Generally speaking, ballpoint pens are a last option for me. As a lefty, oily ballpoint ink often leaves a trail of residue on the heel of my hand and my writing angle can often cause ballpoint roller balls (the ball suspended in the tip that releases ink) to choke up or skip. Left hand writers push the pen when writing rather than pulling it in the manner that right handed writers write. Even left handed writers who hold their pen in such a way as to write “below the baseline” — in others words, holding their pen in a mirrored position to right handed writers rather than the more awkward looking side-writing or overhand writing (AKA “the hook”) — can face issues with ballpoint and rollerball pens choking or skipping.
That said, even lefties need to use a ballpoint every now and again to fill out paperwork in the doctor’s office, sign a slick piece of receipt paper for a credit card purchase, etc.
So sometimes, you just need a ballpoint pen. But who wants to carry a Bic Stic next to your beautiful fountain pens and mechanical pencils? Ensso understands your dilemma so they have created the premium Bic Stic solution: the Aria ($39, available in matte black aluminum or brass).
The packaging is simple and satisfying. The Aria pens come in slim, black cardboard boxes which are easily recyclable. Inside the box is a tube, capped with thick rubber caps which are reusable. Thumbs up on the packaging.
These pens have beautiful tapered lines and an upscale look but in their heart, beats a Bic Stic refill. Why did they choose to make a high end body for such an inexpensive ballpoint pen? Why do people climb Mount Everest? Because they can. Because it’s a challenge. I think making a ballpoint pen appealing enough to entice a very picky fountain pen user is a suitable challenge.
The refill is friction fit into the barrel and can easily be removed with a pair of pliers. So, if you prefer a different ink color or a different nib width, it’s easy to swap out the refill.
On the end of the Aria, there are threads that mean that the cap can be posted and it won’t fall off.
The Aria is quite long. It’s 15cm (almost 6″) long capped, 14.5cm (5.7″) uncapped and 16cm (6.25″) when posted.
The brass model is very heavy. Capped or posted the brass Aria weighs 66gms and 58gms when uncapped. The matte black aluminum model is much lighter at 21gms capped/posted and 20gms uncapped.
I’m including our usual fountain pen weight chart for reference to exactly how heavy the brass Aria is.
I don’t suspect anyone needs an in-depth review of how the Bic refill writes but I wanted to test how the pens felt with the weight of the aluminum and brass. The Aria pens are narrow, like a ballpoint pen. For me, the brass pen was too heavy. But I have tiny, childlike hands so the weight of the brass and the longer length of the pen caused the brass Aria to be a bit too top heavy in my small hands. For larger normal adult-sized hands, this would probably not be an issue. The aluminum pen is much lighter and I didn’t have issues with the weight balance.
Compared to other non-fountain pens in my collection, it’s clear how long the Aria pens are. Shown above, from left to right: Baron Fig Squire, Retro 51 Tornado Popper, and the brass and matte black aluminum Ensso Aria.
The Aria is the only of the pens that it capped. The threads keep the caps on tightly. If you’ve had issues with the Schmidt refills leaking in your bag or pocket, the capped Aria may be a reasonable upgrade.
The Aria is a very pretty pen. If we have to have a ballpoint pen, it might as well be one as lovely as the Aria. The price is reasonable too, for a metal machined pen.
Ensso has kindly given us these two pens to give away to TWO lucky giveaway winners.
TO ENTER: Leave a comment below and let me know which Aria style you like best: brass or matte black aluminum. Play along and type in something. It makes reading through entries more interesting for me, okay? One entry per person. If you have never entered a giveaway or commented on the site before, your comment must be manually approved by our highly-trained staff of monkeys before it will appear on the site. Our monkeys are underpaid and under-caffeinated so don’t stress if your comment does not appear right away. Give the monkeys some time. FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Sunday, March 28, 2021. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Monday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your actual 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 — pinky swear. If winner does not respond within 5 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. 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. US and APO/AFO only, sorry.