Let me present three of my favorite personal tools: The Parker Jotter ball pen in stainless steel, the Pentel p205 mechanical pencil, and the classic black Swatch GB743.
They may seem very different, but actually, they have several important characteristics in common. Functionally, they are as good as any product on the market.
The refill for the Jotter is exactly the same that is used for many way more expensive pens. The Swatch keeps time with the same precision as a Rolex, and it is as easy to read.
In fact, they are all extremely functional. The Pentel p205 pencil has a great grip, it’s sturdy, accurate, the eraser works, no wonder it has many fans around the world. The Jotter fits your hands very well – as the 750 million jotters sold since its introduction in 1954 testify. The Swatch is clear, simple, light, and sufficiently waterproof for any everyday use.
The 3 tools also belong to the same category price wise. Depending on where you buy it, the Jotter cost between 5 and 12 €, the Pentel costs around 8 € and the Swatch costs around 40 €.
That’s more than a disposable or really cheap product costs, so they are something that you take care to keep. You get a certain attachment, but no more. Should I lose one (and I do), it would be an irritation, but nothing like the disaster of losing a Montblanc pen or a Rolex watch.
They are not status objects. You don’t pay for fancy ads in glossy magazine. You don’t flash these tools to show your wealth – but when I meet others who use them, I feel I know something significant about those people. The signal they send is one of an emphasis on no nonsense functionality.