Review: Karas Kustoms Tu-Tone RETRAKT

Karas Kustoms Retrakt Tu-Tone

In a pinch, today’s review was photographed with my new iPhone 6. Pardon any wonkiness but I had a wicked migraine yesterday and didn’t get a chance to pull everything together until today at lunch.

Karas Kustoms retrakt tu-tone in green
Behold! A pen, matched polish (before anyone asks, its OPI Gargantuan Green Grape), psychedelic office carpeting and my shoes!



And its here! The amazingly cool Karas Kustoms RETRAKT in the new Tu-Tone Colors… green, of course. And its oddly, fittingly Christmas-y in it colors. I filled it with a Zebra Sarasa 0.3mm in Viridian Green to match. I suppose this means I need a red one too?

And the almost-silent retracting mechanism means that I can nervously click without making everyone in a meeting want to murder me.


The aluminum body is comfortable to hold, not too heavy and well-weighted. After the brass INK, I was worried that the RETRAKT might be too heavy for me but I think its perfect. Very much like the weight of the Render K — enough weight to feel solid without feeling like I’m carrying a billy club.Β  I had to doodle this twice because of a typo so I was writing for a while and the pen remained comfortable throughout. (No Command-Z on paper!)


The RETRAKT in Tu-Tone Colors accepts any Pilot G2 style refills or Parker-style refills. Some refills might require a little jiggering to get them to fit just right but luckily the folks at Karas Kustoms include so extra parts to help with this including an extra spring, a black plug to lengtht he Parker refills and a length of translucent white piping that can be cut to length to fill any gaps. I’ve been know to cut down a too-long refill to fit as well. Finally…a way to use the great G2 refill without the cheap plastic aesthetics!

The fact that the RETRAKT can be filled with an unending array of refills, in a variety of colors, tip sizes and even style of refill (ballpoint, rollerball and gel) there’s no way you can’t love this pen. You get to make it your favorite just be picking your favorite refill.

The DISCOUNT: If you just can’t wait to see if you’ll win the giveaway RETRAKT Tu-Tone, you can place an order at Karas Kustoms today and receive 15% off your order with the coupon code “HappyHolidays” (although that code really should be “ANAROCKS”).

The GIVEAWAY: So, the fine folks at Karas Kustoms are letting me giveaway ONE RETRAKT Tu-Tone to ONE lucky reader.Β  You all know the drill… answer my question in the comments to be officially entered to win one RETRAKT Tu-Tone in your choice of color. Here’s the question: What do you like best about Karas Kustoms’ pens? If you’ve never owned a Karas Kustoms pen, what about their pens interests you most?

The FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Tuesday, December 9, 2014. All entries must be submitted at, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Saturday. 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 so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone β€” pinky swear. If winner does not respond within 30 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. Open to US residents only in order to ship in time for Christmas!

DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Karas Kustoms for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

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150 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I own an INK, copper Retrakt and a raw RenderK. The products they make are incredible. I receive many compliments on the subtle yet distinguished design. They really do a great job of just making a quality writing instrument!

  2. I’m in general intrigued by machined pens – I can’t figure out if I would love them or hate them. I actually asked for a Tactile Turn Mover for Christmas for this exact reason. πŸ˜› But I really like the idea of a super solid body that will outlast mine and having lots of flexibility when it comes to refills.

  3. I don’t have a Karas Kustoms pen in my collection yet, but I’m drawn to the clean, slightly industrial aesthetic.

  4. I love the high quality materials and well thought design for all of the Karas Kustoms pens. The tu-tone RETRAKT reminds me of a way, way awesomer Parker Jotter. Would love to add one to my collection.

  5. I have the bright pink Bolt, which is a great pen, though I sometimes find the opening mechanism a bit tough to use one handed. What I like most about it is just how well made the pen is. It really is such a finely made object, and that’s true for everything that Karas Kustoms make.

    As for the Retrakt, I’d love to try some of the different combinations like brass and copper.

  6. I have a raw aluminum Retrakt, but boy would I love to add one of these to my collection! One of the things that I really love about Karas Kustom pens is that they are solid and heavy duty. They don’t feel like cheap big box pens, and they can take a TON of refills.

  7. I LOVE my Karas Kustoms RETRAKT. It lets me use my favorite refill (Pilot V7) in a pen body worthy of its ink. It feels great in my hand, is totally indestructible, and I love the click-button action. I’d love a 2-toned version next!

  8. The knurled top, the retracting clicker, and the the industrial clip are great features. Gray seems like a good choice.

