One of the most fun parts of being a pen addict is trying out stationery from all over the world. I’ve tried many pens from many countries, and am always on the lookout for more.
Ballograf was a name I was familiar with, but I had never tried this Swedish brand until two years ago when my friends from the country brought me one. It had a classic style that I loved, almost a throwback/retro look, and it felt great to use. They told me these pens were EVERYWHERE in Sweden, from offices, to banks, to schools, to homes. Ballograf is Swedens pen.
As it should be. The company was started there in 1945, was owned by Bic from 1959 to 2004, and returned to Swedish ownership from then onwards.
The history of the brand is on display with the Ballograf Epoca P ballpoint pen. This pen is a throwback, but in browsing through the history of the company I think it is more fair to say it has never changed. And that is ok by me.
The design and colors of the Epoca are right out of the era when it first launched and gained popularity. I chose Khaki Green to honor the heyday of 1970’s avocado green kitchenware. There are more modern colors available, like Heather Purple and Mint Green, but if I’m going throwback, I’m going all the way.
The plastic barrel of this pen is sturdy, and is comfortable to hold when writing. It looks like a simple design, but there are small elements like the octagonal upper barrel and clip detailing that set it apart from basic ballpoints.
The ballpoint ink cartridge is different too, in that the ink is rated as archival. Outside of the Uni-ball Jetstream, are there other ballpoint inks that claim this? Honestly, I’ll have to do more research on that. Mine shipped with a medium blue refill and it was finer and cleaner than I hoped it would be. So much so that I want to order the fine blue ballpoint refill to see just how perfect it could be.
As much as I like the Ballograf, it’s not all ABBA and IKEA here. This pen has a ton of tip rattle, or click-clack as I like to call it. You know that sound when the tip of the pen hits the page and you think “Who is using a typewriter in here?” The Epoca is not a quiet writer because of this. I’d be interested to try another one to see if it is consistent, or if this is manufacturing variance.
Also, I find the price to be interesting. At $6.50, it is not expensive in the grand scheme of things. Although relative to the competition, you could argue that it is. The Jetstream is half the price and is far superior. The Parker Jotter is twice as much and is practically the same. So, why do you want to own this pen?
For me, it is the statement pen for an entire country, and that is something I can get behind. I’m glad I have it, and I want another one to test out. In fact, looking through their catalog, there are several products I would jump at the chance to buy, with their chrome-barrel pens and pencils at the top of the list. Let’s do this Sweden!
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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