Fisher Space Pen - Clutch Review

With the 50th anniversary of the Apollo program this year, we can’t help but think of all things space. (or, at least I can’t…) One element of the space experience was the ability for the astronauts to keep notes while in orbit or heading to the moon, and a key player in this was the Fisher Space Pen by Paul Fisher. Now, throughout the years there were various tools used for writing in space: pencils, grease sticks on slate, felt-tip markers… but one that seems to have stuck is the Fisher.

Due to their reliable, write in any circumstances (even up to 250 degrees…who has THAT job?…), they’ve become a staple in the EDC world as a durable pocket essential.

My personal favorite in the Fisher lineup is the original astronaut pen, the AG7, but I’m always down with trying out a new model.

Pen Chalet was kind enough to send me the Clutch pen by Fisher to review, so special thanks to them!

The traditional “bullet” pen by Fisher is an especially popular EDC, but what if you’re looking for a nice durable click style? While I love the AG7 and it’s all brass construction, it is definitely more of a “dress” pen in my opinion (even though we literally took them to space). I’ve used some of the less expensive Fisher pens like the Space-Tec which has a super cool vintage vibe, but for something a little more sturdy the Clutch may just be the ticket.

The version I received is a matte black anodized aluminum which certainly has some heft, but isn’t too heavy. But, feels like a tank. Weight wise comes in just at 1 oz which is about perfect.

As far as aesthetics, this pen looks pretty cool I think. There is a good amount going on, but it balances out well. The grip section is a hexagonal shape that is slightly larger than the round main barrel. There is also a smaller matching hexagonal piece up near where the clip matches the knock.

Just below the grip there is a light knurling pattern which some texture to grab onto when unscrewing the tip to swap the refill. While writing I actually find the inside of my middle finger rests on this knurled section which creates a really strong hold on the pen.

From first glance I thought the larger hex shape of the grip might be a bit bulky or uncomfortable, but I find that my thumb and index finger quickly and comfortably find their place on one of the large facets. No qualms whatsoever.

If you like a satisfying click, this pen is sure not to disappoint. A good amount of tension, a clear “engagement”, and solid audible click. Again, the mechanism fits the pen and feels extremely sturdy.

The clip is made from bent steel and has a really tight spring. It takes a decent tug to move it from the barrel, but it affixes easily to pockets. Even though it is strong, I could see a possibility of it bending out if it was caught and pulled hard while attached to a thick pocket, but would take a good amount of force.

I have to admit when I first saw this pen it wasn’t really one I was dying to get my hands on, but now that I’ve tried it I’d put it up there in my top 3 Fisher made pens. It is Fisher’s answer to a retractable workhorse of a pen that is sure to take a beating.

Price wise it is a bit on the spendy side for a Fisher retailing for $50 (when you can get a bullet for about $20), but I think the pen fits the price. Pen Chalet even has theirs listed for $40 to save a few bucks.

If I had some bones to pick with the pen it wouldn’t be many, but I do wish that it had a slightly slimmer profile. Doesn’t diminish my new found appreciation for the pen, but would be a “want”. The hexagonal barrel exceeds 1/2” in diameter which makes for a pretty stout writing instrument, but not unwieldy. For who they designed it for I think it is pretty spot on (people working in harsh conditions usually with gloves), but if they made a Clutch S model with a smaller diameter that fit a bit more normal carry circumstances I think it would do well.

Well, there you have it. The Clutch has made it into my top 3 Fisher made pens. I think it filled a void in their lineup that had been missing with a ultra-durable, tactical looking model that outsiders have been filling for awhile. They have had what has been called the Matte Black or Police Pro pens for some time, but didn’t quite fit what the Clutch was solving for.

All-Black Pen and Leather Goods by Ateleia Craft + Design - Special 15% off Promo

When it comes to clean, sleek products, Chris Williams of Ateleia Craft has surprised me recently with his lineup of all-black pens and leather goods. I’ve had one of his black anodized aluminum pens for quite some time, but when I saw his matching sleeve and slim wallet I knew I needed to snag a set.

Certainly beats a lump of coal in my stocking, that’s for sure… Just look at these beauties.

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One thing I love also about Ateleia products is that they are made pretty much in my backyard too. As a fellow Phoenix dweller, I appreciate that Chris manufacturers his goods right here and, knowing him personally as well, he is impeccable with his quality standards.

