How to Choose the Ideal Executive Pen

by Scott Wagner

Impress on your desk or from your pocket on the go with these exquisite writing instruments

The noticeable difference in driving a road-worthy sports car is so strong you never forget it. The same can be said for the first time you sign your name with a proper executive pen. Yet, outside the legal and artistic professions, a luxurious fountain pen or even top-tier rollerball is seemingly rare.

The 1792 Style editors recently reviewed a number of the oft-mentioned brands of elite pens looking for the varieties in style, performance and use case so that we might help you choose your ideal executive pen. The selections included options you might find at popular retail stores for under $15, all the way up to elegant script-makers only suitable for high net-worth budgets.

And these are our recommendations based on pragmatism and personality.

The Executive

Fancy yourself a king of industry? Then no pen less than the legendary and classic Montblanc will do. This is the signature desk and jacket pocket pen of the rich and famous. From its iconic fountain tip engravings to personalized inscriptions and powerful black resin inlays to 14-carat gold highlights, Montblanc pens have been the ultimate ink vessel since 1906. One may not think a company can bring German engineering to writing utensils, but one would be wrong.

A Montblanc’s price tag is only for the serious image-maker, cheque signator or autograph giving sophisticate. The lowest price model you’ll find anywhere pushes more than $300. And that’s on discount sites.

Our favorite Montblanc? The Meisterstück Le Petit Prince Classique Fountain which lists at $750 at

The Confidence Man

A great pen doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but discerning gentlemen certainly want theirs to seem like an investment, if not in cost, at least in consideration. The DAVSTRØM Carbon Fiber Rollerball has a sophisticated look and feel, while not being pretentious. Steep in technology, the pen comes from a company centered around strength and security. One look from across the negotiating table and anyone in the room will immediately see the confidence and power behind your pen.

DAVSTRØM created the Carbon Fiber Rollerball in 2016 with the intention of pricing it under $20. Unfortunately the law of supply and demand has taken hold. If you can find it online, you’ll pay a bit more, but it won’t break your budget.

Our favorite DAVSTRØM is the only pen the company makes.

The Scientist

For the modernists and science-minded among you, the Fisher Space Bullet Pen is a must for your journaling and breast pocket. Certainly, the name can come across as juvenile and even kitschy. But its pressurized ink mechanism was designed to function as the monicker indicates — in space. Not every dapper fellow needs that specific function, but writing “up” in a journal while lying in bed is eventually frustrating with inferior technology. It also writes in sub-freezing temperatures in case you care to doodle outdoors whilst on a ski trip.

Fisher offers a variety of models, including custom engraved and commemorative versions for various NASA missions and space flights.

Our favorite Space Pen? The Chrome Bullet with Clip & Stylus which lists at $39 at

Fisher Space Bullet Pen - Carbon

The Modernist

If the Art Deco movement were distilled down to a writing utensil, the Waterman would be it. Some of the Paris-based company’s architecture-inspired gems look as if you have a piece of the Empire State Building in your hand. The Perspective is a rollerball masterpiece with refined black lacquer and 23-carat gold accents that underline the sleek lines of an elegant line-maker.

And that model is our favorite. The Waterman Perspective Rollerball won’t set you back as much as a Montblanc, but be prepared for a $150-$200 price tag.

The Practitioner

Rollerballs and ball points are the workhorses of pens. They perform better for frequent-use scribes, journal takers and diarists because they offer full, consistent line quality and do not need the frequent refills and cleaning to remain as effective. Few can argue with the quality of pen offered in the Parker collection. There are the classically designed Jotters and the festive color-driven Jotter Originals. Parker’s Urban, Sonnet and Vector models bring a variety of high-end artisanship for every taste.

The Jotter collection has a few models you would swear were $400 pens, but they are not. Most retail online in the $18-$30 range with a few of the other models reaching the $150-$200 price tag. That makes the Parker one of the best buys for the discerning note-taker.

Our favorite Parker is the Sonnet line. The classy look and superior performance give you an entrepreneurial edge.

Parker Sonnet Rollerball Pen

What to Look For in an Executive Pen

The way to think about the executive pen for you should start with when and how you use it. The most important quality will vary, but typically begins with the need for consistent line quality without fades or thinning. However, a fountain pen is almost designed to offer natural inconsistencies in ink, so think of a fountain as a more formal, signature only type utensil. Gel pens may smudge, so can be problematic for left-handers. Rollerballs and ballpoints are generally more high-volume instruments good for note taking and journal writing.

But consider the audience, too. If you are note-taking in the board room, you want your pen to say, “Executive at Work!” Look for a strong visual statement in design and adornment. Consider personalizing your pen with a monogram or surname. And to add an extra touch, keep it in a small, leather protective sleeve in either your briefcase or jacket pocket.

The devil is in the details and no detail delivers more in writing than the executive pen.

Editor’s Note: Cover photo by Leon Seibert on Unsplash

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