Baron Fig Squire - Mysterium Edition

Baron Fig seems to be on a pretty strong rollout schedule recently as they've been pushing out new pen products at a fast pace!

I recently reviewed their new, heavier, stainless steel version of the Squire (which I really enjoyed), but since then they've released two others: the Squire Click and the limited edition Mysterium Squire (which I'll be taking a look at today).

That is a pretty aggressive release calendar which might be tough for people to keep up with!

Baron Fig was kind enough to send me one of their newest limited editions, Mysterium, so special thanks to them for providing it.

Mysterium pays homage to what lies beyond our world; are we alone? To expound upon this, Baron Fig paired up with Harry Marks to write a short story which can be read at their site...  

As I've reviewed several of Baron Fig's Squire pens now, I'm noticing a couple of things: they don't change the design of the pens too much with the editions (color and "logo" only usually), but they are storytellers and tend to do things that they can try to create an atmosphere around. 

With Mysterium they took their aluminum version of the Squire and coated it in a bright orange anodize which is sure to stand out in a sea of dull pens. Their emblem/logo with this edition is a geometric pattern that coincides with their story mentioned above.

It is a sharp looking pen that doesn't disappoint in the aesthetics department.

As I've mentioned in previous reviews I really enjoy the teardrop shape of the Squire. It is easy to hold, the weight is shifted down which is nice for writing, and the size makes it one of the more comfortable pens I've used. It takes the Schmidt P8126 rollerball which is one of today's most popular liquid ink refills for machined/metal pens.

From a fit and finish standpoint I've noticed a few "imperfections" that weren't as apparent in previous models. Nothing too major, but on the knock I noticed hairline, vertical scratches perfectly spaced at three points (think triangle) that are no doubt created as the machine is gripping the parts during manufacturing. In editions that have a dark coating these are likely more invisible, but the orange seems to bring them out. 

Pretty much ALL metal pens have small machining marks with varying levels of noticeability, so I don't call that out to pick on Baron Fig, but was something I noticed that could bother some folks. For most people? Probably wouldn't even pay attention to it.

I really, really like this edition, but the more I think of it one thing I'd like to see from Baron Fig is a little more when it comes to the special editions. I really appreciate the creative storytelling ambiance they try to pair with their pens, but adjusting outside colors only is bound to go a bit stale over time, particularly with a high release frequency. 

One that really knocked our socks off recently was the Lock and Key edition since it was made from brass, a first dabble into new materials. I don't expect them to go nuts and use new materials every time, but potentially working with varying textures or laser engraved patterns over more of the pen's surface could help I think. 

Regardless of the above, I think Baron Fig is working hard to try and put out new, fresh colors and editions to appeal to different groups which I can appreciate. Anyone that loves the look of this pen won't be disappointed.

These limited runs seem to go pretty quick so if the orange is calling to you might be a good idea to snag one. Special thanks again to Baron Fig for sending Mysterium to check out!

Special Coupon: If you were looking into getting something from Baron Fig, you can save $10 off with a coupon from my referral link. This isn't a sponsorship link, but can help me to purchase more goods for review or to be given away from the folks at Baron Fig. 

Summer Pen Sale

Once or twice a year I'll go through my collection and do some "thinning". It seems I did A LOT of thinning so there is a wide variety listed this time.

Check out what's available under the Pen Sale tab at the top of the page.

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As always, please let me know if you have any questions about the pens that are listed!

- Mike

Montblanc M Ultra Black Ballpoint

I acquired this pen going on almost 6 months ago from Appelboom, but have yet to give it any exposure or fanfare... timing, right?

It has now been over two years since my first review of the Montblanc M series, at that time the fountain pen version. In a way I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with the "M", but ultimately the design has won out on me. When I saw that Montblanc would be releasing an alternate Ultra Black lineup of the pen I knew I'd likely be picking one up at some point... but, not a fountain pen.

