I started using them at the end of the high school and, during the college, they became powerful allies and a ritual.
They were the only writing instruments which could indicate, with no exception, everything that were told at the theoretical courses -- even with the astonishing quickness of the teachers' speech, without losing time and an enormous effort of the pulse. With the pen point in a conventional position, they allowed me a conventional writing; with the turning pen point, a fine writing. And this kind of technique saved me at the test with line limits, as I could reduce considerably the letter's size and width -- duplicating the space of the answer.
From early, I started to create a new kind of font at the beginning of the tests' time. Once I had already studied what I had to, I gave me time to choose and buy a new one -- as soon as I had it, I almost wished that the terrific times could begin, allowing me to notice that these pencils opened up to me the possibility of accurate tests at the first half-time and, at the second half-time (when the clocks' anger started shaking the sold over our heads), the possibility of a fast writing.
Then, as now -- with the subtle difference that we're at the electronic commerce age, which brings us home the stores and possibilities that before we could only know on trips --, the challenge was get accessible and beautiful objects available at stationer's shop, at tobacco's shop and at one or other specialized shop. At the latter, the pens were generally expensive: sumptuous, heavy and decent models. At the former, they were cheap, but the pens were frequently made of fragile-and-ugly plastics, with a huge mix of aesthetical purposes -- little flowers, little dolls, bright pink little ribbons, seducing teenager girls with perfumed diaries -- and pen points which could bend or open with little effort. At the tobacco's shop, we could find the best of both worlds.
Therefore I recently found the Waterman Kultur pens and the Rotring Surf pens, weightless, beautiful and cheap enough that I could be equipped with thousands of them -- for green ink, acqua-green-ink, light purple ink, pink, brown, black, blue, cyan, and other possibilities --, using some in the bags, leaving some at work and spreading out some of them through the house. With no luxury object stigmas. The Kultur pens are a little bit more expensive than the Surf ones, and also write a little better. The Surf pens are able to blotting and have a thicker line, what is widely compensated by the fact they are very small and cost five euros, against the Kultur's fifteen euros.
Whatever the mark, there are several colors, in opaque and transparent models. I prefer the transparent pens because, for me, they look prettier and it's possible to know, at every moment, the ink quantity available inside them. Over the Internet, I found the Lamy Safari's transparent version, Lamy Vista, that I haven't tried yet (even if I'm tempted to). It's around twenty euros and has an elegant design.
As they last for a long time, the pen point s are friends of the environment -- what, in a long term, reduces their price. And nowadays can be adapted for the piston use in substitution of the cartridge. Those who dare to use them, against the fast and disposable days of these times, will discover that the letter isn't just a handwriting adventure: at the flow of the permanent ink, the letter is something we can design.