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Set yourself up with quality tools for those moments that require a personal touch.

Hard as it is to imagine, the pen was once the height of technology. Consider this: when the ball point pen made its U.S. market debut in 1945, it sold for $9.75 at Gimbals in New York. That doesn’t sound like much until you adjust for inflation and realize it’s the equivalent of $129(!!) in today’s money. Yeah…inflation sucks.

In many ways, the unfettered march of communications technology has been a massive boon to society. No one needs the benefits of instantaneous communication explained to them (bitmoji are a different story…). One interesting halo effect of the communication frenzy, though, is the odd pleasure that comes from occasionally reverting back in time and writing something out by hand.

Certainly we would all collectively go insane if we had to do all of our business and correspondence via checks, letters, and ledgers again. But because we don’t have to, it’s a pleasure to do so once in a while – if just for the sake of slowing things down for a minute.

For those occasions when it feels right to put something down in your own hand – the thank-you note for that particularly meaningful gift; the quick mid-call jot of something to be remembered; the letter you secretly hope she’ll hold on to – it’s worth making an investment in implements that feel more special than your average Office Depot run. Here, we’ve collected three sets that will add some class to your rusty handwriting skills.

On the Go

When you’re out living life, things change. That’s why we prefer a quality pencil for taking notes on the run – easy corrections keep things tidy. The Rotring 600MP is a cult classic for a reason, with precision German engineering and stunning looks perfected over 87 years in the game. The pencil fits nicely in the elastic keeper of this drawing pad by Blackwing, keeping everything together so you can snag that phone number before she disappears out of your life forever.

At the Desk

A man’s desk ought to have a quality pen and pad on it. It’s just the way the universe meant things to be. We have yet to come across a classier pad than this brass and aluminum example from Exacompta. Its heft and mechanical quality gives it a sense of permanence and stability, while the proportions strike the perfect balance: Enough space for a quick note or a sketch of your next big idea, but compact enough to not overpower your desk’s surface. The pen is similarly well thought-out, with a precision-engineered aluminum body that’s compact when closed and just long enough when open to feel comfortable and balanced in your hand. Just watch your productivity – you’ll want to write down everything by hand with this set.

Snail Mail

It really is true that no one reads their mail anymore — but only because nothing good ever comes. Watch the story change when your meaningful note comes through on this quality stationary. Get yourself noticed when the occasion calls for that personal touch that an email just can’t provide. Then send us a hand-written thank you note when you get the girl (or the promotion).