The sleek Sheaffer or Montblanc that Denstu Communications National Planning Head Suresh Mohankumar carries in his pocket isn’t just a style statement. For him, a good pen that combines supreme workmanship and finesse is a necessity. Even while preparing a PowerPoint presentation, Mohankumar first jots his ideas down on a piece of paper with one of his choicest fountain pens. His collection includes over 50 fountain pens — Sailor, Sheaffer, Montblanc, Conway Stewart, Waterman and several others — acquired over 10 years. Priyanka Sharma speaks to him about his penchant for pens
The star of your collection
I love the Sailor Professional Gear (around Rs 15,000). With its meticulous nib quality and a sturdy body made of resin, this pen writes in the smoothest manner. The fountain pen comes with flexible dual tone 21-carat and 14-carat gold nibs and is decorated with a sleek gold trim. The design is chic — it has a flat top which blends with the entire fountain pen and the weight balance is at its optimum. The trademark Sailor anchor logo rests on the top.
The most expensive pen you own
A Conway Stewart Raleigh that I bought for around Rs 32,000 which celebrates the life of soldier, explorer, poet and historian Sir Walter Raleigh. The British pen maker is known for its fine hand-crafted fountain pens. Famous Conway Stewart owners include Queen Elizabeth II, former US presidents and British prime ministers, and many heads of state. It’s rare to find a Conway Stewart in India. The Conway Stewart Raleigh comes with a barrel accented with rich solid gold trim rings topped with a cap that features a slight inward curve. In the place of a cap band there is a quartet of solid gold cap rings. The pen carries the brand’s traditional clip and comes with an 18-carat gold nib. I also have a Conway Stewart 100 series.
The mark of a good pen
A smooth nib and an optimum weight balance — it shouldn’t be too heavy or too light and should fit perfectly in my grasp. When it comes to the look of the pen, I don’t like anything too flashy. I prefer pens that come in sober shades of platinum, silver and black instead of gold or bronze.
Where to buy
Today, everything is available in India. Stores like William Penn are well stocked and have all the brands and models. Most of these pens come with adaptors which can be used to fill the ink. The adaptor avoids dipping the nib directly into ink and at the same time, every last drop of ink is used from the cartridge. I also shop at outlets at airports — they usually have all the models.
Pens on your wish list
The Churchill by Conway Stewart inspired by Winston Churchill who used these pens during the years of war. The Churchill fountain pen comes with a traditional lever fill technology and modern converter cartridge filling mechanisms with a choice of eight 18-carat solid gold nib grades: extra fine, fine, medium, broad, extra broad, italic fine, italic medium and italic broad. Each pen comes with a book of Churchill quotes, a Churchill cigar and a bottle of Conway Stewart ink.