The Retro 51 Tornado Review
After lots of teasing and cajoling, I have finally given in and purchased a Retro 51 Tornado ($21 through our favorite online retailer, JetPens). I wanted to buy one of the Vintage Surf models but decided spending $55+ on a limited edition model pen that I wasn’t sure if I would actually like might not be the best course of action. So, I decided to purchase a classic lacquer first to make sure the Retro 51 Tornado was a pen I would like. Of course, I purchased the kiwi green color which I loved how it looked. The sales clerk at the Pen Place let me choose my refill but was not terribly helpful about what the advantages or disadvantages of each were. I asked for a fine rollerball and he offered the Parker-Style ceramic gel refill made by Monetverde that they were available in an array of colors so I chose a blue-black .
I like the metallic sheen of the body of the pen and the knurled twist mechanism. The clip is elegant and simple.
I loved the color and consistency of the Monteverde blue-black gel ink but when I started writing with it and there was a peculiar looseness in the tip. It wasn’t a perfect fit in the body so it wiggled a little and I immediately disliked it. I went onto Twitter and ADN and started asking if my experience was typical. “Nope, It shouldn’t wiggle” was the consensus. The refill I got was not a good fit.
Kindly, Lilardie on Twitter offered to send me a Retro51 branded refill and VOILA! it was such an improvement. For the record, I (the awkward lefty) had no issues with the performance of the Retro 51 rollerball refill. It writes like buttah for me and I have to say, with rollerballs, that’s not always the case so I was pleasantly surprised. With the spring and the better fitting refill, the tip is solid and completely stationary. It does not wiggle at all making the writing experience vastly improved. The refill is listed as 0.7mm but doesn’t seem too wide for me. I’d compare it to a 0.5mm Pilot Hi-Tec C or thereabouts.
The pen is not very long at 5″ with the tip extended and the clip is positioned low enough (2.25″ down from the top) on the pen that if the pen twists in your hand and the clip can bite into your hand. I just had to be aware when I picked it up that the clip needed to face up for maximum comfort. The knurled end does make the pen a little top heavy on the end but it gives it a nice heft. The Retro51 refill is so yummy that once I start writing, I forget about the lovely pen and the fact that my only ink color options are blue and black and just write. That’s a pretty good thing.
You too can be the proud owner of a Kiwi Green (or any of the dozen classic lacquer colors) Retro51 Tornado thanks to JetPens. Leave a comment below and tell me which of the colors you like best to be entered to win.
The Fine Print
Giveaway ends at 10pm on Monday, June 10, 2013 (US Central Time). All comment must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Tuesday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your email address in the comment form (you don’t have to put in in your comment) so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear. Shipping via USPS first class is covered. Additional shipping options or insurance will have to be paid by the winner. We are generous but we’re not made of money.