Karas Pen Co. has been quietly working away in their secret hideaway in the desert to create a new line of pens they are calling Reaktor. The series is doing some particular unique things in the machined pens field. First, they are aiming to sell these pens starting at $40 for the Galaxie ($45 for the XL) which is making them competitive with many entry level “good pens”. In the ballpoint and rollerball arena, this is comparable with the Retro 51, Schon DSGN or BigiDesign. Those brands sell pens that range in prices from $50 and $150. Of course, they are often limited edition, handmade or more modular. But Karas is definitely making the move to compete in this field and do it with a SNAP CAP! You heard that right. A snap cap. How cool is that?
To start, Karas trimmed the packaging down to recyclable plastic tubing. They are sturdy, reusable or recyclable. The square tubes are easily stackable and color coded. Pens with anodized grip sections in red or blue ship in matching colored tubes. The black models ship in a black tube and the tumbled finish ships in the clear tube.
I love the tapered end of the new Reaktor line.
Once the cap is removed, the look of the uncapped pen has a beautiful line. The cap still has a classic “Karas” industrial look but the pen is much more refined and elegant. I really like them.
When the box of Reaktor pens arrived, my husband and I spent a whole evening trying all the different varieties. We tested the different sizes and finishes to see which we preferred. Since I have small hands and Bob has considerably larger “man hands,” it was worth having both of us trying both the Galaxie and the Galaxie XL.
Bob definitely preferred the XL. He found the standard Galaxie a wee bit too short for his long hands. He also liked the clip. As a girl, I don’t always have a need for a clip, other than as a roll stop, but I kept going back to the Galaxie. The size is perfect for my small hands.
They are light and easy to hold and the snap cap is fun. The clip is sturdy if that’s what you need and the Galaxie is streamlined and sleek without it if you don’t need a clip. I am definitely in the Galaxie clipless camp. It slips effortlessly into my dress pockets and I don’t worry about toting it around to meetings, having it bumping up against my phone, keys, change or, often times, a pocket knife for the many projects I work on at work or in the studio that require opening a box, trimming an edge or some other fiddly detail. If someone would just make the perfect pocketable, snap cap X-acto!
What you really want to know when I get a hold of a ballpoint or rollerball is what refills did I use? And of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone. The Galaxie XL ships with the notorious Schmidt 8126 rollerball which, for this lefthander, is basically useless. I immediately popped it out and tried a Pilot G2. Voila! Fits fine. This established that most of the refills in my Refill Guide in the G2 list should fit, though some were a little wiggly and may require trying a couple different springs for a perfect fit.
So, if liquid rollerball ink is not your cup of tea or you want a wider variety of colors, start disassembling all those gel pens you purchased early on in your pen life and see if they fit. Just open them gently or you’ll have refills and springs flying everywhere. Don’t ask me how I know that.
As for the standard Galaxie, it takes a standard Parker-style refill so there are many options. If, like me, you prefer gel ink to ballpoint, I cannot recommend the newly discovered Premec Gel Refill (Black 0.5mm 2-pack) highly enough. I found them on Amazon. There’s also other sizes available as well but the 0.5mm is a good place to start. If you’re looking for a more universal option, Tofty’s Parker-style adapter-to-D1 is another good option then you can fill the Galaxie with Jetstream D1 refills.
The Galaxie XL ($50) and Starliner XL (the fountain pen version, $55) will be the first to release in early July, in limited numbers to Karas Coin Club Members first. If you’re not a Coin Club member, you can join here. Annual membership starts at $25 per year and includes early access to new releases, limited editions and, of course, their cool coin plus many other benefits.
Needless to say for Karas Kollectors, these pens are a no-brainer. For others, these is a great entry into “nice pens.” In some ways, it may even be a better option than a Retro 51 as it doesn’t have that finicky twist mechanism. Though for some, the cap might be a no-go. But a snap cap is definitely light years better than a twist cap. And the price point is awesome.