Ask The Desk: Retro 51 Refills


Daisy asked:

Just got myself a new Retro 51 Tornado (Nine Lives edition) but I am a bit overwhelmed by potential refills. I like a fine black line, and ideally ink that won’t run when highlighted. Can you help narrow down my options? This may be heresy, but I’m not sure if I prefer ballpoint or rollerball, so suggestions for either or both would be good 🙂

I followed up with Daisy to determine exactly what size nib she preferred and she confirmed that she likes the Uni Jetstream in 0.5 and the Uni Style Fit in 0.4 and 0.5.

If you want to stick with a rollerball, the Schmidt P8126 Capless Rollerball in fine would be a good option. Or you could follow  Mike Rohde’s technique and just cut down a Pilot Juice or Pilot G2 refill or Mike’s favorite, the Pentel Energel. You can either buy a regular pen with one of these refills in it, or purchase a refill from your favorite retailer. My best recommendation is to open up some of the pens laying around your workspace and see if they might fit. If I find a pen I like, I always try to open it up to see if it will fit into my favorite pens. I hope that helps!

Retro 1951 + Pentel EnerGel Refill Hacking

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7 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I’ve been thinking about getting one for my husband, he prefers a wide black ballpoint. He’s currently using a Zebra F-701. Any ideas which ballpoint refills fit in a Tornado?

    1. Retro 51s will take Parker-style refills. I would recommend getting him the Easy-Flow 9000 from Retro 51 or the Monteverde Parker-Style Black 1.4mm Ballpoint Pen Refill. Both are available in blue or black ink and can be found at either Refill Finder or JetPens.

  2. I have a related question… I have a Retro 51 Tornado and a custom pen with a Parker refill. I don’t like the Parker in the custom pen and since the Retro 51 looked similar, I tried to move it over… No such luck. The Retro 51 refill is just a hair too big to fit. Refill Finder has the lengths of various refills, but no info on diameter. Do you happen to know if the Monteverde or Schmidt refills are the same diameter as the Parker?

    1. Most Parker-style refills should be of a similar diameter. You might check with Goldspot Pens (AKA The Refill Finder) and ask them if the Monteverde and Schmidt refills in the Parker-style are the same diameter.I’m sure they would be happy to check on that for you. Good luck!

  3. i bought some refills for the elite retro 51. When they arrived, I was surprised to see that they are only about 3 inches long, and the diameter of of a pencil lead. What pen will they fit? Thanks.

    1. Those are D1 refills which will fit the Slim Sterling (and similar Slim style designs from Retro51). D1 refills also fit in a lot of other pens. It’s one of the most common refill types. The Lamy 2000 MultiPen uses them and the Zebra Sharbo X use the D1 too.

      In the meantime, I found some Retro51 branded refills for your Elite on Ebay. I am not entirely sure the length of these but I suspect you could find alternate refills for this pen elsewhere. Just save an empty refill so that you can measure the overall length.

      Hope this helps!

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