Before I got into fountain pens and gel ink pens became available in the market, I used to use ballpoint pens for taking notes, and the Parker Jotter was my favourite. It was the first pen I invested “real money” into when I was still in high school, and I still have that purple pen knocking about somewhere in the house. The refills were always a problem, with blobbing, streaking and hard starts something common to all ballpoints, even the Jotter with its “Quinkflow” refills, but you could shade with the pen, which meant that you could doodle in your notebook while bored — a big plus for me.
I switched to fountain pens when I started my BA and my wrist pains got worst than ever, because I was practically carving the words into the page. Since then, gel pens and fountain pens have ruled the roost on my desk, with only a Kara’s Kustoms Render K with a Schmidt easyflow 9000 M in black filling my few ballpoint needs. When they don’t blob, ballpoints are great after all, especially if you want to jot something down and not have to wait for the ink to dry.
But when Jet Pens added four limited edition Parker Jotters, each one celebrating a different London architectural icon (Bronze for Big Ben, Red for Buckingham Palace, Sky Blue for the Shard, and Black for the Gherkin), I knew I had to reopen the ballpoint chapter in my life.
The packaging is stunning, as you can see for yourself:
Not many pens at this price level come in such nice boxes, which makes them perfect gifts (I bought all four pens and intend to give away three of them as gifts).
Ballpoints aren’t much fun for me to write with, because I have RSI problems and they require pressure to use, but they are fun to sketch and doodle with. So much shading with one pen:
The etching on the pen makes it very easy to grip once you start writing or sketching, but it does feel a bit rough on the fingers when you just pick the pen up or fiddle with it. The click mechanism and clip are Parker solid, and colours and design of these pens are fantastic:
The minus is of course the refill, which is smooth with no railroading, but does blob a bit, mostly when you sketch, not so much when you just write with it.
The funniest thing about these pens that celebrate such very British icons, is that they are made in France (until 2011 Parker pens were made in the UK).
If you enjoy ballpoint pens and don’t have a Parker Jotter or like the look of these pens, I recommend these. They are tough workhorses and good looking pens.
If you love London as much as I do, I recommend these.
If you’re looking for a nice gift for someone, particularly an architecture or design student, I recommend these.
For me personally, gel pens and fountain pens will continue to rule the roost.