There are many pen brands out there, specializing in various things. Most Americans who know more than nothing about pens would recognize the Parker brand as a longtime quality maker. One of the least expensive, most accessible, and longest running products they make is the Jotter ballpoint/gel/rollerball pen that utilizes Parker’s own refill type. I have here the “all stainless steel” version, how does it hold up?
The pen itself is obviously all stainless steel. At the back is a very pleasantly tapered click button, followed immediately by the clip shaped as the famous Parker arrow. The pen from there slowly bulges and then tapers down to the end where it almost seamlessly meets with the pen’s point when it is not retracted, with only a slight seam 1/3 of the way down the pen where it is unscrewed to be refilled.
Now I can’t speak to the Parker brand refill this pen came with as I don’t remember how it wrote and I currently have a Monteverde refill inside (that writes very well, as I said in my review). But I can talk about the feel and sturdiness, both of which are superb. The click mechanism is a bit different and it just feels not as advanced as some of the more modern pens, but it is very solid and satisfying. There’s nothing wrong with it, it just feels older (like using one of those drafting pencils that have been in production for 60 years). And the steel finish is very easy to grip, while beings stylish and well-wearing. Scratches and such barely show up, keeping the pen looking nice and professional for some time.
Overall it’s a great pen, and for the price (a little more expensive for the “all stainless” one) it is easily a great value as one pen could last a lifetime (though refills might not be cheap). It’s hardy, with a time tested, solid mechanism, and while it doesn’t look as nice or handle as well (or have as many expensive materials) as the more expensive ballpoints out there it still looks professional, fits in with both modern (stainless) and retro (colors) styling, and can take a rough and tumble life. It’s a tough little trooper.
Some companies are iconic. Some companies have existed for years and have made a lasting impact on all of the products in their market today. Parker is one of these companies. And when my Parker Jotter ran out of ink, and I was trying to find a refill, this became apparent. Because while there aren’t many Parker brand click pen refills to be found in the world (it can be done, and much easier than some other things, but still…) it is quite easy to find a refill that will fit into a Parker pen. In fact, it’s more common to find pens that fit such refills than it is to find a genuine Parker pen now. Monteverde is one such company that makes both refills and pens of the Parker type, and I’ll be looking at the Ceramic Gel refill from them today.
The body of the refill itself fits perfectly into any Parker-type pen with ease. Printed on the cartridge is enough information to help you buy another and then some.
The ink is a jet black. It takes some time to dry completely, though, and even when it is dry enough to turn the page the ink isn’t completely dry. It sparkles for some time until it fades to a nice black with little to no shading, which I like in a black.
When dry the ink is very water-resistant, with only minimal feathering. Writing is quite smooth, though I chose the fine-tipped version, which is very finicky about the angle at which it is held and will skip if it is even slightly out of alignment. The tip can also upon occasion require a stroke before the ink flows. After this, there are no flow problems to mention.
It’s just a good refill that does what one would expect it to. It performs well, and its smoothness is quite nice. Really, though, the feel is so close to many other gel pen refills that it comes down to a matter of trying most of them and selecting a favorite.