So, when my Indian pens get here (why aren’t they here yet???!!!) I will have 19 fountain pens. I’m not as crazy a collector as many (god no), so 19 pens over 3 years is actually very reasonable, especially considering I stay on the low-range side as far as pricing. (I have two Chinese pens that cost me $5 and $7 respectively, and two kid’s pens that were $8 and $12, not counting the three Indian pens that should be here by tomorrow or Monday at the latest! which were all under $12 … I just saw a $34,000 pen listed, and it’s not even the most expensive I’ve seen, so you get what I mean when I say “low-range”) That said, as my 20th pen is buyable sometime around my 2(_)th birthday, this means I want a special pen. Considering my options, my first choice was a pen I’ve wanted since I first started buying pens almost 3 years ago. And that is the Sailor Chalana, a Japanese made pen. This is the “Bright White” version, which is a modern version of the pen. The classic styles were gold or silver, etched with either long lines or little “Barley” patterns, with maroon or black lacquer on the grip and clip. The colors of the older versions of the pen weren’t really attractive to me, it was (and is) the super slimline of the pen itself. It has a diameter of less than 7mm. It looks almost like a paintbrush, or possibly the old dip pens (which are also fantastic, but less practical for everyday use at work). They generally retail for $160 and up. Usually up. Gold nibs tend to do that. So, I started looking for a second choice, quickly spotting the Cross Spire: (Image from PenGallery.com) The picture is of the “rare” Titan red version, no longer in production (neither is any of the Spire line I think, but the red was the least produced). More common are a stainless steel/silver, a gold, and a black (with black or silver nibs). Unfortunately they retail for $120 and up. Usually up. Though I did find an ebay listing for a black Cross Spire at $75. But that’s waaaay too suspicious, no matter that there were a good number of positive comments. That’s around $100 less than the regular retail, and $50 below most sales. No thanks. Finally I’m looking at more of the Cross line, and I think I’ve settled on the Cross Classic Century, black lacquer with a stainless steel nib. They do, of course, have gold nibs and gold plated/silver plated bodies, but I don’t need that. This pen, according to everything I’ve read, is actually SLIMMER than the Spire, which is odd because it doesn’t seem to come up in conversation about slim pens. When Classics are mentioned people seem to go to the Century II or the Spire! Why, I wonder. Who knows. Another slim pen that is often mentioned is the old Sheaffer Targa. I loathe that pen. It is so ungodly ugly. (Google it, I’m not posting a picture of that godawful thing here.) Since I’m saving like $100 or more (this is what I’m telling myself), I’m thinking of picking up a pen or two from Jet Pens, just for the heck of it! I mean, $70 for the Cross Classic Century! Compared to $120-$200 for the Spire or Chalana! Why not pick up a Pilot or two? Or go with another Chinese brand and pick up a Picasso! Just for the box! Well, that’s it for me. Other than the fact that I lost power for a few hours on Tuesday. Because ALL OF SOUTHERN THAILAND LOST POWER! 14 provinces! Can you believe it? How crazy!