I like gel ink. I want to use gel refills in all my pens, when possible. Unfortunately, many gel refills don’t fit pens like the Baron Fig Squire and Click, or Parker Jotter. Either the tip portion is too thick or short, or the body of the refill is too thick for the body of the pen. Enter all the Parker style refills that use gel ink. Monteverde is just one option.
Monteverde refills are available just about everywhere from Staples to Walmart (online to Amazon and every fine stationery store. The prices seem to fluctuate wildly. I picked up a 2-pack in the clearance section for 50 cents, but normally a 2-pack is about $8 at my local Staples! I found 5-packs on Amazon from a variety of sellers for about $14. Clearly, online stores are the winner when it comes to offering up Monteverde refills.
The gel refills are available in a vast variety of colors, mine are blue. The next package I purchase will be blue-black, but they offer purple, green, red, teal, black etc… The blue is lovely. The gel ink is smooth on all the paper I’ve used, including the finest cheapest paper we use at work. The ink has flowed smoothly from the moment I took the little waxy blob off the tip to the point I drained the refill.
These are great refills, but not the cheapest. They range from $2.80 to $4 per refill. To me the price is comparable to the regular Squire refills and they have the performance of gel ink on cheap paper which I’ve bloviated about before this post, but gel ink on the crap paper at work works better than liquid. End of story, these are a great refill and worth every penny to me. You won’t be unhappy with a Monteverde P44 (Parker style) refill. Continue reading
If you have been listening to my podcast, RSVP, then you know how I feel about the BF Squire. The pen is perfectly comfortable. The weight is nice. Just heavy enough so I always know it is there, but not so heavy as to tire my hand. The size is perfect for my hand. The pen is short-ish, if you have really big meaty paws, this might not be the pen for you. The weight is toward the front of the pen for good writing balance. It feels wonderful. The twist mechanism twists the refill down just enough to expose the point without excess. I find myself fiddling with the twist mechanism in much the same way one might fiddle with a clicky nock. There is a slight gap between the nock and the body of the pen. It has been noted on other blogs that the pen should be seamless, but I see the slight gap as part of the aesthetic. The gap is perhaps .5mm. Though I tend to cart my Squire around in my pants pocket the anodized finish as remained perfect. Not one chip, ding, or scratch mars it’s surface. I would suggest that you NOT cart your Spectre in your front pocket, lest you end up ruining as many pairs of pants as I have. The motion of it rolling around in your pocket is enough to twist the nock, expose the point, and leave a nice large black stain on your favorite pair of camel colored khakis. Not only does this suck most of the ink out of an otherwise full cart, the refill never quite works the same. If you are wondering if the ink washes out, it does not. The Schmidt ink bonds quite well with cotton. The Schmidt refill works really well on the garbage paper at work, which is why it ends up in my pocket so often. It is also quite nice on Baron Fig’s paper. I quite like it in my Confidant journals.I find that the ink tends to bleed through on other paper- Write and Field Notes as 2 examples. The HP Laserjet I use in No Brand Notebooks handles it’s liquidy black ink just fine. If you are not a fan of the Schmidt cartridges you can buy many Parker style refills. Be careful though, many will not fit due to the super narrow opening at the tip of the Squire. Itoya and Monteverde refills both fit.As for the Spectre, I really dig everything about the pen. The little engraved ghost, the weight and feel. I was a little surprised at the color. Many of the images online show it to be BLACK the actual color is a deep dark purple black. The color is warm and looks a lot like graphite. I like the color but it was not expected. While I found the green of the Experiment too eye catching for my workplace the muted purple charcoal shade is perfect for work. It’s professional and flies under the radar and most people won’t peg this as “fancy pen.” The cost of the pen is $60, which makes this one of my more expensive pens. But any pen you refill is an investment. While my Pentel Alloy will likely break after a year of use, the Spectre will continue working for years and years of use. It should be noted that the pen does not have a clip or roll stop. The slightly narrower nock doesn’t keep it from rolling off a desk top. Because it is weighted toward the front, it will land tip first, likely ruining the refill inside. Baron Fig does offer a little pocketable leather case for the pen, which is a solid investment, if you intend to pocket carry. I quite love my Squires, I’m lucky enough to have an Experiment and a Spectre. They are solidly made and worth the investment. One of the great things about using a refillable pen is that you get to pick what refill you want to use- from Monteverde to Itoya to Parker to Schmidt you have plenty of choices here. Continue reading