  9. I don’t have one yet, but love the industrial look of them. If I don’t win, one will be on my short list to buy.

  10. I don’t own one but I was really thinking about getting one of these. It has a simple but distinguished look.

  11. I don’t own one yet, but it’s been on my wish list partly because of the cool industrial design, partly because of the neat two-tone look, partly because they look solid as heck, and partly because of the refill options.

  12. Never owned a Karas Kustoms pen, but I love how well-constructed and durable they look. Would make a great everyday carry.

  13. I’d love a Retrakt! I’ve never owned Karas Kustoms pen, but I’ve always been intrigued by their craftsmanship.

  14. I don’t have any Karas Kustom pens, but I love the look of them and still need to pick up a machines aluminum pen. Thanks for the review.

  15. I have 2 inks and what I love the best is the feeling that the pen is so solid. The threads make a cool sound also.

  16. The thing that interests me most about Karas Kustoms is that everyone who gets one loves it. Secondly, they are fantastic looking pens.

  17. I’ve not used Karas Kustoms products before, so I can’t say for sure, but that magenta color Retrakt says a lot of good things to me! Thanks for the opportunity.

  18. I’ve long been a Parker fan and I want to branch out. I’m very interested in Karas Kustoms because they’re a company that really seems to care about the design of their pens.

  19. I have a copper Retrakt. Love the color and weight. It is easier to write with than you might think. Love to try a different type. Thanks for the giveaway and your blog.

  20. I’ve never owned a Karas Kustom, but they have such a great reputation that I’ve long wanted to try one. I’m especially intrigued by the silent knock mechanism. But this two-tone version really rocks. It’s like a Parker Jotter but with better refills.

  21. I love that they are machines in the USA. I personally work at a machine shop just like at karas kustoms. So I definitely appreciate the amount of work and detail involved in manufacturing these pens.

  22. I own a Render K and an INK. I love the understated designs, the feel of the metals, and the quality of the manufacture. These pens feel like they’ll last forever. One of them is always in my EDC.

  23. Amoungst many other things I love the tuning fork noise that the Ink’s clip makes when you give it a nice flick. Perfect sound for a silent room. Yay for including a sound sensory experience to a fountain pen!

  24. the thing that I love about the Karas Kustoms is that they are so unique on the outside but so common on the inside. People are surprised when I tell them it’s a regular Pilot G2/ Hi-Tec-C/ or Parker refill. Plus “It’s Quality Bro!”, what’s not to love about that?

  25. That someone who one day just decided their machine shop should try to make a pen lead to a business of selling these sleek and durable beauties.

  26. I’ve never used one before. Two things interest me the most- the fact that the top half looks just like an X-Acto knife, and that you can use so many different refills inside! Pretty neat.

  27. There are many things I love about my Karas Kustoms pen. I love that the guys there seem to be a great bunch of guys. The quality of the pens is top-notch. I love the sound of capping and uncapping my INKs and Render Ks. The pens can take a beating and still look nice

  28. Their products are universally adored. The fact that they seem like awesome guys, the pens are made in the US, and are active in the pen community are all icing on the cake.

  29. I’ve been eyeing the whole lineup of Karas Kustoms pens for a while, but have not added any to my collection yet. This seems like a great place to start!

  30. I don’t have any pens from Karas Customs yet. Hopefully Santa will fix that for me. I really love their esthetics and the fact that they are made by small team with love and care. I’m looking forward to one of my own in the future.

  31. I have a Karas Kustoms INK fountain pen and I love it! I love the weight of it, but it’s still comfortable to use for a long period of time despite its weight. It’s incredibly well made, and the color is great, too. What I like most is the industrial look of their products, and that it isn’t in-your-face, but more minimalist.

  32. I love Karas Kustoms as a company *and* they make fantastic pens! My Render K is one of my absolute favorites. I love that they are made in the U.S. by artisans, and that the workmanship is top notch. I would love to win this pen!

  33. These tu-tone retrakts are gorgeous! I don’t have any Karas Kustoms pens yet, but I love the look, and i love that they are all made in the USA.

  34. I have been intrigued by the KarasKustoms pens for awhile and think I’m close to buying one. I like the Retrakt idea because of the craftsmanship, industrial design, and Pilot G2 compatibility (if it fits G2, I should be able to fit a Pentel LR7 or LR10 in there).

  35. I have both the Bolt and the Ink fountain pen. I love the style of the pens, especially when they are anodized. I love the mix of bright colors and rugged metal. I am giving the Tu-Tone Retrakt to two of my family members for x-mass, but would love to have one for me!

