Retro 51 is one of the favorite brands in this community. They have fun, quirky, quality, and accessible (mainly price) products that are beloved by people all along the pen hobby spectrum. One of their pens could easily be the first "nice pen" (mine was!) someone buys, but the seasoned veterans of the hobby keep coming back to them as well.
"Life is too short to carry an Ugly Pen!" Or, in the case of this review, perhaps to even have on your desk!
When you think of Retro 51 our minds quickly go to their flagship product, the Tornado, in all its various editions. But, Retro has a few pieces that live a bit on the fringes, and this Classic Desk Set is one of those such products.
Retro 51 was kind enough to send this set over to me for review, so special thanks to them for providing it.
The first thing that stood out to me was the presentation. It comes in a smartly decorated box (sort of a vintage, Art Deco feel) about the size of a small shoebox. If giving something like this as a gift, they've certainly got you covered!
Nestled into foam slots are all of the components of the desk set: the base, pen, and refill/spring.
The color I requested is the turquoise as I felt it gave off the most vintage vibe of the bunch. The sets also come in black, white, black cherry, and stainless (also a contender). The finish on the metal is clean, shiny, and near perfect. Nothing about it was marked, chipped, overlooked, or left amiss which was nice to see.
The base is about a hefty 10oz which should keep it from flying unexpectedly off the desk or tipping over. One thing that surprised me was that the construction is all metal, even the base pen "holder" and pen components.
Branding on the piece is apparent, but tastefully done on the chromed beauty ring rather than being broadcast on the side in ink/vinyl. I really, really like this element about it as it is a bit more reminiscent of how vintage products tended to be.
The pen takes the popular Schmidt Capless rollerball refill which is found in the Tornado, so writing notes with it was a pleasure. Not super great on glossy paper, but for normal journals and paper it is enjoyable to use and lays down wet, dark lines.
Although the pen is almost 7.5" in length, it is fairly lightweight all things considered and not cumbersome to use. The pen does weigh around 1 oz, so for some people it might be a bit on the heavy side.
The barrel is painted (or enameled?) in the same turquoise color as the base while the grip section is a matte black metal. There is a small chrome beauty ring towards the end which is a nice accent.
For practicality purposes, this set is obviously a stationary stationery (see what I did there?...)... but that is what its designed for. Products like this are so rare nowadays and seemingly unnecessary, but that is what makes it unique and fun. It'll give you something to look forward to when doing monthly bills, or I could easily see one of these at the front desk of a business or office rather than cheap bic stics with fake flowers taped to them so they don't get stolen...
Thanks again to Retro 51 for sending this set for review!