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business hours: pentel calme multi-pen review

First days of March never feel like spring, the chilly wind howling between the buildings as it has been for the past five months. The clouds hang heavy, layered, reminding of the rain that will eventually arrive. In the distance, there is a patch of sunlight streaming through the clouds, sunbeams warm and welcoming against the grey sky. It makes you want to take shelter in that neighbourhood, sit on a warm bench, and bask in the sun. Another moment, and the patch of sun is gone, the clouds shifting to plunge them back into the greyness.


Pentel Calme multi-pen ballpoint and writing sample.

Let’s be honest, fountain pens are the most fun and comfortable pens to use, but sometimes you need something handy, quick, and won’t stick out on the desk shared by ten students. Crowded workshops, tiny lecture halls, and busy project tables have been pushing me to try alternatives.


Pentel Calme multi-pen ballpoint.

Pencils are usually my first choice, the best friend of an architecture student. Both mechanical pencils and wood case pencils have their spot in my pen case. Second place belongs to some beloved ballpoints. I never regularly used ballpoints, in primary school we were only allowed to use pencils and in high school I was already in love with the Muji gel pens. I remembered ballpoints as a sticky, oily mess. After trying some in the past year or so, it seems like they have come very far.


Pentel Calme multi-pen ballpoint.

Unfortunately, Europe seems to be lagging behind in bringing Japanese ballpoints in smaller tip sizes. It took me ages to find 0.5, and the smallest multi pen refills I could find were 0.7. After a little bout of disappointment, I’ve taken a deep dive into the JetPens website and… I’m so jealous!

 

On the other hand, I’m sure that a 0.7 ballpoint tip size is perfectly fine for most people. It’s even fine for me. I just want to explore different options as well. I write pen reviews as a hobby, I feel like I can be a little more demanding than the average ballpoint user.


Pentel Calme multi-pen ballpoint and TWSBI Eco fountain pen size comparison.

In the end, I got the Pentel Calme multi-pen for school. I’ve been wanting to try some good quality multi-pens for a while, and I liked the design of Calme the most out of the ones I had seen. The clean, straight lines and minimal branding keep this pen appealing. There’s a soft grip section with a leather-like feel. It’s pretty long and I think it would be comfortable for most people. The main visual interest of the pen is this grip, as it takes up about half of the body of the pen. It’s a nice texture, even though I don’t particularly care for softer grip sections. From what I understand, the grip of the Calme is on the thinner side for multi-pens, and even then it starts to be a little too thick for me. It’s also a pretty long pen, hopefully you can get a feel for it in the comparison photos with the TWSBI Eco. Its size, combined with having to press down to write, because ballpoint pens, gave me hand cramps pretty quickly. This pen is strictly reserved for taking notes, not long writing sessions for me.


Pentel Calme multi-pen ballpoint size in hand.

The knock isn’t overly loud like a Pilot Vanishing Point, but still satisfying. The only annoyance I had with this pen was its knock mechanism. The blue and red refills have their little tabs, which works good, but the black refill has the clip as its knock. Due to my preference for black ink for the bulk of my notes, the black is the most used colour. I don’t think it’s a particularly strong clip, it bends and feels flimsy to attach strongly to anything in particular. It would still move around when I clipped it to the inside fabric of my pen case. So, the most used knob is the flimsy feeling one.

 

Do you see the problem?


Pentel Calme multi-pen ballpoint writing sample.

It feels like the clip’s knock has already started going soft in a month or so of intensive use. Sometimes, it even has trouble catching, especially when you’re trying to knock it down fast with your thumb. It takes a couple of tries to get it to catch and let the tip stay open. To be honest, I do fidget with it quite a lot and the sound dampening property of it does feel different than regular loud knocks that I’m used to. I cannot say whether it’s the abuse I put it through or that the mechanism isn’t super strong. I’ll be using this pen more often when I manage to order some more refills for it, but this is my experience after using it for two months.

 

The grip twists off to reveal the refills. I’m almost done with the black refill, and the blue is halfway. As a lover of demonstrator fountain pens to watch the ink level go down, I do open it every now and then to check how much I have written.


Pentel Calme multi-pen ballpoint writing sample.

The 0.5 tip size doesn’t seem to exist on this side of the world, but the 0.7 with a lovely green colour did the job just fine. I was having decision paralysis before ordering this pen due to the tip sizes, the tab was open in my browser for close to two weeks. The ballpoint ink spreads very little on paper, so I was hoping that a thicker tip size would still be legible. In all three colours the ink isn’t an oily, splotchy mess. I didn’t have to wipe off the tip very often. You do get a more even performance when you press it down a little harder and keep the angle of the pen almost perpendicular to the paper, but I cannot keep that up for more than three words.


Pentel Calme multi-pen ballpoint writing sample.

The ink colours are more vibrant than I would’ve expected. The blue isn’t your average washed out ballpoint blue, but an opaque, deeper one. The red is pretty bright, though I tend to use dark-printed grid or lined notebooks, in which the red ink doesn’t have enough contrast compared to the lines. It’s legible, but you need to actually read it instead of quickly skimming over. The black ink is also opaque and easy to read. I liked the smoothness of all three of them.

 

One oversight I had was that practically all papers I use are quite smooth, coated, and more suitable for fountain pens, like Maruman or Oxford. Ballpoint pens like a little more tooth. I really liked using it on recycled straw paper, which is probably the cheapest and worst quality paper you can find, and Midori behaves quite well with the Calme too.

 

All in all, I like this pen. It has been a bit of a gateway to using more ballpoints for me, and I’ve been interested in trying more of them. Please let me know if there are any you enjoy! Also, which Japanese stationery shops do you use in Europe? I’m on the look for one with a little wider variety.

 

Thank you for reading! Happy pen show day to everyone in London, I hope you’ll have a lot of fun!



4 комментария


Гость
09 мар.

I really like the Uni Jetstream SXE3-507 3 color ballpoint for a utilitarian office pen. Feels sturdy, it isn't stupidly thick, and there's something attractively straightforward about the design. (The Uni Jetstream 3 color ballpoint that comes free with Hobonichi orders is pretty good too.). For finer tips there's a Jetstream Edge that comes in 3-color; don't know if it's available in Europe. I like .7 in ballpoints myself.

Лайк
A Fleeting Ripple
A Fleeting Ripple
19 мар.
Ответ пользователю

Thanks for the suggestions! Unfortunately the only thing I found here was the Uni 4+1 mechanical pencil multi pen. I think I'll make a big order of cool gel and ballpoint pens from Jetpens at one point and brace for the customs fees.


I didn't know the free Jetstream with Hobonichi hahah, where do you even find that kind of cool thing??

Лайк

Гость
03 мар.

Whatever I do, I can't seem to get into ballpoints. But I will give Calme a tyr, I hope it is the one for me!

Лайк
A Fleeting Ripple
A Fleeting Ripple
05 мар.
Ответ пользователю

I used to be the same until I started trying some fancier ones. Give it a try, maybe this one will be the one for you!

Лайк

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