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The Good Life

Collector's choice
High-end pens are both, a fashion accessory as well as a collectible

Shruti Karthikeyan

High-end pens have seen strong demand in the Indian market thanks to high net-worth individuals and connoisseurs who comprise the largest clients for premium segment pens. Whether it is an 18-karat gold ballpoint pen or a diamond embedded crystal clear fountain pen, these pricey and sophisticated pens have emerged as a fashion statement for many. The first Italian manufacturer of writing instruments – Montegrappa –has a collection that suits every customer looking for creativity and style. Atul Gupta of Montegrappa India, says, “A pen has become an integral part of our lives. Be it to sign an agreement or a cheque, a pen will never go out of fashion. In fact, it is a fashion accessory for many.”

In India, Montegrappa has two outlets – in Delhi and Mumbai – showcasing the entire range priced from ₹11,500–550,000. Its Icon series that pays tribute to cultural giants such as Nelson Mandela, Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali, has done considerably well in the Indian market. “We have a Chaos pen designed by actor Sylvester Stallone, which is one-of-its-kind. The silver pen costs over ₹300,000 while the gold one is priced around ₹4,500,000. Due to heavy custom-duty, precious metal pens are sold only against order in India,” says Gupta.

The raw materials used for premium pens are expensive and the design requires a lot of precision and detailing. Apart from Montegrappa, Mont Blanc, ST DuPont, Caran d'Ache, Noblia, Visconti, Sheaffer and Lamy have their own set of followers. They are also priced in the ₹10,000 to ₹500,000 range with special editions priced even higher.

Talking about the demand for these high-end writing instruments, Poovaih MA of William Penn, says, “It is the limited edition pens such as Noblia, AP and Caran d'Ache, which are priced at ₹100,000 and above that are sought-after by pen collectors and HNIs.” The multi-brand retail store chain boasts a collection of 20 international brands including Waterman, Sailor, AT Cross and Cruiser.

Ansul Bolia of Pens Avenue, an online writing instruments store, says, “We have a vast collection and in case a customer is unable to find his choice, they ask us to purchase it on their behalf. Also, pens are a comon gifting idea among corporates. So, during the festival season, we receive bulk orders.” Makoba, another marketplace offers a vast compilation that includes calligraphy and quill pens. Harendra Kumar of Makoba, says, “Those who want to buy limited edition pens such as a Delta or a Namiki, costing around ₹500,000 visit the store rather than buy online.”

Taking care of this pricey possession is not easy and one has to do periodic cleaning to ensure its smooth functioning. While one might think that writing with a fountain pen is passé, Gupta says, “Not so in India, because the market here is fantastic and there is a high chance that the market for premium writing instruments will double in the coming years.”

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