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.
0 comments / Add your comment below
Looks like kiwi green is the winner for me too! (Although orange or Lincoln/Antique Copper tie for a close second colour.)
Oh, decisions! But I think the orange one would be just dandy . . . or the purple one. . . .
I love the steel blue, but there’s a limited edition one called The Monroe which is red with crosshatching on it and it is…the sex.
It’s hard to decide between purple and peacock blue. I would love either one and be happy to be surprised. Thanks for the opportunity!
I’m really liking the gold Retro 51 Tornado……..classy! Thanks for the chance to win!
LOVE the ice blue and the stainless steel… they also happen to the be the only ones that are sold out…the peacock blue is really growing on me though.
I also think it’s classy and your kiwi is a nice color as well!
I’ve been fondly admiring the Kiwi green Tornado, so that’s the one I’d pick IF I was lucky enough to win. Enjoyed the review!! Can’t get enough of that knurling.
I think the black or brown have very classic/distinguished look, but I think I would really enjoy the Blue!!
Hmmmmm…I like the blues I think.
I absolutely love the Kiwi Green and the brown with the brass or gold looks amazing!! #pencrush
Steel blue, please!
Peacock blue is adorable!
Love the purple one
That stainless is gorgeous! 🙂
stainless would be my choice. thanks for the chance!
I’d actually love to win the Kiwi Green! Thanks!
I absolutely love the Orange and Red Retro 51s! I want the Tornado to be my first “real” rollerball. I need something other than fountain pens for my internship!
Cool pen and a good addition to my collection. I would love yellow,green or red.
Only one color for me. Orange! My favorite, for sure.
I love the ice blue one 🙂
I like the kiwi one, but a red one would be dandy.
Red or Gold, please!
Since the copper Lincoln is not part of it (gorgeous!), stainless or ice blue (kiwi if the sold out ones aren’t included).
I’d love that green body – it is hard to find dark green pens. >.>
It’s me, Randy, who, along with you, coined the sobriquet “His Bradness” for the esteemed Mr. Dowdy. I’m not generally a fan of rollerballs–I prefer gels or fountain pens–but I’ve heard Myke Hurley rhapsodize about Retro 51s for so long that I feel duty-bound to try one. Not one of the custom editions, mind you–$50 for a rollerball seems too steep–but the orange and purple standard varieties really look stunning.
Here’s to you,
I would love to check one of these out!
I’ve had my eye on one of these for a long time!
My favorite Lacquer is the green but that’s the one I already have along with the Lincoln antique copper. The Kiwi looks rather nice. Hard to choose. Thanks!
Blue or Gold for the win!
The ice blue is gorgeous, though out of stock, so I’d have to go with the orange body. They look like great pens.
Stainless steel looks like a classic!
Retro51s are a real value..well built.
Brown body with gold trim is awesome and definetly one of a kind! In silver, I like the pink body! Thanks for the chance to win! I love following your blog!
Purple, pink, or peacock blue! It’s soooo hard to choose!
I like the brown!
The purple is my favorite!
Another great review. Now I want one! I’d love either orange or purple.
Wow, thanks! I like the orange one best.
Blue for me. Great review, and thanks for the chance to win.
Would love the orange one
The purple one is the best!
I love the unique look of the gold one. I’ve heard so many good things about Retro 51’s that I really have to try one!
Thank you for the awesome giveaway!
TCU = Purple 🙂 Thanks so much!
Tough, but the purple one is pretty sweet!
I love the Peacock Blue. It’s just so bright and fun!
black black black
The peacock blue is quite pretty!
I think I’ll go with the Orange, though the Kiwi is quite beautiful
Brown body with gold trim. Ooooooooooh!
Oh, such lovely colors! I think I’d go with the orange… or perhaps the classic stainless steel. Such nice styling!
Favorite Retro51 color –> Brown Body with Gold Trim .Easy pick.. 🙂
Retro 51 Tornado Vintage Metalsmith Roller Ball Pen – 0.7 mm – Monroe or Lincoln
Retro 51 are beautifull, i like black.
I love the red! It just glows!
Ice Blue! But it’s sold out. Runner-up: Peacock Blue
Ice Blue is the coolest 😉
I would choose Kiwi Green.
ice blue would be cool
The kiwi green, peacock blue, or orange all look great.
Purple, pink, or peacock blue FTW! Thanks for the generous giveaway!
The green body, please. I have too many black, blue and red pens. A little variety would be nice.
