Everyone has a pen or two that they feel nostalgic about, right? Something that you used in earlier days before you knew 1) that there is such a thing as "pen addicts" and 2) you are one? Yep. For me, that's The Better Retractable by Pilot with a fine point.
Way before I discovered the Pilot V5 Precise, I had easy access to this sleek 80s looking retractable pen. I'm not really sure when these pens started disappearing off shelves. I don't think I even bought any of these pens. They were always laying around, kind of like the Pilot G2 of today. I'm not sure if I'm correct, but something tells me this was a very popular bulk order item for large offices. And, like the G2, it's above the average in the category.
At the end of the day, this is still a ballpoint pen, so it's not displacing any of my favorite gel ink or hybrid ink pens, and certainly not any fountain pens. I definitely prefer this pen to something like a standard Bic ballpoint. And, depending on how you feel about Bic ballpoints, that's saying a lot.
The line from this ballpoint is really crisp. The ink can sometimes make a skippy line, but the feel is always smooth. In fact, it's so smooth that I don't enjoy writing with it. Strange, right? After using the pen for several writing sessions, I think I've narrowed down the reason that I don't like using the pen. It's a combination of a slim barrel/grip with a super slick writing experience that makes it difficult for me to use. I have a hard time controlling the pen and keeping my grip loose enough to not cause cramps.
But, that's not an entirely fair assessment. I'm using premium, glossy papers. This pen probably wasn't designed for that type of medium. This pen is probably intended on writing on the type of paper that a large office keeps on stock: cheap and crappy.
So, to sum it up, the refill in this pen falls somewhere between a standard Bic and a new Jetstream refill. It's smooth like a Jetstream, but skippy like a Bic.
Now, the design and look of the pen is what has always drawn me in. I love the way this pen looks. There are no unnecessary curves or bumps to make it look stylish or sexy–it's just a straight body with a tapered end to hold the refill. It has a grooved grip section and a nice click mechanism. The clip is really strong, and the clear body makes it easy to see what color you have (that and the colored barrel section that holds the click mechanism).
It looked different than any other pen I saw on a regular basis, and that made it attractive to me. After I discovered much better pens (first it was the Precise V5, and then the almost perfect Signo 207), I forgot all about the Pilot Better Retractable. At some point, I saw some pictures online that had the Better Retractable in it and I had to hunt some down so I could try them out again with a fresh perspective. Luckily, Amazon still carries them.
I'm glad I was able to track down and find a pen that I've always liked, but it's also funny to try something after your interests and knowledge have grown only to find that you no longer like the old thing. It's a great ballpoint pen, but there are just so many better performing options out there now.
Now, to find a great refill that fits in this plain but attractive body...
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