Luxury Gift Pen Buyer's Guide

Luxury Gift Pen Buyer's Guide

The luxury pen world can be daunting when you see the prices, lists of precious metals, writing styles, and unusual words like 'appointments'.

Buying fancy pens can feel like entering a whole other world, but it's actually quite simple. We are going to break down for you how to choose the right pen.

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Parker Jotter Gel Pen

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Cross Century II Rollerball Pen

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Dayspring Pens Monroe Set

Parker Jotter Gel Pen Cross Century II Rollerball Pen Dayspring Pens Monroe Set

($30 to $40)

($220 to $450)

($30 to $40)

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There are two major sections to this:

  1. Popular Pens vs Best Pens
  2. How to Choose a Luxury Pen

To see our top recommendations to rival your favorite cheap disposable pen, check out the first section.

For a complete guide to finding the right luxury pen for you, read the second section.

Popular Pens vs Better & Best Pens

There are a ton of luxury pen brands out there that can make it overwhelming to decide which pen to choose so we have broken this list down into an easy system.

Each 'Standard Classic' pen listed below has a 'Better' $20-$100 choice and a 'Best' $100-$500 choice, so you can choose what's best for your hip pocket.

Standard Classic: Pilot G-2 Pens

A truly beloved everyday pen, the Pilot G-2 is an incredible, entry-level pen that demands loyalty through its smooth flow, fine point, and reliability.

That being said, it’s not necessarily the kind of pen you would give as a special anniversary gift or show off in a boardroom meeting.

Here are some of our Dayspring Pens offerings that rival the Pilot G-2 and won't disappoint.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Better Choice - Parker Jotter Pens

Price range: $30 to $50

Parker Jotter Ballpoint Pen Kensington Red GP-1440

A Dayspring Pens staff favorite, the Parker Jotter Gel Pen has been in continuous production by Parker since 1954 for a reason.

It shares about the same size, width, and weight as the G-2.

All metal construction means it can take the beating of a daily user that gets dropped, crushed in the bottom of a bag, and all the wear and tear of daily use.

A firm click mechanism also makes the Jotter super satisfying to click. It's perfect as an office gift and Valentines Day gift alike.


  • 0.55mm tip for those looking for fine writing line
  • unbroken, fast drying gel ink line when writing
  • lightweight durable build
  • affordable price with engraving included
  • slim barrel size
  • easy to replace refill
  • two-year Parker mechanical warranty

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Bonus Tip: The Parker Jotter is compatible with the Parker G-2 Refill so if you really love how the G-2 writes, but want a better designed pen body, you can swap the refills.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Best Choice - Cross Century II Rollerball Pens

Price range: $220 to $450

Cross Century II Rollerball Pen - Black Lacquer

The Cross Century II Rollerball pens are unquestionably, truly luxurious pens.

The preferred pen of the Obama, Trump, and Biden Administrations, the Century II offers the reliability of a professional grade gel pen in a durable body, with a high quality finish, and precious 23 karat metal appointments.

It's worth making special mention of how this pen feels in hand as you write. The balance is exceptional! The weight of the pen is spread evenly across the barrel, and the slightly wider girth fits comfortably between thumb and forefinger.


  • medium point
  • steady ink flow
  • durable body
  • available with high-gloss lacquers or premium metal finishes
  • lifetime Cross mechanical warranty

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Standard Classic: Zebra F-301

Known for its distinguished look, stainless steel body, and an ergonomic grip the Zebra F-301 is a popular go-to choice for writers and students alike with its just-right barrel size, durability, and firm plastic grip.

However, are there better options for you? Yes.

⭐ ⭐⭐ ⭐ Better Choice - Dayspring Pens Monroe Set

Price range: $30 to $40

Dayspring Pens Monroe Gold Ballpoint Pen

If what you are looking for most in a pen is uninterrupted ink flow and an ergonomic grip, the Monroe takes those principles and adds a little flair.

