Now and again, we like to talk about pens here on the site. Much like watches, they are everyday companions for many of us, and are really a quite handy thing to have around. Today, we’re taking a look at what happens when machining skill, a clever idea, and robust design come together. This time around, they take the form of Schon DSGN pens.
For this review, we actually were able to take a look at the full range of the Schon DSGN pen collection. While all of the designs are the same, the materials and finishing used vary. At the lightest end of the spectrum, you have aluminum (at 30g; polished or PVD), then move to titanium at 48g. Past that you have stainless steel (82g; brushed or PVD), brass (88g; polished), and bronze (92g; polished). While I did not carry all of them regularly (didn’t need clanking pockets) I did carry a few around, as well as my trusty Fisher Space Pen (which, by the way, comes in at 20g).
Why the Fisher Space pen reference? Well, you see, the Schon DSGN pens rely on a Space Pen insert for ink delivery. At least, at this time. There are adapters on the way that will allow for the use of a gel ink refill (my favorite choice these days) or a needle-tip refill. These sorts of options I think will further elevate what the brand has here. For now, as the Space Pen performance is well known (it’s ok, not good, not awful), we’ll focus more on the pens themselves.
For starters, the machining is tight – literally. It’s only one full turn, perhaps a touch more, that you need to full thread (or unthread) the cap from either end of the cap. This makes for a tight fit of course, and keeps things from being noisy. It also helps keep the smooth outer profile uninterrupted as well. When you post the cap, then the material – and it’s weight – really comes into play. With the titanium and aluminum, things still felt balanced in the hand when you posted the cap. When you switch to the heavier metals (steel, brass, bronze) then the pen feels a bit back-heavy.
Yes, you can get around this by not posting the cap, but then you run the risk of the cap rolling off somewhere. Not a major deal for something that is used occasionally (say, for signing credit card receipts), rather than a pen that is used heavily throughout the day. So, why might you carry a Schon DSGN pen, rather than something like the Fisher option?
For one, I think it boils down to a choice in the looks of what you carry. Obviously, Schon DSGN looks quite a bit different, and offers materials you can’t get from Fisher. You’re also getting something that looks – and feels – very robust. Yeah, my Fisher Space pen has survived banging around in my pocket, but these solid machined pieces from Schon DSGN will have absolutely not problem in the pocket. In fact, for the non-PVD finishes, I’d say some dings and scratches would be welcome character. And for the polished ones, well, just get ready to learn how to polish the metal yourself.
And it’s good the Schon DSGN pens are designed to last. With prices starting at $58 (for aluminum) and topping out at $180 (for the grade 5 titanium), you do not want a throw-away pen. With those aforementioned adapters on the way as well, I think these pens represent a good long-term value, and would be a welcome complement to any EDC, whether you’re in the office or out on the trail. Perhaps a bit heavier than some might prefer, but this is definitely a case were the weight is indicative of quality and robustness. Get one of these pens, one of the new adapters, and never worry about what pen you’ll have with you every day, for years to come. schondsgn.com