Fountain pens can be found inside the desk drawers of some of the most powerful leaders, imaginative literary minds, and significant historical figures known in the world. However, you may also be surprised to find that there are a number of celebrities who use fountain pens. Consider the notion that even among A-listers, fountain pens are “the stars” of the writing world.
If there was a Fountain Pen Academy Awards, which pen do you think the Oscar would go to? Read on to discover the favorite fountain pens of Hollywood elite and find out which A-lister walks away with the award for “Most Expensive Fountain Pen”.
Since the dawn of her career, Emma Watson has rarely been seen without a pen in hand, both on and off-screen. During her 10 years as Hermione in the Harry Potter movie franchise, Watson spent a majority of her screen time transcribing spells with a feather quill. However, once she steps off the studio lot, Watson trades in her quill for a fountain pen. According to Candy magazine, a Parker fountain pen accompanied her to class at Brown University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature. Since graduating from both Hogwarts and Brown, Watson relies on her trusty Parker to draft powerful pro-women speeches, some of which she has delivered at the UN.
Watson has very regal tastes when it comes to luxury pen brands. Much like fellow countrywoman Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Watson fancies Parker fountain pens. Because of their fine craftsmanship, these pens are fit for a queen. What makes Parker pens so desired by the noblesse? Parker places a high emphasis on quality control. They have a dedicated team of in-house inspectors examine each instrument by hand before putting it on the market, a practice the brand has committed to for the past 130 years. In an interview with Marie Claire, Watson revealed her love for Parker pens, calling them “so good, so good.” While they may not cost as much as others pens on this list, Parker pens are “so good” because they are well-balanced, even when posted. Delivering a dreamy, effortless writing experience, a smooth line is produced with every stroke.
If you are lucky enough to tour Johnny Depp’s French village (yes, he owns an entire village in the South of France!), then you might catch a glimpse of the oddball actor brooding from a window in his 12-bedroom country house, perhaps with a notebook and fountain pen in hand.
The eccentric star would most likely be working on lyrics for his latest musical troupe, Hollywood Vampires. The group’s name certainly highlights Depp’s commitment to his shadowy bad boy image, a persona that he has strived to promulgate since shedding his ‘80s heartthrob identity.
The offbeat actor’s strong friendship and working relationship with equally bizarre director Tim Burton has certainly cultivated his gothic tastes. After all, “He’s only like the next Martin Scor-seez.” Depp has appeared in at least nine Tim Burton films, some of which include Edward Scissorhands, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Alice in Wonderland. While Depp’s scissorhands would make it difficult to hold a fountain pen, off-screen, he is clearly a devoted user.
A very clean cut, out of character Johnny Depp once appeared in a Montblanc advertisement, sporting a Montblanc branded watch on his wrist and a matching fountain pen in hand. And Depp doesn’t just publicly endorse the company--he owns a 149 himself. His choice of pen is also somewhat antithetical, as the 149, also known as the “Power Pen,” has been used by some of the biggest Wall Street moguls and world leaders of our time. Presidents JFK, Obama, and George H.W. Bush have all been spotted using the 149. Since Depp doesn’t seem to have the same thirst for political power, it’s surprising that he chose the same instrument. Perhaps he was in character, gearing up for a role.
Not many voice actors can say they also had a hand in crafting the very lines they utter. Seemingly, Spike Milligan can. Milligan is best remembered for writing and acting in the The Goon Show, a BBC radio program, and many of his sketches inspired the popular Monty Python series. Milligan also served in World War II and wrote a memoir about his experiences entitled Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall. As someone who lived during the height of the fountain pen’s popularity, there’s no question he appreciated this fine writing utensil. The instrument behind the comedian’s quips was a Sheaffer fountain pen.
While the exact Sheaffer model Milligan used hasn’t been verified, from photographs we can determine it was either a PFM or an Imperial. PFM stands for “Pen for Men,” and the model was released in 1959. As the feminist movement grew in the 1960s, a pen aimed at one gender became a problematic PR issue. So this pen was discontinued.After the PFM’s production ceased, the design was adjusted to create the similar Imperial fountain pen, which was renamed the Triumph Imperial in 1995. Sheaffer Triumph Imperials are known for offering a luxurious writing experience with a more affordable price. Cleaning these practical pens is a breeze, as all six parts can be dismantled by hand and just as easily reassembled. While PFMs and Imperials are no longer on the market, you can still purchase your own Triumph Imperial through Amazon.
Debra Messing understands the power of a pen. When the Will & Grace revival buzz began in September of 2017, “Grace” was the most reluctant to move forward with the project because her original character wasn’t written as the strong female lead she had in mind. The resident New Yorker’s career-defining role as Grace Adler earned her a gamut of awards, including six Golden Globe nominations, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Satellite Award, and one Primetime Emmy.
