The Future of The System Retro 51 Exclusive - Can you still get one?

Ho. ly. cow. That was crazy everyone! I knew it would be popular, but didn’t think it would go that quickly! If you didn’t get one, don’t fret…

Everybody strap in because there is some news on the future of The System Tornado design, and there seems to be a need for some clarity around things in general.

Here we go.

Open Numbered Edition - What is that?

In all the frenzy of trying to get one of the first batch of The System Tornado design, I’ve found that this was a key piece of information that many people overlooked or it wasn’t super clear.

On social media and through email a lot of people have been upset in thinking there were only ever going to be 300 pens which is a total bummer. If you made comments and felt left hanging, consider this my mass reply to all of you. : )

First of all, I think this design is pretty awesome. So awesome in fact that it would be crazy for Retro 51 and I to think that only 300 people would want one! If I will be honest, I designed this pen because I knew I would want one just like it and figured many other people might too. A lot more than 300 over time...

Well, we accounted for that from the beginning.

As noted in the official post announcing the pen and pre-order, and on the product page, The System Tornado is classified as an Open Numbered Edition, which means, it is a numbered series, but not limited to any given number of pens to be produced. We started with 300 to initially test the waters and then move forward from there.

This language of Open Numbered Edition was recommended by Retro 51 to use on The System as they’ve used it before in other pen releases like their Flying Fortress design in the Tribute Series. They continued to make more of that pen in numbered sequence as demand required, but ultimately retired it at some point when things died down. Retro 51 sought to clarify this language on their recent Facebook post announcing The System as well.

In short, “Open Numbered Edition” does not equal “Limited Edition”.

In a way, I'm glad that this discussion is happening now as it showcases the precedent Retro has already set with other releases in a much clearer way that will make the community run into less confusion like this moving forward.

If this was a point of confusion I'm definitely sorry, and take this as my official statement that neither Retro 51 nor I meant in any way to be misleading. If you bought during the pre-order and this information changes your decision to purchase the pen, please feel free to reach out to me directly so I can issue you a refund for it.

Retro 1951 Collectors

There is no doubt that there is a strong following for Retro 51 pens, and a community of collectors that particularly seek out their limited editions. The new pens often get scooped up super fast right out of the gates and often end up on eBay for tremendous amounts of money.

I can totally appreciate that there is supply and demand and people are willing to pay prices that they feel is a “fair” exchange. Capitalism is great, but can be super frustrating at times for people wanting to enjoy somewhat scarce products. Field Notes and Blackwing lovers have experienced this too.

Shoot, I paid $100 to buy one of the discontinued Tron Legacy series ballpoints from Retro 51 a few years back, so I get it! It originally retailed for like $35. Love that pen...

But, that was not the intent of this pen. By design, as an Open Numbered Edition the goal was to continue creating this pen until no one else wanted them.

The creative vision I had for The System which I expressed in my announcement is as follows:

“The Solar System is home to all of us and has played such an important role in human civilization. For millennia, our ancestors have looked to the stars and planets for guidance about who we are and where we fit within this crazy existence. I thought it only fitting that such an important and universal part of our lives be translated into something we can carry with us.”

Those aren’t just words; my hope was that lots of people would get joy out of this pen and help them think about the bigger picture. (And have a pretty sweet pen too.)

We want everyone that will enjoy this pen design to be able to get one, not just 300, or at extreme prices.

Will this clarification on the Open Numbered Edition frustrate some collectors and the resale market? Maybe. But the original intent was that this would be an ongoing release from the get go.

Again, if this changes your decision with your pre-order, please let me know and I'll get it refunded.

Will There Be More of The System?:

Yes! The Open Numbered Edition is still open and Retro 51 and I are excited to put through an order for more pens soon that continue the numbered series.

***Actually, preorder for the second round of The System #301-1000 is now live!

And, Thank You:

Biggest point of all, thank you. This has been one of the coolest things creating a new pen design with one of my favorite brands (and that was so well received) and I’ve been ecstatic to share it with you all. And I’m excited for more of you to get one!

And, special thanks to Retro 1951 (especially Richard and Ross) for their amazing help in making it a reality.

- Mike Dudek