My feelings on this pen are really really mixed. I’ll do my usual start with the good then tell you about the bad.
I’m required to use black ink for the clinical notes at my internship. as far as pen use for reviews go, it’s an ideal location. I write, a lot, every day that I’m there. The location is mostly paper based, and most of my notes are done on good old paper forms. My supervisor required black ink, which she states is a legal thing, but is really a matter of preference and professionalism.* I’m not suggesting I’d like to write in teal sparkly ink** but merely pointing out that I go through a ton of black ink. I blew through the included OHTO cart as if it never existed. I’ve since worked on hacking the pen and all the photos include the hacked carts and NOT the original “needle” point refill.
The Ohto 0.5mm cart was decent, but hardly a needle point. It is called a needle point not because it’s super thin, but because of how it’s shaped, slightly deceptive. It writes well enough, but it is a typical oil based roller ball ink. Pretty standard.
The pen itself is solid metal that is lightweight but not too light. It is actually pretty comfortable to use for longer form writing. It is metal and paint, so if you sweat as you write you might find it slippery, if like me you have dry hands, it’s fine. It looks as though it is made of brass, which is then enameled with really nice metallic colors. It is pretty. all the colors I looked at were nice. I picked up the dark teal because I’m a fan of teal. The nock, clip, and tip are all chromed. The nock and tip are made of machined brass which is then chrome coated. The knock is satisfying and makes a nice clicking noise when depressed. The point is retracted by pressing a small side button near the logo. Over all it’s not bad, in theory.
Onto the bad now. The nock makes an awful grinding metal on metal noise if it’s twisted around. Think nails on a chalk board. Yeesh. Awful. If you use replacement Ohto refills the tip of the refill rattles around in the tip as you write and is annoying. The clip is a piece of shite. Initially the clip is too tight to clip to anything, even the lapel and pocket of a thin dress shirt. Eventually, it stretches out to clip to anything, and then the pen fall off your lapel and into the sink as you wash your hands.*** I suspect that the clip will soon break off the pen and be more useless than it is now. Another point of frustration, the tip unscrews as I walk and use it. I find myself needing to tighten it repeatedly over the course of a day. This is ridiculous. I’ve tightened the tip with a rubber band to get extra grip, and even a pair of pliers. No go, the threads are just not machined well.
To solve the problem of the oddly priced refills I immediately tried to see what refills I can stuff into this baby. I found that with a minimal amount of work, including using a file to grind out the tip to accommodate the thicker refill, cutting 5mm off the spring, and chopping a piece off the refill that I can use a Pilot Dr. Grip gel ink refill. This is far too much work for a pen that is going to fall apart pretty quickly. Sure it’s pretty, but it’s not great.
This pen suffers from what I describe as Ohto’s half assing everything. Ohto has some seriously pretty products but they ridiculously half ass their products. This could be a great pen and sell for a few bucks more if they machined the threads for the tip better, machined the tip itself better, used a better nock, and didn’t put on a cheap BIC clic clip. I get compliments on this pen all the time, people like it. I was drawn to how it looked and then realized it was an Ohto and almost put it back. Except it’s soooo pretty, that color and the hexagonal to round body. It is all so nice, except they just execute it badly. This isn’t the only time I’ve been burned by a REALLY pretty Ohto product- remember that pretty pretty lead holder that looked like a #2 fat pencil? Again loose manufacturing tolerances with lot’s of slop lead to rattling that drives me nuts.
I picked up this pen at a Japanese gift shop in Cambridge, MA for $9.99.
Addendum: I’ve been using this pen consistently at my internship now for quite a few weeks. It’s comfortable and does the job. Hacked with e DR Grip refill, it writes quite nicely. The Clip has loosened to the point that I no longer clip it to my lapel or into my pocket. The knock has also gotten sloppier as I’ve used it. Some point in the near future the clip will fall off, there is no if but only when. Additionally, the nock also feels as though it is near failure. The small button used to retract the tip becomes crooked in use, and there is no reason for it to do so. I suspect that the nock will seize.
*From my research there is no actual legality surrounding black and blue ink on form, rather matters of formality, seemingly professional standards and, of course, as a matter of convention. For instance, in another office where i worked, only the accounting department could use red ink. This had nothing to do with it being illegal or not, but it was used to differentiate between who had signed what. If it were signed in red, you knew that one of two people had signed off on that document.
** I save my Emerald of Chivor for editing my thesis.
*** When this occurs all you can think is, “Well, at least it’s not the toilet.”