Now that she’s well-established in both Hollywood and New York, Messing has more leverage to accept or reject roles solely based on how they are written--she feels it is important to reflect the feminist values she champions. When Messing is not fighting the good fight for women in the #TimesUp movement, she enjoys kicking back with a luxury fountain pen and a blank sheet of paper. She is publicly vocal about her love for fine writing instruments, a fact she shared in a 2016 Instagram post.
Montegrappa designed Messing’s favorite pen with a cool, refreshing cocktail in mind. She owns a Montegrappa Fortuna Copper Mule, which she refers to as “stunning.” The pen’s design emulates a Moscow Mule cocktail cup, adding an extra level of class to an already beautiful pen. If creating a smooth line with an extra fine nib gets you thirsty, never fear--some models of the pen also include a copper Moscow Mule mug. The Fortuna Copper Mule can be filled with any fountain pen ink using its cartridge converter system, and the matching cup can be filled with whatever you so desire.
1970s rock musicians are known for being wild party animals. However, Yes’s Rick Wakeman breaks the mold. While he continues to live the “rock ‘n roll lifestyle”, playing in his revival of the band, he also enjoys spending time filling the pages of his journal with a fountain pen. Wakeman listed fountain pens as one of his “Top Ten Outsides Family and Music” in the program for the Here We Go Again tour. He even concocts his own ink blend to fill his favorite pen. Wakeman uses only the best instrument for both his music and his writing, and so he trusts Conway Stewart to provide him with the most finest fountain pens.
Like Rick Wakeman, the Conway Stewart company hails from the British Isles. The brand was popular enough to turn a profit during the Great Depression, a time when many fountain pens were viewed as a superfluous luxury good. The pen became wildly popular due to its hypnotically beautiful resin, lightweight build, and immaculate design. Unfortunately, the breathtaking beauty of Conway Stewart pens was not enough to keep the company from declaring bankruptcy in 2014. However, their stellar products can still be found floating around the market.
“You get a pen! You get a pen! And you get a pen!” If only Oprah had shouted those words during her 25 years on The Oprah Winfrey Show! Oprah, another celebrity fountain pen aficionado, began building her TV empire before she was 20 years old as a local news anchor. However, her career truly launched with her world-renowned talk show, which ran from 1986-2011. Oprah’s natural charm and ability to connect with her guests made The Oprah Winfrey Show the highest-rated talk show of all time. While her TV presence is certainly something to be celebrated, lately, Winfrey has been in the spotlight for her writing chops! Her 2018 Golden Globe speech was so powerful it sparked “Winfrey 2020” speculations. With a career as storied as hers, it’s no surprise that she also has an impressive fountain pen collection, and even sold a few pieces during an auction in 2014.
Reading over the materials used to make Oprah's pens, one would think you're reading over a shopping list for an alchemist. Fabricated with the tiniest drops of gold and silver, her Visconti Silver Filigree Mounted fountain pen was crafted using the intricate filigree technique, a traditional Italian art form that has been passed down from jewelry master to jewelry master for generations. It is one of the most costly methods that Visconti uses to create their pens, in part because only a few filigree artists still exist.
To create these pens, gold and silver pieces are melted and formed into wires. Then, the main design elements are welded to the wire frame using a special silver powder that when heated, solders the metal pieces together, and when cooled, keeps them anchored to the barrel for eons. The design is finished by adding smaller decorative pieces and gently hammering the plate over a steel rod to form the shape of the pen. It’s no wonder these pens are so costly!
Oprah’s pen was part of a limited edition collection, so unfortunately new models are no longer in production. However, just as her instrument was auctioned off, units from this line often appear on resale sites and at private auctions. Even if you can’t win a pen sitting in Oprah’s audience, perhaps you can sitting in an auction house!
Not known for being a stereotypical Hollywood “bad boy,” you may be surprised to find out that Edward Norton’s relationship with writing has gotten him into trouble in the past. Back when Norton was playing Bruce Banner (aka The Incredible Hulk), he insisted on doing a comprehensive rewrite of the script just weeks before filming started. Norton wanted the Hulk to experience greater emotional depth, which he felt was lacking from the original version. Rather than simply shooting Norton’s draft of the script, the director decided to blend the two interpretations, resulting in a mixed-messaged box-office disaster (by Marvel’s standards). Norton was then banished from the Marvel Universe and replaced, missing the opportunity to be a part of the very lucrative Avengers franchise.
Though his career hasn’t stalled much as a result. He’s since forged a new bond with a different director, Wes Anderson. Norton and Anderson have now worked together on three movies, including Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Isle of Dogs. As a steadfast Montblanc patron, Norton may have used a Meisterstück to write the script that earned him exile from an entire cinematic universe, and like the Hulk, is now floating somewhere in space.
