It's a good time to be a Kickstarter pen fan, isn't it?
This weeks First Look comes from my old friends Che-Wei and Taylor, better known as design group CW&T. Possibly even better known as the team who brought you the Pen Type-A. They were kind enough to get one of the early builds of the Pen Type-B into my hands for review, and for that I am very thankful.
Many of you have heard of the Pen Type-A, and for those who haven't, you have quite a bit of catching up to do! The Pen Type-A was the first Kickstarter pen to break through to the mainstream, and with that came money, exposure, failure, theft, and more. It was quite the story during the production and fulfillment process. The Kickstarter updates and comments section are worth reading if you have several hours to spare. NOTCOTdid a good job of rounding up the details if you are looking for the shorter version.
With the learning experience of all learning experiences behind them, Che-Wei and Taylor set out to improve on the Pen Type-A. Not just improve actually. They believe in the Pen Type-B so much they are calling their shot: This is the last pen they will ever design.
At it's core, the Pen Type-B is the barrel of the Pen Type-A with a new exterior sleeve to make the pen portable, which the Pen Type-A wasn't. The sleeve isn't just an afterthought either. It is solid brass, machined to such a tight tolerance that it creates a piston-like effect when pulling the barrel out and sliding it back in. Again, just like the Pen Type-A did.
The brass sleeve is something special. It is stunning to look at and hold, and the addition of a single flat side on the sleeve serves as the perfect roll-stopper. It is HEAVY though. When I opened the package and grabbed it for the first time I let out a "whoa", then did the whole balance in my palm lift it up and down thing. I got used to it the more I carried it around, but if you are planning on carrying it in your pocket you will want a tight one, like found in jeans to prevent the pen (like a phone) from bouncing around too much. You also probably aren't going to write with the sleeve posted either. It's doable, but the balance is a little off. I don't post it to write with personally.
The fatal flaw with the Pen Type-B, as many will point out, is the use of the Pilot Hi-Tec-C refill. Both universally loved for its crisp, clean lines, and loathed for its tendency to fail, it is a divisive refill. And rightfully so. I'm on the side of the fence that puts up with it because when it works it is impossible to beat the output. So far, no issues with my refill in the Pen Type-B, and I wonder if the tight tolerances will even help keep the tip from drying out? Only time will tell. And if you like the design but hate the refill, CW&T lists other compatible refills that will work with the addition of a spacer.
I'm a backer of this pen on Kickstarter, and now that I have had the chance to sample one, I am an ecstatic backer. This is one of those pens that will cause some reshuffling of the deck, if you will. I can only carry so many pens at a time, and one of them is going to be relegated to the desk when my Pen Type-B arrives.
My thanks to CW&T for sending me one of their few pre-production samples for review.