Within families of Japanese pens there is almost always some sort of premium model. It might be called the “Premier” or “Executive” or “Prime” but the goal is always the same: a nicer version of the pen.
That said, the premium Japanese pen has some generally accepted (yet rarely broken) rules around it. These are:
- Uses the same ink as the base model(s)
- Uses the same refill shape
- Aesthetically similar
- All, at at least mostly, metal construction
- Not too expensive (under $20)
Some popular premium Japanese pens are:
- Zebra Sarasa Grand
- Pilot Cavalier
- Pilot G2 Limited
- Uniball Jetstream Premier Ballpoint
- Uniball Alpha Grip
- Pilot Dr. Grip 4+1
- Uni-Ball 207 Premier
These are the ones featured in the video, but this is far from a complete list. And keep in mind that our rules above (you agreed to those right?) 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! Here are some pens that come to mind:
- Pilot Acro Drive
- Pilot Acro 1000
- Pentel EnerGel Alloy
- Uni Jetstream Prime (Single, Rotary, 3, 3+1, etc.)
- Pentel EnerGel Style (aka Pentel Philography)
Out of all these, my top favorites right now are the Sarasa Grand and Uniball Jetstream Prime Single. Both as excellent pens and very nice upgrades from the base models that very much benefit from the excellent in in their pen family.
NB: The Rotring 800 might be made in Japan, but it’s not a Japanese pen, so we’ll leave that one off the table.