A Stunner: The Monteverde One Touch Engage Retractable Ink Ball Pen

A mouthful of a name, to be sure. This is a pen I’ve had my eye on for a LONG time. It’s been docked on my Maybe/Someday list for quite a while. But I haven’t been able to track down any comprehensive reviews, and because I didn’t know how it wrote, and because it IS a bit on the pricey side, I kept pondering (as is my MO). Eventually the pondering got tiresome (as pondering does), so after a brief email exchange with Brad at Daly’s Pen Shop, I decided to just go for it. (Shocking, I know. I bet you thought I was going to write, “I decided not to buy it. The end.”)

It arrived last week. So cool.

Monteverde One Touch Engage

And a writing sample…

Let’s get to the obvious stuff first. As you can see, this is not a fine line, and the writing experience runs on the wet side. Let me back up a bit to explain that this pen is a retractable rollerball (actually, “ink ball”) that uses fountain pen ink (via the included cartridges or converter) rather than a standard rollerball refill. Thus the wetness. And thus the coolness. I’m currently using the cartridge that came with the pen, but I also ordered a few packs of Private Reserve cartridges in other colors (Lake Placid Blue, Copper Burst, and Chocolate) to mix things up a bit. There are 30+ colors of Private Reserve cartridges available, so if you have no desire to work with bottled ink, you can still experience a world of color options. A converter is included with the pen, so I may get brave and explore the world of bottled ink someday. It could happen!

Disassembled One Touch Engage with cartridge installed

When the pen arrived, I popped in the cartridge (a nice little pamphlet explains what goes where), topped it with the cartridge adapter, reassembled the pen, and grabbed a sheet of paper. The One Touch wrote immediately. I didn’t even have to make a tiny scribble to get it going. This pen is a very smooth writer, but as I said (and as you can see), the line is on the thick side and is wetter than your run-of-the-mill rollerball– more like a fountain pen, which makes total sense.

Because of the wetness (which I enjoy!), I quickly realized that this pen requires paper that is able to handle the free flow of ink. The Levenger Circa paper on which I initially wrote this review does very well, but after doing a little poking around, I decided to also order a stack of Clairfontaine notebooks from Goulet Pens as this paper sounds like it’ll be just the ticket. If you write on any old paper, you will see feathering and bleed-through. But with good paper, it’s a dream.

Page one of this review, on Levenger Circa paper

The body is simply stunning, which is why I couldn’t stop pondering it. According to the Monteverde website, the One Touch is “made of handmade high quality Carbon Fiber,” and I can attest that this is true. This pen is solid, shiny, subtle, and very, very sturdy. The knock is also substantial and engages easily (with “one touch”). I especially like the Monteverde logo on the knock…a great detail.

Monteverde logo on knock

One Touch clip and carbon fiber

Though I haven’t fully tested it out yet, the pen is touted as being “Capless Forever”– meaning that you can leave the tip deployed for extended periods of time without the ink drying up as would happen with a fountain pen. I’m usually quick to retract my pens when I’m not using them, so this probably isn’t a key feature for me, but it’s nice to know that if I forget, I won’t come back to a dried up mess.

The business end…Capless Forever

So after all of that pondering, I can wholeheartedly say that the Monteverde One Touch Engage offers a very unique (patented) writing experience. Will I use it every single day? Probably not, because of the need for good quality paper, but I WILL use it often because it is smoooooooth, because I can play with a wide range of inks and colors, and because it feels and looks SO GOOD.

Branding and carbon fiber

I was intrigued. NOW I’m ENGAGED– fully engaged. You will be, too.

11 thoughts on “A Stunner: The Monteverde One Touch Engage Retractable Ink Ball Pen

  1. This sounds *exactly* like the kind of pens I use. I like that you can use bottled ink – a novel concept for a rollerball. I frequently use the Uniball Signo Impact 207– does it lay down a line similar to that? You may have just convinced me this is a pen I. must.have!!! LOL thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Your handwriting is lovely.

    • I haven’t used the pen you mention, but I poked around a few reviews, and the line looks quite similar. I suspect the drying time with the Monteverde might be a little longer because of the nature of the ink. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. You probably know this but Levenger has Rhodia paper for the Circa. Rhodia and Clairefontaine are sister companies and both have paper that is excellent for fountain pen inks. Pricy as all Levenger items are, but I have several Rhodia Circa notebooks and feel they are worth it.

    • Yeah, I did toy with the idea of going with the Rhodia Circa (and probably will sometime), but the lure of a stack of $3-$4 Clairfontaine notebooks was too hard to resist! Glad to know the Rhodia Circas are worth the $$, though. Thanks!

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  4. Thanks for the very informative review. A couple of questions for you – do you need to flush out the pen when changing ink colors as you would with a fountain pen? I was wondering whether flushing it would cause more stress on the rollerball tip and require you to replace the tip sooner than usual.

    Also, have you had any problems with the pen leaking? A few Amazon reviewers noted this, but they mentioned that the pen was being carried in a pocket when the leak happened.


    • I haven’t had any leaking issues with the pen, but I don’t carry it often, and if I did, it would most likely be in a pen case. I saw those Amazon reviews, too, and they made me a little nervous, but as I don’t really carry pens in my pockets (except for a Fisher Space Pen), I kind of wrote off the issue. I have the pen stored in a wooden pen display case which displays at a slight slant, and there haven’t been any leaking issues. (Phew.)

      As for the flushing, I haven’t done that yet, so I’m not sure. (Aren’t I a wealth of info?) I did find a link where Brian Goulet of Goulet Pen Co. demonstrates the pen in a video, so I’ll link to that here: http://www.gouletpens.com/Monteverde_One_Touch_Engage_Black_Pen_p/mv35341.htm

      I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet (rushy rushy day), but as a rule, Brian’s videos are super helpful and informative. AND the Goulets are great about responding to questions.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. Hi Mary, great review. I have the Noodler’s nib creaper which works in a similar way to your pen. But the reason why I’ve stumbled across your review is because my pen leaks, even when it is not touched and capped – now near the point where I can guarantee when I use it my hands will be covered in ink and its not been dropped or damaged in anyway. I do alot of writing daily and need a reliable pen but also want to make it pleasurable and have the option of choosing my own fountain ink and colours. I know the Engage is pricer, but how is your pen now four months since you first started writing with it? Any issues? Especially ink leaking please!

    • I haven’t had any real leakage issues. When I leave it in my pen case (wooden, on top of my desk), the slant of the case is such that a bit of ink “crust” accumulates on the tip, so it must seep just the slightest bit. I just wipe that tiny bit off the tip and all is well.

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