After a decades-long search for the perfect pen I finally settled on the Marmatic 700. It turned out that the quality of the line is determined not by the pen but by the ink. Yes, the ink. Every fountain pen ink, and a fortiori every disposable pen ink, is formulated for flow and not for appearance or durability. One and only one kind of ink is opaque, permanent-waterproof, and brilliant (I don't know what brilliant means in this context but I know it when I see it.), and that one kind is India ink. India ink in French is encre d'chine. The actual ink is from neither India nor China, but Germany. India ink is too densely pigmented to use with ordinary fountain pens. They clog immediately with it.
The only pens which can use India ink are technical pens - pens with tiny cylinders as nibs. The ink flows by capillary action through the tiny cylinder nib.
There are two brands of technical pens available - the Staedtler Marsmatic 700 series and the Rotring Koh-i-noor pens. Both are German and both are plastic. The Koh-i-noor are cheesy and prone to leak and blotch. The Staedtler Marsmatic 700 pens are well-made and reliable and do not leak nor blotch. Except, like all fountain pens, on airplanes or when taken to high elevations. For writing on an airplane, use a ballpoint. Though expensive for cheap plastic pens and very expensive compared to disposable fiber-point pens, they are both dead cheap compared to all but the cheapest fountain pens.
Among the different size nibs, my experience is that the 0.1 mm nib was unusable, was sold only in the UK, and was soon taken off the market. The 0.18 mm nib is difficult to use because it is hard to get the ink to flow. The 0.Read more ›