Retro 51 — the darling of rollerballs — recently celebrated an important milestone of making great pens for 25 years. I had no idea that my favorite rollerball pen maker was having such a significant anniversary this year, but it's certainly exciting.
To mark the occasion, Retro 51 have released a special edition Tornado. This pen is a beauty to behold and has a couple of premium features that set it apart from other Tornado editions.
The most obvious feature of the pen is the body design. The pattern is a repeating "25" that stand out from the body like a relief sculpture. According to Goldspot, the barrel is acid-etched with the pattern, and then plated with a "stonewashed pewter" finish. Fancy words, but it all adds up to a positive experience when looking at the pen in person.
On top of the barrel finish, the furniture is made of rhodium, which is more shiny than the normal materials used in Tornados.
Along with the shiny material, the top band also includes some extra inscriptions that read "Retro 1951 25th Anniversary Tornado," followed by the unique number of the pen. My only complaint here is that the unique number isn't stamped with the same typeface and color as the rest of the text, but that's a really minor niggle.
The cardboard tube that holds the pen also receives some special branding attention, with a nice logo that indicates the 25th anniversary edition. Also, the same unique number is included on the bottom of the tube for reference. Apart from the branding, the packaging is the same you'd expect with any Tornado.
This really is a beautiful pen, and I'm glad I got to see one in person. If you're a fan of the Retro 51 brand, then this pen is definitely for you. It has a killer design, premium materials, and a limited appeal.
At around $50 for the pen, it's more costly than the standard or metal Tornado models, but it's a special edition and the price is fair for the premium materials and limited nature of the pen.
As far as writing with the pen, it uses the same cartridge we know and love. The raised etching on the body gives the pen a nice grip. I don't mind it at all, but I'm sure some people will prefer a smooth body for writing. Either way, it's still a beautiful limited edition, and I'm sure they'll be gone fast, so act quickly.