Retro 51 Slim Tornado – Deco Tower
Posted by Lois Ho on
Earlier this year, Retro 51 announced that it would be closing at the end of this year, as the owner was intending to retire. Such sad news – for many pen lovers, the Retro 51 was the original gateway pen for more expensive pens in the stationery world. This news caused some panic buying/stocking up of models that are still available for purchase (there are still a lot of models available in case you also want to stock up).
This Deco Tower edition was released a few years ago and is one of the slim tornado models. These models are thinner than the standard edition and are unable to take the brilliant Schmidt P8126/7 refills that Retro 51’s are known for. This model takes the Parker G2 sized refills, so your options are quite broad and refills can vary in quality and price (the Schmidt P8126 refills can be a bit pricey in Australia).
I believe it comes standard with a Schmidt Easyflow, but I suspect mine was either very old or was a bit faulty – my original refill was extremely skippy and dry. I quickly replaced mine with a Pierre Cardin gel refill (reviewed here), so I can’t speak to how the pen writes with its original refill.
The pen itself is a thing of beauty. The entire pen is made of Sterling Silver, so this model is on the pricier side of Retro 51’s offerings. It is probably a good thing that this is the slimmer model as it would likely be a lot more expensive if it were bigger. The design of the pen itself is styled on Art Deco building projects from the 1920’s and 30’s. There’s a hint of a deco tower on the barrel with thin grooves etched onto the side. Its really a very pretty pen to behold.
The only downside of this design is that the pen will tarnish over time, as it is sterling silver (although this can be buffed out with a polishing cloth). The grooves also seem to trap gunk from your hands as you use it. You might want to try to clean them out with a soft toothbrush, but I’m not sure if this will mar the finish as silver can be quite soft (if you plan to do this be very very careful!)
Out of my very small collection of pens, this is my favourite. I would’ve preferred to pay a bit extra for it to take the slightly wider Schmidt refill, as I do love that rollerball, but it would also have impacted the look of the pen. The slimness makes it more elegant and refined.
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