The Wingback Mechanical Pen recently launched on Kickstarter, and I was able to take a look at an early prototype thanks to the project creator. With it in tow for the past couple of weeks, I have to say I am impressed with the build quality of the Wingback. There are many checks in the pros column, but a few in the cons as well. Let’s break it all down.
As I mentioned, the construction of this pen is spot-on. Mine has an all-brass barrel (stainless steel is a campaign option) and feels great in the hand. The tolerances are tight, and the twist mechanism to extend and retract the refill is smooth - with a nice added “thunk” at the termination of each direction. I fidget with this constantly. The mechanism should be nice, as it was designed specifically for this pen.
The barrel length of the Wingback is my favorite part of this pen. At 4.63 inches, it falls around a half-inch short of most standard pens. Now, “standard” is not an official measurement, but you know it when you see it and feel it. This pen is shorter than most, but provides a full-sized writing experience. I’m a big fan of shorter pens, so of course I appreciate this about the Wingback.
On the downside, I think the knurling is a little too aggressive. And I say this as a fan of knurling. If it were able to be measured, I’d put it on a scale of 8 out of 10, if 1 were a smooth pen and 10 were the Alvin Draftmatic mechanical pencil. The Rotring 600 mechanical pencil falls somewhere around a 3. With my normal grip, my front two finger pads sit on top of the knurling, and the side of my middle finger sits across the back. That’s the part that tires the most from the grip knurling when writing. I do like the knurling on the twist mechanism.
Some users may have an issue with the refill as well. The Wingback is built around the Fisher Space Pen refill (minus the plastic Parker extension) and only the Fisher Space Pen refill. That’s not a problem for me, as I like the fine blue ballpoint refill. It ships with the medium black refill, which is a bit too messy for me (as you can see in my writing sample below.)
Finally, let’s talk price. At approximately $90 during the campaign ($120 after,) it is fairly priced for the quality of the product. There are additional upgrades, such as inscriptions and artist models, which add on the the price.
I like the Wingback enough that I have backed the stainless steel model for myself, and paid for an added inscription. If you read the caveats and find that this pen meets your criteria for ownership and use, I think you will be happy with backing this campaign. I know I’ve been happy using it so far.
(Wingback provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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