I recently received my Kickstarter reward from the BIGiDESIGN guys for their new Ti-Click pen project. If you recall their previous project, The Solid Titanium Pen + Stylus (whew), it was a big success and was kind of a pioneer pen that claimed to take A LOT of your favorite pen refills. Pilot G2? Yep. Montblanc Rollerball? Yep. The Ti-Click follows along that same thread, but in a retractable form which seemed pretty cool so I backed the project.
They had a lot of different naming structures for their pens based on length and whether it had a stylus or not, but I won't go into trying to explain all of that. The difference is that the shorter pen takes Parker style refills while the longer takes more of your gels, rollerballs, etc. I opted for the longer version without stylus called the "Ti-Click Classic" and decided on the stretch goal "raw titanium" finish. Originally, I had my sights set on the chrome edition as it looks awesome, but ultimately decided on the complete opposite with a matte, non-shiny finish... in retrospect that decision is rather amusing if you think about it.
Aesthetically, the pen looks awesome. It has a very precision look to it and is sure to be a pen that your friends will want to look at (or maybe steal, so be careful...)
The raw titanium finish I'm actually quite pleased with. It is a very industrial finish with almost a grey/olive color which is pretty neat. It appears to be bead blasted which adds some texture to the pen and with the matte finish I'd imagine it would hold up well. The chrome would have eventually scratched a bit, but we'll see how this works out over time.
The pen is lighter than I expected. It is definitely not as weighty as it's predecessor which I guess is kind of disappointing to me? Not that the pen feels bad, but being "titanium" and having an expectation that it would follow suit with it's capped cousin, the lighter feel of the pen wasn't quite what I expected. The barrel pieces feel much thinner than the capped version too almost like it has a titanium skin rather than being a big hunk of metal. I like the super solid feel of the capped pen from BIGiDESIGN.
I haven't gone through a complete list of the refills to try them out, but the ones I have fit well. I've used the Pilot G2, Uniball Signo 207, and the Montblanc rollerball. Removing the tip section is pretty easy and smooth and the added o-ring provides some tension to keep it from unscrewing with consistent use. The last thread when screwing it together takes a bit of extra pressure to twist.
Using really inky refills like the Montblanc rollerball gave me trouble as it would in any retractable pen as it isn't really intended for it. I ended up with a big blue stain in my pocket as that refill, although it fits, is not really meant to be stored upside down with the tip open and exposed. Learn from my mistakes! Or just proceed with caution when you choose a refill like that. Any normal retractable refill should be ok in theory as the companies develop the inks and refills to function in that way already.
I enjoy the design element of the grip section. There is something weird about me that I really like metal pens that have some very defined grooves machined into the barrel for either aesthetic or function. Their choice of the three lines in the barrel at the break point was well done.
The retractable mechanism works well and feels pretty good. The nock isn't overly stiff but has a solid feeling click when depressed. Now, the internals of the clicker are plastic which takes away some of the weight that I was referring to earlier (or lack thereof). I know lots of pens use a plastic clicker, but if I had some super high hopes and could have anything I wanted, I wouldn't really like the plastic bits for THIS pen. Again, some of this is based on my previous experiences with the capped pen that is heavy, sturdy, and all metal. My hopes are that this pen will last forever being titanium and all, but with the plastic pieces I just hope that it doesn't run into problems (i.e. "breaks") in the future that will make me discard the pen. I know I keep referring to the first pen, but that thing could probably survive a nuclear blast...
Something interesting is that the nock comes off with a threaded section. In an update the guys made in October before they finished production, they said they did this so that you could easily fix the clip if it gets bent. Design wise, no offense to the guys, this definitely seemed to be a modification done after the remainder of the pen was designed and perhaps could have come together a little better. When you unscrew the nock there are only a few threads which when putting it back together doesn't feel like it is overly secure. Understandably, with the mechanism it likely left them with little space to play with for threads as an after-the-fact adjustment, but just isn't incredibly comforting.
I'm sure it sounds like I'm tearing this pen apart at times! That really isn't my intention, but I guess my own personal expectations were a bit higher than what I feel was delivered in my opinion. It is a great pen, don't get me wrong and I'm very pleased to own it, but I don't know if I'd say it lives up completely to it's predecessor. Even with all of the analyzing of the pen, I know I'll enjoy using this pen and I have thus far, but I don't feel my socks were sufficiently "nocked" off as perhaps I had thought they would be.
Would I recommend this pen for purchase in spite of some of my critiques? You bet.