Norton attended the Montblanc Meisterstück 90th Anniversary event and referred to the pen as a “classic.” A self-proclaimed Antoine de Saint-Exupéry fan, Norton undoubtedly appreciates Montblanc’s latest edition of the Meisterstück pen, the Le Petit Prince collection, which made its debut in 2018. This collection approaches the $2,000 price point and yet it still is one of the company’s most popular sellers! Its design draws from the characters in the novella of the same name, making it the perfect pen for any fan of De Saint-Exupéry’s celebrated work. The deep blue lacquer of the pen’s barrel is inspired by the sky the Prince travels through as he leaps between universes. While it’s not clear if Norton owns a Le Petit Prince Meisterstück, he does often gift friends with one of the French author’s lesser known works, Wind, Sand, and Stars. There is no doubt he appreciates Montblanc’s homage to one of his favorite storytellers.
Fountain pen users have a clear advantage when applying for a position on “The Howard Stern Show”. Famed American talk radio personality and television star, Howard Stern, once had a segment on his radio show devoted solely to the importance of writing things down. A devotee of GTD, he even went so far as to claim that any employee of his that does not keep track of their tasks with a pen and paper is presumably fired. It seems a very stern Stern makes regular use of a pen to record his daily thoughts and to-dos and expects the same of his staff.
His loyal confidant and radio newswoman, Robin Quivers, is privy to Howard’s ardor for writing things down and gifted him a fountain pen. Even though Stern is proclaimed the “King of all Media,” this instrument unfortunately isn’t the king of all pens. Priced at $1,700, it sits in the middle of our fountain pen A-list. Furthermore, it looks like there’s some fact-checking that needs to occur alongside the gift-giving! Quivers erroneously told Stern that the pen was one of 50 in existence, but in truth, it’s one of 600. You may want to keep that information quiet. Although, if Stern finds out, he certainly won’t.
Quivers purchased a limited edition Visconti Arte Mudéjar Aragonés pen as a gift for Stern. Stern’s pen is styled with distinct Spanish flair, despite it being manufactured by an Italian company. Its design is inspired by the Aragon region of Spain and celebrates the harmonious coexistence of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism that occurred there between 1000 and 1600 AD. It seems peace is in this pen’s DNA, as a different unit in this collection was used to sign a treaty between Russia and NATO. Hopefully, the relaxing experience of writing with this Visconti also grants Stern some much needed respite from his daily hang-ups.
We’re of the suspicion that The Usual Suspects star Kevin Pollak is a fountain pen user! He is rarely caught without a pen peeking out of his shirt pocket. Pollak is no stranger to writing. He began his career as a stand-up comedian in San Francisco and was later credited as a podcast pioneer when he created Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show in 2009. Beyond starring in movies and hosting more than 350 episodes of his pod, Pollak has also appeared in the World Series of Poker. Gambling is one way to fund an expensive fountain pen habit, but Pollak’s extensive acting credits have probably earned him enough cash to cover the ante.
Pollak especially loves his Waterman Edson fountain pen and is known to carry it everywhere. Spotted in numerous photos with this favorite piece, one can only assume he is fond of the pen’s understated beauty and stellar performance. These pens are created with translucent barrels that seem to glow upon reveal. They come in either green, red, or blue, with cartridge converters to match. Named after the company's founder, Lewis Edson Waterman, this pen combines contemporary workmanship with classic design to produce an elegant, timeless writing instrument. The Edson was created in 1993 as Waterman’s flagship model, but has since been discontinued, making the pens a rare find. With the Edson’s hefty price tag of almost $2,500 and ever-increasing value, it’s no surprise that Pollak doesn’t let his out of his sight!
We all understand that “with great power comes great responsibility.” And famed celebrity Rosario Dawson dutifully assumes the great responsibility that comes with owning a fountain pen. The voice behind Justice League’s Wonder Woman has used her creative superpowers to co-write a four-issue comic book mini-series called The Occult Crimes Taskforce. Outside of her acting and writing work, Dawson continues be a modern-day superhero as she actively supports The Lower East Side Girls Club and Amnesty International. As a sought-after actor, inspired writer, and budding philanthropist, a fountain pen is the perfect tool for Dawson to chronicle her busy schedule.
