Many mechanical pencil fans are familiar with the Graph Gear line; weighty, grippy, and sturdy workhorses, but not many people know a pen exists in the line.
Well, this piqued my interest and I started looking into where these pens could be found and stumbled upon some 0.7mm Graph Gear pens on Cult Pens. I was intrigued and ended up ordering two (as Brad said he wanted one when he found out...). I've been sitting on this pen for nearly 6 months now and can admit I haven't used it much, but thought it was a good time for a review.
The pen feels super sturdy as the grip (short the little rubber parts), barrel, and nock are all metal. I'm digging all that. The finish on the barrel is a matte silver, but the clip is a shiny chrome. The clip is just pressed metal, but feels solid enough.
One thing I really like about this pen is the nock mechanism. It is a click style pen, but the nock depresses with a really good "click" and locks into place. To release the tip it is of the variety that you squeeze the clip and it automatically snaps the nock back into the upright position. Kind of like the button on the Fisher AG7 or CH4 astronaut pens. This is a feature that you'll get loads of fun out of and probably annoy people around you (as the "click" is pretty substantial).
Now for the refill; well... it's ok I guess. Actually, it is pretty good and lays down a fine line. Brad prefers the 0.5mm and let me know he was able to order some refills through JetPens. I think that these pens really have been discontinued by Pentel, but there seems to be some NOS of both the pens and refills floating around in various places.
Regarding the writing experience, even though the nock locks into place, the tip of the pen has a considerable rattle while writing. It is noticeably audible which might drive many people nuts. I can tolerate it, but it really is pretty bad.
As you know, I've got a rOtring obsession and am pretty crazy about the knurled 600 models. I love knurling on pens. The grip of the Graph Gear is a blend of knurling and little rubber nubs placed in rows of four surrounding the barrel. With extended writing I've found the knurling on the Graph Gear to be somewhat sharp. I usually don't notice this with other knurled pens, but this one makes the inside of my middle finger hurt a bit while writing. This obviously isn't a great selling point, but I wouldn't really consider this pen to be in the long period writing category of purpose. It is more of a technical instrument for drawing lines and for making quick and precise notes.
Pros: solid build, metal barrel, good and precise refill
Cons: Audible movement of the tip, "prickly" knurling
Do I think the Graph Gear is a bad pen? Not at all. Probably won't be one I'll use terribly often, but it will find its way out and about from time to time.