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I have, I think, just completed my baby collection of pens etc. with a Retro 1951 rollerball.  Apart from a Kaweco Sport EDC (kept in a Kaweco tin), I have six ‘standard’ fountain pens and six ‘other’ writing instruments, of which 2 are FP demonstrators and one is a semi-retired Sheaffer Prelude FP (gift).




The ‘standard’ side



The ‘non standard’ side



The second group includes a Sheaffer ballpoint, a ‘Kerry’ mechanical pencil and the rollerball.  Here is the rollerball on its own:


The  ‘Tornado by Retro 1951’ “Albert [Einstein]” in all its glory.


My Tornado came from Cult Pens UK and so was very well packaged, arriving in a sealed dedicated cardboard box-cum-stand, with instruction booklet.  I even got a promotional Retro key ring thrown in, along with the trademark Cult Pens sweets!


The pen is all-metal construction and so fairly heavy.  The action to extend and retract the rollerball itself is smooth and consistent, if somewhat heavier than my Sheaffer Prelude ballpoint.  In the hand, it is slightly top-heavy: not an issue for me, but it could be a problem for someone with small hands.  It is tapered to enable comfortable holding, but this is not as well achieved as, once again, the Sheaffer, which is always a pleasure to hold.  By contrast, with the Retro 51, after a period of intensive writing (to test it) I found my hand becoming rather fatigued.  This is not a major issue for me, as I bought it mainly for use on envelopes and in situations where a normal fountain pen might end up smudging - or worse.  Extended writing is not really on the agenda - that’s what my fountain pens are for!


The supplied OEM (Schmidt) rollerball is surprisingly good.  I’m strictly an F or EF sort of person with fountain pen nibs, but this M rollerball was lovely.  Smooth, no skipping* - even with Clairefontaine paper - and no feathering or bleed through to speak of, even on cheap and nasty paper.  I was pleasantly surprised that the ink, once dry, tolerated being wiped with water-soaked tissue paper - there was some greyish smearing but the writing remained perfectly legible.  Overleaf, on the same piece of paper, there was quite a lot of bleed through from the wetting, but that is not surprising.  So, not ‘waterproof’, but certainly ‘water-resistant’ enough for use on envelopes, unless they are going to the Tropics!


From my perspective, this rollerball makes a nice decorative and very practical addition to my modest collection.


* I write with an angle of about 30 degrees, using very little pressure.  Mostly cursive script, but not textbook perfect (i.e. never lifting the pen).  It would seem, from a few experiments, that many variations on these conditions do produce significant skipping on some smooth papers, so Caveat Emptor.


Edited by Peter_H
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