I have a lot of pens. I have many more of them that I am ever apt to use and my collection includes some pretty expensive ones. I own a Mont Blanc Meisterstuck, for example along with many Cross, Waterman, Parker and other brand-name pens which all write well, but which all cost more than a few dollars and which all, most irritatingly, require specially designed refills – no two of them alike or interchangeable. The Pilot Dr. Grip is, on the other hand, a pen that retails for around three dollars, is more comfortable to hold and use for extended periods than even the most expensive and Brand Prestigious pens and accepts what are known in the industry as ‘standard’ ballpoint refills (plain, straight tubes using a small spring at the front end), available for pennies at any office supply store. This is in striking contrast to the far more expensive refills that are designed to work in only one specific maker’s pen. A Mont Blanc refill is useless in a Papermate pen or a Waterman, etc. Cross refills are unique and idiosyncratic in their own way with plastic tops that screw into the barrel of the pen. The phenomenon reminds me more than a little of the issue with refills for ink-jet printers. Each company makes their own and they are simply not interchangeable. Understandable, I suppose, when you realize that the bulk of their profits comes from the sales of the consumable – the ink, rather than from the sale of the printers themselves. Likewise with pens. The specialized refills are what keeps the customer coming back to the same company and keeps feeding their business and bottom line. It’s really all about the ink. In this way, The Dr. Grip pen, with it’s common, standard ballpoint refill, seems more a kind of “people’s” pen, best suited for everyday use and comparatively VERY inexpensive to maintain: i.e., to keep in ink!
Frankly, I was surprised. How is it possible that a three dollar pen can perform more smoothly and comfortably than one costing hundreds of dollars? Easy. The answer is that the name has no bearing, whatever, on the function. Nor do the materials used in the manufacture. A nicely black-enameled pen, or one plated in 18K gold will write no better than any other pen. It looks prettier, is more readily noticeable and will let everyone immediately know that you have a ‘good’ pen. But when it comes to function over form, there is, in my mind, no competition. Yes, I use the Mont Blanc, for example, to sign legal documents, particularly in public – it is an Ego pen. For day-to-day use, this Dr. Grip pen is the most categorically comfortable, functional and most economical to maintain (and keep in ink) than any retractable ballpoint I have ever used.
Don’t confuse price, appearance or name with function. With pens, or with anything else. Good value for your money and a favor to your writing hand. Available in a wide range of colors, they are inexpensive treasures!