Dads can sometimes be notoriously difficult to shop for. If yours is anything like mine, he doesn't have much of a wishlist. Whenever he wants something, he tends to hop right on Amazon and get it.
As you are looking around for Father's Day gift ideas, you may be asking yourself, "will Dad be able to use this?" Because, you know, any gift for Dad has to be practical in nature. For that reason, pens are at the top of the list as an enjoyable gift for Dad.
As part of this gift guide, we're going to explore why Dad would love a pen while giving some examples of bulletproof gift suggestions.
Pens are functional
While we know that mobile technology has replaced many of the tools we used 10+ years ago (hello pagers), pens, particularly fountain pens, have experienced a modern-day renaissance in appreciation. Handwriting a letter, a memo or a "thank you" note has become a way to stand out from the crowd, adding personality in a world that has become less personable through e-mail & social media.
While an expensive watch may only tell time, a fine writing instrument can produce ideas, express, and communicate on a level that can be appreciated by the masses. A tie (oh, not another tie) can be worn out to a formal affair just like a classy, professional-looking pen.
Pictured above is the Sailor 1911L Black with a 21kt gold nib. While not being the most efficient means of communication, the level of expressiveness that a fountain pen can produce on paper is inimitable with modern technology.
Going more utilitarian, there are also multi-functional pens and those that use capacitive touch stylus' (or styli?) that bridge the divide between analog and digital. The Cross Tech 3+ gives the writer two ballpoint colors, a mechanical pencil and a capacitive stylus for use with mobile touchscreen devices.
Since Dads tend to be focused on durability, it is worthwhile to point out the Fisher Infinium, which is a pen that is guaranteed to write an entire lifetime without being refilled. Not only is it sleek, built for space travel with the pressurized tip, but it also contains enough ink to last 80+ years, guaranteed by Fisher Space Pen (still proudly made in the USA, I might add!)
Pens are traditional
A fine writing instrument hearkens back to the days when we weren't addicted to staring at our smartphones. While Dad may love the newest, hottest tech gadgets and gizmos, he'll appreciate the simple pleasure of putting pen to paper. It's relaxing and distraction-free. No pop-up ads, no notifications taking your attention away from the writing experience. (Note: you may have to turn off your phone to achieve this peace & quiet.)
Pictured above: Visconti Van Gogh Impressionist Collection "Vincent's Chair"
He doesn't need to be the sentimental, creative type to enjoy writing with a nice pen. People from all walks of life have taken advantage of the pen-to-paper revolution, carrying around memo books like Field Notes to jot quick meeting notes, write down car mileage, record workouts, plot out home renovation projects and so on.
To get the authentic experience, one that is light years away from writing with a disposable bank pen on cheap, recycled copy paper, gift Dad a traditional fountain pen with a quality notebook from Rhodia. If you're reading this and are already into fountain pens, then you know the ropes to finding a great pen to start him off with. If you don't have a good starting point, check out our top 5 beginner fountain pens.
You can't get any more "old-school" than filling up a fountain pen with a bottle of ink. Using a converter, or the pen's internal filling mechanism opens the writer's world to a nearly endless variety of ink colors and properties. Ink has become just as lucrative to collect as the pens they fuel. Definitely, check out our hand-picked selection of the newest and best inks to find a bottle to include in your gift.
Pens are uncommon
It's not every day that you see someone sit down at a park, coffee shop or in an office setting take out a fountain pen and start writing for pure enjoyment. You're far more likely to see someone zoning out while watching blackhead removal videos on YouTube (yes, it's a thing) than you would see a nice fountain pen "in the wild."
As a fine watch, wallet or pair of cufflinks are a way of expressing one's individual qualities and status, a fine pen performs the same task with the added benefit of being a powerful tool (see above section "Pens are functional"). It completes the look of refined luxury. When you spend hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on a suit, tie, shoes, watch, wallet, cufflinks and other accessories, can you imagine pulling out a disposable click-action ballpoint pen that has your dentist's name screen printed on the plastic barrel?
Pictured above: Lamy Lx Fountain Pen in Ruthenium on an iPhone 6S
While other men's accessories are more commonplace to find in department stores, pens are a rare commodity. Not many writing shops exist in the United States, which is a shame, but the online world is rich and vibrant with plenty of writing instruments and pen accessories to pick from. So, we're kind of a "best-kept secret," a counter-culture underdog that fights against the domination of consumer technology, while embracing it at the same time.
Dad can certainly appreciate the uniqueness of the pen gift, along with the fact that it isn't easy to find an actual pen shop to source the item. Pick a special edition pen like the Montegrappa Game of Thrones that will surely be impressive to write with as well as a conversation to start with fellow 'Thrones fans.
Also, there are several exclusive items that are only available at Goldspot.com. You can find gift sets that serve as a complete gift-giving solution that isn't available anywhere else.
Take this Waterman Kultur Red Dragon Set pictured below. The fountain pen is a new, old stock item that has been discontinued, which makes it super-rare. Combine that fountain pen with a bottle of Diamine Red Dragon and a Clairefontaine pocket notebook that handles fountain pen ink exceptionally well and you've got yourself a winning gift!
Picks from Fellow Pen Enthusiasts
We asked Dads, pen enthusiasts and Dads that are pen enthusiasts to weigh in on the topic of what would make a great writing gift for Dad. Here are their suggestions in no particular order:
This "grail pen" is one of those fountain pens that most enthusiasts eventually aspire to reach in their collections. It's made partly of volcanic lava from Mt. Etna and has a 23kt palladium dreamtouch nib. How can you not like the idea of this pen?
The Kaweco Sport is one of those pen designs that is rather ingenious and useful for those who prefer to carry their pens everywhere. Its pocket-sized design has a deep cap that posts on the back end of the pen, extending into a pen that is comfortable to hold and write with. The AL-Sport is the aluminum-bodied version, which gives a bit more weight to the pen, along with being available in higher quality styles.
Pilot is well-known for their superior craftsmanship in creating a solid writing nib. The 823 pairs this excellent writing technology with a vacuum filling mechanism that holds a high capacity of fountain pen ink.
Each year, Lamy (Germany) releases a new color to their ever-popular Safari collection. This pen is built from sturdy ABS plastic and is a fantastic option for those beginning their journey into fountain pens. The dark teal Petrol color is a limited release color for 2017 and will undoubtedly be one of the more popular colors that will go up in value over the next several years.
If it's possible that Dad already has quite the collection of pens, he may require a more sensible solution to storing and carrying them around. Enter the Regal 23 pen case folio. The elastic loops keep each pen in place and separated from one another while the middle felt divider keeps each side safe when closed.
Let him choose
As a last ditch effort, the "Hail Mary" of gift-giving for Dad, Goldspot also offers digital gift cards that can be purchased and are obtained via e-mail. You can purchase them in different denominations and be able to use them instantly after purchase.