I first want to thank the guys over at Pen Chalet for sponsoring this review. Although they are an online based retailer (for now), they are actually local to me and I was able to meet them in person. Great guys and they have a large selection of pens from your more practical needs up to some really high-end stuff. Whatever you're looking for across the board, they are likely to have something in stock.
Also, they let me know that they've setup a promo code for readers of The Clicky Post for 10% off any order through February. Just use the promo code CLICKY10 at checkout for the added discount. Aren't you all lucky?... Definitely peruse their site to see if something fits your fancy.
The pen they sent over to me has seen some reviews recently, the Monteverde One Touch Tool. Needless to say, this thing definitely stands out in a crowd. Think of it as a pen-meets-Swiss Army knife of sorts, but in the scope of construction, wood working, or tinkering.
The reason it is called the tool pen is because this pen is jammed full of functionality. The entire barrel itself is a ruler; actually, several rulers...four to be exact. They've neatly placed four different scales on the facetted sides of the barrel so it can lay flat across a surface while measuring. Tucked into the barrel of the pen is a bubble level that seems to be pretty decent although I haven't gone out in the shop to test it's accuracy. The end of the pen is a capacitive stylus for use on your touch pad devices and hidden underneath is a mini philip and flathead screwdriver set.
Crazy, right? Now, this pen isn't going to be doing really industrial jobs or major projects, but for the small measurement, alignment, or small screw tightening (like on your glasses), the One Touch could come in handy.
In my honest opinion, I think this pen is a bit gimmicky, but that is what makes it so great. I would consider this pen to be the perfect "gift" pen for a stocking stuffer, or for the pen loving handy-person in your life that would find it amusing as well as get some use from it. Monteverde has pulled this off well and it is hard for anyone to see this pen and not think of it as interesting and want to play with it.
The weight of the pen is pretty substantial. In taking it apart it appears that the barrel and various pieces are made of brass. This means it feels sturdy in your hand while writing. The clip is pretty flimsy being just pressed metal and I could see it bending out with a good tug or catching it on something.
The nib of the fountain pen version appears to be a Schmidt nib found in the Karas Kustoms Ink and the Retro 51 Tornado fountain pens. It doesn't say "Schmidt" like the others do, but the scroll work and wording are very similar. It doesn't have a nib size marker on it, but lays down a wet line and only comes in a medium. The nib isn't too bad and the flow is excellent. Started up quickly and hasn't skipped a letter once, but it is really wet.
Apparently there is a ballpoint, rollerball, and mechanical pencil version of the pen as well.
The yellow finish of the barrel is bright and shiny and I'm thinking it might be a heat transfer decal, but I imagine it will be pretty durable. As far as being "refined", the finish does have some slight bubbling and rippling to it throughout which cheapens it a bit. It looks almost exactly like the finish on a metal tape measure, so I guess they "nailed" it? (a little tool/construction pun...) The pen is available in yellow, black, and silver, and Pen Chalet should have the other colors in stock any day now.
In an ideal world, my recommendation would be to etch or machine the lines into the barrel for the rulers as I think it would look awesome, but that adds more cost and there might not be a market for a more expensive version of the One Touch Tool.
One thing that might be a bother for some is the fact that there is no grip section. The hexagonal barrel runs all the way up to the nib and isn't the most comfortable pen to hold. It is easy to hold onto two of the faceted sides with your thumb and index finger, but this leaves your middle finger on the bottom side of the pen digging into one of the edges.
As I said above, I think Monteverde did a great job making a novelty type pen around a tool theme that a lot of people will appreciate. I foresee this pen finding its way under the Christmas tree, or as a birthday or Father's Day gift.
Would I recommend it to someone looking to buy a fountain pen for daily use? No.
Thanks again, Pen Chalet! Also, I wanted to mention that they are doing a giveaway right now of a $50 Pen Chalet gift card good through the next two weeks.