The Mark One pen is the latest design from Kickstarter gurus Studio Neat. Dan Provost and Tom Gerhardt, the team behind Studio Neat, are friends of mine, and I’ve been lucky to see behind the curtain since this project was just a thought in their heads. And I’m thrilled with the final result.
After the success of their previous project, the Panobook, Dan and Tom rolled right into designing the perfect pen to match an already great notebook.
Starting with the Schmidt P8126 - the refill that knocked the Pilot Hi-Tec-C off the Kickstarter pen charts - Studio Neat built an aluminum barrel along the lines of their first Kickstarter project, the Cosmonaut. You can definitely tell these products are related. Where the Cosmonaut had a rubber coated barrel for all of your stylus needs, the Mark One has a Cerakote finish.
Not familiar with Cerakote? It acts like a paint, but the shell is extremely hard and has a satin/matte finish. I have one pen with a Cerakote finish and I love it, but it is not an easy process to get right. Studio Neat got it right with both the black and white finishes on the Mark One.
Aside from the coating, the click mechanism was custom designed to fit this pen. It was originally designed around the Schmidt mechanism, but Dan and Tom are never satisfied and set out to build their own. The result is a rock solid knock with great feedback. You know when this pen is engaged.
To me, the only question readers of this site might have is why? Why do I need another Kickstarter pen? Why do I need another Schmidt P8126 barrel? The answer is you don’t. None of us do. At $50, this pen is a great price. I’d pay $80 for it easily. You can buy a Retro for 51 with the same refill for half the price and get an amazing pen and writing experience and be set for years without owning a Mark One.
But there is something about supporting small makers who make cool stuff that makes me happy. That doesn’t mean I’ll blindly support every project put in front of my eyes - the value still has to be there, for example - but when it’s right, it’s right, and I’m happy to back a project like the Mark One.
Studio Neat has blown away every goal of this project so far, and with over $120,000 in backing at the time of this writing, there is no end in sight. You can see what the fuss is all about over on the Mark One Kickstarter page.
(Disclosure: Dan Provost and Tom Gerhardt are friends of mine. I’ve received several prototypes of the Mark One over the past six months to test and provide feedback on, including the model in this review, at no charge. I’ve backed this project with my own funds and will be choosing the white barrel.)
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