Thursday, 27 December 2012

Review of the J Herbin rollerball

J Herbin are well known for their inks but they have also produced a roller-ball pen which takes ink cartridges. Nifty!
Ever on the look out for new or different stationery, I bought myself a couple of the pens from Bureau Direct (no affiliation, just a very satisfied customer!). I bought one of the pen + 3 tins of cartridges set for myself, another for a good friend and also a roller-ball on its own (to be able to have a change of colour as and when needed).
In my set of pen + cartridges, I bought the following ink colours:
Bleu pervenche
Lierre sauvage
Lie de thé

I’ve been using the pens on and off since I got them so I thought it would be a good time to do a review of the pens and the inks I have used so far. Of the inks I bought, I loaded one pen with the bleu pervenche and the other with the lie de thé.

Apologies for the blurring!

The pen has a clear plastic barrel and takes a single, standard-size cartridge. Still capped, the pen measures 11.8cm long. It is approximately 1.1cm in diameter. Uncapped, the pen measures 9.8cm; 13.8 cm if you post the cap.

There are 6 cartridges in each of the tins.

They are a nice idea if you like the convenience of a roller-ball but want the quality and range of colours of the J Herbin inks (though as they take a standard-size cartridge, you could as easily use non branded inks with it).

The clear barrel allows you to see the ink level in the cartridge easily, without having to dismantle the pen.

The inks come in fabulous colours. The bleu pervenche is especially bright, but the lie de thé doesn’t disappoint at all – quiet, understated and extremely classy. The tins of cartridges are very pretty!

The writing line is fairly fine and the J Herbin inks are wet enough to draw a decent line but dry quickly enough not to end up smudgy.

The roller-ball is small – those with normal to large sized hands may need to use it with the pen cap posted.

The writing experience… I really want to use these more than I am but both pens have a slightly scratchy point and when I write, I want to be able to focus on what I’m writing, but I find I am being distracted by the scratch of the roller-ball. I may have been unlucky with them and they may smooth down with writing (as suggested in some of the reviews on Bureau Direct) but at the moment they are a bit annoying.

There are six cartridges in the tin, but the best packing-density of circles is one in the centre and six around the outside of it, so why not have seven cartridges in the tin? It seems a bit mean.

I love the concept of them and the ink colours are fabulous, but I am a little disappointed with the writing experience. Hopefully the scratchiness will wear off and they will be beautifully smooth to write with. My fountain pens have nothing to fear however as they are still my firm favourites by a country mile.

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