I get a lot of great feedback at events on what pens, pencils, and paper people are enjoying, and at each event, it never fails that Retro 51 comes up. The feedback on this pen falls into two camps:
I’ll never use a rollerball pen.
I never knew a rollerball pen could be this good.
As a huge fan of this pen and brand I understand both sides of the argument very well. Heck, I was firmly entrenched in the first camp most of my life. Rollerball pens can be particular due to their ink properties and often wide tip size. The Schmidt P8127 refill - aka the Retro 51 Refill - changed all my previous thinking on this style of pen. And, what Retro 51 built around this great refill made me fall in love with the Tornado.
When everything works well together in a design you notice immediately. Or rather, you don’t notice anything. There is no funny feel or awkward balance or scratchy tip. You put the pen in your hand and you write. Your brain does the work. The Retro 51 is the tool, and one of the best I have found.
It helps that the brand has a great sense of style and design. From basic solid colors to seasonal releases like the Vintage Metalsmith Cursive, there is bound to be a style that suits you. You can even chase down some of the many limited editions they release each year like some of their super fans do. When you have super fans that’s when you know it is going well as a brand.
With Cursive, Retro 51 is making a statement that writing is important. As a pen company, they obviously stand to benefit from a healthy writing environment, but I like the added focus this pen has. My 4th grade son is learning cursive right now and I’m not going to lie - it is a challenge for him. But as I work with him he is starting to get it. I’m not a strict cursive apologist, but teaching handwriting in general is extremely important I believe, and learning cursive gives kids the added skills to improve any type of handwriting they choose.
Being part of the Vintage Metalsmith Series, the Cursive model gets the beautiful antique finished hardware, in this case Antique Silver. It seems more of a bronze shade in person, but it looks great no matter what you want to call it. The cursive writing training paper style is of course the highlight, with their traditional blue and red marks for learning letter heights. The full upper and lower case alphabet fits nicely around the barrel, along with numbers 0 through 9. Maybe my son can take this to class for a few extra tips.
If you enjoy a good writing experience I highly recommend the Retro 51 Tornado. This is what quality feels like, and they are fairly priced as well. And who knows, you may become a rollerball convert like me.
(Goldspot provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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