Parker is still my favourite. My school insisted that we should use fountain pens, not ballpoint or rollerballs or any of that nonsense. I probably went through a dozen different makes of fountain pens before I settled on a Parker Frontier, which has been serving me well for several years now (I don't think they're being made any more though).
I've always found that when writing on paper, the only choice that feels right is a fountain pen. Ballpoints seem to skitter across the page uncomfortably, but you get a nice feeling of traction and flow with fountain pens.
Any one who doesn't carve their own quill pens using feathers from an ostrich they raised themselves has never actually written.
I like nice pens, but usually stick with whatever ball point is on my desk. I'm not sure I agree that ballpoints skitter across the page, but that's just me.
I collect fountain pens and focus mostly on Parkers. Of the ones in my collection, my personal favorite is the L'etalon.
How is this different from keyboards? Professionals who write a whole lot tend to buy good pens (ie. doctors and lawyers). Professionals who type a whole lot are more likely to buy decent keyboards rather than the $2 mush clone PC keyboard. Doesn't conceptually sound that different other than a keyboard doesn't need refills.
Now, Miguel, don't look askance on a nice gel, they write smooth as supermodel-skin and can be had in quantity cheap as Superfund-site dirt. But I'm lucky, in that the company I work for contracts Parker to manufacture our corporate leave-behind pens (nice thick twist-barrells with a rubber grip and brass accoutrements) that I steal mercilessly from HQ and use almost exclusively. They are a nice massy ballpoint, with a distinct heft and solid, conservative semi-gloss black ink - not a smear in a case. I typically carry two at all times, one to write with, the other to offer to damsels-in-distress or colleagues-fumbling-for-crappy-bics as necessary. Email me a dropstop and I'll send you one :)
At my desk, I also employ a selection of Sharpies, black blue and red, for day to day markups.
I can't remember the last time I handwrote more than a paragraph in a sitting.
I enjoy a good pen, but convenience far outweighs any other factor. I have a $60 Lamy, but I prefer to use something I'm not afraid to lose. Being left-handed, though, it is very important to me that the ink dry very quickly. I'm not one of those lefties that wraps the hand around to fake being a righty. I'll be pushing my hand through the ink just after I write it.
If it is an ink that is going to smear, it isn't a pen I'm going to use (which rules out most of the really expensive, nice pens). Further, I find 90% of fountain pens to be so thick that they are completely uncomfortable to hold for more than a couple minutes.
Right-handers have no idea what we lefties go through. Which reminded me of another Spenglerian sign of decay: 20 years ago, all manufacturers (even the good cheap ones, like the marvellous Osmiroid) had left-hand nibs readily available. Now it's almost an extinct industry...
I solve the ink-drying problem by huffing and waving and not minding looking like an idiot, btw. I also have permanently inked-in hands, like manipular tatoos, of course.
I'm not one of those lefties that wraps the hand around to fake being a righty