Retro 51 Matte Black

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Wow. That’s all I could say when packaging to the Retro 51. After hemming and hawing for 5 months, I finally pulled the trigger on the Deluxe Matte Black Edition. I proceeded to add it into my school pen rotation for the following month, and I’m happy to report it is now earned a permanent place there. This month with the Retro 51 was enlightening, to say the least. I was always rather biased against rollerballs and how they wrote, due to a horrible experience with one a few years back. It felt near impossible to write with, and I was turned away from rollerballs for the longest time. After all this time, all the reviews and recommendations from fellow pen addicts including my idol Mr. Brad Dowdy himself, I finally decided to pull the trigger on one. Now I’m asking myself why I didn’t do it earlier.

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The first impression anyone will get from the Retro 51 is how gorgeous it is. The problem with matte furniture on any pen is the risk of scratching. One scratch can absolutely ruin the aesthetics. While some tend to embrace them as badges of honor, I find myself thinking that I have ruined a perfect work of art. After a couple of accidents, I found that the finish is almost bulletproof. I dropped it on carpeting, wood, concrete, tile and other surfaces (I can be very clumsy). It still came out smiling and after a quick wipe with my finger, it returned to being as immaculate as when it first arrived.

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Now on to the most important topic that I wanted to talk about. The writing experience was enlightening, as I mentioned before. Why? In a few words: I found rollerballs actually gel pretty nicely with my writing style. Now this came as a huge surprise to me, and I found myself thinking why. Since the time I wrote with that old rollerball, my writing style has drastically evolved. What was an absolute mess to use back then, is pretty comfortable and nice to use now. The refill provided is the Retro branded Schmidt P8127, a 0.7mm rollerball refill. I found the ink flow to be smooth and consistent straight out of the box, and there were virtually no problems to be seen. While I really like this refill, I find myself wanting one slightly smaller than this size. Through a little digging, I found that Schmidt has a another refill, the P8126, which can be used with all Retro 51 pens. After viewing the review put out by Mr. Brad Dowdy, I was drawn towards it. Maybe after I finish the current one (which will be soon at this rate), I will opt for the P8126.

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The knock, which is a trademark of the Retro 51 model lineup looks stunning in black. I initially expected the Retro 51 to be a click pen, but after a bit of research it turned out to be a twist pen. I feel the knock really comes in handy for getting a good grip to twist out the nib. While adding to the overall aesthetic, it manages to be functional as well, which is a difficult balancing act to pull off.

All in all, I am very happy with my decision, and with how solidly this pen is built, I expect it to last a long time. I look forward to adding a couple more to my burgeoning collection.

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