Wait, wait, wait... Dyson, as in, Dyson the vacuum cleaner company? I would imagine that most people have seen or heard of the highly engineered and edgy designs put out by the Dyson brand. We even ended up buying a Dyson vacuum cleaner for the Dudek household a few years ago and they are a company that is definitely passionate about their work. To some, you could say they like to "over-engineer", but that is what makes them revolutionary and leading the charge in changing the way we think about seemingly simple things like vacuums, fans, hand dryers...
This post is about a very special pen produced by Dyson of which they kindly sent me a sample, so special thanks to them.
As another little tidbit of history, the original inventor of the ballpoint was a man named László Bíró who first presented his this new technology back in 1931. Up until that time, people used fountain pens or pencils as their writing instruments, both of which are not ideal in all writing situations. Bíró changed the way we consume writing.
Dyson settled on the name Biro for the pen in honor of László, which is very fitting and a nice tribute.
Dyson engineers were likely using simple ballpoint pens in their labs and offices but, Dyson being Dyson, found that to be not good enough and so they set out to create their own version of a perfect ballpoint pen.
Working on their lunch breaks, after work, and on weekends, a team of engineers at Dyson (including James Dyson himself) used their free time to develop over 50 prototypes until they finally settled on the right design.
I mean, how amazing is this? As mentioned above, this could seem like a bit of overthinking as Mr. Bíró himself and nearly a century worth of ballpoint pen production would make us assume that we had already surpassed the pinnacle of this technology. So why produce their own?...
Because this is what they do. They dream big, and they seek to revolutionize the way we think about products. They don't settle on "it's just a...", no matter how simple it may be. There are only a handful of companies that have shaped the product landscape like this, and that doesn't happen without a little bit of zealous passion to create (and an ability to wade through naysayers that may find it ridiculous).
The presentation of the pen is the first thing that catches your attention. Each pen is sealed up in a specially made clear acrylic tube which is capped on both ends by machined metal plugs held in tightly with rubber washers. Adorned on the acrylic is the Dyson logo in a silvery print that matches the overall aesthetic. The packaging alone is an effort in and of itself to make an amazing statement about the thought that went into this piece.
Overall the pen design is very minimal, modern, and sleek. Practical and comfortable, but striking. Machined from stainless steel, the color is completely uniform and gives it a sort of futuristic and space age appeal.
Like the packaging, the pen itself is etched with the Dyson logo on the clip and "Designed by Dyson" on the back.
The pen has a click mechanism, but not really a true click. More like a click and release. By pushing the knock down, the tip is extended, but you can't simply "click" it back up. To release, you push slightly on the top or clip which then internally triggers a release to retract the writing tip. Ultimately this surprised me as I thought by having a mechanism like this it would make the tip more susceptible to retracting while writing, but this was not the case. Somehow the engineering inside knows that when you are writing it doesn't trigger a mechanism for release even though there is pressure on it.
The clip is integrated with the design and matches the shape and contour of the pen. It is machined as one piece with the top of the knock which is made from the same stainless steel stock as the barrel. Although the clip does have some flex, it is quite strong and I am not worried about bending it. Even though there is a space between the clip and barrel, it works excellent whether clipping to paper or your shirt pocket.
From the tip of the pen all you see is a round opening that is way too large for your average ballpoint, but once the knock is pressed another metal sleeve extends with the refill giving a bit of a stair step up to the barrel. This is a very engineering type look that brands like rOtring and LAMY have used in their designs over the years (which are awesome).
The closest "relative" I would say is the discontinued LAMY Unic designed by Gerd Müller, the creator of the iconic LAMY 2000. The Unic is also cylindrical in shape and has a retracting tip.
Now, what type of refill does it take? After extending the tip you can unscrew the metal sleeve which exposes a small D1 refill. The brand of refill that was inside is called Premeo and was a ballpoint, but the options here are huge. Fisher Space Pen, Zebra Sharbo Gel, Uniball Jetstream... There are probably 100 different D1 refills to choose from.
The question that I'm sure is on everyone's mind: "how do we get one?"
Unfortunately, the Biro pen is not something that Dyson plans to produce for retail. Currently it is used by internal employees or given as a special gift to partners, suppliers, and key vendors that Dyson works with. That in mind, I feel privileged to have been given one to review here on The Clicky Post. I'm usually reluctant to review items that can't be bought or acquired easily, but this pen was too cool to pass up and not share with everyone.
There is also another great review by Gizmodo on the Biro pen.