Machined pens are quite a thing over on Kickstarter. They're a fascinating genre of pen because they're created by small shops from pieces of metal and eventually shipped to your door. While Tactile Turn now has a shop that you can buy from anytime, the didn't start off that way. Brad took a look at their pens a year ago and came away impressed. I joined the second round of their Kickstarter that featured new materials, and I'm really happy I did.
I have to be honest — it was extremely difficult to pick a style of pen. It was equally as difficult to select a metal and color. They all look good and if money were not object, I'd own one of each. But, money is certainly a consideration, so I went with a black aluminum Mover.
Let's back up a little. There are two main styles of these pens: The Mover and the Shaker. The only real difference is the length of the pen. The Mover is designed to accept anything similar to a Pilot G2 refill, while the Shaker is designed for a Parker style refill. It boils down to choosing the body that supports your favorite refills. Being a huge fan of the Pilot Juice, I went with the Mover.
Apart from the choice between the Mover and the Shaker, you then have a chioce of several metals, of which the aluminum can be had in different colors. Here are your options: titanium, polished bronze, polished copper, polished brass, raw aluminum, and anodized aluminum. The latter comes in the following colors: dark red, black, teal, dark blue, and olive drab.
I really liked the looks of the olive drab pen, but eventually decided to stick with black for now. I'm slowly convincing myself that I need an olive drab Shaker.
The pen you purchase comes with a refill. The Mover comes with a blue Pilot G2 0.38mm refill, and the Shaker comes with a Schmidt Easy Flow 9000.
So, how does this look and feel in person? Like a high-quality piece of art that can withstand abuse and write like a champ.
I've used other machined aluminum pens, and none of them have the right balance for me. They're usually significantly heavier on the nock end, which makes them feel top-heavy when writing. Not so in the case of the Mover. It has a wonderful balance. Another feature that I love about this particular machined pen's design? The textured grip. This is the first one I've tried that has one, and I love it. An alumnium barrel can get slick, and that makes it difficult to control. With the Mover, I haven't had this problem.
The nock used in this pen is the same one that was used in the Retrakt before it. It's a high-quality, smooth, silent mechanism that works like a charm. Personally, I think it looks really nice, too.
The clip is strong, but easily slides on and off when attaching it to my jeans pocket or in a Nock case. Other machined pens I've used have clips that are a bit tight and sometimes require two hands to operate.
The thickness of the barrel is another thing that I love about the design. It's the perfect width for writing. The diameter is really close to my Lamy 2000, which is a pen that I enjoy writing with more than most.
The build quality of this pen is superior, but that's something that you should expect from a machined pen. These make great EDC pens given their simple, excellent design and strength. They also make excellent gifts — they look fantastic and they accept "normal" refills that non-addicts understand.
Prices for these pens range by material. Aluminum bodies are $69, and prices range up to $139 for the titanium model.
All in all, if you're looking for a high-quality machined pen that accepts a wide range of refills and also looks and feels great doing it, the Mover and/or Shaker are a perfect choice. I can't wait to make my collection a pair.