Inventery Pocket Fountain Pen Review

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Inventery’s Pocket Fountain Pen is a sleek and stylish modular pen that can be customized with a variety of caps and tips. At first glance, there’s a lot to love about this little beauty. The slim design has a smaller footprint than the Kaweco Sport, yet the sturdy brass body gives the pen a nice heft.

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The pen extends to full size by posting the threaded cap, and the cap posts and caps securely. I have large hands, and the posted pen rests comfortably in the web of my fingers.

 Pocket Fountain Pen with optional extender (top), Lamy 2000 (middle), Pocket Fountain Pen without optional extender (bottom).

Pocket Fountain Pen with optional extender (top), Lamy 2000 (middle), Pocket Fountain Pen without optional extender (bottom).

Attention to detail is key in taking on the established fountain pen brands and Inventery delivers. The body finishes and coatings are flawless, and the modular components screw smoothly into place and hold together firmly. The pen clip even aligns perfectly with the nib when posted.

I have to take a moment to point out the pen’s modular cap system. It comes with four interchangeable cap tips: clip, keychain loop, stylus, and clip-less. My favorite tip is the simple clip-less, which gives the pen a stunning minimalist look. It’s simply one of the sleekest looking pocket fountain pens that I’ve ever seen.

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Speaking of clips, Inventery’s Pocket Fountain Pen clip is sturdy, although there’s an intentional gap between the clip and the cap body. I like the appearance, but it certainly won’t hold the pen in place like some of the tighter clips on the market. Personally, I have no problem carrying the little guy in my pocket without the clip attachment. Since it caps so securely and looks stunning without the clip, I find it worth the risk and have had zero issues.

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Okay, okay—design is great, but how about the nib? The pen comes with a Schmidt Iridium tipped nib (more geeky info on “Iridium tips” here). Overall, the nib is adequate, with a nice amount of flex for a steel nib, but some scratchiness on side strokes. Although the nib isn’t quite as special as the pen itself, it works well, and its few idiosyncrasies shouldn’t scare you away. Yes, a gold nib would be nicer, but I’d also feel much less comfortable carrying around a gold-nibbed pen loose in my pocket. Steel nibs are just so inexpensive to replace.

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I have to admit, the ballpoint tip sat in the pen box for several days. I tend to use fountain pens by default, but I swapped out the fountain pen tip for the ballpoint tip and was pleasantly surprised. It’s also a consistent writer and sits in the middle of wet and dry. When I’m not writing with a fountain pen, I’m writing with a Retro 51. This tip isn’t quite as nice as a Retro 51 Easy Flow refill, but for a pen that offers so much versatility, it writes nicely. The fact that the pen comes with both fountain pen and ballpoint tips makes it an easy recommendation for someone wanting to dip their toe into the fountain pen world.

 Even the packaging is stunning (shown with optional metal extender).

Even the packaging is stunning (shown with optional metal extender).

All in all, the folks at Inventery have produced an extremely well-designed and customizable pocket pen that clearly succeeds in its attempt to be both sleek and functional. The price point is the only detail that gives me pause; however, I think that it’s a fair price when considering all of the included customizable components, excellent design, and the overall obsessive level of manufacturing quality. It even comes with nine ink cartridges to get you started. The nib is nothing to write home about, but the pen makes up for the standard nib in almost every other aspect of its design.

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The Inventery Pocket Fountain Pen is available in three styles: onyx, brass, and brushed chrome, and all three finishes are stunners. There’s also an optional pen extender, which extends the length of the pens body by a cap-length or so, but I personally found it unnecessary, especially for $30. For full details on the Inventery Pocket Fountain Pen, check out the product page.

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The Inventery Pocket Fountain Pen was provided free of charge for the purposes of this review.


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Ebook Giveaway

Hi Friends,

I have some exciting news. I'm giving away 100 advance ebook copies of my debut novel, The Dreadful Objects, over at Goodreads. You can enter on this page or sign up through the widget below. Entering the giveaway also helps me to get the word out about the book, so I'd greatly appreciate it if you signed up!

Thanks for reading. You may now return to your normally scheduled pen blog programming.

Chris

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Dreadful Objects by Chris     Cooper

The Dreadful Objects

by Chris Cooper

Giveaway ends July 23, 2018.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

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Retro 51 Tornado Dr. Gray Pen Review

I have to admit that I’ve avoided the Retro 51 Tornados for years. They always seemed overpriced, gimmicky, and large to me. During an occupational pilgrimage to Apple in California, I stopped by the Apple Store on campus and couldn’t resist the Apple edition of the Retro 51 Tornado Slim. The pen was made with the same finish as the MacBook Pro’s at the time, and the slim design was much more comfortable to hold than its thicker counterparts.

