Pen review: The Parker Jotter

I’ve written about this pen in the past I think, but not an actual review. It deserves one. It’s not flashy, not new, not born of a kickstarter project and it’s name has zero European cache.

Sure, some disposable ballpoints will write as well, perhaps a smidge better than a cartridge pen, depending on your tastes. But a pen is also a bit a of a talisman. It’s hard to build a long-lasting relationship with a disposable pen. The Jotter occupies the slot right above disposable, but I suspect one could outlive its owner very easily.

IMG_2239It’s the quintessential pushbutton ballpoint pen. Nearly indestructible. simple, foolproof. Made since the 50’s. The Parker cartridges are pretty good, but there’s probably no other cartridge format that is made by as many companies, in as many varieties as the Parker format. My experience is that freshness, even for the Fisher refills, makes a huge difference in writing quality, and Parker-style refills are likely to be the freshest in the store. Not to mention what’s available on the Monteverde site. And Easyflow. And Schmidt. And Schneider. And the Fisher refills, of course. Ballpoint and Gel are available, with the Easyflow 9000 being sort of in between.

The pen is slender and the barrel is smooth. The clip is strong and stiff, optimized for grabbing a shirt pocket, rather than a jacket pocket. Almost no reveal. Getting one of these out of a pen sleeve might just take a pair of pliers. The satin stainless finish is easy to hold, grips fairly easily. The refill will sometimes fit loose enough to click when writing, but that’s not unusual outside of Cross pens.

The clicky mechanism isn’t as precise and smooth as the Fisher AG7, but that’s ok. For you compulsive clickers, like me, it’s got a steam-punky satisfying click-clack. Your coworkers may not be as pleased.

A worthy companion in the ballpoint world. The eminently loanable pen – no chance of someone breaking it – if it wasn’t likely to be kept.

Sometimes I just want something I know will write, and usually that means the Fisher AG7, but the Jotter is lighter. A lot lighter. It’s also a smaller investment – $12 on Amazon (affiliate link) – and you can buy one almost anywhere.

When I think of a pen to leave in the car, or in a little-used portfolio, I think of the Jotter. When I think of a pen I need to rely on, and I’m not quite comfortable taking the $45 AG7 along, it’s the Jotter.

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