Top Pen Trends of 2010

Goldspot works with dozens of brands and manufacturers every year that roll out their newest styles and colors to captivate the fine writing market. Some ideas tend to overlap when a need has been discovered for a particular type of pen. Here are the hottest pen trends that we have found in 2010 (in no particular order):
  • Always Bet on Black -  The style of black on black has been a hot one replicated by several prominent brands. For example, Monteverde has their Invincia Stealth Black, Retro 51 made a Tornado Stealth and Parker released their Premier Special Edition in all black. 
  • More Special Editions - Speaking of the Premier Special Edition, more manufacturers are leaning toward producing limited runs (in the neighborhood of 50 pieces) of pens that use a specific material or design that is exclusive to the production. Conway Stewart has been offering a special edition finish every month that usually sells out. Just recently, Visconti developed a few Opera Club special colors that are in short supply.
  • A Rollerball that Writes Like a Fountain - Both Visconti and Monteverde have jockeyed for the claim to fame that they are producing a rollerball pen that refills like a fountain pen. On one side, you have the Monteverde Invincia Ink Ball, which is a current iteration of the Mega Ink Ball pens that were once popular a few years ago, but have sizzled after the economy tanked. In the opposing corner, you have the Visconti Rembrandt Eco Roller, which promotes eco-friendly writing, despite needing a new replacement front end every 15 fills.
  • Paper is Important, Too - With a resurgence in idea notebooks like the Moleskine, writers and creatives across the world are now toting a little black book to dump all ideas, sketches and brilliant (or not-so-brilliant schemes) that may come to mind. However, fountain pen users have quickly responded to the sub quality paper for their nibs. In comes Rhodia, who has filled the market demand for high-quality, affordable notebooks that work like a dream with any fountain pen. Rhodia has worked out so well that Levenger decided to offer their infamous Circa notebook system with Rhodia paper.


Top 5 Pen Articles of 2010

When we're not reviewing pens and inks, we are talking about writing, owning fine pens and what it means to be a pen enthusiast. Here are the Top 5 Articles of 2010 that you have voted on with your clicker fingers.
  1. Teaser of the Parker Premier Special Edition Black - It figures that the most popular article was also one of the shortest. I took a few shots with my cellphone when our Parker rep came for a visit to show off the new special edition Parker and thought that it would be a real blast for Parker fans to see a sneak peek of the pen before its release.
  2. Voting for Pen of the Year 2010 - In its third year, we're hoping that the Goldspot reader's choice POTY vote will be a fun and important staple in every pen fan's calendar come November.
  3. I have a HUNCH you don't know much about pens - Sometimes technology, i.e. the newest, whiz-bang, Google-killer needs to be put in its place. Check out our review on using Hunch to recommend a pen.
  4. Pen Spotlight - Noodler's Pens & Ink Samples - One of our grab-bag entries that discusses swabbed ink samples and the new Noodler's fountain pens.
  5. New Pen Buying Guide - One of the last few posts preceding our first Pen Show in October, this guide was meant to help those who would be looking to buy a new pen and may be intimidated by the process and the prices.
Any particular favorite articles that you have read this year? Please comment below and make me feel honored to have you as my reader.


Top 5 Pen Reviews of 2010

We're wrapping-up 2010 with some "best-of" posts that recap the last year of articles, news and reviews that have been showcased on this blog. Firstoff, the Top 5 Pen Reviews of 2010. What makes it the "tops?" We compared all of our reviews using visitor traffic as the measuring stick.
  1. Visconti Homo Sapiens Fountain Pen - Runner up to the 2010 Pen of the Year, the HS made a huge splash in the pen industry this year by introducing new pen-making materials and an epic theme.
  2. Lamy Studio Stainless Steel Fountain Pen - Among the best stainless steel fountain pens that you can find under $100, the Studio is a must-have in any pen collection.
  3. Pelikan m200 Italic Fountain Pen - Manufacturers have been big on italic this year, realizing that there are still people out there that want that additional flair to their writing.
  4. Parker Premier Silver Fountain Pen - One of Parker's biggest releases in the last several years, the Premier is poised to bring Parker back to prominence as a player in the pen market (say that three times fast). With their release of the Black Special Edition that has done very well at the end of this year, there is indication that the Premier has saved the brand from irrelevancy.
  5. Cross Affinity Crimson Red Fountain Pen - There's a lot to love about the Affinity. Cross actually decided to make a comfortable, inexpensive and smooth-writing fountain pen. Who knew they could do such a thing?
I know we've taken a bit of a break on pen reviews and haven't done one since September, but I promise there will be more to come, especially for 2011, and they are going to be more in depth and interesting to check out than ever before!


