I spent a lot of time looking for the perfect #EDC fountain pen case. The are lots of choices, and I considered both aesthetics and function. I usually carry a few fountain pens with me and needed something to protect them, but also to look professional while sitting on my desk at work. The Pilot Pensemble Pen Roll met my needs and has become my pen roll of choice for my every day carry pens.
Pen Roll Needs
Before choosing the Pilot Pensemble Pen Roll Case, I identified what I thought my needs were for an EDC pen case:
* Classic design
* Well made
* 4-6 pen capacity
* Protect individual pens
* Compact size
After a thorough review (and a few unsatisfactory purchases) of my local Canadian brick and mortar stores and online sources such as Etsy, eBay, and Amazon, I discovered the five pocket Pilot Pensemble Pen Roll in Pensanburu (dark brown). The Pilot Pensemble checked off all of the items in my list, but, unfortunately, was not available in Canada and had to be imported from Japan. Pilot has released this line of pen cases only as a Japanese market item.
Pensemble Pen Roll
The Pilot Pensemble Pen Roll is a soft, five slot, leather pen case. To securely carry the case, roll it into a “cylinder,” and wrap the attached leather cord around it. Loop the cord under itself to keep the roll secure. The soft, supple outer leather lies flat when unrolled and has only a little sheen. My Pensemble is in a gorgeous dark brown colour. Pilot also makes the Pensemble in other colours, including a black, blue and red leather. There are single pen wraps available in this line and a zipper case for three pens.
I find the best part of this pen roll to be the interior lining - a soft suede material in a lighter, complementary colour. Mine is a light beige to complement the dark brown leather. The five pen slots are individually sewn pockets which protect each pen from scratches. Two suede fold-down covers further protect the caps of the pens and prevent the possibility of them falling out of the pen roll when the wrap is tied. The two pen pockets on the left of the roll are slightly larger than the other pockets and can accommodate thicker pens, while the three slots on the right are a little narrower. Both slots can still store reasonably sized pens, such as a Montblanc 146, but the left-side pockets can more easily store a Jinhao 159 without jamming the pen into the pocket.
When opened, the Pensemble is 8.5” long, and it wraps compactly, depending on the pens stored in it, to only 3” by 1.75” thick. The pen wrap is a great size to slide into a briefcase or backpack.
One challenge with the Pilot Pensemble is the height. With a total height of 6.5”, it is a good size for every day carry, but with the pocketed design and the fold over protective flap requiring some space, storing any pen that posts to longer than 6” will be challenging. This case is not suitable for wood-cased pencils either. However, I have not yet found a fountain pen that doesn’t fit, as most common fountain pens still post short enough to fit comfortably.
The Pilot Pensemble is made from soft leather and has no additional hard protection for the pens. I carry mine in the outside pocket of my leather messenger bag, which prevents anything from making contact with the pen wrap and further protects the pens inside. I would be very hesitant about carrying it unsupported in large backpack pocket with other heavy items.
The final caution I would like to share is that the light suede interior can be prone to picking up ink stains from poorly capped or cleaned pens. I have a couple of small ink marks under the protective flaps from my Pilot Vanishing Point pens with retractable nibs. Not a significant problem, but something to be aware of, especially if you are crazy enough to ink a Vanishing Point with Bay State Blue, as I do!
Price and Availability
While not readily available in Canada from local vendors, Amazon Canada does list several vendors in Japan that will ship the Pensemble for an affordable cost. You can also find listings on eBay. I purchased mine through Amazon, although I did make the expensive mistake of clicking express shipping and received an extra $25 charge! I paid approximately $75 for the Pensemble. It is not an inexpensive purchase, but a fair price when considering options for leather pen cases with interior lining. My experience with Japanese sellers is that shipping times are reasonable, usually 3-4 weeks, unlike my recent experiences with Chinese vendors that can be 3-4 months at the moment! Delivery was problem free (and I had no customs challenges and charges), and the pen roll came packed in an attractive box.
Despite the price and the lack of Canadian availability, the Pilot Pensemble Pen Roll is an attractive, well-made and durable EDC pen case that is ideal for quality fountain pens. The five slots are a perfect amount for most every day carry needs, and the design safely and individually protects each pen. I highly recommend this beautiful and practical pen case.