Generally speaking, I tend to avoid ballpoint refills because I don’t often have very good luck with ballpoint ink. Being left-handed, it tends to smear more often and hard start more often for me than most people. But when Bert at Bertram’s Inkwell insisted I try the Monteverde Soft Roll refills in my Retro 51s as an alternative to the Schmidt P8126 refills, I decided to give it a shot, if only as scientific research. Bert insisted that the superbroad version was one of his best sellers but I was skeptical, being a proponent of the extrafine refills myself. So we settled on trying both. The Parker-style refills fit perfectly in the Retro 51s, something I had not actually tried before so that was an added bonus and opened up a whole new world of refills to me.
It turns out, that on Rhodia paper, both of the Soft Roll refills actually worked really well. The superbroad refill forced me to write a little bit larger than I normally do so that the letters didn’t close up. The ink was actually quite smooth and didn’t have that oily look a lot of ballpoint ink gets. It also didn’t skip or break up like a lot of ballpoint ink does when I write either. The extrafine wrote so smoothly and precisely I forgot it was ballpoint ink at all and kept thinking it was a gel ink.
I used the extrafine refill all week in my Retro51 Bouquet so it was tested on copier paper, Moleskine paper and various and sundry office papers with satisfactory results. I did a few additional tests with the superbroad on a legal pad and there was a bit more evidence of bloops but that’s probably a result of cheap paper combined with the refill putting down a good deal more ink.
If I’m going to use a ballpoint, I’m going to choose one of these refills because the quality is far superior to the average drugstore stick pen. Go, Monteverde!
Both the superbroad and extrafine refills come in a two-pack for $8.95.
DISCLAIMER: Thanks to Bert at Bertram’s Inkwell for these samples. This item was given to me free of charge for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.
7 comments / Add your comment below
Ana, i have used these refills before and have always had good results with them. In fact Monteverde is my go to for my refills.
As always you gave a thoroughly informative review. Well written!
Thanks for this review! I would like to see more reviews of common refill types: the Schmidt EasyFlow 9000, the Monteverde Capless Rollerball, the Itoya gel, et cetera. We seem to have so many more choices now than just “plain” ballpoints.
Ana – Thank you for this post. I am a leftie and bought my first Retro 51 a few weeks ago. I am probably in the minority but I don’t like the Schmidt refills because I do prefer extra-fine. I’m going to give these refills a try.
Their medium points come in ten colours and fit Cross, Mont Blanc, Waterman, Sheaffer, Lamy and DuPont pens without extra gadgets. They also make ceramic rollerball refills for all of these pens.
Writing in (for the first time) to thank you for this post. I hadn’t tried Monteverde refills and I’m not a big ballpoint user, but I haven’t been able to put down my Tactile Turn Shaker since I installed the extrafine version.
I find it not only works well on Rhodia paper but also on office copy paper (which has to happen sometimes).
I was really glad you did this review. Based on your review, I ordered these and they arrived today. I’m so impressed that I ordered again. These are the smoothest refills I have found and I have found a bunch. They are better than Jetstream, Juice, Uni products and G2. They write close to a fountain pen.