This or That – Rollerball Edition!
Lamy Safari or Pilot Metropolitan
I was surprised when I learned that Goulet Pens would be carrying the Lamy Safari Rollerballs. Surprised and intrigued. Then! I saw that Jet Pens started carrying the Pilot Metropolitan in a Rollerball, too. (Sometime in the last couple of days, Goulet Pens also began carrying the Pilot Metropolitan Rollerball.)
In the way-back past, I was not a fan of rollerballs. More often than not, they just didn’t write well for me. I’ve since learned there can be a couple of reasons for this: 1) rollerball inks have traditionally been liquid and these can dry out quickly, and 2) depending on the user’s grip, the angle of the pen may put the ball in such a position that it doesn’t roll smoothly across the paper.
I was definitely feeling guarded when I ordered, but let’s dive in and see how things worked out.
Both pens are attractive and look very much like their fountain pen cousins. Brian Goulet has a terrific video about the Safari Rollerball where he talks about all of the differences between it and the fountain pen. You can see that video right here.
Even the grips of each pen look familiar.
However . . . Those of you who have the Lamy Safari fountain pen(s) know that they have a unique grip section. The Lamy Rollerball has a similar (but different) grip that I am not finding 100% comfortable.
But how do they write?
Actually . . . quite well! The Metropolitan came equipped with a black refill. Pilot G-2 gel refills are available in a variety of sizes and colors.
The white Safari comes with a blue refill – all of the Lamy rollerballs come with a black refill (I don’t know why). Refills are available in standard colors – black, blue, red, and green. I checked in with Goulet Pens – these refills are also gel.
And here’s a side-by-side comparison for you . . .
So which one? This or that?
Writing Experience: Metropolitan.
While each writes wonderfully, the Lamy rollerball grip isn’t going to be comfortable for everyone.
Not only are the refills available in a variety of sizes (.38, .5, .7) and colors (blue, black, purple, teal, turquoise, burgundy, pink, hunter green, red, caramel, navy, orange, periwinkle, green, lime), they are available all over the place. (Though ironically, I don’t see any on the Goulet website.)
The Pilot Metropolitan seems to be around $8-10 less than the Safari Rollerballs – even more if you’re digging the Al-Star Rollerballs.
Bottom Line: Easy decision for me – Pilot Metropolitan Rollerballs, for the win!
Have you tried either of these? What do you think of rollerballs in general? I’m a bit of a convert after experiencing these!