Most of us can agree that the Retro 51 is one of the finest and most accessible roller ball pens on the market today. Brad did a great job of reviewing the classic model in 2012. The point of this review is to showcase the art and beauty of the Franklin version of the Vintage Metalsmith series of the Tornado line. Let me just say, I completely agree with the people that say the Schmidt refill that Retro 51 use in these pens is absolutely fantastic. Like Myke, this isn't my first Retro 51, and it likely won't be my last. They're like the Pringles of pens: once you pop, you can't stop.
Once I decided that I wanted to try one of the more expensive Retro 51 models, I had to decide which of the three in the metalsmith line. I really liked the looks of the Lincoln and the Jefferson, but I decided to take a chance on the Franklin because I liked the subtle ivy relief on the barrel. This is a hunch that I'm extremely happy I followed. The pictures on the JetPens website don't do this pen justice. In person, it's much more elegant and gorgeous.
A few things are different about this pen than the regular lacquer version. For one, it's just a teensy bit heavier, but not in a bad way. For me, the texture of the ivy relief on the barrel makes for a more enjoyable writing experience. It gives my fingers something to hold onto. The metal barrel also adds gobs of class to the already classy pen. I've gotten more than a few compliments on this pen, even from people who don't care about pens. This is an object of beauty, and it also happens to offer one of the best writing experiences for the money.
If I had any negative comments, it would be that this pen is a little more expensive than the regular line of Tornados. It's not much, though -- just a few dollars. To me, the few extra dollars is more than worth it. I actually bought a Jefferson version of the pen as a gift for someone else, so I can say that I prefer the looks and feel of the Franklin. Don't get me wrong, the Jefferson is still a gorgeous pen, but it has a different look.
Retro 51 certainly have a lot to offer in the way of variety, but keep the Franklin in mind if you're thinking of expanding or even starting a collection.