Montblanc is one of those brands that "pen people" seem to either adore or despise. Traditionally highly priced and seen often as a status symbol, it is understandable how it might come with some strong opinions.

I feel a bit in between as I know that the pens are highly priced (and really well marketed apparently), but feel like they are just one of those things that I knew I didn't need but would likely end up buying considering the Montblanc name and heritage. Nobody "needs" even a $10 pen when a $0.25 pen will suffice, but that isn't really why we do what we do in this community, right?

The original M series came in a glossy, piano black barrel; very fancy and posh. What you'd expect from a Montblanc I think.

For the Ultra Black series they took the lovely resin and sand blasted it to a matte texture and incorporated elements of bright orange color into the components of the pen which is a stark contrast. It certainly took the M on a more edgy ride for sure, but it is what I think I liked about it. It is definitely still "business", but with some attitude. If you know me personally, this pen is about as far from how I show up in real life, but perhaps that is what makes it fun.

For round two with the M I opted to purchase the ballpoint version as something I could use in more circumstances. If you've noticed over the last couple of years that fountain pens have shown up less and less in reviews it is due to how I write nowadays. I still love fountain pens, but don't use them as daily writers as often so for my personal purchases I find that I am not getting as many.

Although I did recently buy a Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black fountain pen I've been coveting for years... (dang you Ed Jelley and Gentleman Stationer... check out their reviews)

One of the features that makes the M unique is its magnetic cap system. No threads or pop on experience; just put the cap onto the section and it snaps into place. It also magnetically holds onto the end of the pen while posting which is neat.

On the original fountain pen I reviewed I found the alignment that the magnet created with the clip and flat cutout section seemed to be a bit more precise. The Ultra Black clip sways a little to the left which does drive me a bit nuts. This is no doubt something I can get adjusted within the cap, but have yet to take action on it.

The Montblanc ballpoint refill is probably one of the better ones I've used as it is smooth and pretty inky, but it is a ballpoint experience for sure. Comparing to a Jetstream, InkJoy, or other more specialty refills it may not be that strong of a comparison, but it is still enjoyable. Although, I've been super tempted to try one of these 3D printed adapters which would allow for a D1 to be swapped in... if I do, I'll report back.

While writing the tip doesn't move at all which, for me, makes up much of any rollerball or ballpoint experience.

The section is metal and finished in an ionized, titanium nitride type plating that gives it a dark grey, almost-black type of appearance which goes nicely with the aesthetic.

The grip is made up of about 40 tightly machined rings that are toothy, but not sharp in my opinion. 

In my previous review of the fountain pen I mention that there is a sharp step from the barrel to the grip which for many people I'd imagine would be uncomfortable. With how I hold pens in a traditional "triangle" grip the only place the step even touches my hand is right at the end of my thumb, and in a more subtle way. In short: not an issue for me, but probably will be with some folks. If this pen is interesting to you it may be one to try and see in person if possible before buying.

As mentioned above, one thing they've done is replaced the normal, metal grip threading components with bright orange plastic. I love the look of this. The switch in material does adjust the weighting slightly, but it does look pretty cool. One of those unnecessary things, but takes things a bit out of the more conservative class.

Although the Ultra Black is meant to be less polished, this hasn't given me free range to toss it in my pocket or bag. It is super odd I'm sure, but even with my all metal, BEGGING to be beat up pens, I really don't. I certainly use my pens and carry one (or some) daily, but have never been the type to let them see wear and tear that I considered preventable. I probably need to live a little more...

My experience with Appelboom was wonderful (I will note that they are a site sponsor) and I received the pen well packaged coming from the Netherlands AND gift wrapped. This isn't something they just did for me, but do it on all of their shipments. I have found that Appelboom tends to carry some models that aren't easily found in the states so I'd definitely give them a look.

Is the M a pen I could see myelf recommending to most people? Probably not one of my first thoughts at all, but if someone is looking for an interesting "fancy" pen, I wouldn't put this one out of the lineup.