Why don’t brown fountain pens get the love they deserve? We all more or less agree that black pens are understated, professional, and timeless. But, brown pens offer the same benefits and are a little less boring. Black pens may be the standard, but a nice brown pen has a classic vibe with just enough color to not look like a nondescript stock image of a fountain pen.
Because brown fountain pens are so under-appreciated, I’ve rounded up seven that I think deserve a spotlight.
This pen is proof that a brown pen can be the best pen. When Goulet Pens first started carrying the Edison Premiere over 11 years ago, three pens were chosen: Satin Black, Cobalt Blue, and Cappuccino. More than a decade later, the Edison Premiere in Cappuccino still reigns supreme! This tool uses cartridge/converter filling but is also eyedropper-ready with a JoWo nib. This intricate brown fountain pen is still being made by our friends at the Edison Pen Company in Ohio.
Once upon a time, LAMY made a brown AL-Star fountain pen. Although I was a little sad when it was discontinued, I was ecstatic when LAMY introduced the Lx in Marron! Now, we pretty much have a brown AL-star again, but the Lx is a more elegant version. This LAMY Lx is built upon the AL-star base by adding a polished metal finial in place of the plastic one, a clip that matches, and a special nib. The brown anodized aluminum on this pen looks incredible. This bronzed pen brings a level of polish to a familiar body style with a longstanding reputation for writing performance and with easy-to-access parts and accessories.
The Conklin All American Brownstone takes a flecked brown acrylic and uses their best canvas for showing off material. By canvas, I mean the larger body of the All-American. This pen perfectly showcases the depth of this acrylic, which pairs well with its black hardware. Though it has a German nib from JoWo, I think the acrylic is the star. With multiple tones of chocolatey, earthy goodness, you can see the details suspended at different depths.
I hope you were expecting the Pilot Custom 823. Officially noted as an “amber” pen, it’s definitely more brown than orange. As one of the most popular brown fountain pens on the market, this tool definitely isn’t underappreciated. This pen is a great example of how brown pens look stunning with gold, despite silver hardware being the more contemporary accent these days. The 823 is one of the most beloved modern fountain pens; it performs tremendously and the always-fun vacuum filler gives you terrific ink capacity. And it looks really, really good.
The Sailor Kabazaiku may be the underdog of all brown fountain pens. Kaba-zaiku is a traditional Japanese cherry bark woodworking art form, which was also used by Samurai to decorate their weapons. There is a ton of hands-on craftsmanship that goes into the technique for this pen, which in this case, takes a thin layer of cherry bark and wraps it around the barrel and cap. This pen also is accented with gold hardware that complements it well. I generally prefer silver trim on my pens, but not when they’re brown. Personally, gold is the better fit. This pen is something special and deserving of more attention for sure. Plus, you know you can count on a gold Sailor nib.
Although the BENU Briolette in Luminous Amber may not be considered “professional or understated”, that's exactly why it’s so wonderful! Like most pens from BENU, this pen is loud and crazy, somehow managing to blend gold glitter with amber and cream resins into something magical. Fun fact - if you see a BENU pen with the word “LUMINOUS” in the name, that means it also glows in the dark. Brown, glittery, glow-in-the-dark, and a phenomenal writing experience? What’s not to love!
Visconti Medici - Rose Sovrano
We’ve covered black, gold, and brown accents, but the Visconti Medici in Rose Sovrano allows us the opportunity to see just how good brown can look when it’s paired with rose gold. Yes, the rose gold is gorgeous, but the resin of the Rose Sovrano needs a closer look. Dubbed “Acrosilk” by Visconti, it can appear wood grain-ish at first glance. But, if you really allow yourself to get lost in the design, you’ll see that it becomes more liquid in appearance, with levels of depth and shimmer. The Medici model also has a beautiful faceted barrel and cap that catches light wonderfully. The Rose Sovrano also has Visconti’s famous double reservoir power filler, and their hook-safe lock capping makes for a very luxurious pen.
I hope you enjoyed my little “bround-up.” Make sure to check out all of the beautiful brown fountain pens mentioned above plus more here on our site. You can also check out more of my Top Pens picks in other categories here on the blog, like The Best Pens in Every Brand.