I just got gifted a murdered out Lamy Pico, which is hella nice. I’ve only seen black Picos with silver logos but this one is all black, which makes it more complete. It’s a very beautiful little pen that’s definitely pocket carry status and I really really like it. Problem is, I can’t really use it for fear of damaging it! I mean, I feel like I’m entrusted to take care of it so I gotta be careful?

Anyway, handling a Lamy rekindled the passion for nice writing instruments within me. Right now, I’m using budget pack Bic Clics and Sharpies at work. They’re the best combo at present. In kitchens, there’s like 2 types of things to jot down. The first are notes, recipe adjustments, stock counts, prep lists, timesheets and the like; short scribbles basically. A far cry from the 3 hr essays I used to do in Uni where I’d still run out of time and you had backup pens for your backups. Still, a pen is highly essential. The other thing we write in kitchens is labels, so these require a thick marker so that the labels are big and easy to read. So I spend a bit and use Sharpies cos I find them to be the most reliable permanent markers on masking tape.

Carrying a more expensive pen into a kitchen is stupid. Firstly, there’s the chemical threat ranging from oils, acids, food juices and all manner of liquids both hot and cold lying in wait. Then, there’s the physical threat. You get bumped all the time and when you’re rushing, you bump stuff. For easy access, pens are usually stored on the sleeve pen pockets. These tend to get rammed by a host of stuff, from hot trays to coolroom doors to fat chefs and what have you.

I can’t use nice pens at work. But I still yearn for a stash of cool writing instruments that I can still kop, to write notes at home or draw food ideas or whatever. Sure, it’s not gonna be anything like a designer with his drafting pens with multiple tip thicknesses, mechanical pencils and drafting markers but there are times when I feel like I wanna use something other than a throwaway even if I’m scribbling down a grocery list. There’s just something really slow about using a notes app on the iPhone.

I’ve already compiled a progression list sorted by brand. It’s mostly cheap-ish stuff with some notable exceptions being the old school rotrings.

Zebra Penpod. For my EDC, I wanna have a small simple ballpoint but I don't want it loose, otherwise the Lamy Pico would be #1. The Penpod is the next best option. Low priced and attachable to a keychain plus it comes fully murdered out. Already kopped from the bay for like $5 or something shipped.

Zebra Sharbo X. Omg, how did I miss this awesome pen? It's a multipen system that allows you to customise a whole host of options but basically you get a body that can hold one mechanical pencil plus two pens or one pen and a stylus. The body options are pretty varied and range from the beautiful matte finished brass ones to the black/silver/white classic range to the expensive aluminium versions and a slimline ladies version too. I just went to Rakuten and placed an order for a matte brass one in Hunter Green plus a 0.5mm pencil and 0.7mm ballpoints in blue/black and evergreen. This comes up to $30+ excl. shipping which isn't cheap but I can't resist the design.

Muji pens. I want like the multipack of double head hexagonal markers plus all the pens and pencils and also the configurable multipen. Don't know the names too well though.

Lamy Noto. Gotta rep my design background. This Naoto designed piece is one of my fave Lamys too.

Lamy AL-Star. My old fave. The goto fountain pen. I like the plain silver, black clip, transparent black nib holder, fine nib with black ink.

Lamy Dialog 1. One of my grails. Richard Sapper was into dat facet way before anybody else in the game.

Metaphys Locus 3 Way Pen. I think white is the best for this Good Design award winner.

Ohto Pieni. I really like these wooden bodied needle point ballpoints. They come in a nice array of colors and are relatively inexpensive plus they take refills.

Ohto Words. This uses a ceramic roller ball system that's supposed to be as clean as a fountain pen.

Tombow XPA. If and when I feel like I wanna "upgrade" from the Penpod, this would be the one.

Tombow Object. The black version of this is sick. Part of the reason is their logo.

Tombow Zoom 414. This multipen is also sick but manages to be slim at the same time. Sorta like the slightly higher end version of the Sharbo X and rivals Rotring's offerings. iF & Reddot design awarded.

Fisher Bullet Space Pen. This baby was made for NASA, writes in zero G, upside down and in all directions plus it comes in a case that looks like the moon.

Worther Shorty. It's short! It's fat! It's hexagonal! It's got many colors!

Worther Slight. Like the non funny version of the shorty.

Staedtler 925 85. These are really cool. There's a rotating ring you can use to control the amount of lead you want to dispense. The 925 95 variant has got colored caps on the top in different flavors.

rotring Rapid Pro. This is the modern version of their more classic range.

Basically all classic hundred series rotrings are grail status objects for me. They still make these in Japan only for the most part. JetPens and a few other sites actually stock some mechanical pencils at reasonable prices ($30-$70). Me, I want a whole set of like silver and black ones, each a different function. My fave is probably the 600 series. Some stuff though, like a vintage Trio Multipen or something like that is gonna be high 3 figures.

rotring 300. The barrel is totally plastic and so is the grip.

rotring 400. Not 100% sure how these differ from the 300/500 but it's all plastic.

rotring 500. This range has a knurled metal grip but the body is plastic.

rotring 600. How sex is the knurled grip area and the rotating bezel to display your choice of writing medium? Also, the whole thing is brass.

rotring 800. Basically, these have the gold details and even have a retractable tip!

All pics robbed from various websites but mostly these. JetPens, Cult Pens, Tiger Pens & Montgomery Pens where you can kop most of the shit I’ve listed.