– Handwritten Review –
- Description: A budget, refillable rollerball that is capable of using fountain pen ink
- Point: Medium refillable rollerball
- Material: Demonstrator style clear plastic, with metal clip and chrome plastic accents
- Refillable: Yes, with additional converter
- Measurements: length: 4.6″ unposted, 5.5″ posted
What is it?
$9.00 + $2.50 for optional international standard converter
It is capable of using cartridges, or a converter, neither of which come with the pen. I added a Monteverde Mini Converter to my order, and the two play together very well. The pen fills up just like a fountain pen, dunk the nib into the bottle of ink, and pull up (or turn) the converter to draw ink up into the pen.
The J. Herbin Rollerball is too small for me to comfortably use when unposted. When posted, it’s a decent size. Think Kaweco Sport – too small when unposted, but comfortable when posted. The actual writing experience with the J. Herbin rollerball is not too great.
There’s a very unpleasant crunching sound that comes from the tip as you write. It’s not very smooth either, but varies greatly on different kinds of paper. The line from the medium tip is consistent, as is the flow – no complaints there. The experience is similar to writing with a badly misaligned fountain pen – scratchy. Using the pen on some Maruman Mnemosyne paper yielded less scratchy results, but it’s still not as good as the disposable rollerballs I’ve used. I’d much rather use a Morninglory Mach II or a Pilot Precise over the J. Herbin, they write much, much smoother.
The concept of having a rollerball pen that can be used with fountain pen ink is pretty cool. Kaweco has a similar offering in their line, but I have no experience with it. In the case of the J. Herbin Rollerball, the writing experience falls short of what I had expected. At $9.00 I wouldn’t consider it a total loss, but it definitely could have been $9.00 saved towards something bigger and better (or to purchase another Hero 9018 Fude Nib – which I LOVE).
- The pen looks cool
- Small size disappears into a pocket
- Cheap materials
- Scratchy performance
- Doesn’t include a converter
- Cannot be eyedropper converted easily
If you absolutely have to have a rollerball pen, maybe look at the disposables and find a color you like. They happen to write better than this pen does. It’s not very expensive, but $11.50 (assuming you buy the converter) can get you a bunch of nice rollerballs that provide a much nicer writing experience.