INVENTERY is a brand I was introduced to within the last 18 months when founder/owner Jeffrey Cheng reached out and asked if I’d like to review some of their models and I was certainly impressed. Even being a one man band, Jeffrey has designed and executed some top notch products that I think pen folks would enjoy.
This time around INVENTERY was kind enough to send me some samples of their newest product that they call the mechnical pen and pencil which, in essence, is a retractable barrel that has interchangeable ballpoint and pencil capabilities which is actually pretty awesome.
Now, I’ve seen quite a few machined pens in my day, but rarely do you see any that have swappable parts quite like this. There are multipens on the market, but they tend to use expensive D1 refill that have low ink capacity. This kind of solves for that. Although, not quite as convenient as a multipen, it allows for similar flexibility.
For all of the INVENTERY lineup, Jeffrey has chosen to use brass as his base material although the pen can be had in three different finishes: raw brass, Onyx (black coating), and polished chrome. Oddly enough out of the three the polished chrome is probably my favorite… it has a sleek, uniform design that I love.
If sensitive to weighty pens, the brass adds some obvious heft but the pen and pencil barrel only comes in at 1.6oz which is a lightweight when compared to a lot of brass pens on the market. While it is weighty, it is very comfortable to me.
To someone that has been around pens for a long time and has used a lot, you do notice some trends in the market of brands using similar mechanisms and parts to execute their designs. The brand Schmidt is well known in the pen world for nibs and refills, but they also make several “off the shelf” parts that creators can adapt into their designs.
For the pen experience they are using the internal plastic click mechanism (they use the metal, nickel version on their Mechanical Pen + Stand version that many are familiar with) and for the pencil, the Schmidt Feinminen-System which has it’s own built in clicker.
Both mechanisms have an audible and satisfying “click” associated with them. Not crazy loud, but satisfying for sure. The knock piece at the top is machined from brass and finished to match the barrel which provides a nice, seamless look to the overall experience.
Being a metal barrel pen there may be hems and haws about the use of a plastic mechanism, but I’ve seen the metal ones break down too. Over time I’ve grown not to worry as much about it, especially when the product is pretty affordable and of good quality. I anticipate with “normal” use this pen will last quite awhile.
The experience of swapping the mechanisms out is pretty easy, but takes some thought about the steps. Not quite as simple as popping in a new refill, but doesn’t require any additional tools which is good.
The knock piece unscrews from the internal mechanism wherein there is a spring in between. This spring initially puzzled me (as there is a spring at the tip to create the needed tension already), but its sole purpose is to make the knock “button” stay in the upright position at all times. Super interesting design choice and very deliberate. For kicks, I tried the pen without the spring and sure enough it works fine, but the button stays depressed until un-clicked. So, if you ever lost that spring… not entirely the end of the world!
To swap in the pencil I found these steps to be helpful:
1. Unscrew the barrel pieces and remove refill and spring
2. Unscrew the knock “button” (don’t lose spring)
3. Remove plastic pen mechanism insert
4. Insert pencil mechanism into barrel and thread into tip
5. Insert the pencil knock spacer with threaded side up (metal piece)
6. Screw barrel pieces back together (DO BEFORE STEP 7… trust me)
7. Replace spring and knock “button” by threading onto internal mechanism
Like I said, not quite as easy as swapping a refill, but not too bad. Once in place, the pencil is easy to use and feels like it was made for it. Well, I guess it was…
That last comment was somewhat in jest, but is completely true. Out of one barrel Jeffrey has created a seamless experience that are both excellent without wiggle or sketchiness of any kind which is pretty fantastic.
The Feinminen-System mentioned above comes standard with a threaded tip which INVENTERY took full advantage of. The pencil piece screws in easily to the tip which makes it sturdy and stable while writing. No movement. This is one of the details that I enjoyed a lot about the product. I wasn’t sure that Jeffrey would have done that, but when I found out I was really pleased. Just end to end this product feels really well thought out.
The clip is affixed to the pen via the top ring near the knock. Made from steel, it is strong! It has flex to allow it to separate from the barrel, but would take a lot to bend. Although, personally I wouldn’t clip it to anything thicker than a jeans pocket in fear it might permanently spring out.
Branding on the pen is subtle (the kind I like) and is found in only two places. There is a small etched “I” logo on the knock, and the word “INVENTERY” etched under the clip out of sight. In addition to the logo under the clip the pen also includes the serial number which is a nice touch.
The pen comes with a Schmidt EasyFlow, and nice ballpoint “hybrid” ink that is in a Parker style refill format. I enjoy this refill, but there are many to choose from. The new Jetstream Parker style refill is one I’ve not tried yet, but have heard good things…
Where can you get one?
For the Mechanical Pen and Pencil Jeffrey opted to do a kickoff with an Indiegogo campaign and the prices start at just $42 (future retail of $60) for the single barrel with the two options. For what you get, this feels like a fantastic price.
Thanks again to Jeffrey and INVENTERY for sending these over for review!