I love pencils, but pens have a definite place in my writing tools kit. I love a good pen. I have too many, frankly, outside of preparing for the Apocalypse.
I also use multi-pens but for this topic I’m focused on dedicated ballpoint type pens.
One of my favorites is a beat up black rOtring 600 capped rollerball. This thing is rugged and I don’t baby it. Lots of scratches & edge wear. I drive it with a Pentel Energel refill (LRN5), fine point. Works like a champ. Doesn’t dry out. It lives in my car, sometimes going a couple of months without use.
I also like to go off the beaten path. A pen hardly anyone uses but is still very much worthwhile. With that, I got addicted to the PILOT Hi-Tecpoint twist-extend pens. They’re not made anymore and sadly the very nice proprietary “micro tip” refill made for them has been discontinued. There is no direct swap equivalent. However, there are DIY adaptions possible. @drifand has converted dried out refills to take D1 refills. I’ve gotten LAMY M22 and PILOT BRFN refills to fit using trimmed spacers. The Hi-Tecpoint came in a variety of 3 steel finishes and about 5 or 6 different lacquer colors. I keep one clipped to an 8 x 10 notebook folder and sometimes stash one in a jacket pocket.
But by far, the coolest of my arsenal has to be the MechaSEA
. Thanks to @drifand
for telling me about it! I’d have completely missed it otherwise.
On a more conventional note, one of my favorites is the Diplomat Aero. It’s a tapered fluted design reminiscent of a Zeppelin airship. I do prefer the pencil version but the ballpoint is fun to write with.
Lastly, I have a beat-up old Fisher bullet space pen that has been with me for over 20 years. 2nd refill presently installed. It’s 100% reliable and super easy to pocket carry.
Honestly for me, another huge factor is the size of the tip. But here’s my list:
0.7: Pilot G2, Energel, Sharpie S-Gel, Uni Signo
0.5: Energel Needle Tip (this is EXCELLENT, a personal favorite)
Honestly can’t lose with energel. The Sarasa 0.5 was ok but quite scratchy.
1.6: Bic Cristal
1.0: Papermate Profile Stainless Steel
0.7: Zebra bLen (proprietary ink sucks though)
0.5: Need to try some
0.7: Uni Vision (very solid)
0.5: Pilot Precise V5 (I don’t like it but no contenders )
- Pilot Juice Up 0.4
- Zebra Sarasa
- Pilot Precise V5 RT
- Uni-ball Air
- BiC Orange fine (old ones are preferred)
I’d like to try a space pen but here they cost a lot.
The BiC Orange and Precise V5 are my favourites, I guess I’m a bit of a cheapskate when it comes to pens
In general I don’t like pens. But I will use Pilot Frixion pens if I need to write a letter. At work I have to write in non-erasable pen for documentation purposes, for that Pilot HI-TEC-C in blue or black and only in 0.3.
Recently I have come into possession of some Pentel Ceramicron pens. In 0.2 or 0.3 they are sufficient to satisfy my personal requirements for ridiculously thin lines. The fact that the refills are sometimes difficult to find makes it all the better. I am trying not to be a pen snob though. My current carry pen is a Pentel R7 with a SRM3 refill in green. It has seen some things which cannot be un-seen.
I wrote a lot of my exam papers with the uni laknoc ball point. Wasn’t fancy looking but wasn’t cheap at the time in India. Just a very smooth flowing ink. Later bic crystal took over as the everyday tool.
Pilot G2 0.7, Sharpie S Gel 0.7, Pentel Energel 0.7, Pilot Precise RT V5 and V7, Zebra G 301 0.7.
I write almost exclusively with Pilot G-TEC-C4 pens. Proud user since I think the late 90’s, when I was first introduced to such “novelty” by my local stationery dealer.
Tried a few other options, none worked for me. If Pilot suddenly stops the production, I’m […]ed.
Recently, I’ve dived a bit into the world of fountain pens, and enjoyed the flexibility and expressiveness of a good nib, but whenever I need something reliable, precise, never-skipping a beat, and pleasant to use for my needs, G-TEC is my failsafe option.
Calligraphy pens and markers are a totally different story, but I don’t consider those as ordinary writing utensils — I’d rather put them into the art materials category.
