Minimalistic but modern pens

The wonderful photos that @Linus2K shared in What’s your favourite ballpoint/rollerball/gel pen? made me get a new desire for pens, I never cared much about them but seeing the Unic and the Platinum Z… They just have this “look” that calls out to me.

What other pens out there have similar minimalistic but at the same time modern and even timeless designs? Off the top of my head I think of Lamy CP1 and Porsche Design Classic line and Arc line. Bonus points if they don’t cost a kidney.

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Well… the Dyson Biro used to be soooo hard to find but now you can buy them at under 3000 yen. And the Platinum BeeLine is still far less expensive than the lowliest Z.

Here’re the two most minimalist pens I have: chromed cylinders that came out before Kickstarter turned ‘minimalist design’ into short form for ‘I have a lathe but no ideas’.

Trystrams ‘Primine’ by Akita Michio in 2010:

And seen next to to prototypical chromed tube pen, Paraphernalia ‘N.2110’ by Sergio Carpani from the early 80s:

For once, the Italians were more practical than the Japanese as the N.2110’s cap can be posted.

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If you like that kind of aesthetic, check out TIJ pens. Quite easily one of the best machined pens I’ve ever used (I have the ballpoint, but am going to get a roller ball as well). The quality is just amazing and there’s ZERO tip wobble. You can also swap in a Schmidt mechanism to turn it into a pencil, but IMO that just ruins such a fine pen.

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I have the Platinum Z and it’s seriously minimalist, to a fault. Not crazy about the mechanism. It’s a little “clunky.” Not as smooth as something like the PILOT Hi-Tecpoint. Never got around to a Platinum Bee Line, though.

I don’t know why I missed learning about the LAMY Unic… until just recently. I’d like to get one, but yikes… hard to find for a decent price. The CP1 is OK. I had one but let it go. LAMY generally has good aesthetics, but something about the CP1 felt kind of… “kit-bash” like. My apologies to Gerd Muller, who I believe may have designed it.

While the clip is certainly not minimalist, it isn’t insanely ornate. That being, the rOtring 700. The body is wonderfully minimalist. A nice long gradual taper. For grip, there are some subtle thin lined notches to assist, while being almost invisible unless you really look for them.

The LAMY Scala is remarkably minimalist. While this photo is the rollerball, the pencil looks identical because of the forward clutch (no lead pipe). I wish LAMY had done the clip, rear, and nose cone in a matte finish steel like they’ve done on so many of the 2000 models. The chrome is a nasty business of fingerprint smudging. I never use mine (mint in box), so if anyone here wants to buy it, let me know.

Back in the early 1990’s, my father gifted me a “silver bullet” style capped rollerball with a short profile that became larger with the cap posted. The rear had a slimmer diameter screw cap for access to the refill and when the cap is posted on it, its flush to the rest of the body. Beautiful design. It’s tucked away somewhere right now. I should take some photos of it the next time I unearth it.

And speaking of bullets… Fisher Bullet Space Pen is pretty minimalist and they’ve busted the doors on variants (beyond the boring chrome and black).

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If minimalist design is not limited to cylinders, also ystudio might be worth a visit. Can’t say anything about their quality, since I don’t have one.

And if you reconsider getting rid of a kidney (or maybe even the liver), sakura archi y2 is minimalistic.

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Sakura Archi is ‘1 kidney minimal’

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Honestly Im accepting any interesting design now. I’ve been hunting down the BeeLine but after seeing some unusual shaped pens (Zoom 606, the Dialog 1 and Aurora Hastil)… I might have to sell at least half a kidney.

I had flirted with the idea of buying a LAMY Dialog 1 a few years after it came out, hoping there might be a price break, but kept missing some good deals and gave up. I had corresponded with someone who owned one, on a forum… I think it was the Fountain Pen Network… and they had issued with theirs. The titanium coating deteriorated on the body. LAMY honored it under warranty and repaired it, but the problem repeated a few years later.

And then I read up on UnSharpen’s review and that killed it for me. I still like the unusual design, but the only way I’d get one is if a bargain fell into my lap. :smirk:

I have one and can say it is not super comfortable to write with. Not much grip at all due to the coating and no real “grip” section

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Which one are you talking about, Jerry?

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I think Jerry is following up on the Lamy Dialog 1. I got mine and honestly, it’s more of a shelf queen - definitely not a daily driver. But because of its form and history, it will still be a fascinating design object to me.

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USUS-design out of Berlin, Germany

Curious naming convention. IO reminds me of a rOtring Rive.


The pi is most curious, with a lever switch in the back for deployment/retraction.

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The ‘i’, ‘io’ and ‘isis’ are the same repelling magnetic design in different materials. The pictures show the pen in the ‘deployed’ mode, when the two halves are closed together like 2 pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, and the pen tip protrudes. Twist the halves and the next set of magnets engage, setting them apart just enough to retract the tip.

It’s a fun desk-bound fidget gadget but not good for transport… far too easy to accidentally deploy the tip in a pouch or bag and risk ink stains.

The ‘pi’… looks like it has gone out of stock almost everywhere. Sigh.

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Ah, that list was just chosen according to my preferences, and I think some of them fit the characteristic you said. So, based on your description, here’re a few more recommendations.

relatively cheap model:
Dyson biro, Lamy cp1(I like fountain pen and 1+1 model best from apperance), Lamy pico, Lamy 2000 (fountain pen and mp), Aurora thesi, Aurora hastil (bp)

other options:
Porsche Design classic line, Porsche Design p’3125, Lamy dialog 2, Sakura archi y2, Tombow zoom v472, and a fountain pen, Pilot μ (myu 701)

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The Lamy Dialog 2 is a very sleek attractive rollerball. I had contemplated picking up one for a few years, then… suddenly… available inventory dried up and now the going prices are like double. Big turn off.

You mentioned the LAMY Pico, which I don’t see mentioned much. It’s a really neat little pen. There are a number of variants. Of course, with no clip, it’s a bit of a challenge if you want to stash it in an open shirt pocket. The design of extending the tip while lengthening the body for writing is a pretty clever mechanism. They’re rather light… and I don’t know how sturdy they are over the long haul.

If you’re a fan of the PILOT μ (myu701), have you tried the M90? It’s a wonderful follow-up. I just wish PILOT hadn’t cut production short. They promised 9,999 domestically and another 9,999 worldwide, but I think they didn’t follow through completely.

I was lucky to get one via eBay from a Japanese seller in 2008, as they were nearing the end of their available inventory and got an excellent price. Then I got a used backup that had the misfortune of being engraved, but it was done in such a nice font that I didn’t mind it–well worth it for the discounted price. “𝓨𝓾𝓲𝓬𝓱𝓲𝓻𝓸” which is now my Japanese alter-ego name. :sweat_smile:

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Has anyone here come across an Obelisk Oval 2 pen, by Darriel Caston of D Rocket Designs?

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Nicely done. THIS is someone with a lathe AND ideas. :+1:t2:

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Drifand is correct I was referring to the Lamy Dialog 1 and I agree with his assessment, more of a shelf queen but a wonderful overall look and design. Just not super comfy to write with

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I love the MP and I’ve fiddled with the BP in stores—the Zoom C1 is a great choice and since it’s in production it’s quite affordable. It retracts without sound like the Caran d’Ache 849.

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