We're all familiar with the classic Bic pens. We probably grew up with them, did homework with them, and they're probably stocked in your office supply closet. They're ubiquitous, cheap, and pretty reliable. On the downside, they also don't perform to the level of more expensive gel pens like the Pilot Juice or Uni-ball Signo, not to mention the hybrid ballpoints like the Uni Jetstream and Pilot Acroball. Even though the Bic doesn't produce crisp, dark lines with zero skipping and hard starts, it does a really good job for the price. There aren't many pens that can boast a $1.50 price point...for ten of them. My point is, the Bic certainly isn't the best pen you can buy, but that doesn't mean it's the worst. It certainly has a place, and some people really adore them. So, why can't we have a little custom-machined love for this ubiquitous ballpoint? Well, thanks to Baux Pen Company, you can have a premium Bic experience.
Baux Pen Company is the joint idea of two brothers — Brian and Dan — who launched the initial version of the Baux (pronounced "box") pen back in 2013 on Kickstarter. The initial version was successful, but they saw room for improvement, and I'm glad they did. The Baux Pen 2 launched on Kickstarter in 2016, and it was another success. Today, you can buy the Baux Pen 2 on their site and even have it customized.
So what is the Baux Pen? It's an aluminum machined body that takes the generic Bic ballpoint refill (the Bic Stic or Cristal, not the retractable versions). The refill slips into the front nose of the pen and is secured with simple friction. The grip section and the barrel are separate components that screw into each other, which opens up opportunity for fun color schemes.
Before we talk about color schemes, it's important to understand the difference between the standard Baux pen and the premium Baux pen. The standard pen is all aluminum, while the premium version has a titanium or brass grip section. I only have the standard versions, but I'm guessing the titanium pens are a bit lighter and the brass version is a few ounces heavier. Most importantly, they provide a different aesthetic from the anodized aluminum.
Now, when it comes to color options, there are so many to choose from. You can pick the color/material of the grip section, the barrel, the end plug, the refill collar, and the cap. On top of those options, you can choose the default Baux logo for your pen or a custom text engraving. If you opt for custom text, you have a number of typefaces to choose from as well as a couple of sizes.
I opted for a blue barrel with lime green grip and end plug. I love the color combo! At checkout, there was an option to add on another "mystery" Baux pen for a few bucks more. I couldn't pass this up, and I'm glad I didn't. The gray and purple color combo is also stellar.
One of the main reasons I decided to try these pens out was to understand if it made the writing experience of the Bic ballpoints any better. I personally have a soft spot in my stationery heart for the Bic, so I was cautiously optimistic that this could do the job. For me, the Baux pen takes the Bic refill into the next level. I really love using these pens during my day. It's tough, colorful, has a reliable refill, and is still fairly affordable at the end of the day.
The Baux Pen starts at $9.50 and goes up to $15.50 depending on the options you pick. With the custom engraving and color options, these make great gifts as well as personal treats. I can't recommend these enough if you enjoy the classic Bic refill!
(Disclosure: Brad partnered with Brian Conti to create the Spoke Pen.)