When it comes to machined pens, I’m always game to try another one. In most cases, machined pens follow a lot of the same rules, which I assume is due to the medium. With the ATELEIA stainless steel pen, it manages to deliver a compelling pen in a unique, sleek package.
ATELEIA is a small shop that operates out of Phoenix, AZ under the direction of Chris Williams, the mastermind behind the designs. Like so many crowd-funded pens and stationery products, the ATELEIA pen was born from a personal need. Since 2014, Chris has been designing products and growing his business, but the simple pen was what started it all (after the hand-made journal cover, of course).
The pens offered by ATELEIA are all the same design, but are available in different types of metal. From aluminum, stainless steel, copper, and brass, all the popular options are there. There aren’t any titanium versions of the pen yet, and I hope that might be a future campaign due to the lightweight characteristic of the metal.
So, what’s special about this pen? Well, to me it’s all about simplicity without sacrificing function. When you first look at the pen, it looks like a smooth piece of metal stock with slightly concave ends. When you unscrew the cap, that’s where you start to notice the high level of quality and care put into the product. Under the cap, there’s a small piece holding the refill in place, but nothing else. I wasn’t sure how I would like the feel of the pen when writing, but I was surprised to find that I really enjoy writing with it. In most cases, slim, slick metal pens usually don’t suit me. With the ATELEIA, I found myself reaching for it every day because I just like how it feels in the hand—both when writing and handling it.
Along with the pen, there’s a small wrench and a couple of lengths of hard tubing for matching up different refills with the pen body. According to the site, you have two variations of the pen that cater to several different popular refills. One version accepts Pentel EnerGel, Uni-ball Signo 207 and DX, and Monteverde rollerball refills, while the other (the one used in this review) accepts Pilot Hi-Tec-C, Pilot G2 (or Juice!), Schmidt Rolling Ball Line, or Fisher Space Pen refills. Externally, the two variations are identical.
To remove or replace the refill, simply use the provided wrench to unscrew the refill bit. In some cases, you might need to trim down the plastic tubing to get the perfect fit, but this isn’t new territory for machined pens that are intended to fit a variety of refills. In the case of the version I have, the Pilot G2, Juice, and Hi-Tec-C refills fit perfectly without any additional plastic tubing. The included spring is enough to keep the refill in place when writing.
As a quick side-note, I did try to use a Parker-style refill with this pen, but it didn’t work. Unlike the Fisher refill, Parker-style refills don’t have the necessary increase in the refill diameter to keep the refill from protruding too far past the bit. It technically fit in the pen, but I couldn’t screw on the cap because the refill was too long. Still, with this list of compatible refills, you have plenty of color and size options to last a long while.
I’ve really enjoyed using this pen, but there has been one minor niggle that I notice almost every time I use the pen. The piece that threads into the cap is only partially threaded, meaning there are two flat sides that accept the wrench. In theory, this is an efficient and clean solution to the refill replaceability problem. In practice, the pen cap tends to get mis-threaded or stuck when trying to screw it on due to the interrupted threads. As long as you’re careful to screw the cap on evenly and be patient when it does get stuck, it’s not a big deal.
The other thing to consider is that you cannot post the cap with this pen! Since I rarely post the cap on my pens, this isn’t a big deal for me, but it might be a deal-breaker for some.
Overall, I really love the simple and efficient design of the ATELEIA stainless steel pen. It’s great that the pen is compatible with about 7 different popular refills, so you’re not locked down to a single type. The packaging and general aesthetic is nice and adds to the high-quality feel of the product. At $79.00 for the raw aluminum model and $105 for the stainless, it’s a bit on the expensive side, but it’s not too far off from other metal pens offered by other small companies. With the amount of fit and finish, I think the price is fair, especially considering the material (stainless steel in this case). Obviously, the prices vary based on the material you pick, which includes brass and copper as well.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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