  36. I don’t own any Karas Kustom pens, but I have heard a lot about them. I like the quality of the workmanship and their passion for making only quality writing pens.

  37. I following and these popup every once and awhile, but I could never pull the trigger. I’m a huge Pilot G2 fan, and to have a pen body of this caliber for my G2’s, well, it would be amazing!

  38. I like the attention to detail that you can get with the product. It is much nicer than just working with a regular mass produced product.

  39. I don’t any one, but I’m curious because so many other people do. The brilliantly colored metal is eye-catching, and I wonder what machinists I know would think of the pen.

  40. I would love to finally get a Karas Kustoms pen. . . I need to fil the void. They interest me because they look incredible, and they are made by what seems like a group of really cool dudes.

  41. I own a RenderK as well as a bolt. Karaskustoms create a functional instrument. They’re beautifully executed works but utilitarian as well. They’re much like my Taylor guitar. I love looking at it but I enjoy playing it even more. My RenderK lives in my pocket – not a display case (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

  42. I’ve never owned a Kara’s pen as of yet I just came across them. I’m really like the design and craftsmanship from the pictures I’ve seen.

  43. I own a BRASS “RETRAKT” I love this pen!!! The craftsmanship, the fit and finish, the heft/weight, the attention I get when the pen comes out of my pocket when I need to use it, the silent clicker feature, and of course because I LOVE to support local businesses and that the pen is hand made in USA!!!

  44. I’ve never owned one, but I’m infinitely curious about Karas Kustoms pens (after all the praises on the Pen Addict podcast). These pens seem to be very durable, and the fact of having one pen where you can change refills adds a layer of personality.

  45. I like the industrial look and functionality of the Karas pens. I have several, a Retrakt, Bolt and Ink.

  46. I have never owned a Karas Kustoms pen, but the fact that the word “Kustoms” is in their name speaks volumes about what you can do with their pens. I would love to have this pen!

  47. My favorite thing about karas is that they are American made. Second favorite thing is how nice the pen weight feels when writing.

  48. I like how the pens are very well designed and have a good form factor. I love that the pens are made by the company and the quality of their product is very good. Plastic pens are in the past these pens are the future!

  49. I really like the quality of the machining. I work in a large machine shop and I really like EDC stuff that is made like that.

  50. My first one is in its way. I like that it is a quality pen that accepts a variety of refills that are very good. I like that they went with what they thought was the best knock rather than something just to make it 100% made in the USA.

  51. Easy questions! “The Craftsmanship” and “The Craftsmanship”! I don’t own one yet, but my 1st is on its way (an Ink in red)…

  52. Its obviously because it’s a kustom pen lol! ヽ(‒̀ω‒́ )ゝ But it’s pretty awesome to be able to choose different colors from ink to the actual pen and now two tone! To tell you the truth I also like the company’s name Karas Kustom because it’s related to one of my favs anime movies called Karas!! Well I hope I win, good luck to you all!! β™ͺ(*^^)oβˆ€*βˆ€o(^^*)β™ͺ ヽ(‒̀ω‒́ )ゝ ψ(ο½€βˆ‡Β΄)ψ

  53. I have yet to own one, but the level of quality and the materials used is what appeals to me. I also applaud the system they are using to build this aspect of their business.
    But what color?

  54. The all metal design is what draws me to Karas Kustoms pens…. And the ability to utilise different inks is great!

  55. I don’t own one, but I’m interested in the feel of the pen and can’t wait to try a number if refills out for a new writing experience!

  56. Karas Kustoms pens are great because they are made in the US by people that really care. They are great friends of the pen community.

  57. I love the brutalist, industrial look of the pens – their sheer utilitarianism is in and of itself a kind of wonderful frill. It’s the kind of pen that looks like it could go as well in my toolbox as on my desk!

  58. Here’s the thing: I haven’t stopped using my Ink FP since the day it arrived. I love the feel of the aluminum overall, and I the cap threads feel super greatβ€”I just keep opening and closing it to just feel them in action. But even more than that, the grip section has such perfect curve to itβ€”I had no idea that a metal grip could be so comfortable.

  59. I’ve never owned one before, but I love the look of the aluminum! It would be fun to switch it up with refills periodically.

  60. I like the clean, strong, yet finished aesthetic of them, though not quite enough to make the top of my to-buy list yet. I’m most curious about whether the ergonomics of it will suit me–I don’t know for sure until I’ve set down a paragraph or two…

  61. Pingback: Buying a pen

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