For nearly a century, at home or abroad, Montblanc has proven the undeniable power of the pen.
Nigel Cox Montblank's Meisterstück Chopin fountain pen, $385.
| Credit: Nigel Cox

In a world of blackberrys, Palm Pilots, and Treos, it's refreshing to know that the tried and true still has a place. The Montblanc fountain pen—introduced in 1910—elevated the humble writing instrument to a status symbol. Over the years, its classic design, with its 18-karat gold nib, black resin cap and barrel, and gold-plated clip and rings, has certified historic unions (the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana) and sealed cultural bonds (the 1990 German-Russian Friendship treaty). Some of the world's most iconic traveling men (Ernest Hemingway, John F. Kennedy, James Bond) never left home without it. But if you don't have novels to write or pacts to sign, it also works just fine for jotting notes in your travel diary.

1 Asprey

Founded in 1781, this British fashion and lifestyle house produces classic pieces with a modern twist; the Havana Big Roller pen is available in alligator, $1,550.

2 Porsche Design

Inspired by the Porsche 911, this pen's barrel is made of 17 stainless-steel rods that move with your hand as you write, $200.

3 Cartier

This limited-edition, platinum-finish Diabolo ballpoint is etched with guitars and musical notes. The Rock 'n' Roll pen will be released this month to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the original Diabolo de Cartier, $450.