Roy van den Brink-Budgen has a thing for fine fountain pens. So much so that he has created a business dedicated to sourcing the best of the best – both vintage and new models – which is focused around a smart and informative e-store called Izods. A particular passion for van den Brink-Budgen is Montblanc, and his current cache of “pre-loved” versions includes a never-inked Montblanc 146 LeGrand (£1,000) from 2005 – which was produced in very small numbers for Vacheron Constantin with a steel cap and black resin barrel – and an unused 2015 Andy Warhol-edition pen (£600) with Campbell’s Soup cans engraved on the cap.
Izods is also the exclusive UK retailer for two exciting new Italian pen brands: Leonardo Officina Italiana, whose signature Momento Zero Resin (from £135) comes in an enticing range of shades, and is partnered by the limited-edition-of-100 Momento Zero Celluloid (£620); and Nettuno, “a historic brand reborn in spectacular fashion”, whose 1911 Fountain Pen (£220) has a gold-plated nib and comes in the cool marbled Nereo design. “We took on those two Italian brands because they are beautiful examples of their type and are run by artisans who are exceptionally passionate about what they make,” explains van den Brink-Budgen.
Stock changes constantly and, of course, there’s no telling when a truly remarkable piece will surface. One of the rarest pens to pass through the site was a Montblanc for BMW Skeleton Fountain Pen. Only 100 were made and given to the owners of the BMW 7 Series cars. The pen sold for an impressive £14,392. “Much of what we do isn’t visible via the website,” adds van den Brink-Budgen. “We work directly with customers and collectors, who often send us lists of pens that they’re considering selling and then we’ll match them to customer requests. If we don’t have a specific piece physically in stock, then we can find it.”