The Penabler – Spring Budget Releases 2019

I’m starting a new blog series called the Penabler. It’ll be a semi-regular series, hopefully each quarter, to talk about new pens, limited editions, fabulous inks, and fountain pen friendly notebooks. All within a reasonable price point. I don’t have the money to buy 300 dollar pens, so I won’t talk about them here. I also think that the lower budget pens aren’t talked about enough, while I think many of them are great pens. Even if you’re not a beginner anymore.


Pelikan has a special edition ink and M205 pen every year and is the most expensive one on this list. The colour they picked this year is Star Ruby. It’s not the same as the regular ruby, but more pinkish. The ink is already available, but the set of ink and M205 will come later this year. Probably September.

The M205 is one of my favourites since it’s affordable, small, and light. The piston filler mechanism gives you a bigger ink capacity than a regular cartridge/converter pen, which makes it a perfect work horse pen. It’s the one I pick when I’ve got pages to write and the weather is bad enough that my hand cramps up easily. The steel nib is smooth on both pens I own (a medium and a broad).

If you’re interested in the ink, but not sure if you should buy it, you can sign up to a Pelikan Hub. It’s a pen meet up organised by Pelikan and fans, and chances are you’ll find a bottle of the limited edition ink in your goodiebag. Pelikan Hub registration is now open!

TWSBI limited editions

TWSBI is ramping up the limited editions. The first one of the year was the return of the turquoise, which sold out the same week since it was a very limited run. Maybe it was just leftovers from their previous batch. Now they have the transparent orange TWSBI Eco and a purple 580ALR. The emerald 580 was very popular, and I suspect the purple will be as well.

If you’re curious about the differences between the purple 580 ALR and the purple 580 AL, check out the video below from Goulet Pens.

The purple 580 ALR is out now, but chances are that it’s already sold out at the major shops, or that they don’t have your favourite nib size. One of the upsides of the 580 is that you can buy separate nibs. So even if they don’t have your favourite nib size, you can switch them out with a nib you already have or buy separately.

Lamy limited editions

Lamy has four limited editions this year: the three pastels, and the colour of the year, bronze. The biggest difference between these limited editions is the finish of each model. The pastel colours are the cheaper Safari model, while the bronze is the usual Al Star model. Both have triangular grips, steel nibs, and are lightweight. The finish of the Al star is aluminum, while the Safari is all plastic.

Safari Pastels are available in three colours. The pink Powder Rose, the blue Blue Macaron, and the yellow/green Mint Glaze. Matching inks with these colours will be more difficult since pastel inks often don’t look too good when writing with them. But there are definitely colours that match perfectly. Like Herbin Rouille d’anchre with the Powder Rose colour. Which inks would you pick for Blue Macaron or Mint Glaze?

The limited Al Star Bronze is almost the same colour as the copper Al Star they released before. There’s a slight difference in vibrancy, but beyond that, they’re pretty much the same. If you missed out on that one, the Bronze might be a good option.

The bronze ink has been on my wish list ever since I saw a swab. I’m very picky about yellow, orange and brown hues, but this one spoke to me. Ink choice is very subjective, as is the pen selection.

I’m personally not a big fan of Lamy, but it’s still one of the most used beginner pens. And if you’re into colour, this is definitely a brand you have to keep an eye on. Maybe they’ll have your favourite colour next year.

J. Herbin

The new 1798 ink is called Kyanite du Nepal. The light blue colour with silver shimmer is reminiscent of the Nepal mountain range on a clear day. It does, however, have a red sheen.

On Tomoe River paper, you can see it easily, while it’s less prominent on other types of paper. It reminds me a lot of Diamine Shimmering Blue Lightning, which doesn’t have a sheen, but the blue colour is very much alike.


Diamine loves collaborating and they’re currently working with the UK fountain pen group on Facebook to create a new purple ink. Nick Stewart has made swatches of each of the ten colours, if you’re curious. I’m looking forward to see which ones they picked.

Last year, they worked together with the Reddit community to create the Aurora Borealis ink, a teal with a dark red sheen. Check out the full of the ink review on Reddit.

Endless Recorder Notebook

The Endless Recorder Notebook is one worth mentioning since it’s an A5 with Tomoe River paper with an affordable price. For a little more than 20 dollars or euros, you have 192 pages of this wonderful, Japanese dot grid paper. Tomoe River is highly regarded by many fountain pen users since it draws out the special properties of the ink. Shimmer, sheen, and shading is much more prominent on Tomoe River than Leuchtturm, for example. But it also has a higher drying time. They use the 68 gsm version, and not the thinner 52 gsm version.

Available at Goulet Pens (US) and La Couronne du Comte (EU).

Please let me know in the comments if you want to see more posts like this or what other stationery items you’d like to be included in the next one. We’re going to do a photoshoot of my pen collection soon, so come back later if you’re interested!

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