Word of warning about the Faber Castell Alpha Ball (ballpoint)

I’ve not conducted any kind of open poll on this, so I might be inadvertently “fear mongering” a bit… but it’s just a word of caution about this pen.

If you have a FC alphamatic in steel, bronce, brass, or titanium, you might also be seeking out the companion “alpha ball” ballpoint pen. The body construction looks identical to the mechanical pencil. It’s nicely done. It looks handsome. However, there are some important considerations. Pretty much NOTHING, save the clip, is compatible with the alphamatic. You cannot cannibalize the alpha-ball for the nose cone / front section or the knurled eraser cap. They will not fit the pencil.

But there’s one other pesky drawback: the ballpoint click mechanism. This pen was constructed one-way. There is no feasible way to extract the click/advance mechanism. Thus, if it breaks or has some performance issues? You’re out of luck.

Absolutely do not buy any pen that isn’t functional (meaning, the click mechanism extends but won’t stay in place). And, I’d avoid buying one where the click action is stiff, loose, rough, or “sometimes accidentally releases.” Pretty much the only good such a pen will do is for the visual effect of having a complete set. So, pay accordingly.

I took a chance on a faulty Faber Castell alpha ball where the seller reported that the click mechanism would extend, but pressure on the paper would cause the mechanism to release and retract. I’ve been pretty good at experimental DIY so I figured I could give it a shot. I got mine “fairly” cheap, at ¥6900. But had I known I couldn’t service it, I’d have passed on it. Faber Castell originally charged a lot for this pen (I believe ¥8000 at the time). Certainly it should be serviceable, and if a part is faulty, possibly fixed or “jury rigged” to work.

From all I could gather, Faber Castell had a 3rd party make this pen. FC supplied the shell: body (2 parts), clip, and rear plunger. The 3rd party fashioned the rest and assembled it. So, even if it was newly bought from a retailer, Faber Castell could never service the ballpoint pen for any functional issues. I wish I’d known about this. It seems I’m the first to post about it on-line.