A medium-fine point, the Monroe offers oily German engineered ink that glides smoothly across any surface.

The pen has all metal construction and 18 karat gold plated finish.

Ink can easily be refilled with Parker G-2 style refills.

It also automatically comes as a set with a matching Monroe 0.7mm Mechanical Pencil.

Expect a more medium barreled pen compared to the slimmer barrel of the Zebra, but the same lovely click action to release the writing point.


  • uninterrupted ink flow
  • comes in set with a Rollerball
  • medium barrel size
  • medium fine point
  • all metal construction

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⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Best Choice - Parker IM Ballpoint Pen

Price range: $40 to $60

Parker IM Matte Blue Retractable Ballpoint Pen GP-1317

The Parker IM Ballpoint Pen is a huge step up with its technical engineering and professional design.

A seamless, clean barrel with the iconic Parker arrow clip, the Parker IM delivers everything you want in a luxury pen without making you worry you overpaid.

Not to mention, the pen contains Parker’s Quink which is a really solid ink refill giving hours of ballpoint writing with no skipping.

With durable construction, the Parker IM isn’t so fancy you're afraid to use it, but looks quite a lot better in an important meeting than pulling out the Zebra.


  • oily smooth ink flow that doesn’t skip
  • medium-fine point
  • variety of quality lacquer finishes
  • two year mechanical warranty
  • compatible with Parker G-2 refills

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Standard Classic: Stic Bic Pens

The Stic Bic...we have all used it at the doctor’s office or borrowed one from a friend.

It's the most common and used ballpoint in the world. It’s the kind of pen you don’t mind losing or buying in packs of 100.

Why do we like Stic Bics?

They are easy, abundant, and work when you need them...they're cheap.

Below are two ballpoints that will massively elevate the writing of the convenient Stic Bic user.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Better Choice - Cross Classic Century

Price range: $50 to $150

Cross Classic Century Medalist Ballpoint Pen

Arguably the most iconic and most highly rated Cross pens, the Cross Classic Century ballpoint is a good ol’ pen for fans of a slim barrel.

Cross guarantees an uninterrupted ink flow and the pen is very well balanced in your hand.

This pen is meant to last for 40+ years and is easily refillable and portable in pocket or bag. It is the iconic pen for graduations and birthdays.

All in all, it will only disappoint if you don't like slim pens.


  • 1.0mm black ink in pen
  • all metal construction
  • etched ribbing along the pen
  • lifetime mechanical warranty

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⭐ ⭐ ⭐⭐ ⭐ Best Choice - Waterman Hemisphere Pens

Price range: $75 to $350

Waterman Hemisphere Black Gold Trim Ballpoint Pen

Hands down a premium pen maker, Waterman has built quality, reliable products over 135 years of being in business.

The quality of their nibs and points can be seen by the fact that 100 year old pens are still being used today.

The key to a Waterman Hemisphere ballpoint pen is that it will look incredible, work flawlessly for decades, and last a lifetime or longer.

High quality materials make the pen durable, but visually pleasing.

Decades of designers and craftsmen have worked to refine and perfect the feel of the ball on the paper, the responsiveness of the ink, and the weight of this pen in your hand.


  • reliable, all metal construction
  • high glass lacquer or stainless steel finish
  • precious metal finishes
  • twist-action ballpoint release prevents accidental opening
  • three year Waterman warranty against defects

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Standard Classic: Uni-ball Roller Pens

If you are a fan of the Uni-ball Roller Pen, you are probably looking for the smooth, fast drying, liquid flow of a good gel pen.

The key to this pen isn’t necessarily the feel of the body, it is all about how it writes.

You also probably hate lending them out or losing them so you keep track of this insanely usable best rollerball pen.

Helpful Tip: Uni makes a Parker G-2 style refill of their ink so you can swap it into your favorite pen barrel that is compatible with the universal size. It is the SXR-600.