Honestly, Any of the colors would be AWESOME!
Mmm, interesting. Kiwi for me, please.
I’ve got a black tornado and I LOVE it, use it on a daily basis. I love the idea of collecting the tornados and have had my eye on an ice blue one for a while now.
The Green is lovely or the Purple as well.
I think I have a similar affliction to your green-pen addiction, but for me it’s brown pens.
Looks like a great pen. The Kiwi Green is pretty slick looking
Tough choice, but I think my favorite is the brown with gold trim. Classy and earthy at the same time.
The brown body with gold trim is beautiful. I hope I win
Kiwi green would be my first choice as well. I love that colour! Second choice would be orange.
I am loving the stainless and the ice blue finish of the Retro 51. This pen is gorgeous!
I keep hearing Brad and Myke talking about these and would love to try one. I like the way the non-lacquered parts on the brown model are subtly colour-matched.
Tough call, but I’d say “ice blue.”
I’m glad you finally got yourself one of these.
I really love the Pop Zag, but as far as the non-limited ones, ice blue!
I would have to go with the ice blue… Thanks for the opportunity to win such a cool pen!
these are nice colors, I would enjoy the orange one.
With three kids in college even pen purchases have been curtailed. I must win. I must. Black. Red. Ice Blue.
I would say orange is my favorite, but the green is growing on me. I believe I am being influenced…
Peacock, Pink, or Purple – all gorgeous jewel tone colors, and so very shiny! 🙂
I really like the ice blue =) (not sure if my first comment took…)
Peacock blue for me. Thank you for the generous giveaway!
The Brown Body with Gold Trim is very classy looking. Retro 51 have a very unique looking pen in the Tornados.
I’d have to say that orange is my favorite. However the metalsmith collection looks amazing too (Monroe is my favorite here).
I’ve had the Vintage Metalsmith Franklin on my wish list for a while now – maybe I’ll get lucky!
I am with you, I like the kiwi Retro tornado.
I love the Kiwi Green!
Purple! So lovely. 🙂
It has to be black
The purple one looks lovely, though I’m loving the metal smith collection.
I like the Lincoln. It’s so different!
I’d go with the Red
Tough decision. I like the Lincoln and Jefferson, but in the classic lacquer series I’d probably go with purple or orange.
The brown is different. Slick…
The blue body looks great! Thanks for running the giveaway.
I’m going to branch out of my norm and say I’m loving the red body color. Thanks!
Black or Ice Blue for me!
I am actually a very big fan of the Kiwi Green.
The Orange looks very nice… thanks for the review!
I’d definitely pick the ice blue.. Very cool.
The Vintage ones are beautiful. The Jefferson and Lincoln are just fantastic, but all of them are special in their own way.
Orange!! Autumn forever!!
I would love a black Retro 51!
Kiwi green for me, too.
I would have to choose the black. All the way. Lovely looking pen. Thanks for offering such a great giveaway!
My husband needs to get me this pen to offset his fountain pen obsession, just a little. The kiwi green is the color I would choose. Thanks!
I prefer the ice blue color, but black looks appealing also
Am I allowed to enter? Ok, you can kick me out if you see fit 😉 I’d pick kiwi green. It’s been on my JetPens wishlist for almost two years.
I would pick orange! My favorite!
I like the Pink body.
Kiwi . . . no questions asked!
Oh, and as far as a color, my mother always said that beggars can’t be choosers so any would be pleasing to me.
Always wanted a Retro
Bruce in Australia
I had a very bright green Retro almost five years ago. It was a great pen that walked off with someone at work. But the orange is beautiful.
Without a doubt, the Kiwi Green! An absolutely beautiful colour…
Thanks for the opportunity! I think the Ice Blue’s a great look! I guess it would be one which would require a wait to be stocked, though.
Peacock blue please! Thanks for the giveaway.
Peacock blue, for sure! But I really like the kiwi, too. Thanks for hosting this awesome giveaway! 🙂
The ice blue is ridiculously gorgeous.
Kiwi Green or the Gold would be grand.
The peacock blue looks lovely!
I am pretty old so the most retro to me is my fav: brown body with luxurious
gold trim. How can you go wrong?
i would love to win one of these any colour is great!
Ice Blue is my pick.
Wow. The Gold body looks nice. Gold, please.
I would love a purple one!
I really like the Gold one.
There’s some great colours, but ice blue would be my pick.