I started using them at the end of high school and all through university they became powerful allies and a ritual.
Allies, because they were the only writing devices that allowed me to write down everything that was said during classes, no matter how fast the teachers spoke, without wastes of time or overwhelming wrist effort. With the tip in the conventional position, they allowed me a normal writing, with the tip turned the other way, a fine writing, which was often a blessing in exam answers with a line limit, as they greatly shrunk the size and width of the handwriting, a legal cheat that gave me twice the space for the answer.
Ritual, as I soon found myself using a new one at the beginning of each exam season. Once I had finished studying, I would find myself choosing and buying a new one - that way, I almost wished for the dreaded season to begin. Also note that these pens produced tests with a polished look for half the time and, during the second time, when the fury of clocks started sending shivers down my spine, enabled, like in classes, a fast writing.
Thus, like nowadays - with the subtle difference that today we live in an era of electronic commerce, that offers us new stores and a world of possibilities that before we only got to know while travelling -, the challenge was to get beautiful and moderately priced objects, among those offered by stationery stores, tobacco stores and specialty stores. In the latter, pens were usually expensive, between pompous and heavy models and more decent ones; At stationer's pens were usually cheap, but made out of ugly and frail plastic, with a lot of aesthetic noise mixed into to them - little flowers, cartoons and pink ribbons, clearly made for teenage girls with perfumed diaries - and tips that would break or bend at the smallest hint of pressure. At tobacco stores, you could find the best of both worlds.
That's where I recently found the Waterman Kultur and the Rotring Surf, light and pretty pens that were cheap enough so that I could finally equip myself with a bunch of them: for green, purple, pink, brown, black, blue (among many other possible) colours, always carrying a few on my purse, leaving others at work and spreading a few others around the house. Without the stigma of the luxury object. The Kultur pens are a bit more expensive than the Surf ones, but they are also slightly better for writing; The Surf pens are more prone to the small blots and produce a thicker line, which is largely made up for with the fact that they are small and only cost five euros, as opposed to the fifteen euros the Kultur cost.
Both pens exist in a number of colours and models, that can be either transparent or opaque. I'm, personally, a fan of the transparent ones, as they look to me prettier and let me know, at any time, the amount of ink left inside it. I have also found, on the Internet, a transparent version of the Lamy Safari, the Lamy Vista, which I haven't tried out yet, even though I feel tempted to; it costs about twenty euros and has a nifty design.
As they last you an eternity, fountain pens all have the fact that they are eco-friendly and, in the long run, will save you money in common. Besides, today they can be adapted to the use of a cartridge substitution piston. Those who dare to use them in current, fast-paced days, will find that handwriting, in the flow of ink, becomes more and more like drawing.