Pen Review: Monteverde One Touch Stylus

Ron at Pen Chalet asked me to review a pen, and I chose the Monteverde One Touch Stylus. I’m into ballpoint these days, I like click pens because they’re so easy to deploy. They also give me a good outlet for fidgeting by letting me click them repeatedly.

The pen arrived quickly in fine condition and upon opening the box I was greeted by a pen quite a bit fatter than I was expecting. This pen is pretty girthy compared to an Ecridor, Jotter or Fisher AG-7.

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The click mechanism is fairly smooth, reasonably quiet, and seems to be positive. The pen has a fair bit of reveal – about an inch – with the clicker having a shape that makes for very easy pen extraction from whatever pocket or sleeve you put it in. This is good especially because the pen is fat is likely to be a snug fit in sleeves.

The clip has a big ball on the end so it should be easy to get it over most pocket hems. The clip has enough clearance for a suit-coat pocket for sure, probaby enough for most winter coat pockets. It grabbed a shirt pocket hem just fine.

The Monteverde Soft Touch refill is black, and in extra broad. In actual practice it’s not that broad unless you press fairly firmly but it is a very smooth and easy rolling experience.

To replace the refill you have to unscrew the cone of the pen, and there you see an exposed spring. The spring is retained by a bit of friction and it didn’t fall out for me, but I get a bit worried about changing cartridges in places where it’s not easy to retrieve any pieces that go missing, like when sitting on an airplane in coach. The cone is also small and can’t be put down in a way where it doesn’t roll. These are pretty minor complaints.

I ordered the pen in carbon fiber finish, with a yellow accent on the clip. The yellow is more like gold – it’s just not bright enough in my opinion. The carbon fiber looks good, although I can’t be certain if it’s really carbon fiber or some kind of effect. There is a seam in the weave that runs the length of the pen that suggests it’s not a printed wrap but the real deal. It shimmers when the pen is rotated, something my CF Namiki Vanishing point does not do. The finish on the body is matte while the furniture is gloss. This is the right combination for a pen that should look manly without looking tactical.

Last but not least is the stylus. On the clicker is a small rubber hemisphere that can be used on touch screens. It worked fine on my iOS devices, and it was part of the reason I chose this pen. I do a lot of writing on my iPad these days, and some of the controls in Ulysses are small. I’d also like to keep the screen cleaner. Time will tell if this a feature I use or not.

Overall I like the pen. It’s more than fancy enough for the office, takes parker-style refills, and feels good in the hand. I don’t think I’ll have any trouble taking it with me since it’s about the same price as an AG-7 and the shape makes it easier to grab out of the pen sleeves in most of my bags.

Monteverde One Touch Stylus at Pen Chalet.

Disclosure: The pen was provided at no cost to me. The words and opinions are my own.

Pen Review: The Parker Jotter

I’ve written about this pen in the past I think, but not an actual review. It deserves one. It’s not flashy, not new, not born of a kickstarter project and it’s name has zero European cache.

Sure, some disposable ballpoints will write as well, perhaps a smidge better than a cartridge pen, depending on your tastes. But a pen is also a bit a of a talisman. It’s hard to build a long-lasting relationship with a disposable pen. The Jotter occupies the slot right above disposable, but I suspect one could outlive its owner very easily.

IMG_2239It’s the quintessential pushbutton ballpoint pen. Nearly indestructible. simple, foolproof. Made since the 50’s. The Parker cartridges are pretty good, but there’s probably no other cartridge format that is made by as many companies, in as many varieties as the Parker format. My experience is that freshness, even for the Fisher refills, makes a huge difference in writing quality, and Parker-style refills are likely to be the freshest in the store. Not to mention what’s available on the Monteverde site. And Easyflow. And Schmidt. And Schneider. And the Fisher refills, of course. Ballpoint and Gel are available, with the Easyflow 9000 being sort of in between.

The pen is slender and the barrel is smooth. The clip is strong and stiff, optimized for grabbing a shirt pocket, rather than a jacket pocket. Almost no reveal. Getting one of these out of a pen sleeve might just take a pair of pliers. The satin stainless finish is easy to hold, grips fairly easily. The refill will sometimes fit loose enough to click when writing, but that’s not unusual outside of Cross pens.

The clicky mechanism isn’t as precise and smooth as the Fisher AG7, but that’s ok. For you compulsive clickers, like me, it’s got a steam-punky satisfying click-clack. Your coworkers may not be as pleased.

A worthy companion in the ballpoint world. The eminently loanable pen – no chance of someone breaking it – if it wasn’t likely to be kept.

Sometimes I just want something I know will write, and usually that means the Fisher AG7, but the Jotter is lighter. A lot lighter. It’s also a smaller investment – $12 on Amazon (affiliate link) – and you can buy one almost anywhere.

When I think of a pen to leave in the car, or in a little-used portfolio, I think of the Jotter. When I think of a pen I need to rely on, and I’m not quite comfortable taking the $45 AG7 along, it’s the Jotter.