If you're not already in on this latest Kickstarter, you have just over two days left to back the Mark One, a new rollerball from Studio Neat. Described as a "minimal, durable, retractable pen," it's all of that, and a comfortable writer to boot.
I suspect a lot of people will look at this pen and ask themselves what the big deal is here. To be honest, I did too, until I spent some time with a Mark One Prototype. For me, what makes this pen great is the texture: the aluminum barrel is coated with cerakote, a ceramic-polymer coating that's not only extremely durable, but gives the pen a unique matte finish that I've not seen before, especially on a white pen.
Studio Neat launched the Mark One in two color schemes: a black cerakote pen with a brushed aluminum knock, or a white cerakote pen with a copper knock. When Studio Neat offered me a choice of prototype pens to review, it was a no-brainer. The white/copper version is unlike anything else out there at the moment, in terms of both looks and feel.
As you might expect with a retractable rollerball pen, the Mark One comes loaded with the excellent Schmidt P8126 rollerball refill, but also accepts any Parker-style ("G2") refill. This gives you some versatility: I currently have mine loaded with the Schmidt Easyflow 9000 hybrid ballpoint refill, and I recently learned about these Premec fine-point gel refills that should fit not only the Mark One, but other retractable rollerballs such as the Baron Fig Squire and the Retro 51 Tornado.
Where to Buy
The Mark One pen is available exclusively via Kickstarter. Studio Neat launches all of their products on the Kickstarter platform, and they're pros, so you should feel confident that this project will be well run and you'll get your pen. The Mark One starts at $50 for Kickstarter backers, with an intended retail price of $65, placing it at roughly the same price point as the Baron Fig Squire. Backer rewards include options for one or two Mark One pens, as well as an option for a Mark One pen and a Studio Neat Panobook notebook, which I reviewed last year. The Panobook had it's own successful Kickstarter launch, and is now sold separately.
As I mentioned earlier, you have two days left to back the Mark One, so if this pen piques your interest and you want to get in on the Kickstarter pricing, act now. If you happen to miss the Kickstarter, no worries, because Studio Neat should have the Mark One for sale on their website in the near future.
Disclaimer: The pen featured in this post is a prototype provided to me free of charge by Studio Neat for review purposes. While I understand that this prototype is substantially final, there may be slight differences between this pen and the Kickstarter reward you ultimately receive. Many thanks to Studio Neat for making this review possible! This post contains affiliate links.