Gifted with the ability to recognize a finely crafted pen in a single glance, Dawson’s favorite brand is Montblanc. She attended the company’s 2014 gala held in honor of the 90th anniversary of their Meisterstück pen. Dawson echoes Norton’s praise of the pen, calling it “a classic that has been passed down for literally generations.” In recent years, Montblanc has annually issued a new edition of the Meisterstück, each with a unique theme. Some collections are released with the sole purpose of supporting charitable causes such as its UNICEF pen. Making its debut in 2017, Montblanc promised to donate 3% of UNICEF pen purchases to the charity, which supports education throughout the world. However, if you decide to purchase one of these pens today, all of your proceeds will be going to Montblanc. The one-time-only donation applies to pens purchased between March 2017 and April 2018, which falls in line with Montblanc’s tight-fisted, overpriced company philosophy. Despite the policy, the UNICEF pen is inspired by the ultimate emblem of language and unity: the Rosetta Stone. Nibs are inscribed with the first letters of the in Latin, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Hindi alphabet. While Dawson has never directly stated which model of Meisterstück she uses, her love for giving back to her community signals that it could very well be the UNICEF pen.
Ever since Kristen Stewart stepped onto the big screen as Bella Swan in the Twilight movie franchise, fans and foes alike have commented on her stoic and wry facial expressions when portraying the character. Her countenance has become a regularly revisited punchline on late night talk shows. However, one topic that always gets Stewart to smile is her extensive fountain pen collection of which she’s been a long time connoisseur. To Stewart, these pens aren’t just conversation pieces. She’s an avid journaler and poet. Her writing habit has even taken her as far as penning and producing a short film entitled Come Swim (2017).
Stewart admitted that the film’s subject matter (and source material) was her break-up with Robert Pattinson. While flipping through her old journals, Stewart realized she had been stuck in a holding pattern of writing the same poem over and over again. “I just had to do something about it.” Ergo, Come Swim. As if that wasn’t enough, she then went on to co-write a scientific article about the artificial intelligence used in her short film. It was published on airXiv (pronounced "archive"), a site for scientists to post articles while waiting for peer review. Perhaps Stewart had the pleasure of using a fountain pen to draft early versions of the script, scientific article, and the aforementioned circuitous poem. Maybe even with the very pen given to her by co-star and ex-flame, Pattinson.
Pattinson offered Stewart an extremely pricey fountain pen as a gift after finishing Breaking Dawn: Part II, to honor the film series that brought them together. Pattinson presented Stewart with an 18-karat white gold Tibaldi Bentley Crewe fountain pen. Priced at $46,000, she comes in with the second most expensive instrument on our celebrity fountain pen list. Tibaldi began building its fountain pen brand in 1916, and was acquired by Montegrappa in 1992. However, Tibaldi pens are still manufactured. The company has even designed a collection specifically for Bentley, the luxury car company. Since its emergence, Tibaldi’s pen making philosophy has been to craft pens that awaken each of the human senses. The beautiful design engages the eyes, the textured barrel heightens the handfeel, and the nib’s gentle peal pleases the ear as it embraces the page. Stewart’s particular instrument was made for Bentley, and the pen’s opulence mirrors the luxuriant interior of a Bentley automobile. Most Tibaldis are made as limited editions, and Stewart’s pen is one in a series of only 40, justifying its price tag. One can only imagine where she stores this inestimable instrument. That’s quite the gift, Robert!
The name “Charlie Chaplin” and the title of “poet” are two terms that you don’t often read in the same sentence. However, had the star not been such a success during his nearly 75-year acting career, he could have become one of the greatest poets of his time. While most of Chaplin’s journal writing went unpublished, a brilliant poem of his about self-appreciation has circulated the internet in recent years. It begins, “As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is ‘AUTHENTICITY.’” Who knew there was such depth to a man who made a career out of pratfalls? Unfortunately, there is no photo evidence to confirm which brand of fountain pen “The Tramp” used to record his thoughts. However, a fountain pen was made in 2007 to celebrate his legendary career, the height of which centered in the 1930s.
Montblanc produced the Charlie Chaplin commemorative pen to honor one of his most popular films, Modern Times (1936). The comedy focuses on Chaplin’s inability to escape a highly mechanized factory, an apropos commentary on whether technology truly advances our lives. The turning gears featured on the 18k gold pen reflect the film’s dystopian setting. Intricate details etched into the pen remind the collector of classic Chaplin icons: the clip is in the shape of Chaplin’s trademark cane; the rounded end of the cap resembles his legendary bowler hat. It may grind your gears to find out that only 88 units of the Charlie Chaplin pen were ever produced, making them extremely difficult to find. One pen even sold for $104,541 at an auction in 2013, making it the most expensive instrument to top our celebrity list.
So, there you have it! Luxury pen brands like Tibaldi, Montegrappa, Visconti, and Parker have all earned spots on our fountain pen A-list due to their unique design and excellent writing capabilities. So next time you pick up your favorite fountain pen, remember that you’re in good company--your favorite movie star might be journaling with the same fine instrument.
Do you know of a celebrity that uses fountain pens that we didn’t mention? Feel free to join in the conversation in the comments!
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