 Goodbye, my sweet prince.

Goodbye, my sweet prince.

I loved the pen, using it daily for a year or two, until it mysteriously vanished (ok, I likely left it somewhere). I was heartbroken and immediately began searching for a replacement.

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I wasn’t thrilled with the limited choices in the Tornado Slim line, so I decided to give the full-sized pens a try. I stumbled upon the Retro 51 Torando Dr. Gray, a part of the Vintage Metalsmith line. While its stonewashed metal trim gives it a beautiful antique finish, the real star of the show is the pen’s barrel. A representation of the skeletal system, complete with labels, wraps around the white barrel. Dr. Gray references the well-known Henry Gray, author of the Gray’s Anatomy textbook (and yes, the show Grey’s Anatomy also references that actual Dr. Gray). The barrel also glows in the dark, and the effect is pretty slick when combined with the intricate skeletal system.

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The Retro 51 Tornado uses a twist mechanism to expose the pen tip. The knurled design provides a grippy surface to twist, and the design visibly sets the Retro 51s apart from other pens. The writing experience is superb and, although I’m not an expert on rollerball or ballpoint pens, the Tornado refills are easily the best that I’ve ever used.

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If there’s one complaint that I have with the pen, it’s that it comes with the rollerball refill - REF5P-B. Although it’s a great refill, I much prefer the Easy Flow 9000 ballpoint refill - REF71-B, but it’s very easy to swap them. There’s just something about the ballpoint refill that ticks all of the right boxes for me and makes me miss my long lost Apple Tornado Slim. That said, the rollerball refill is still incredibly smooth but it tends to be a bit wetter and scratchier—counterintuitive, I know—than the Easy Flow 9000.

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The Retro 51 Torando Dr. Gray is my favorite non-fountain pen, and it’s easily the most-used pen in my pen case. Even when I don’t have my case with me, Dr. Gray is always in my pocket or on my desk. The design is whimsical, and the pen itself is incredibly sturdy and a consistent writer. Unfortunately, as of this writing, it looks like the Vintage Metalsmith Tornados are in short supply. Both Pen Chalet and Amazon have them in stock, but I’m not sure for how much longer. I wanted to post this review before they go out of stock, so if you’re at all interested, take a look soon!

Retro 51 Tornado Dr Gray Handwritten Review.jpg

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Baron Fig Confidant Flagship Notebook Review

A fountain pen is only as good as the paper with which it's used, and if you've ever used one with run-of-the-mill looseleaf, you know exactly what I mean.

The Baron Fig Confidant is one of the most well known premium notebooks on the market, and it's likely because its performance matches the name. The notebook is well designed and functions beautifully as a primary notebook, in many situations. Its paper comes in several types, but I always choose the dot grid design, which is a nice compromise between blank and lined pages. The dots are a subtle gray and fade away when not in use, figuratively that is. I should note that my primary notebook for the last year has been an A5 Leuchtturm1917 hardcover, so this is what I'll use for comparison.

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At first glance, the Baron Fig Confidant Flagship is a stunner. The linen hardcover has a great feel, and I much prefer it to the Leuchtturm1917's cover. Speaking of covers, Leuchtturm overs a ton of different color cover options. Although Baron Fig recently expanded its color offerings, they are not nearly as extensive as the colors available for the Leuchtturm1917. Although the color options for the Confidant are limited, I love the light grey cover and yellow bookmark combination. It really is a fantastic looking notebook. I've carried the Confidant around in my bag for weeks now, and it has also held up pretty well. I notice that the Confidant also has a slightly thicker cover than the Leuchtturm1917, making it a bit sturdier.

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The Confidant comes with a single fabric bookmark, which makes me miss the two-bookmark design of the Leuchtturm1917 notebook. That said, the Confidant's bookmark is wider and feels less flimsy overall. Another aspect of the Leuchtturm1917 that I miss immediately is the elastic band that holds the notebook closed. This feature is relatively common, and its omission in the Confidant is an unfortunate one. I tend to throw my notebook in my bag, and the elastic band ensures that it won't come open, spilling any business cards that I've stuck inside or damaging the interior paper on other objects in the bag. This is made somewhat worse by the fact that the Confidant doesn't have an interior pocket either. Sometimes I like to carry a notebook on its own, and it's helpful to have a little pocket or elastic band to hold bits and bobs in place.

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I have to admit, I don't really get the whole lay-flat design with the Confidant. For those unfamiliar, Baron Fig claims that its notebooks are designed to lay flat on a a flat surface. That's great in theory, and they do, but it's not necessarily a novel concept. The Leuchtturm1917 lays flat too, and I don't see any difference between the two notebooks.

