Smith Writing

L.A.’s only luxury, limited-eidtion pen designer to unveil new models at upcoming L.A. Pen Show Feb. 17

Hermosa Beach Resident is Connoisseur in Rarefied Luxury Pen World

Los Angeles (Jan. 31, 2013) – Talk to Rik Knablein of Hermosa Beach and you will quickly learn the complexities, the art, the science and the passion of the world of luxury pens.

As L.A.’s only designer of luxury, limited-edition pens – and as he prepares to launch new models plus a new fifth line at the upcoming 25th Annual Los Angeles International Pen Show Feb. 17 – Knablein is, literally and figuratively, putting ink to paper to compete against brands as famous as Mont Blanc, Parker and Stipula.

Knablein – who with his partner Rich Littlestone started the award-winning Metalwrite brand in 2010 and now is penning solo with RiKwill products in 2012 – has been an avid pen collector for many years (he owns about 200 and inks up a couple each week). His appreciation for the instrument that survives, and thrives, in a post-handwriting world goes far beyond casual knowledge. He is a connoisseur who understands the subtle differences that a particular nib can make on the page, who is keenly aware that the weight of an individual pen is as important as the bouquet of a fine wine, who even distinguishes different sounds of a ‘click’ that a ballpoint makes.

“I am fascinated by the ‘passion’ in pen,” he said. “That’s represented by the precise Murelli engravings on Classic Pens or the complexities of the Sheaffer Snorkel, the Ancora Grand Complication and the Stipula DaVinci. It also includes the artistry of the Visconti Mazzi line or the feel of Michael’s FatBoys, the sound of the DuPont ‘click’ or the richness/color of the Conway Stewart Elegance.”

At the Los Angeles Pen Show, which is expected to attract thousands of visitors worldwide, Knablein will unveil his new models – LolliToo, BabbageCousinsToo, RevolutionToo – and the new line, PetiteKwill. His pens retail from $1,000 to $4,000 and thus his customers have disposable income and a taste for fine jewelry, cars, houses, travel and related luxuries.

Although most of his customers are avid pen collectors (who follow such websites as, Knablein says his buyers include a woman romance writer in Florida who prefers to write her manuscripts by hand, and a doctor who uses one of his products that comes with both a fountain pen nib and rollerball.

RiKwill features a wide variety of writing instruments, all engraved: fountain pens and ballpoints, classical and whimsical, brightly colored (the Lolli line was inspired by his love for lollipops) and sedate, boldly patterned and subtle. He has instruments in silver sterling and – rare in the pen world – enamel over sterling. For the discerning collector, he only produces limited-edition pens.

They come with nibs from extra fine to double broad, as well as in fine, medium or bold italic. Knablein recommends an italic broad nib because it writes broad on the downstrokes and fine on the left-right strokes, giving a calligraphic effect to the script. He recognizes that many of his customers demand such nibs, just as he appreciates that the weight and feel of each pen is important to the user.

Knablein believes that the key to RiKwill’s product line is his partnership with the Conway Stewart organization in England. “The combination of skilled craftspeople at the factory and outstanding U.S. marketing and design collaboration leads to superior products,” he said.

Designing new models is a continuous team effort, he says. During his annual visits to the Conway Stewart factory, many days are spent brainstorming future designs.

Knablein, who retired from an engineering career at TRW in April 2009, received his first pen, a Sheaffer fountain pen, from his mother in the early 1960s. Among his collection is a prized Mont Blanc 149 fountain pen, which was a gift from his family presented when he completed an MBA program at the University of Colorado.

Knablein is looking forward to the upcoming L.A. Pen Show, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17 at the Manhattan Beach Marriott Hotel, Rosecrans and Parkway, Manhattan Beach 90266. With approximately 200 exhibitors and thousands of visitors, the show offers him an opportunity to talk to pen makers and designers and, most importantly, show his products to consumers.

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See RiKwill at and locally at Huckleberry’s in Rolling Hills Estates, as well as at the LA Pen Show.

CONTACT: G. Bruce Smith
Smith Writing & PR
(310) 795-1058