Retro 51 fountain pens have been on the market for a while now and I finally got my hands on one from JetPens. I went with the Black Acrylic - Fine Nib model and while it is beautiful and has a fantastic nib, there are a couple of issues keeping this pen from being a daily writer.
First off, the grip section is exceedingly poor for a pen of this quality. It is a cheap, slick plastic that does not fit in with the overall design of the pen. I'm assuming Retro 51 made this choice for a good reason, but for the life of me I don't know what it could be. Awkward looks aside, it is a bad gripping surface. My fingers slide constantly when writing.
Secondly, the balance is wrong in both posted and unposted writing modes. Unposted, the pen is too short, too light, and uncomfortable to write with. It is very close to an unposted Pilot Prera. I don't like writing with the Prera unposted either, but the difference is the Prera is perfectly weighted and balanced when posted. The Retro 51 is not. The sexy cap bling and knurling make the pen too top heavy.
The Schmidt nib, on the other hand, is good. As in really, really good. I chose a fine nib and it is smooth, consistent, and a true joy to write with. The barrel design outstanding as well, as we all have come to expect from this popular pen maker.
In the end, the problem with this pen is there is no middle ground. The nib and design are 10's, the section and balance are 1's. I expect a more functional pen than this from Retro 51.
(JetPens is an advertiser on The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)