Pen Spotlight - Holiday Edition

Holey Moley, has it been a crazy December! Our day-to-day work has consisted of picking, packing, express, overnight, engraving, giftwrap, rush orders, bulk orders and phone calls non-stop from Black Friday Weekend. It's a double edged sword - you nearly go crazy with all the work, but everyone gets their gifts in-time and our company benefits from the business.

We'll be enjoying a well-deserved break this weekend and will close the office from Friday, Dec 24th to re-open on Monday, Dec 27th. The Website will be OPEN 24/7 and we will have FREE SHIPPING on orders of $75 or more throughout the end of the year.

Although we've been running ourselves ragged processing orders this December, we have added a few new products and brands to the site that we would like to share:
  • TWSBI (Goldspot's Pen of the Year 2010) - The fans have spoken! Due to the great response on the voting of Pen of the Year, we have acquired these TWSBI pens to sell direct through Goldspot.com.
  • Visconti Opera Club Limited Edition - Only limited to a mere 40 to 70 pieces per writing style, these rare colors of Visconti's popular Opera pen are sure to sell fast.
  • J Herbin - We really haven't talked much about the French ink-maker, but we've started selling Herbin in the last month or so and I personally look forward to trying out a few of their inks in my fountain pens.
  • Sailor, Japan - Yes, it's so new that we don't even have it up on the site yet. We're still in the process of getting the photography together, but we will be able to offer the fantastic writing quality of Sailor pens in a few short weeks.
And now, for some Link Sharing -
  • Although it may have been more helpful a few weeks ago, you may be able to see where you went wrong in giving your office gift by reading Monster's the Do's and Dont's of Exchanging Gifts at Work
  • Pen & Paper connoisseur Pocket Blonde does a helpful, side-by-side comparison of fountain pens that write with a "fine line." This is great if you have a pen in one of the brands that is listed and was always wondering how the line would compare in a different pen model.
  • Lady Dandelion does a similar comparison using italic and oblique nibs in her post titled "Width Matters."


Holiday Ink Giveaway

Goldspot wants to give away a gift every week until the end of the year to our faithful newsletter subscribers. This week, we are going to give away a bottle of Noodlers Eternal Luxury Blue fountain pen ink (Retail value $13.50 each).

Rules :
  • You have to be a current newsletter subscriber. If you are already subscribed, you're already entered into the giveaway! If you are not subscribed or not sure if you are, please sign up for our pen e-mail newsletter.
  • Your ship-to address must be in the United States.
We will select the winner on Friday, December 17th at 3pm Eastern Time. The winner will be selected at random from our current e-mail subscriber list.


Pens in Time for Christmas and Free Shipping? YES!

Now that we're officially inside two weeks of XMAS, we know that our customers are growing more concerned about receiving their gifts on-time. For our US customers, the last possible day that UPS and the US Postal Service will deliver is Christmas Eve, December 24th.

We have a Free Standard Shipping promotion code (expires 12/31/10) on our catalog fliers that are going out in every shipment. It is for any order of $75 or more that is placed with a shipping address in the continental United States. So, many of you may want to know, when would be the last possible day that I can place an order with FREE SHIPPING that would make it in time? Consult this handy-dandy chart below (click to make larger):

Please don't take this as an excuse to procrastinate a few more days before placing your order! We want those fingers clicking over to the Goldspot Pens Store as soon as possible so that you can be both thrifty and on-time. To verify stock, please call our elves - I mean customer service at 800-963-7367. Items with tags on the site are usually IN-STOCK, but that information can change faster than the website can handle. It is best to contact us directly with urgent, time-sensitive orders.


3 Pens on My Wishlist

Dear Santa,

I've been a good little boy who likes pens. Really, really nice pens. You may have to call on your elves from Italy and Japan to help out making these.

Namiki Pilot Vanishing Point Blue Carbonesque Fountain Pen in Fine Point - The Japanese-made Pilot Vanishing point is compulsory in any fountain pen fanatics collection like a Lamy Safari or Pelikan would be. I mean, who else makes a click-top, retractable fountain pen with a gold nib and still under $200 retail? The blue carbonesque is a finish that you don't see everyday, which makes it distinctly part of this series. Convenience and the writing experience of a fountain pen - what else can a boy ask for?

Aurora Optima Auroloide Blue w/ gold trim Fountain Pen in Extra-Fine Point -This is one of those pens that would be on my "if I had the money.." or "hit the lotto" scenarios. The Optima is one of the few piston-filling fountain pens that has such a great, classic style about it. Blue and Gold is such a classy, yet underutilized color combination. The size and weight are perfect for daily writing. The large 14kt solid gold nib is also a pleasure to write with, even if you leave it inked in a desk for weeks, so I've been told.

