Posted by Lois Ho on
Lamy make a great range of Rollerball pens and the best thing about them is that the retractable ones are CLICKY! This doesn’t seem to be a feature that is readily available – most high end retractable pens are twist and the few rollerball editions that I can think of (Retro 51 and Ajoto) are also Twisties.
Lamy make two retractable rollerball pens that I can find, the Tipo and this Swift, both of which are clicky. The Tipo is the more cost effective version of the range and can be found in plastic and aluminium, while the Swift is made of lacquered aluminium. This means that the overall effect of the pen is a bit classier and expensive looking compared to the cheaper Tipo.
Both versions use the same refill – the Lamy M66, which is different to the one used in capped pens. The Refill comes in 2 tip sizes (broad and medium) and 4 ink colours (black, blue, red, green). Compared to other rollerball refills, the Lamy refills are about twice as expensive as their Schmidt counterparts.
Performance of the pen and refill are good. The refill is wet and smooth, when full, but it gets drier and scratchier when its at the end of its life, as you can imagine. The line is crisp and similar to what you would experience with a Schmidt. I do think the Schmidt refills are marginally smoother, but not significantly and most likely due to personal preference rather than a hard concrete fact.
The pen has a nifty trick in that the clip retracts when the tip of the pen is depressed. The clip becomes available for use again once the tip is retracted, which is a handy trick for anyone that clips their pen into their shirt pocket I expect. I think the pen is a bit too long to clip into a shirt pocket? Anyone for me, while this is a cool trick, it makes the pen extremely rolly and susceptible to falling off tables.
In the hand, I find the pen is a little top heavy, maybe because its that little bit on the longer side. Its not noticeable for short writing sessions but for longer ones I definitely notice the weight. The other downside to this pen is the longevity of the refill. I mentioned before the relative cost of the refill, compared with others, and I’ve found that the Lamy M66 seems not to last as long as the Schmidt ones I typically use. I pulled out a fresh M66 refill for use at the start of a new 48 page pocket sized notebook (5.5x3.5 inch). By the end of the notebook, the refill was near empty. A Schmidt P8127 (used in Retro 51’s) normally last 2-3 notebooks before they die. I’m not sure if this Lamy one was a dud or if this is common, but if it is normal, then it makes the Lamy Swift a fair bit more expensive to run.
Overall, it’s a nice pen. I bought this at about half off, which makes it quite reasonably priced. Although, even at full price, its not that expensive and quite comparable to a Retro 51 pen. For me, I don’t love it, nor do I dislike it. I like the clicky button, but prefer the performance of a Retro 51. I’d suggest trying one in hand if you can, before purchasing, but all in all, a solid, decent pen.
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