There's a direction connection between the new PenBBS 471 pocket pen and the PenBBS 469 double-ended eyedropper.
In a nutshell, take a PenBBS 469, chop it in half and you have the new pen. With a couple of changes, the fully-formed PenbBBS 471 emerges:
- Add threads on the base and the top of the cap so the pieces go together.
- Add a connector ring that fits either end to open more configuration options.
The PenBBS 471 can be assembled in a couple different ways depending on your mood:
- No ring - The smallest & lightest option. The cap screws onto the base for a nice, small pen.
- Ring attached to base - The end of the cap screws into the ring for a longer, more stylish pen.
- Ring on end of cap - The fancy variation of the first option.
Mix and Match
With the ring on the base you can put two 471 pens back to back for a home-brew 469!
Sadly, my 469 caps won't thread onto the 471 base (on either side) so can't swap in that direction.
The 471 cap does fit on my 469, however.
Of the three, the second it my favorite. I like the look of the pen with the ring in the middle.
In a lot of ways, the ring is what makes this pen. It's cool!
A Fly in the Ointment
Unfortunately, in ring-in-the-middle configuration, you wind up with the hollow end of the cap exposed. When you write with the pen you see something of an abyss staring at you from the back of the pen. Not the best look.
There's also the issue of sound. We're all familiar with the sound a pen makes when affixing or removing the cap. Screwing the cap open side out onto the base of the pen is completely different, higher pitched and hollow sounding. The first thing that popped into my head was Lego pieces. Go figure.
The pen is light enough so it doesn't really matter where you have the ring, or if it's not there at all.
The size difference with the ring also doesn't make much difference.
- 86mm closed with ring (82mm w/o ring)
- 132mm open with right (127mm w/o ring)
- 14mm barrel diameter
The ring does make a good base for standing the pen on end. Being metal, it's sturdy and the larger diameter keeps the pen stable. The ring also has flat spots along its edges (15 to my count) so the pen doesn't tend to roll around when it's on its side.
The cap goes on and off off in 2¼ turns. It's kind of a lot, but given that getting the pen ready to write takes two steps, the pen isn't really designed for speedy deployment.
- With no ring, the cap fits on the base with a quick ¾ turn.
- With the ring, the caps goes onto the base in 1¼ turns.
I found the cap goes on and off smoothly and isn't prone to cross threading.
Attaching the cap to the base, however, is a different story. With or without the ring, things didn't work particularly well when trying to get it on quickly. It requires some deliberate attention. Fumbling with the back of the pen when you want to make a quick note is a drag.
PenBBS Round F Nib
As delivered, the F nib was disappointing with poor flow and not overly smooth. Writing with more pressure helped, but the nib needed attention. At first, I thought it might be the ink, but turns out not.
Flossing with a nib tool and a bit of micomesh time did the trick.
The nib now writes like a champ. Good flow, smooth and a comfortable line. I like it.
Quirky But Enchanting
Bottom line? The PenBBS 471 is like a little jewel. A bauble of sorts. At least when closed.
Assembled for writing, it's as big as a PenBBS 355! And less than two grams lighter. Surprise!
If anything, the PenBBS 471 writes better than it should. The balance is comfortably forward, and while there's a bit of a step from the barrel to the section and the barrel is unergonomically straight, neither is really objectionable. Once it got some attention, the nib proved satisfying. No complaints at all.
And like the 469, it's my favorite kind of eyedropper - it's never burped.
I can honestly say I wasn't planning on adding a pink/purple pen to my collection. But it does fit my recent interest in purple inks. Plus I'd been avoiding the more exotic acrylics that so many people love and was feeling a little remiss.
So the new release was a chance to splash out on one of premium colors without dropping a ton of cash. At a shade over US$20 plus shipping on the PenBBS taobao flagship store, the 471-39SF is an easy yes.
It also gave me a chance to try out the F version of the new PenBBS round nibs, an experience that has eventually proven positive. I count myself fortunate that PenBBS matched the F-nib versions with silver trim. I'm not quite ready to go for the gold look of the M versions.
I can understand if folks will give this pen a miss but if you're looking for something a little different for yourself or a friend, the PenBBS 471 is the kind of divertissment that keeps things interesting. Enchanting even.
March 4 Addendum
More of a good thing. The special Fireworks edition was a good excuse to add a second PenBBS 471 to my collection. The pen is transparent demonstrator with fireworks etched into the cap and nib. For this pen, I chose the round M nib, again with a silver ring.
The M nib wrote perfectly out of the box. No need for tuning at all. The feel is the same as the nib in my PenBBS 355. Small sample size, but so far the new round M nibs are nicely consistent.
It's nice to have a pair of these pens. The are proving very useful to have around.
More often that not, my desk is my pocket. But everyday desk items doesn't have the same ring.