Special Coupon For 15% Off

Now through Sunday, December 16th, Chris is offering a 15% off discount on anything in his shop using the code CLICKYPOST at checkout. If you’re looking for some last minute EDC gifts for someone (or yourself) this is a great deal on some awesome goods.

Minimal Pen by Modern Fuel - Now on Kickstarter

It feels like time just flies by on The Clicky Post… The reason I say that is because products I feel I just reviewed recently were write ups I did years ago. Each time a maker who’s work I reviewed previously comes out with something new for me to try, there is a little bit of nostalgia it seems when I get to look back on things done previously and how much time has passed.

My favorite thing about looking back at smaller maker’s work is the progress they’ve made in their designs and as small businesses. Many of the brands we like in our little niche community are regular people like you and me, often carving out time from jobs and family to produce things we can enjoy. When you think about it, that’s pretty awesome.

The review today is from a company/maker you may know, Andrew Sanderson of Modern Fuel (and his wife Catherine) who has produced two iterations of a sleek, minimalist mechanical pencil with much popularity. The original design was produced in 2015, and with some graciously taken feedback, a second more durable pencil (with some more intricate bells and whistles) in 2017.

The most interesting aspect of the pencil 2.0 is the fact that Andrew worked to engineer the mechanism from scratch and, with first hand experience in handling it, I found it to be sort of a work of mechanical art.

To make a companion for the pencil, Modern Fuel is back on Kickstarter to gain funding for a matching ink pen and Andrew kindly sent me one of the prototypes to take a look at.

When I used the word “sleek” above, that has been the common theme with the Modern Fuel instruments. From a glance they are very simple, but have a uniform style and appeal that kind of draws you in. They may seem a bit cold or “surgical”, but I actually think that is why people like them. They seem very well made and intentional.

The pen Andrew has produced is no different and is a nearly identical copy in shape and size as its counterpart. The variation is in the knock mechanism where the pencil has a stepped, larger cylinder shape at the top (to be big enough to hold an eraser), where the pen is just a smaller diameter cylinder which I like.

There is some functionality in the pencil’s knock as well since it is where you access the hardware to swap mechanisms so it needed to be hollow. The pen wouldn’t need this feature since the only thing you need to change is the refill inside which is done via a well concealed break in the barrel. If the seam on the final production model of the pen is as good as the prototype, people are going to be very pleased… it is nearly invisible.

The barrel of the pen is nicely machined without any sharp edges or obvious “imperfections”. Being a raw stainless steel barrel, it does have some marks from being used and tested, but nothing from neglect in design or execution.

Compared to others, the pen may come across as a bit on the slim side being less than 3/8”, but the weight of the metal barrel balances it out nicely. Being a pretty full length clicker pen of longer than 5”, the weight of 1.5 oz (stainless steel) gives a nice heft but isn’t overbearing.

One thing of note is that the pens will only be made in somewhat “heavier” metals: brass, copper, stainless steel, and titanium. No lightweight aluminum versions…

As mentioned above, there is a nearly invisible break in the barrel about a quarter of the way up to allow swapping the refill. Andrew designed it to take a Parker style (international G2) which means it can also take refills like the Fisher Space Pen with the adaptor they are sold with.

Also to note, the pen comes standard as clipless, but Andrew does offer one that slips over the barrel.

The final aspect of the review is a bit tricky as it refers to the knock mechanism itself. The pen Andrew sent me truly is a prototype so the mechanism isn’t in its final state yet, but close. That in mind, I can’t really give it a definitive thumbs up or down, but it is designed to be a quiet "click” similar to that of the Schmidt mechanism found on a lot of maker’s pens. But, rather than an off the shelf part Andrew is again setting out to manufacture his own. In my opinion it fits the pen really well in style, length, and tension. Nothing really beats a satisfying “CLICK”, but I think this will suit people fine and with any kinks ironed out it will be great.

Being a more bespoke and small batch type of maker (and with custom mechanisms), the Modern Fuel pen is a bit on the higher price scale starting at $120 and going up from there for titanium. I’m not sure if the prices on Kickstarter are greatly reduced in comparison to to ultimate retail. The pen is beautifully made, and a range of $80 - 150 seems about a sweet spot for it as this is what the competition for pens in this category tend to fetch.

Special thanks to Modern Fuel for sending this by to take a look at and I’m excited to see how the final product rolls out.