THIS OR THAT: Rollerball Edition



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.



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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?

Appearance:  Tie!

Writing Experience:  Metropolitan.

While each writes wonderfully, the Lamy rollerball grip isn’t going to be comfortable for everyone.

Refills: Metropolitan.

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.)

Price:  Metropolitan.

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!

THIS OR THAT: Pilot Iroshizuku Blues Edition

 This or that?

Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-peki or Tsuyu-kusa?


Kon-peki is on top. It’s so popular. I bought it long ago without trying the sample first. But Tsuyu-kusa? I’m not even sure how to pronounce it. I first tried it earlier this month when an Instagram friend asked how it compares to Kon-peki.


Both are really pretty and have a little shading. They write wonderfully (as do all of the Iroshizuku inks I’ve tried). Kon-peki leans toward turquoise. Tsuyu-kusa is a warmer, more rich blue color.  Neither is particularly water-resistant (I let things dry for about five minutes before swabbing with a good amount of water).

Here’s a better look at them . . .


So. Which will it be for you? I’m choosing . . .

THIS OR THAT: Yama-dori or Ku-jaku

This or that? Top or bottom?  Which do you love?

Can you see the differences between these two inks?  One color is always on top. The other is always on the bottom.

Let’s take a closer look . . .

One of these is Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-jaku.  The other is Sailor Jentle Yama-dori.
Color is quite similar.
I see a definite difference here.
Not much difference here.
Which ink is this?  Hint:  it’s both!

Alrighty, which do you like? Both? Neither?  They are pretty close, yes? I would choose the top color – but not by much. It’s the shading that made the difference for me. I think I could be happy with either (even though teal isn’t my most favorite color).

Scroll down for the spoiler . . .

The top shade is Sailor Jentle Yama-dori. 
The bottom is Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-jaku.  

What is so interesting to me about this is that Yama-dori is legendary. Ku-jaku gets favorable reviews, but it’s not a Big Deal. The differences are subtle and if they weren’t side-by-side, I wonder if you or I could tell them apart.

Like I said yesterday, Yama-dori is my E.T. ink. You can read all about that right here.

What do you think? Am I crazy and there’s a huge difference that I’m not appreciating here?

THIS OR THAT – Orange Ink Edition

This or That
Orange Ink Edition
Two orange inks for your consideration today. Both loaded in its own Lamy Safari with a bold nib.
The top ink is a bit lighter – the bottom has more red it in – the top shades a bit better. Each has a fairly serious smear factor and they each wrote just fine with the color on the bottom feeling just a tad bit more lubricated than the top.
Which do you like better?
Circle one. Top with its light orange and shading? Bottom with its richness and saturation?
How do you decide between them? Mr. Pentulant was decisive, “I like the bottom. No doubt.”
I’m a little more on the fence. Shading or saturation? It seems to be a trade off between these two inks.
Here’s the spoiler ….
Top….Montblanc Gandhi
Bottom….PW Akkerman Oranje Boven
Gandhi is for sale on eBay for around $90 per bottle (it’s no longer in production). PW Akkerman is around $24 per bottle (but you may pay lots for shipping if you can’t find it in the US).
Tell me which you like better and how you made your decision? Color? Shading? Pricing? Maybe a combination of factors?

THIS OR THAT? Montblanc Heritage 1912 or Boheme

A super-quick (ha!) version of This or That – two Montblanc Fountain Pens – the fancy newish Heritage 1912 versus the classic and much-loved retractable nib Boheme.

But first – did you see that I’m giving away the new Lamy Safari in Neon Coral? Enter here.

On to This or That . . .

These are each great pens that write really well. I had the Heritage inked with Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun from this review and inked the Boheme with Montblanc Oyster Grey in anticipation of writing this post. I’m not showing any writing samples today – suffice it say that the writing experience is pretty terrific with both pens.

Other than the great brand, precious resin, and amazing writing, the greatest similarity between the two pens is the retractable nib. 
The biggest differences are . . . 
Fill System The Boheme will only accept cartridges (standard short). The Heritage has a unique piston filling system.  Cartridges are convenient, for sure – just pop one in and go (well, after waiting a few minutes or more for the ink to work its way through the pen’s capillary system). There are approximately a zillion more colors of bottled ink available than cartridges. Also, fill with a piston and you’re ready to start writing immediately.  
Posting the Cap The Boheme is designed to be posted – to advance the nib, simply screw the cap on to the end of the pen – it’s perfect, really. There is no way for the cap to work its way loose with normal use.  The Heritage, on the other hand, is not meant to be posted – annnnnd despite the pictures on the MB website (this kills me, in case you’re wondering), it cannot be properly posted. This could be a deal-breaker for some people.
Size Capped, the Boheme is smaller – practically pocket-sized. Uncapped, the Boheme is still smaller. However, posted, the sizes are comparable. With each pen in the ready-to-write position, the Boheme is around 1/2 inch longer than the Heritage.
Grip The Boheme (shown above) features a very slightly flared grip. I find it very comfortable to hold. The Heritage (below) is quite smooth. I also find it very comfortable. I can see that some people would have an issue with the Heritage. For example, if you have especially (ahem) moist hands, maybe your grip would be too slippery to be an enjoyable writing experience?
Clean-Up The Boheme can be a bit of a pain to clean. Do you want to run water through the pen and over the working parts of the retractable nib? I didn’t think so. Given that, your options are to set up an elaborate cleaning scheme which involves a cleaned-out cartridge (long) and needle/syringe or find some cleaning cartridges (I’m not even sure these are still around?).  (Maybe there’s another option?) 
While I’ve not yet cleaned the Heritage (not even before I inked it because I’m pentulant like that), I imagine it will work like any other piston fill pen.
Let’s talk about money . . . Right now on the MB website, Bohemes range from $690 – $1645. The Heritage is $1,110.  Of course, you can probably find a better deal for each on eBay – and the very good news is that the retractable nib pens are (to my knowledge) not counterfeited.
Right now, I’m a huge fan of the Montblanc Heritage 1912.  I’ve mentioned to more than one person that I think it’s my favorite pen – maybe even my grail pen. I love it that much.  Having said that, I also love my Boheme collection.
As each pen is a terrific writer, it’s really going to come down to personal preference. I’ve outlined the things that I think could make or break a decision. Now, you tell me – This or That? Which would you choose?

THIS OR THAT? Pilot Metropolitan Fine Nib Review

As soon as I heard that Pilot had released their popular Metropolitan in a fine nib, I knew I’d have to have one (or two – ha) and as soon as Goulet Pens announced they had them, I ordered.

Here’s a super quick look at the writing differences.  For pictures of the pens themselves, please have a look at my Instagram, particularly this picture to see the fancy new packaging.

So…how does it write? GREAT!

(Medium on top – fine under.)

I’m using Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium ink in each of the pens. This is one of my favorite blue inks and it’s exclusively available at Goulet Pens. (I swear, I don’t work for them. I work at Brush Dance.)

Flow is great. No skipping or hard starts. No scratchiness. And the line is significantly thinner than the medium.

In short – I’m glad I got two of these great looking inexpensive pens that work really well.

OK…this or that?  Pilot Metropolitan Fine Nib – or Pilot Metropolitan Medium Nib.  What is your pleasure?

Oh…here’s a link to the full-size review sheet. (It’s big.)