed writing would cause the ball of a poorly-designed pen would heat up & expand, causing the pen to stop writing, so you had to have at least 3 and rotate them? Man, that was irritating.
As a parting gift from my old job, my coworkers got me a Montblanc retractable ballpoint. It was a dream to use - smooth, slim, perfectly weighted - but I was terrified I'd lose it. Finally I decided to take the risk as it was not doing anyone any good sitting in a drawer. Now I don't know where it is. It could be in the apartment, though, so as long as I don't search for it I may not have lost it completely. Ah, logic.
scurius, that Phileas has me drooling all over my keyboard.
OMG sciurus; that is some serious pen porn, the Serenite Collection d'Art. You have outdone all my expectations for this thread and blown my mind. Wheeeewww. At first I thought I liked eau best, but now I think I like feu best.
Mmmm, I'm now thinking about this as a gift idea...there's someone I'd like to get one of these for, and I know just when. (It's the kind of thing that'll nicely complement his woodie wagon and brown woolen cardigan).
Looks like finding a US distributor for that line will be next to impossible? Might be a special-order situation. Oh well, that's all right. I won't be spending $500 on a pen right this minute, after all.
I like ultra-fine, scratchy-tipped pens, and they have to be black. Cheap Bics are good, but only if you can get fine ones. Pentel's ultra-fine RSVP is ok. Someone recently gave me a vaunted Pilot G-tec C4, and it's perfect. If they weren't rare as blue pears around here, I'd use nothing else.
I have an old Parker fountain pen that belonged to my father. It has the words 'Union Carbide' engraved on the barrel. It's the only thing of his I have. I hated him, btw, so it has no sentimental value, but it writes beautifully
Call me pathetic, but at work whenever I'm signing off a document to anyone living in Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Highbury or Chelsea I use my Manchester United pen, similar to these, but with the club crest. I know the recipients won't know, but I know, and it gives me an extra little frisson of job satisfaction.