Fountain pens, on the rare occasion they are seen or mentioned, are often viewed as either obsolete or snobbish. However, as one who has used fountain pens for the last three years I can say that for me the draw to a fountain pen is not about status, but rather it is about function. Fountain pens offer a smoothness of writing and a better presentation of script then a standard ballpoint or gel pen creating a better, sometimes enticing, experience for the writer. To get a brief understanding of the parts and operation of a fountain pen watch the short video below.
Because the ink flows when the end of the nib is in contact with the paper it is important to hold your pen so that the nib can do so.
Due to the process by which a fountain pen operates, creating a controlled flow of ink, the script comes out very smoothly that, with practice, gives a stunning presentation.
Achim, Fountain Pen Script, taken from: http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/101258-how-does-your-countryregionlocal-school-teach-handwriting/page-2
This smoothness along with the choice of nib width gives an elegant and personal touch to letters and notes expressing to a recipient the time, effort and care put into such a personal note.
Though this point may be unnoticeable when dealing with a ballpoint or a gel pen it is truly noticeable when you experience the weight and balance of a good fountain pen. It is like wearing a weight for so long that it simple feels normal, but it is only once it is taken off that you notice the difference. Fountain pens are much like this only conversely it is the additional weight of a fountain pen that, when balanced across the length of the pen, give it a substantial feel and allows for an ease of movement when pivoted by the fingers. I can say from my own personal experience that there were times when I was drawn to write just because I wanted to feel the pen in my hand as I wrote.
The issue of conservation was not one that I had originally considered but it actually is a factor both monetarily and environmentally. I first realized the monetary aspect one day when I was considering the money I had spent on a pen. As I tried to justify my purchase I realized that it actually does make financial sense. Considering that when I am at school, the time I most need a pen, I can spend around four dollars at the book store on a pack of twelve pens. This is not that expensive, but when you factor in the inevitability of me losing those pens by the end of the semester that can add up. However, a cheap Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen, costing about fifteen dollars, can last for decades, and refill bottles can be found cheaply as well costing as little as six dollars. While this is cheap it is also expensive enough to make me mindful enough not to lose it.