Jump to content


Marioferu

Recommended Posts

I am surprised, after the announce of this iconic American brand, on the lack of reaction from the pen community in this forum. A few days ago, in the Instagram account and their blog, they stated that “will be making some changes and going on a sabbatical”.
Personally, I lament that announce because I sincerely think they have made some of the amazing designs in the industry at a price that is fair affordable. I am holding right now the Cat Paws Retro 51 model, a Ipenstore collaboration that sports a beautiful cat shape clip and has a stunning copper color body etched with little cat paws: my treasure. Also own a similar design, a fountain pen with a bone shaped clip and a similar etched body this time in alpacca-ish color. After this, I’m seriously considering modifying of my buy to list and go for the beautiful Speakeasy, Lincoln, NYC, Bees...

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 49
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • Misfit

    8

  • tamiya

    4

  • Intensity

    4

  • PAKMAN

    3

Top Posters In This Topic

Posted Images

I was suprised too! I have several Retro pens and pencils that I quite like!

PAKMAN

minibanner.gif                                    Vanness-world-final.png.c1b120b90855ce70a8fd70dd342ebc00.png

                                                 My Favorite Pen Restorer                                 My Favorite Brick and Mortar Store

                                                                                                                                Vanness Pens - Now selling Online!

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a link to the Blog:

 

https://retro51blog.com/

PAKMAN

minibanner.gif                                    Vanness-world-final.png.c1b120b90855ce70a8fd70dd342ebc00.png

                                                 My Favorite Pen Restorer                                 My Favorite Brick and Mortar Store

                                                                                                                                Vanness Pens - Now selling Online!

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, heard about this from Fahrney's, my local brick and mortar (along with Bertram's). Sad. I had a tornado rollerball, (unfortunately lost it) in the Lincoln finish, and I have a tornado fountain pen in the brushed chrome finish. I am still sad to see them go.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a link to the Blog:

 

https://retro51blog.com/

Couldn't find a link on their blog site to their main site, had to search externally :( http://www.retro51.com

 

 

 

Sad to hear they're taking a sabbatical &/or retiring... or is it more because they haven't found successors to take over, either by interested family members or venture capitalist investors offerring lots of money or enough staffers to form a management buyout.

 

They won't be the only company in the same limbo, many out there lacking viable succession too... BikeFriday another firm with similarity - if only for Made in USA sentiment. https://www.bikefriday.com

 

 

 

Not too sure what to think of Retro51 products... they're not a FP focussed pen maker afaik. Nothing too super unique about pens using commodity Schmidt nibs.

 

Tornado rollerball seems to be their main focus, fair enough. Lots of cute iterations there, many designs I'd not mind using but downunder they're A$60 each... same price point as a Lamy Safari FP or AlStar ballpoint... they're in a no-mans-land of being Too Expensive to be a Cheap pen.

 

They might've been early to the "Retro" fad but is it all a name? "Fun" & "Not Ugly" seems to be what they also spruik... I guess it could all work together complimentarily some of the time.

 

Other USA companies have started up similar madeup names like Shinola trading on retro nostalgia too... https://www.inc.com/magazine/201604/stacy-perman/shinola-watch-history-manufacturing-heritage-brand.html

 

Good for them but I'm not American :) I appreciate observing Americana but I don't get warm-n-fuzzies by owning anything "Made in USA" just because it's manufactured there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I love their Tornadoes. However, I almost exclusively use fountain pens and the only action my Tornado Breakaway sees is the occasional receipt signing.

I wish they'd based their fountain pens on a better body, and I do hope they come back.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This does make me sad. Yes, I had heard that they were "taking a sabbatical".

 

In truth, it does not surprise me though. I remember when Retro 51 started up. I loved supporting a new venture. Unfortunately, it is an occurrence that is common to me these days since I work in an industry where most of the experienced people are nearing "retirement" (whatever that is).

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours. When it is gone, it is gone. Be wise, but enjoy! - anonymous today

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am surprised, after the announce of this iconic American brand, on the lack of reaction from the pen community in this forum.

 

just a curious Q for OP...must wondering what "reaction" you were expecting.

From sounds of https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/116876-retro-51-warranty-service/ and several other similarly negative feedback around the interwebs...

 

...perhaps previously burnt owners are keeping mumm instead of actively dancing "Rah Rah the Witch is Dead"... most of us are a kinda introverted lot, IMHO.

 

Have been googling around for Retro51 pen reviews, most of them are pretty lacklustre. The most positive one I read praised their nib... a Schmidt nib... which is German? Found bubblier reviews for the Pocky pen... which is a plastic ballpoint that looks derived from an amputated Bic Crystal.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Estycollector

Surely Parker could partner with Wing Sung to produce an upgraded version of the 601.

