Note: I'm an idiot and misspelled Baughb Labs in my illustration and then my computer auto-corrected every instance of "Baughb Labs" to "Baugh Labs" which I failed to realize. Sorry Robert! All fixed up now and the links to the BaughbLabs Social Media and website are working.
Now, on to the review...
Recently, my good friend Bob at MyPenNeedsInk.com sent over a Baughb Labs Minimalist Pen (Version 1.2) for me to take a look at. I had seen this pen on instagram and was excited to try one out. The Baughb Labs pen has undergone a few revisions and is now on Version 2.0, but for the most part, my thoughts on the 1.2 will apply to any version of the pen.
I’ve talked about some other minimal pens on the blog, but this might be the MOST minimal pen I’ve reviewed, consisting of just two machined parts — a barrel and a screw mechanism — and the refill and spring. The barrel of the pen is a smooth, aluminum cylinder that doesn’t change in diameter except for at the business end of the pen where it tapers down to a point where the refill protrudes for writing. There are no grip rings, dimples or knurling, giving you the option to grip the pen anywhere you please. It’s just a hair thicker than your standard wood-cased pencil and very comfortable for me to use for even extended writing sessions.
The pen is made from aluminum so is very light weight, adding to the writing comfort mentioned above. As much as I find aluminum to be comfortable due to its light weight, I think in the future, I’d like to see some more material options. Mainly stainless steel as I find the weight of stainless for a pocket pen rather pleasant.
This pen lacks a clip so does have a tendency to want to roll on uneven surfaces. This doesn’t really affect my day-to-day use of this pen as I find that I use it and then stick it back in my pocket or in a block on my desk. If I’m on my laptop working away from a desk, I’ll rest it where my screen and computer meet. However, the lack of a clip does keep this pen from being suitable for shirt-pocket carry unless you have a pen slot in your shirt pocket (seen on chambray or flannel work shirts sometimes). I don’t own a lot of shirts with pockets (pocketed shirts?) so rarely carry a pen in a shirt pocket anyway, but felt it was worth mentioning. I think Baughb Labs could offer a clipped option in the future for those that might want it, or even make it an add-on somehow so that it could be purchased separately and removed if you didn’t care to have it on board.
For me, the lack of a pocket clip isn’t an issue, especially given the small size and unobtrusive build. It slips easily into every pocket I’ve tried it in and I’ve been carrying it daily for about 2 weeks now.
The mechanism on this pen is one of those where I think, “Why didn’t I think of that?” It’s so simple, yet works so well and is really, really well implemented. To extend the refill, you give the back of the pen a couple of turns and it seats fully and seamlessly with the pen body, creating a near-perfect seamless body for writing. When you’re done writing, you just unscrew it until the pen tip disappears. The spring assists with retracting the refill. Using the pen one-handed is doable but a little tedious so it’s really a two-handed job which may be a deal-breaker for those out in the field. For me, it’s fine and can be used one-handed in a pinch so again, as with the lack of a clip, not really an issue for me, but one worth mentioning if you’re a one-handed pen person.
The threads on the mechanism are chunky and very smooth. There’s a small amount of play in them, but the pen doesn’t rattle or squeak (thank goodness) and the machine work is really, really well done. Everything fits snugly and feels good in the hand. There’s nothing to catch on your clothing or keys, the size is just right and it makes for a great, functional, no-fuss pocket pen.
This pen uses the Parker G2-Sized refills from which there are millions to choose. My preferred refill is either the Itoya Aqua Roller Gel Refill or the Monteverde Gel Refills in a number of colors. This one was shipped to me with the Parker Quink Gel 0.7mm refill which is an okay writer, but a little broad for my taste. I could see pairing this with a fine Fisher Space Pen refill for a carry-everywhere pen that would be unlikely to fail you regardless of the situation in which you find yourself.
Baughb Labs is run by Robert Isaac (BOB LABS!!!) and he is constantly reworking these pens, tweaking them and refining them. He seems to be very open to customer feedback and is fairly active on his Instagram account @baughblabs where he posts awesome production updates and watch stuff — like when he put a domed sapphire crystal on a Seiko SKX007 Automatic (DROOL). Give him a follow and see what he’s up to.
In my opinion, at an entry price of right at $50 USD, this one’s a no-brainer if you like minimalist pens. I think if Robert could give me a stainless version for a few bucks more, I’d be 100% in love. The mechanism is perfectly integrated, the seamless, functional design is clean and comfortable and these babies are made right here in the USA, which y’all know is a big deal for me. Visit Robert at BaughbLabs.com and check out his work. You’ll be glad you did.
Thank you to Bob at MyPenNeedsInk.com for sending this over for me to play with. Sorry I kept it so long Bob! It’ll be headed your way shortly.
Thanks for reading,