The Dunhill Sidecar
There’s really nothing like a good pen to make the task of writing a pleasurable experience. When I started working at my current company I knew I was going to be sitting in a lot of meetings and taking a lot of notes in my Moleskine (the acceptance of laptops in meetings was just starting to come of age and OneNote was still in beta)… I decided to treat myself to a good pen.
As you undoubtedly know there are more than a few choices when it comes to fine writing instruments. I wanted something markedly better than the standard graduation Cross pen set and something less pretentious than a Mont Blanc (not that there’s anything wrong with either choice).
I decided to check out the Paradise Pen store at the local upscale mall & see what they had to offer. I walked in without a clue of what to get or what to spend. What’s a reasonable price to pay for something I hope to have the rest of my life? How much am I willing to be out if I happen to lose it? Was this a stupid way of spending the money burning a hole in my pocket?
I resisted the urge to pretend I knew what I was looking for and actually accepted the salesman’s help. He asked a few questions and guided me to the case at the side of the store. There it was, staring me right in the face. The Dunhill Sidecar. Black lacquer with silver accents. Simple, elegant and not pretentious. Perfect!
Believe it or not I had actually heard of Dunhill (from various ads in magazines such as GQ & Esquire) but had no idea they were in the market of fine writing instruments. Alfred Dunhill Ltd. is a British based company specializing in accessories for men since the late 1800’s. They started out making automobile accessories and have transitioned into a world famous company with quite a broad product line. Their current advertising spokesperson is actor Jude Law (he was great in The Talented Mr. Ripley!).
Like a kid in a candy store I pointed through the glass at my soon-to-be pen. Upon picking it up I knew I had to have it. With a solid construction, and not to much heft, it felt right in my (left) hand. With the pen in hand it was time to pick the ink. As anyone with fountain pen experience will know, the ink is just as important as the hardware delivering it. Unfortunately it was a choice of Blue or Black. Fine or Medium line… One of each please & I’ll see you in a week was my response. I opted for the Roller Ball model based on a few movie star autograph tests (isn’t that how you’re supposed to test a pen?).
After a few unscientific tests I decided on the medium line with blue ink. Even with being a south-paw I don’t have a problem with smearing using this pen/ink combo (unusual as any lefty can tell you). I returned to the store and purchased a half-dozen refills and started enjoying my new purchase, content that it was money well spent.
It’s been a couple of years since I purchased my Dunhill Sidecar and she’s held up pretty good. Other than one unfortunate scratch during the first month of ownership it’s still as good as new. I use my sidecar on a daily basis and remember our introduction with almost every use.
Was it an impulse buy? Sure.
Was it more money than most people spend on a pen? Probably.
Was it worth it? Yes.