Within most families of Japanese pens there is usually a premium model. It might be called the “Premier” or “Executive” or “Prime” but the goal is always the same: a nicer version of a pen that you use every day.
What Is An Executive Pen?
The premium Japanese, or “executive” pen has some generally accepted, and rarely broken, rules around it. These are:
- Uses the same ink as the base model(s)
- Uses the same refill (or at least the same shape refill)
- Aesthetically similar
- Mostly metal construction
- Not too expensive (under $20)
Still interested? Thought so. These pens usually cost between $10 and $20 and offer the refills you love in the original, but heavier bodies, nicer materials, and high-end looks that will impress your peers. Almost all executive pens look like they cost way more than they actually do.
The Best Japanese Executive Pens Video
This video is instructive but a bit out of date now, in 2020. We’ll be making a new version in the coming week!
The fundamentals remain: Japanese pen brands have mainstream pens that are longterm best-sellers and important parts of the company’s selling strategy. These pens are supported with alternative models and high-end models in particular.
Top Japanese Executive Pens
Some of the best premium Japanese pens that fit the above rule set are:
- Pentel EnerGel Alloy RT
- Pentel EnerGel Style (aka Pentel Philography)
- Pilot Cavalier
- Pilot G2 Limited
- Pilot Dr. Grip 4+1
- Pilot Acro Drive
- Pilot Acro 1000
- Uni-ball Signo 207 Premier
- Uni-ball Alpha Grip
- Uni Jetstream Prime Single (Twist) – Buy
- Uni Jetstream Prime Single (Knock) – Buy
- Uni Jetstream Prime 2&1 – Buy
- Uni Jetstream Prime 3 – Buy
- Uni Jetstream Prime 3&1 – Buy
- Uniball Jetstream Premier
- Zebra Sarasa Grand – Buy
When reviewing the list, keep in mind that our rules above — you agreed with those right? These would preclude something like the Pilot S20 from being on the list because while it’s an executive style pen, it’s not the premium version of another pen. Another good example of a pen that doesn’t make the list is the Rotring 800 which might be made in Japan, but it’s not a Japanese pen.
Out of all these, my top favorites right now are the Sarasa Grand and Uniball Jetstream Prime Single. Both are excellent pens and very nice upgrades from the base models that very much benefit from the excellent in in their pen family.