As this is one of the two seasons when pens are gifted to family, friends and colleagues (the other being early summer and the occurrence of school, college or university graduations), the pen companies are primed. The choice has never been wider nor more inventive, which is an odd claim to make about a moribund technology. When it comes to luxury goods, necessity isn’t always the mother of invention.
A perfect example is Parker’s Ingenuity, which uses the “5th” writing system, as announced in these pages with the debut models. The range has now settled into regular production, and the catalogue includes something for everybody, with a variety of materials and colours on offer.
I’m partial to the stealthy, all-black, rather macho edition, and I can see the pearl Ingenuity Slim winning friends among writers. Of course, you could always opt for that all-time classic, the Duofold – a personal favourite – if you prefer fountain pens, in order to make a statement about history rather than novelty.
To recap, the brand’s 5th Technology offers an alternative to fountain pen, ballpoint and rollerball formats, all which have distinct strengths and weaknesses. 5th combines the look and feel of a fountain pen – you have to love the mock “nib” – with the instant drying capabilities of a fibre-type tip.
Every enthusiast I’ve shown it to during trials with a pre-production model fell in love with it, especially as a “day-to-day” pen and one that’s also ideal for travel, if you’ve ever suffered a leaky fountain pen but can’t give up the nib.