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Retro 51 Hex-o-Matic Ballpoint


I don't review a whole lot of ballpoints, but this one is pretty great. In fact, it's so great that I don't have a video for it because I gave it to a good friend for his birthday. This is a guy that only had one pen because he thought he only needed one. This pen's aesthetic really spoke to him, though, and he's since gotten a pair or Rotring pencils to go with it. This is the sort of pen that certainly attracts some attention.

The grip section is knurled and quite comfortable. It's maybe a little thin for me, but I have big hands. The tip is pretty dramatic. They've gone with a funnel-look instead of a cone, and I think it was a good choice. You don't touch it with your fingers unless you hold the pen very strangely.

The barrel is smooth and hexagonal, with the knurling repeated near the knock of the pen. The clip is actually kind of graceful, I think. It's strong enough not to bend out of shape, but flexible enough to to fit over a shirt or pants pocket. The band of the clip is where you'll find the Hex-O-Matic branding. It's clean and subtle, so those of you who don't like much branding will be pleased.

This is the rest of that knock. It's the only thing I was even a little dissatisfied with on this pen. It's not loose enough to rattle when you write with it, but it could be tighter. It might not even bother you, but it's there.


The other bit of branding on the pen is the "51" on top of the knock. I think it's just printed there, but it doesn't seem to come off, so perhaps it's something sturdier. I had it for a few months and the printing didn't deteriorate at all.

This pen comes with a Schmidt refill, and it's lovely. 

This pen comes apart in a couple of places. The grip section unscrews, but the metal-on-metal tends to scream a bit. It was enough to keep this chronic twiggler from messing with that part too much. The tip unscrews much more quietly, and the spring seems to stay put.

The packaging on this pen is over the top, but I really like it. It's lightweight, but stiff enough to protect the pen. Of course, the pen doesn't really need protecting. It's bomb-proof.

It opens up three ways, and the pen clips in to a little loop on the inside of the box.

You may not really need a written portion for a ball point, but here you go.

Here we've got it next to some other popular pens. It's a fair bit smaller than a Lamy Al-Star, and it's in the same range as the Zebra ballpoint next to it.

I'm actually a big fan of this pen. It's got an industrial aesthetic that's sturdy and appealing. It's on the manly side, but there may be ladies out there who would be attracted to it. The price point puts it in the same range as the (also excellent) Tornado, though with a much more Rotring look.

Check it out at Anderson Pens, where it goes for $28.

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