Graf von Faber-Castell introduced its first Pen of the Year in 2003, and an amazing cascade of annual limited editions followed. Each tells a different story, but always focusing on the development of man.
Last year’s pen references the Middle Ages and recalls the daring feats and epic battles of that era. The Pen of the Year 2021 has a matte cap, whose anthracite-gray surface looks like chainmail. Its barrel is made of Damascus steel with sword-blade details, and the end piece recalls arrow slits. The cross Moline decorates the cap crown.
Pen of the Year 2022
This year’s Graf von Faber-Castell Pen of the Year is inspired by the culture, aesthetics and religious rites of the Aztec empire, which was based on an alliance of three city-states, created in 1428, in what is now Mexico. Impressive works of art, a modern political system and a captivating creation myth are just some of the things for which the Aztecs are known, and the pen touches the high points in an artistic way.
The metal barrel has an anthracite gray DLC coating with a skull pattern reminiscent of Mexico City’s pyramid-shaped Templo Mayor. The Aztecs offered human sacrifices to their gods to ensure the sun would rise for yet another day at the Templo, and its wall of skulls is here recalled.
The writing instrument’s gripping section is made of obsidian, a volcanic rock used to make arrowheads and swords, which, though fragile, could be made razor sharp. In addition to its utility, it also had spiritual meaning for the Aztecs and was used as protection against evil spirits. It also frequently shows up as beads, figurines and vases.
Turquoise discs adorning the end caps of the pen add a welcome shot of color. Turquoise was honored by the Aztecs as one of their most valuable treasures, and the engraved relief in the stone on the pen depicts an eagle—a sacred symbol. The Aztecs considered turquoise as an embodiment of fire, and they inlaid it into mosaic objects such as masks, knives and shields.
The pen’s cap is loosely based on the shape of a cactus in reference to an ancient prophecy wherein the Aztec people would know where to build their city once they saw an eagle on a cactus eating a snake. They eventually settled around 1320 in what is now Mexico City.
The plunger-filled fountain pen has an 18-karat gold magnum nib coated with ruthenium, which pairs well with the pen’s gray body. It comes in fine, medium, broad and double broad sizes. And there are just 375 numbered fountain pens available and 125 numbered rollerball pens, each presented in a polished wood case that includes a certificate of authenticity signed by Count Charles von Faber-Castell. He is part of the ninth generation at the helm of this family business.