 Ooooh, everybody loves some good quantitative research. Confidant (left) and Leuchtturm1917 (right).

Ooooh, everybody loves some good quantitative research. Confidant (left) and Leuchtturm1917 (right).

In my brief (and very unscientific) test of the Confidant's fountain pen performance, it performed moderately well, but not nearly as well as the Leuchtturm1917. I notice more feathering (spreading out of ink) with juicer nibs on the Confidant, but this would be less of an issue with finer nibs. When comparing the Baron Fig Confidant with the Leuchtturm1917, the Confidant dries faster, but the 1917 has less feathering. I also experienced a bleed-through issue with the Confidant and juicier nibs, which is sort of a deal breaker for me, since I always use both sides of a page and rely on my TWSBI 580 as a daily driver. The ink is also more vibrant on the Leuchtturm1917 page when it dries. Don't believe me? Take a look below.

 Leuchtturm1917 in back (top) and Confidant in front (bottom). Notice the feathering in the Confidant?

Leuchtturm1917 in back (top) and Confidant in front (bottom). Notice the feathering in the Confidant?

It may seem like I dislike the Confidant from some of my comments, but that's not the case at all. This is a killer desk notebook for non fountain pen users. I could see myself buying the larger version to keep next to my computer or as a commonplace book, but it doesn't really fit my needs as a traveling companion. I'd love to be able to keep a few business cards tucked away in it, but there are no pockets nor an elastic band to hold things in place. If you carry your notebook in a backpack or bag pocket by itself, this probably won't be much of an issue, but it just doesn't work well in my bag full of random office supplies and teaching materials. For now, I'll stick with the Leuchtturm1917 as my notebook on the go, but the Baron Fig Confidant is still a solid performer that's worth a look.


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Pilot Metropolitan Animal Print Fountain Pen Review

It's hard to believe that it's been more than two years since I published my original review of the Pilot Metropolitan. The pen regularly makes the short list of recommended starter pens and is one of the few fountain pens that you'll find in non-specialty stores. I thought that it would be fun to revisit the Metropolitan, and what better way to do it than with the Animal Print edition?

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The Metropolitan doesn't feel like an inexpensive pen. Its metal body provides a nice heft, and the cigar-shaped sleek design really is stunning to look at. The clip has some give but still grips material firmly, so you won't have to worry about the pen sliding around or coming loose in a bag or pocket.

Compared to pens like the Lamy Safari or Pilot Kakuno, the Metropolitan has an understated design that will fit right into an office environment. In my original review, I mentioned that the pen was a bit boring on the surface, and the Animal Print edition, although a step up in flare, still holds true to this. Compared to my black Metropolitan though, the Gold Lizard is a nice change of pace. I actually didn't realize that the pen was gold until looking at the product details. It seems to be a gold/silver blend, of which I'm a huge fan. If you're looking for a more colorful version of the Metropolitan, there's also the Retro Pop edition.

 Nope, the pens aren't different sizes. It's just the photo perspective.

Nope, the pens aren't different sizes. It's just the photo perspective.

The Metropolitan has my favorite clip cap of all the entry level pens that I've encountered. The cap seems almost magnetic when it clicks into place, and I would feel comfortable carrying the pen loose in my pocket, with no fear of leaks. It also posts nicely, with just a little bit of friction to lock the cap into place.

The Pilot Metropolitan's grip is made of smooth plastic and tapers towards the nib of the pen. Personally, I prefer the shaped grip of the Lamy Safari, or Lamy Vista, which reduces my hand fatigue during longer writing sessions, but the Metropolitan's thin grip still works nicely.

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The nib is one of the Pilot Metropolitan's best features. Sometimes inexpensive fountain pen nibs can be scratchy or suffer from skips or hard starts, but this isn't the case with the Metropolitan. The ink flows steadily for long periods of time, and the nib is very smooth for its price point.

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For $15 or so, the Pilot Metropolitan offers a fantastic experience for those looking for a starter fountain pen, and the Animal Print edition adds a creative touch to the pen's classic design. It comes with everything you need to get started, including both an ink cartridge and a converter for bottled inks. The squeeze converter is less efficient than twist converters that come with pens like the Lamy Safari, but it still gets the job done.

Will the Animal Print edition change your mind about the Pilot Metropolitan? Probably not, but it's still a damn fine pen for the price.

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This pen was provided at no cost by For My Desk, for the purposes of this review. If you're interest in the Pilot Metropolitan Animal Print Fountain Pen, check it out on their site!


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