Visconti Rembrandt Eco Roller in Blue - "Another blue pen?" remarks Santa. Yes! Blue is a staple of my collection thus far. The Eco Roller uses a rollerball front section, but fills like a fountain pen by ink cartridge or converter (included). The blue is a magnificent dark tone with plenty of variations, almost like it was painted on a canvas. The magnetic cap is truly convenient, plus I can put my initials on top of the cap with the Visconti My Pen System.

Going to need to ask for a pen case with all of these, too. Maybe next year  ;)


5 Pens to Recognize your Employees and Clients

As the fourth quarter, the Holiday Season and 2010 draws to a close, it is typical business etiquette to show your appreciation to those who have helped you in making this year a successful one. If you're looking for a great value pen to give as a token of your gratitude, then look no further! Goldspot has a great selection of business-appropriate pens.

Waterford Metro - Classic styling and signified quality backed by the Waterford name, the Metro is a full sized pen that is dressed for the boardroom. Handsomely presented in a glossy black gift box and priced to move at under $50 for either the twist-action ballpoint or capped rollerball.

Waterman Carene Garnet Red  - When you think classic fine writing quality, one of the first brands that usually comes to mind is Waterman. There is hardly a better value than that of the Carene pens we have on Waterman Clearance. Half-off selected styles with limited inventory.

Cross Classic Century Satin Blue Ballpoint Pen - Can't talk Corporate gifts without mentioning Cross. Always a reliable standby when it comes to choosing pens for your clients, retirees or executives, the satin blue w/ gold trim is a classy and rare pen that has been discontinued and on sale for 20% off.

Parker Urban Contemporary Finishes - Strong, architectural patterns chiseled into the metallic body of this pen give the Urban a modern, high-tech appeal. Available in metallic black or white, the Urban is moderately priced upholds Parker quality standards.

Fisher Space Pen Bullet Lacquered - For the dressed-down bosses that prefer to keep things fun and lively, the colorful and functional Bullet Space Pen is a perfect match. Under $25 each, the Bullet offers convenience, utility and personality. There are several colors available, which could match one of your company's colors. Engraving looks really sharp on any of these pens and is usually a good idea, especially if you have coworkers that like to abscond with your pens...

As always, we recommend you call our customer service line (800-963-7367) to check stock on any bulk order. Depending on the price and the quantity ordered, we can also offer quantity discounts.  At this time of year, it is especially important to give us a call right away so that delivery is guaranteed before the big office party.


3 Gift Ideas for the Fountain Pen n00b

Yes, you n00b. For those lacking savvy in web gaming vernacular, "n00b" (or newb, newbie, etc) is synonymous with novice or newcomer. I think it is fair to say that there are more young people who own an iPod than those who own a fountain pen. But that's OK. We're going to change that this year.

We've been swamped. The Holidays have started early this year, and we would like to address some common questions that our customers have while they make their list (& checking it twice). One topic that we would like to offer our insight on is, "what is a good starter fountain pen?"

It's a great gift idea. While there are an overabundance of technological gadgets and tchotchkes that will be flying off the shelves this December, throw your loved ones a change-up this year and wrap up one of these :
  • Lamy Safari - almost a no-brainer in suggesting an all-time best-selling fountain pen. What's not to like? Inexpensive at under $30, available in an assortment of brightly colored, sturdy ABS plastic and fitted with a durable stainless steel nib that will withstand the initial adjustment for the writer to adapt to a fountain pen nib. One caveat to the Safari for the holidays is its no-frills packaging cardboard tube - not very presentable unless you giftwrap it.  Also, they are only sold with one disposable ink cartridge, so buy the converter separately to give the ability to fill from an ink bottle.
  • Parker Urban Fountain Pen Kit - an incredible value at $39.95, the kit offers a black Parker fountain pen with gold-plated trim, a bottle of Parker black "Quink" ink, a converter, ink cartridges, an instruction booklet on "how to write with a fountain pen" and a cleaning cloth. This is a great idea for someone who always wanted to try a fountain pen and was not sure on how to care and write with one. 
  • Waterman Phileas - Largely considered to be one of the most popular entry-level luxury fountain pens, the Phileas brings classic Art Deco style with a smooth-writing stainless steel nib. The Phileas is a more high-class option that is still affordable ($42-$60) and is sold in a Waterman blue leatherette box and comes with converter and ink cartridge.

We have plenty of these options in-stock and ready-to-ship for all your gifting needs. If anyone needs any pen suggestions, feel free to drop a comment!