Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pens & Watches

A few years ago STYLUS Magazine published an article about the connection between fountain pens and watches. The article focused on those companies that manufacture both. Market research shows that people who collect fountain pens are also inclined to collect watches and vice versa. Pen companies like Montblanc who have established themselves with a signature icon in one area, writing instruments, seek to establish themselves in yet another, time pieces, for the benefit of their devoted clients.

In this brief article I want to address why it is that men, in particular, are so fond of writing instruments and time pieces. This is not to suggest that women are not interested in pens and watches: they are. But as I'm writing from a male perspective I thought I would share my ruminations on the collecting habits of my species.

It seems that men have a fascination with tools, the more practical and utilitarian the better. Tools of one type or another enable one to complete a task: drill a hole, hang a picture, change a tire, launch a rocket into space.

Men also like luxury items but we don't want to be ostentatious in our use of them. (I know that there are men of a particular generation who are into "bling", I speak not of them.) Here, I speak of males that I would refer to as "gentlemen", men who tend to be professional, urbane and well educated. For men of that group a fine writing instrument and a classic time piece are as essential as a pair of penny loafers, a windbreaker from L.L. Bean, a tuxedo or a hand knotted bow tie. We enjoy these things because they give us a sense of timelessness and allow us to feel that we are part of a long honored tradition.

It is for this reason that I enjoy watches and fountain pens. In a world of expediency and a culture of disposable material acquisition, there are some of us who still seek some semblance of permanency and tradition. (If you really want to "go green" stop writing with disposable ball point pens and write with a fountain pen.) A classic watch or pen is a nice way for men to express their individuality while connecting to a timeless tradition.

Clifford Jake Jacobs
Have Pen, Will Write

Scribo Ergo Sum

1 comment:

OfficeSupplyGeek said...

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