Monday, May 23, 2011

Moleskine Rollerball Pen

Ever since I saw sketches of the new Moleskine line of writing instruments on the Moleskine website, I’ve been DYING to get my hands on the rollerball pen.  This past week, Moleskine held various events in New York showcasing the new line of products.
On my monthly visit to my favorite pen and paper stores, I discovered that A.I. Friedman on 18th Street had the entire new line available for purchase.  My heart actually started to race.  After I checked out the other items, I decided to purchase the standard pen.  Retailing for $14.95, the Rollerball Pen comes in medium (.7mm) and fine (.5 mm) points.  The refill colors include black, blue, green, purple, red and brown in .7 mm but only blackand blue in .5mm.   I hope this changes because I'd love to buy purple and brown inks in .5 mm.  The design of the pen maintains Moleksine's trademark simplicity.

The cap is designed to be attached to your Moleskine horiztonally.   The word "Moleskine" is imprinted on the cap which I didn't realize until I took a picture of the cap.

To change the ink, you must unscrew the end of the pen.  There is a spring attached to the corkscrew part of the cap.  The other end of the spring is attached to the ink cartridge. 

The pen provides a very smooth writing experience.  I prefer needle points for my fine line pens but the lack of a needle point won’t deter me from using the pen.  The rectangular grip means that my handwriting slants more to the right than usual.  It’s a very comfortable grip and doesn’t appear to cause fatigue, although I won’t be able to confirm this until I put the pen to a test over the next week. 

After I wrote my initial review, I went to the website to read more about the features. Turns out, there are little labels included in the package.  You can attach the label to the end of the cap to indicate the ink color.  Luckily, I didn't throw the package away or I would have thrown out the labels.  The labels are housed within the left side of the package.  The package also includes the typical Moleskine insert although this one talks about Moleskine as "a brand that encompasses a family of nomadic objects..."

The website mentions that the pen includes a faux-suede carrying sleeve.  My pen didn't include one.  I'm going to write to Moleskine to find out what's going on.  

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bic 4 Color Soft Grip Pen

On a recent visit to Target in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, I discovered a new Bic 4 Color Soft Grip Ball Point Pen (“ Soft Grip”).  Bic multi pens bring back fond memories of junior high school in the early 80’s.  My friends and I would write long letters to each other using a different color ink for each sentence.   I had picked up the Bic 4 Color “Fashion Colors” Ball Point Pen (“Fashion Colors”) pen at a Walmart in Florida and was interested in trying the new Grip version.  The new Soft Grip version looks great and less juvenile than other Bic multi-pens. It has a black body with grey cap.  The grip is similar to the rubberized grip I’ve seen on other retractable Bic pens.
I’m not that particular about multi-pens, mainly because I find the body of the pen too thick.  I do love the convenience of having a variety of inks at my fingertips.  I just wish I could find it in a thinner body.
Except for the green, the inks are nice and dark.  All of the inks flowed freely from the very first pen stroke.  I don’t think I’ll use the pen on a regular basis but it’s nice to have in my collection.  I’ll probably try this pen all next week before making a decision about its place in my rotation of pens and pencils.  One great benefit of it being in black is I don’t think I’d be ashamed to use it in the office.
Compared to the Fashion Colors model,  the Soft Grip model has a much thicker barrel.  While I like the comfort of the grip, it seems to me that they should be able to make a smaller barrel.
Here are writing samples and side by side comparisons of the both the Fashion Colors and Soft Grip model.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Muji Hexagonal Retractable Pens

My love affair with Muji started in November 2009 when I visited the Muji On-the Go store in the Jet Blue terminal at JFK airport.  Since then, I visit one of the 3 Manhattan Muji store locations about every other month.  I've always been a fan of the hexagonal stick pens.  On a recent visit, I discovered the hexagonal retractable pens.  They come in .38, .5 and .7 mm points with black, blue and red inks.  The .38mm is a true needle point which is different from the .38 mm refills from the "Make Your Own Pen" refills.  The .38 and .5 mm verions use gel ink while the .7 mm version uses a traditional oil based ball point pen ink.  The hexagonal shape makes for a comfortable grip on all of the pens. Both inks lay down a smooth line.  The .38mm version is my favorite as it works best with my writing style.  Unfortunately, the Muji on-line store does not sell the hexagonal retractable pens so you can only purchase them in one of the stores.  For anyone planning to fly into JFK on Jet Blue or anyone who lives in NYC, I highly recommend checking out the pens.

I also picked up the aluminum hexagonal retractable pen.  I'll save my review for another post.