"Respect science, respect nature, respect all people (s),"

Link to post
Share on other sites

Surely Parker could partner with Wing Sung to produce an upgraded version of the 601.

 

for the record Retro 51 DOES NOT MAKE Parker 51 or WingSung 601 lookalikes :)

 

They are just a homegrown USA company that markets their own line of "not ugly" pens.

Cutesy prints, collaborations with other non pen brands etc etc...

Link to post
Share on other sites

for the record Retro 51 DOES NOT MAKE Parker 51 or WingSung 601 lookalikes :)

 

They are just a homegrown USA company that markets their own line of "not ugly" pens.

Cutesy prints, collaborations with other non pen brands etc etc...

 

To be fair, I think Retro 51 have established a strong reputation for themselves in the US market, but more for their rollerball pens - which helps to explain their lack of prominence on this forum. The hosts of the Pen Addict podcast sing their praises pretty regularly - and picked over the entrails of the announcement fairly thorougly in their most recent episode.

 

I have a Retro 51 fountain pen, designed in collaboration with Massdrop several years ago - it was (and still is) a pretty decent pen. Its one downside (not that this bothered me) is that the grip section is made of a fairly nondescript black plastic that fails to inspire or excite. The Schmidt B nib I ordered was a pretty fantastic writer, though.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Apollo 11 pen was pretty great!

PAKMAN

minibanner.gif                                    Vanness-world-final.png.c1b120b90855ce70a8fd70dd342ebc00.png

                                                 My Favorite Pen Restorer                                 My Favorite Brick and Mortar Store

                                                                                                                                Vanness Pens - Now selling Online!

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I was expecting them to disappear over time as effectively they are a one trick pony, but they've shown good business sense and quit while still ahead or just starting to drop.

 

Problem Retro 51 has is they are known for their limited edition ballpoints/roller balls, which are bought up as soon as they come out. However all high energy collector markets are short term and things were always going to slow down. We joke about buying pens like they are pokemon (got to catch them all ..) but the reality is over time we (or most of us anyhow) slow down then stop, and presumably this has started to happen with their pens. It would not surprise me if they've gone from distributors/retailers asking for more, to the additional requests not happening, to feedback from shops of unsold pens to shops not re-ordering.

 

I know some one is going to say 'but they also produce a fountain pen' - the lack of discussion about it on places like here shows just how unsuccessful that has been.

 

My 2p, and yes I know some people are not going to like what I said.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a Retro 51 fountain pen, designed in collaboration with Massdrop several years ago - it was (and still is) a pretty decent pen. Its one downside (not that this bothered me) is that the grip section is made of a fairly nondescript black plastic that fails to inspire or excite. The Schmidt B nib I ordered was a pretty fantastic writer, though.

Good/meh news :) WAD says they've recently changed the FP's section to rubberised contour grip; and the nib to a Jowo.

 

https://www.wellappointeddesk.com/2019/04/fountain-pen-review-retro-51-tornado-fountain/

 

 

 

btw where are Retro51 pens made?

 

Think I've been confusing them with others on the Made In USA gravyboat; now I don't see any of that USA claim on their website.

 

Do they do any manufacturing of their own or is everything contracted out?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Estycollector

for the record Retro 51 DOES NOT MAKE Parker 51 or WingSung 601 lookalikes :)

 

They are just a homegrown USA company that markets their own line of "not ugly" pens.

Cutesy prints, collaborations with other non pen brands etc etc...

 

I feel like an idiot. Thank you for explaining.

"Respect science, respect nature, respect all people (s),"

Link to post
Share on other sites

I will miss them if they don’t get a buyer. They do have some standard fountain pen offerings. For awhile I refused to buy any pen that was not a fountain pen. I missed out on the Lift Off popper as a result. That stopped with Dinosauria.

 

I was so happy when they came out with a stub nib last year. I had hopes of seeing more fountain pens with that option.

 

I subscribe to get emails from The Well Appointed Desk blog, and saw a link to the Retro 51 blog. I posted there yesterday. I’ll have to pick up a stub nib unit at the Pen Place at next pen club

Posted Image
Link to post
Share on other sites

Im sad, Ive recently become a fan of their rollerball pens, was looking forward to more special editions to catch my eye. Its possible their multitude of special editions was not a profitable venture, since older editions possibly had to be discounted by vendors. I treasure my Buzz rescue roller and alloy The System roller, both fitted with Zebra Sarasa gel refills.

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Announcements


×
×
  • Create New...