Let’s look at some luxury brands that will hold up to the Uni-ball.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐⭐ Better Choice - Dayspring Abingdon Rollerball Pen

Price Range: $25 to $30

Abingdon Chrome Rollerball Pen

Filled with silky black ink partnered with the durability of all metal construction the Abingdon is a pen you do not want to sleep on.

Designed to not only be an excellent writer, the Abingdon was also intentionally made to showcase the custom engraving placed on the cap.

This luxury pen has a gleaming body whether you opt for the chrome finish or the lacquered blue finish.

But the best thing about this pen is the balance.

It seems deceptively heavy when you pick it up but when you actually place it in the writing position and begin to use it, the balance of the weight makes it so easy to write it's harder to stop than to keep going.


  • shining finish
  • smooth german rollerball ink
  • balanced weight
  • the cap posts
  • durable, all-metal construction
  • three year warranty with dayspring pens

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⭐ ⭐ ⭐⭐ ⭐ Best Choice - Waterman Expert Rollerball Pens

Price range: $175 to $200

Waterman Expert Black Gold Trim Rollerball Pen

One of the most highly ranked and celebrated pens by the brand, the Waterman Expert, like all Waterman pens, is just a step above the others.

Completely uninterrupted flow, almost no bleeding, quick drying times...and that’s just how the pen writes.

Ultimately, with this pen you are buying the surety of over a hundred years of engineering.

As a fountain pen company, Waterman understands liquid ink better than most.

The pen has sturdy construction, a comfortable cigar shape, and fine metal appointments so it looks and feels great in your hand.

Waterman pens will not let you down, especially not the rollerballs.


  • all metal construction
  • high gloss finishes and fine metal appointments
  • enamel brass barrel gives balanced weight
  • will fit Pilot G2 refills
  • classy look and feel in your hand
  • three year Waterman mechanical warranty

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How to Choose a Luxury Pen

Step 1 - Understand Pen Style Choices

First off, what type of luxury pen would you like to get?

There are really just three types of pen styles:

  • Ballpoint
  • Fountain
  • Rollerball

Infographic of Ballpoint vs Rollerball vs Fountain Pen


Ballpoint pens contain a small ball at the tip that rolls in the socket to release ink. As you move the pen across a page the ball will rotate, collecting ink from the cartridge and transferring it onto the paper.

They last a long time — even without a cap — due to their viscous, oil-based ink. The ink comes in every color imaginable, doesn't dry out easily, and is less likely to smudge.

The thicker ink also means that a ballpoint pen can more easily write on different surfaces such as glossy or oily papers.

Tip: Oil-based inks take a long time to dry out so even if you keep a ballpoint pen in a hot car for months, it will still work as smoothly as the day it was made.

view all ballpoint pens

Fountain Pens

Fountain Pens use a nib and feed to transfer ink from a reservoir or disposable cartridge to a paper.

They contain a water-based ink so they write incredibly smoothly and feel real fancy to use.

Tip: Fountain pens do require some level of maintenance in order to maintain the flow of ink.

view all fountain pens

Rollerball Pens

Rollerball pens are like ballpoints, but with liquid-based ink.

To compare, think of combining the writing mechanism of a ballpoint but with the ink and smoothness of a fountain pen. Gel pens fall into this category.

Tip: Rollerballs often need to be capped to prevent the ink from drying out so always put the lid back on the pen when not in use.

View Our Rollerballs

How am I going to use this pen?

Waterman Hemisphere Stainless

Ballpoint pens are ideal for someone writing constantly through the day or writing on the go ie: taking notes, writing on a worksite, or those who need a hassle-free experience guaranteed.

Our go-to: Waterman Hemisphere in Stainless Gold Trim

Rollerball pens work best for those who are sitting down to write a lot or are constantly signing documents.

Our go-to: Parker IM Blue Chrome Trim Rollerball

Fountain pens are the highest luxury pen experience. Great for sitting down to write or making an impression. After their first taste of an upscale fountain pen, many people become dedicated users.

