I don’t know if you know, but I get down for orange. I also get down for pens. In fact, I’m a pen fanatic, though I wouldn’t go as far as to call myself a collector. I don’t really go looking for cult items like certain Cross models or super-specific fountain and gel pens only procurable from Japan. But I do like a good pen, and when I find one I like, I tend to hoard them. I also like to group them by color and put the into orange flower pots, but I think that has to do more with my need for order.
While searching for refills for my Fisher Space Pen, I stumbled on another pressurized ballpoint called the Tombow Airpress. So here are few things I learned about the Tombow Airpress before I decided to purchase:
- Like the Fisher Space Pen, it’s used during ultilitarian activities when you just need stuff to work like when you’re out at a pig farm in negative zero degree weather scribbling like mad in a reporter’s notebook and the nib on your Bic Round Stic keeps freezing so you have to run a china marker over the page when you get back to the newsroom in order to reveal the etching left behind from your invisible ink. Pardon my Night City Desk flashback.
- It’s retractible and has a nice spring-loaded clip. Folks who reviewed the Tombow noted how important that was for being able to slip the pen over the cover of a book. I happen to know a good clip is particularly useful for someone like me who always has a pen clipped on her shirt just in case. And I’m not one for keeping up with pen caps, so any kind of lovely retractible functionality is pretty good, too.
- The Airpress comes in a variety of flavors including, you guessed it, orange.
As an added bonus, the pen is available at a lovely site called Jetpens, a San Francisco-based company that makes hard to find Japanese pens, pencils, markers, ink, notebooks (including the orange Rhodia Webnotebook) and organizational items available domestically. And it is a pen lover’s dream. Not only did I find the Airpress, but I also stumbled onto the Zebra Sarasa S+3 gel multi pen, the Pilot Symmetry and the Ohto Tasche Ceramic Rollerball. Yep, they’re all available in orange.
Aside from a wide and constantly evolving selection, Jetpens offers a variety of payment options including Paypal, which was especially helpful for me seeing as though I shredded my debit card like a numbskull during a shredding frenzy. Don’t ask. It’s another story for another day. The company ships out orders ridiculously fast, too. I think I placed my first order on a Sunday and received it by Thursday. I placed a second order on Wednesday and received it by Saturday. The company’s pricing is reasonable, but these pens are by no means cheap. That really doesn’t matter to me though ’cause I’m willing to pay just about anything for a good pen that’s going to be around for a long time.
So enough with the Jetpens brown-nosing. Let’s do a few quick reviews.
Tombow Airpress, $9. When I first ordered this pen, I just knew it was going to be a winner, so I ordered two orange bodies and two refills; one black, the other blue. When I got the pens in the mail, I realized the body was much shorter than I realized and had a hard time adjusting to the grip. For the first day, the ink didn’t consistently come out of the nib and there was a bit of globbing when it did. However, by day two, I couldn’t put it down. Also, Tombow has awesome customer service. I didn’t want to tear up my new Airpress and the agent, who said she’d never been asked that question about this very new model before, was so serious about getting the right information to me that she took down my name and number and actually got back to me. Uh yeah, all other “customer service providers” take note ’cause that’s what’s up.
Pilot Symmetry, $9. The top and bottom of this pen look alike and unfortunately, there’s no clip to denote which is which. Once I was able to figure out which end to click to get the nib to come out, it was all good. Since it’s clipless, this one probably won’t leave the house much. You can personalize the pen by selecting your first initial in the 26-letter ring on the middle of the barrel. The ring doesn’t lock in place, so while personalization is cute, it’s not really functional. The Symmetry writes well with no globbing or skipping and has a pretty nice, cushioned grip.
Ohto Tasche Ceramic Rollerball, $15. This is the kind of pen you break out when you want to be extra fancy. The Ohto has a metal body that fits into the cap when the pen is closed. Speaking of the cap, it was a little tough figuring out how to get it off the first time I used the pen. Writing with it isn’t very comfortable, but that’s because I’m used to a thicker, cushier experience. I could definitely see using this to sign a check or a contract, maybe even journaling, but not much else.
Zebra Sarasa 3+S Color Gel Ink Multi Pen, $9. OK, so this whopper of a gel pen is definitely going to get a lot of use when it comes to editing. It’s got three tabs, one for the black, blue and red cartridges and the clothespin-like clip doubles as a tab for the 0.5 mm pencil cartridge. If I were still in college, I’d never put this thing down. I did feel like a dunce when I wasn’t able to figure out how to coax the lead out of the pencil cartridge, but accidentally clicking the clip down harder than normal while playing with the pen was enough to send some lead spitting out of the nib. I’m not sure how much use I’m going to get out of this pen when it comes to The Orange, my day-to-day notebook that I write/draw/chicken scratch all of my ideas and notes in, especially since I like to highlight things, and gel ink doesn’t really get along with highlighters.
Did I really just write a 1,000-word kirk-out over pens? I seriously need to get out more.