A few times a year or so a new pen makes its way into the crowdfunding circuit. Some of them make the cut. Some don’t. Some go on to be great pen companies, releasing new and exciting products from time-to-time. Some, the majority I guess, don’t. But the one thing they all have in common is that in their own words and way, they all claim to be “the last pen you’ll ever buy.”
Enter the latest in a long line of crowd-funded writing implements, The BNdot from makers BN Works. I had never heard of BN Works prior to a few weeks ago when I saw them pop up on Instagram and then was contacted by Tony, a member of the BNdot team, about doing an early look at The BNdot.
I of course accepted because, well because the pen is a stunner and I always love trying out new stuff. So Tony promptly shipped me my very own Stainless Steel BNdot to take a look at.
Diving into the envelope the pen came in, I was presented with a gorgeous outer package. A dark blue, textured box bound tightly by a cardboard sleeve. Opening up the blue box, you have an attached fold-out information card and the pen is nestled underneath in a secure little cushy bed. The whole experience felt very high end, very robust, very nice. It made opening the pen awesome and, unlike a lot of pens which just come in some little plastic notched case or whatever, it made for an awesome presentation that I’d be proud to give as a gift. Major kudos to the BNdot team for their package design. Product aside, this feels high end.
The pen itself is a straight stainless cylinder (it comes in silver, gold and black) with a chrome nose cone and chrome finial at the back. The body itself is a lightly brushed finish with a bit of a warm tone to it. It’s a nice contrast between the pen and each end. The clip is a matte-finish, lightly textured silver color that doesn’t match either the body or the finial/cone. I find this to be odd as it really should match one or the other. I don’t know if it’s possible, but adding a chrome clip might tie it in with the finial a little better and give the pen a more cohesive appearance overall.
The clip is not unattractive by any means, quite the opposite, actually. But it doesn’t match quite right for me. To be fair, the ultra-minimal branding on the clip (just their logo) matches the color of the pen body perfectly. I just wish the clip felt a little more at home. And while I’m on the subject of the clip, mine felt a little flimsy. It’s “guided” by a small ball detent and was able to move side-to-side with little pressure. Also, my clip doesn’t appear to be cut straight and has some slight issues with machining. Perhaps this is something that will be addressed during final production?
One rather interesting thing about this pen is the nock mechanism. It’s built into the pen and you use the clip to deploy and retract the tip. In order to do this, the clip has a small tab sticking out from the top to give your finger plenty of purchase. But this is where mine was crooked so I think if they’re going to go this route, getting that clip just right is key. The nock mechanism is tight, clean and very clicky with an audible and tactile snap at both ends. There’s very little rubbing, if any, and the whole clicky experience feels good and sounds great. The tab sticking out from the clip doesn’t bother me at all. I thought it might, but it’s totally unobtrusive and looks very good, in my opinion.
My pen came loaded with the Schmidt P900 Fine Point Ballpoint Refill. I’m not a huge fan of the P900 and much prefer the EasyFlow 9000 so I swapped one of those into my pen. I think the 9000 is a much better refill, but BNdot has designed this to be Parker G2 compatible so there are literally thousands of refills at your disposal. Find the one that suits you and go to town.
Overall the pen is sleek, well made and feels great in the hand. I didn’t have any trouble writing with the mostly smooth barrel and, in fact, the slight machined texture of the body offered up a little friction for my fingers. My pen does have a slight “clicky” sound when writing with certain refills which is caused by the opening in the tip being just slightly too large for the refill. But I think they can tighten this up easily to eliminate that small issue.
This pen is on IndieGoGo right now for an early bird price of $65 shipped worldwide. If you want black or gold, you’ll have to pony up another $10. Personally, I think the black looks the best and if you’re going to pay $65 for this, I’d say it’s worth the extra $10 to get that version. They’ll also engrave your pen for free with your name, etc. Perfect for gifting or snagging a personalized pen for your desk to thwart would-be thieves.
Is it worth the entry price? Perhaps. I think if they can button up a few small issues and give it a little better fit and finish overall during final production, then yes. There are a lot of Parker G2 refill holders out there in the world so it’s going to be hard to make a splash in such a diverse market. But I think BN Works is on to something with their hefty stainless body, sleek design, unique nock mechanism and quality fit and finish. Check them out on IndieGoGo. They’re definitely worth more than a passing glance.
Thanks to Tony at BN Works for sending over the pen and as always, thanks to you guys for reading.