In the vast world of stationery and writing instruments, you'll find a wide array of materials used to bring these products to life. Plastics, metals, and natural materials. One material that I haven't seen in writing instruments yet is concrete. But, that changed when I received the Contour Rollerball from 22 Design Studio.
That's right, the Contour Rollerball is a pen made from "high-density concrete" and stainless steel. And, let me tell you, it's gorgeous in person.
Given the materials, it has a nice weight to it that gives it a precise and industrial feel. It looks cold and heartless on the desk, but when you pick it up, you realize that there's a warmth and softness in the hard materials. It really is a special pen that you have to hold in your own hand before you can fully appreciate the design.
The mechanical preciseness of the machined parts are exquisite. Everything feels like it was milled in perfect harmony to produce a well-oiled writing machine. The threads are smooth and exact, and every part of operating this pen is a pleasure. The stainless steel cap has a plastic insert to keep the refill from drying out, and it has a substantial weight given its size. The top of the cap is completely flat, which allows you to store the pen standing up on a flat surface. It's not something I'd recommend in the off-chance that it tumbles to an untimely death, but it looks cool.
The refill is accessible through the front of the pen. The small section between the cap threads and the refill tip unscrew from the body of the pen to give access to the refill. It's all a very exact and comforting fit, and I doubt you could use any other refill in this pen.
Not to worry, though, because they picked an excellent refill to wrap this work of art around: the Schmidt 888 ceramic rollerball. The Schmidt rollerball is a favorite around here. It's not the exact same refill as the venerable P8126 found in the Retro 51 Tornado, but it's very comparable. To my discerning hand, it writes the same, so I'm left to assume that it's the same tip on a differently-sized cartridge. If you like how the Retro 51 Tornado writes, then you'll love this automatically.
As for the concrete part of the pen, it's one of my favorite features of the of the pen because it's interesting to look at and it also feels great in the hand. The pen is flat on opposite sides, and there are graduated plans that widen toward the middle of the pen, giving it a stepping contour shape. On one end of the pen body, "22" is embossed to indicate the pen brand. This is the only form of branding on the pen. To me, the pen is a piece of art that is enjoyable both to the eyes and the hands.
The concrete warms up your hand nicely while in use, and has a soft feel even though it's an extremely hard material. This is nothing like your average quick mix concrete that you create in a wheelbarrow. This is high-end, high-density concrete. Over time, the concrete will absorb oils and react with the air, taking on a unique personality similar to the way brass and leather products age over time. According to the 22 Design Studio website, the shape of the pen will also contour over time as you use it.
Overall, I'm really impressed by this little pen. It makes a striking visual statement, and it's a complete joy to use. It excites the senses, and I'm not sure if there's much else you can expect from a writing instrument except that it write well (which, it does).
The Contour Rollerball Pen about $85 from Kohezi Amsterdam. This would make a great gift for yourself or another stationery enthusiast! My copy is the White version, but it also comes in Original and Dark Grey.
(Kohezi Amsterdam provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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