Attention aux détails (or: "why i only use one pen")

tool [to͞ol] - noun

1.  a device or implement, esp. one held in the hand, used to carry out a particular function

photo: Fuji X100

photo: Fuji X100


The term "tool" has really come a long way. Not in it's definition, but rather, the objects that we call tools have undergone a massive evolution to maintain pace with society's willingness to adopt new innovations. Like many people in our strange modern time, I'm constantly shifting from one activity to another. A little bit of ADHD exposes me to a wide range of tools, and after having used a bunch of them, I can tell you that for me: high-quality tools are better. 

photo: Fuji X100

photo: Fuji X100

Today, I'm going to be looking at the solid titanium pen/stylus from Big Idea Design. The pen/stylus combination sells for around $75, but the company also sells a solid aluminium version for just under $60; I'll talk more about that version later. Both versions come with a Pilot G2 (0.5mm) gel pen, and writing with this has been one of the best experiences I've ever had with a pen. As you'll no doubt be able to infer, I really like this pen. I'll try as hard as possible to avoid making this sound like an advertisement, because I'm not getting anything from it.

photo: Fuji X100

photo: Fuji X100

One of the weirdest things about this pen when you first get it: the cap doesn't easily pop on and off of it. Instead, the folks over at bigidesign decided to have a threaded section of titanium at the cap and the bottom of the pen, so that you can screw the cap on or off either end, and it will stay there. Initially, this design was confusing to me, but using the pen for 3 months left me wondering why I'd never used a pen like this before.

This pen's big "feature" (if you can call it that) is that it was designed to accommodate any ink cartridge, creating a high quality tool that you can easily reuse and adapt to your own personal usage. They have "35+" different refills that are guaranteed to work, but the design tries to accommodate most refills around.

 
photo: Fuji X100 Shown is the aluminium version of the pen.

photo: Fuji X100

Shown is the aluminium version of the pen.

 I didn't start out buying the Titanium version due to the $75 price tag, but the similarly steep $60 aluminum version (which is an alloy with titanium in it) quickly became my favorite pen that I'd used since I could remember. I used it daily for over three months before I misplaced it, and I'd definitely say it was worth $0.65/day to use that pen & stylus. However, I do understand your concerns: why pay $70 for a pen when you can buy a perfectly good one for less than a dollar? Honestly, there's not a really good answer to this question. The only way I can explain my purchase is that you're not buying a pen that's "perfectly good," you're buying a tool created specifically for the purpose of writing, both on paper and on any touchscreen available. 

photo: Fuji X100 This is the same photograph as above, enlarged to show detail.

photo: Fuji X100

This is the same photograph as above, enlarged to show detail.

The second question: why pay $70 for a fully titanium pen when you can get what seems to be a fantastic pen for fifteen dollars less? This one is easier to answer. Aluminum is a much softer metal than titanium, and so as a result, the aluminum pen will age more visibly than its entirely titanium counterpart. I took the following picture after a few months of use, and although it didn't look bad by any means, a close inspection revealed new imperfections in the pen's previously perfect surface. 

photo: Fuji X100

photo: Fuji X100

After close to four months of owning the version made of the aluminium alloy, a sad day came where I lost it. I don't even know what happened; I just simply lost it. Impressed with myself for even keeping it for that long, and noting how much I loved using it, I decided to upgrade to the titanium version, and I haven't looked back.

photo: Fuji X100

photo: Fuji X100

As you can probably tell, the packaging of this pen was gorgeous and very Apple-esque. Opening the pen was an exciting experience (instead of a frustrating one), which is always results in a product getting my silent nod of design-approval. 

photo: Fuji X100

photo: Fuji X100

I absolutely love the choice to put "Ti" inside of a box to represent the element Titanium (of which the pen is entirely composed). It looks very clean and there's something timeless about noting the material a tool is made of on the surface of that tool. 

photo: Fuji X100

photo: Fuji X100

I haven't discussed actual writing with the pen yet, but I have enjoyed writing on paper with this pen more than I have with any other pen. Both versions are weighty, and the Pilot G2 0.5mm ink that the pen comes makes my handwriting look flowy & beautiful on paper. Likewise, using the stylus is a very pleasurable experience; the fact that you can unscrew the stylus tip and buy a pack of them for $10 is just another thoughtful decision by bigidesign. The stylus on the solid titanium pen is the best I've ever used on my iPad for just operating as a simple stylus, and the weight of the pen makes writing on screens a lot less "cheap" feeling.

Overall, if you can somehow manage to force yourself to spend upwards of $60 on a writing tool (or if your job requires your precise manipulation of these tools), I would highly recommend either of these pens.

If your job/hobby doesn't depend on writing tools, I've completely fallen in love with the Pilot G2 (the default ink cartridge for the titanium and aluminum pens) and joined the G2's already-large fanbase; you can still get a box of 12 for just about $17 on Amazon.