Our go-to: Dayspring Pens Alexandria in Red

Step 2 - Understanding Fancy Pens Materials

Choosing the best premium pen for you often comes down to this category.

What makes the pen special outside of how well it writes? The quality of the build and the presentation of the pen.

The first consideration is the material build.

For luxury pens, you will not see many plastic options. Here you are looking for things that list crafted materials like metal, ebonite, precious wood, or resin construction.

Gold Cross Classic Century

Good construction materials make a pen last. Nobody wants to spend $20 or even $2,000 on a pen that can only be used once and then falls apart.

Luxury pens are built to become vintage antiques one day.

The other consideration are the materials used in the finish and trim. Here we are talking about gold clips, high-gloss hand tooled lacquer barrels, and precious stone embellishments.

Fancy pens are meant to make an impression. There's nothing quite like platinum-plating or sterling silver!

Step 3 - Price Point, Explained

For some people $20 for a pen is an extravagance, for others they won't blink an eye at $150+ for an entry-level, luxury pen.

Deciding on your budget at the beginning of your buying process is key to getting the most out of your purchase.

Pens under $100 are going to focus more on metal construction and some light precious material usages.

Pens over $100 will feature precious materials, or have a particularly unique design.

Anything $500 or more will often be completely hand constructed with only the rarest and finest quality materials.

Step 4 - Uniqueness with Editions & Personalization

There are two ways to go about determining pen uniqueness: editions and personalization.

Luxury brands will often focus on limited or special edition pens. This can run from only 100 pens made to a one-of-a-kind pen. These pens are meant to be collector's items.

Different types of Engraving

Personalization will add a one-of-a-kind novelty to a pen. This can range from a custom colored lacquer to a handwritten engraving etched into the pen, perhaps of their name or a favorite quote.

Step 5 - Additional Features & Benefits

What else comes with fancy pens? Premium pens often come with some added benefits.

These include: cases, pen rests, extra refills, and warranties on the construction of the pen.

Your Other Questions...

What is a good fancy pen?

A nice fancy pen to get started with is the Parker Jotter Gel Pen. It comes in five color variations, including one with a sleek gold trim.

The Cross Townsend Rollerball Pen

Then there are options like the Cross Townsend Rollerball, an incredibly fancy pen with 23K gold appointments, high gloss black lacquer, and precision engineering. It's pretty much the American pen elegance.

What is the fanciest pen brand?

Waterman Pens has dominated the world of fancy pens with its intentional designs and luxurious finishes for well over a century. You will not be disappointed.

You can also try options like Namiki Pens, known as some of the fanciest luxury pens out there, with Montblanc coming in at a close second because of their popularity with pen enthusiasts.

What price range should I expect when shopping for fancy pens for gifts?

Entry-level fancy pens start at around $20 to $75. These are perfectly suited for father's day gifts, special birthdays and job-well-done gifts.

A mid-range premium pen from a well-regarded brand such as Dayspring Pens, Cross pens, Waterman pens or Parker pens can range from $75 to $500 each. In this case, these pens are a good match for anniversary gifts, weddings and special milestone birthdays.

Pens that are crafted from rare materials, or in limited editions from prestigious brands can start at $500 and exceed several thousand dollars.

There are so many options and varieties for whatever your budget or whim is. Ultimately, you are looking for something that writes incredibly well and will always look great in your hand or pocket.

Sam Di Nardo

Sam Di Nardo is an author for Dayspring Pens, where she has honed her expertise in ballpoint, rollerball, gel and fountain pens since joining the team in 2018.

From her initial role as an Engraver to becoming the Production Manager, Sam's journey has been marked by her passion for the history, manufacturing, and the unique value of gifted writing instruments.

A graduate of Regent University with a degree in English Literature and a special interest in Old Norse literature, dive deeper into Sam's world and discover why she's your trusted guide in the realm of gift pens.

Follow Sam on LinkedIn.