Behold, the Tornado fountain pen
I have my fair share of Retro 51 Tornado rollerballs (and it is SO tempting to collect ALL THE COLORS), but I recently did a little exploring in the Retro 51 universe and discovered this non-rollerball option- the Retro 51 EXT Tornado White Nickel Fountain pen. The price is reasonable, and I liked the idea of taking a little detour off of the Retro 51 rollerball trail.
There are familiar elements, like super-cool packaging.
Life’s Too Short for boring packaging
And the iconic Tornado clip and knurling.
In this case, the knurling is for decorative purposes only as there is obviously no “twist-action” needed for this capped fountain pen. I’m a sucker for stealthy looking, dark pens, but the white nickel finish on this Tornado is a nice change of pace. With the gold-colored accents (they look slightly pinkish to me, though others disagree) and fine accent ridges, the look is fresh and clean.
Though the cap does post, I find that this makes the pen feel a bit top-heavy, so I’ve been using it unposted. The weight is “medium” (one of these days I’ll get a balance for exact weights)…substantial feeling but not heavy. Kind of a “just right” weight. The black plastic section is smooth but not slippery.
A converter is not included with the pen*, and I have yet to explore fitting one of the spares that I have on hand, so I’m using a Diamine ink cartridge (blue-black). The fine steel Schmidt nib lays down a nicely wet yet crisp line, and the flow never fails or lags. I’ve experienced zero issues- no hard starts, skipping, or scratchiness. As someone who is not yet adept at tinkering with a nib, it’s always a relief when a pen writes this nicely right out of the box. (The pen is also available with a medium or broad nib.)
The only slightly niggly issue I have is that I sometimes find that the screw-on cap cross-threads, and I have to back it off and try capping again. This could very well be an issue with this particular operator rather than with the pen.
Prior to purchasing this pen, when I heard “Retro 51,” I immediately thought “rollerball.” But this impressive fountain pen offering changes that knee-jerk association. NOW when I hear “Retro 51,” I just think “quality.”
So glad I took this little detour off of the Retro 51 Tornado Rollerball highway. It’s been a very fun ride.
*Well, what do you know?! I just popped open the metal cigar tube that the pen comes in and noticed a little something tucked at the bottom. IT’S A CONVERTER! So it IS included, and I stand corrected.
Holy Swiss Cow that’s one good lookin’ fountain pen. Yay for surprise converters!
Great post again Mary. Glad you found the converter, my initial reaction was to tell you, you were supposed to get one with your Tornado. Nice handwriting btw!
Crazy that I hadn’t noticed it before! I’m really enjoying this pen…great feel and performance.
Oh… oh my. The top. The knurled bit. I love that knurled bit. ❤ ❤
I’m with you there! Knurling puts me in a trance!
Nice review. I’m also a Retro 51 fan so when I read the title I immediately wondered how they could get that beautiful (classic?) tapered look with a fountain pen. Looking at the pictures they obvioulsy had to deviate from the rollerball look but it sure is an attractive pen. Love to hear the great performing nib right out of the box. Peeve of mine to have to make adjustments on brand new pens.
I have one of these. Though I would not say it is scratchy, I do get a sense of feedback with this pen. Has this been your experience??
Mine was actually pretty smooth. Quite like it!
What size nib did you have? Mine is a fine.
Mine is a fine. I just tried it again and feel that it is decently smooth. Not buttery, but nice. There is a bit of a “scritchy” sound when I write on my Rhodia pad, sort of like when you write with pencil, but I don’t FEEL anything “scritchy.” Does that make any sense?! Hope so!
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