I mainly focus on pens with great design and playability, my favorite list is (if not consider practicality):
Lamy unic (Ti), spirit (steel), dialog 1, Sakura Archi Y (silver YOBC3000), Tombow espana, Platinum Z (5k matte silver&black, 10k silver stripe).
For me, these pens have top design levels. They are classic, solemn, mature in design. You may not like each of them, but probably you will agree that for at least some of these models, their design express a degree of timelessness or futurism.
As for the favorite one in the list, it will always be Lamy unic Titanium version. For me, it’s the perfect collection. Design, quality, structure, appreciate it at static state and during knocking process. (Well, it’s tip still wobbles a little just like other Lamy products, but I’m willing to ignore that)
I haven’t buy spirit and archi Y yet, didn’t see much reasonable price for ballpoint Y during last year, but looks like people have a certain amount of stock. I often see people posting pictures of archi. It’s just that the transaction volume is not as high as it was two or three years ago.
I will choose Pilot Fumi Raku 陶器 if consider quality and daily use. It’s very popular in my country, but seems that Japanese local players pay little attention to it (in this price range, maybe they prefer third-party customization?). It is a pity that it was discontinued not long ago.
Ah, the post introducing Hi-tecpoint deluxe on reddit turned out to be written by you. This is where I learned about this pen. I have collected 8 models and I think this is all the styles. Have you seen other models?
Here’s its TV ad from that year: Youtube. And in this tweet I list other information I collected: Twitter
However, I still have to say that I think for most people, only 2 steel models are worth collecting. They are cheap, not hard to find and have all the characteristic appearance of hi-tec series, and the quality of etch pattern is also pretty good. My complaint about the other models is that Pilot somehow chose to reduce the details so much on the higher end models. It is these details(on clip and top of the pen) that give hi-tecpoint an unique appearance. Maybe the lacquer models have to makes a change in order to coordinate their overall appearance, but at least the sterling silver model shouldn’t be like this, I completely can’t understand.
first observation is that I don’t write much with hand (and sketch even lesser). so altho the writing experience order for me is: FP → RB → MP → BP, I don’t use FPs at all (too much fuzz with the ink), and RBs only little (always dried out).
for RBs the usual choice here is stabilo point https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/71OsfOb4GiL.jpg . I have a few, but the dry out problem is immanent.
the problem also exists with BPs, but to smaller extent. that and the missing document-proofness of MPs keep BPs alive here. what I use is free advertisement stuff.
besides side catches with sets (and surrogates for too expensive MPs like Tombow La Nave) I only have few collector BPs. In fact I only remember one, and this one was mentioned by Linus2K: Lamy uniq, there is no MP equivalent.
NICE! Thanks so much for including this shot, Linus.
I believe you’ve got them all. I just learned about the sterling silver lined model recently. It sold over on Mercari about 25 days ago.
Great to hear it was my article that alerted you to the Hi-Tecpoint. About how long ago? Seems you acquired the full range rather quickly. For me, it has been a long road as I wasn’t buying from Mercari only until recently and had no clue the Hi-Tecpoint come up for sale there. Mercari tends to have better prices and of course no pesky auction bidding competition. I got lucky on YAJ a few times, one buying 4 in one shot, with 3 in complete boxes.
I also appreciate the steel models the most. The grouping of lines with wide gap is my favorite. The grid is next. I wonder if the lacquer ones were done in urushi. Usually PILOT actually prints the letters “URUSHI” on the barrel, as I’ve seen them do on other models, but maybe they just didn’t bother and let the price dictate? That’s what I believe causes the price increase (from ¥3000 to ¥5000) and of course ¥10000 was for the silver material. I doubt the gold on the lacquer models is 14kt plating.
Do you find any variations in mechanism smoothness? I’ve got one steel model that is a little bit rough, but still closes and opens completely. My light blue example? Wonderfully smooth and fluid.
That video is fantastic! It was uploaded 2 years ago. I have to wonder if the mechanism is a special trick of magnetics. My thought is, they have a gentle magnetic surface where they join together, with curved thin metal shims that are connected to the twist mechanism. It would account for the force required to be relatively normal. And it’s why, when the two pieces are raised up towards the front of the cone, there’s a quick “click” of the two halves joining together. It seems to be an excellent closure to resist drying out. Still, for the original refill that I’m running, I put a rubber cap on the end for extra dry-out resistance.