For a moment there, orange was my color of choice. I think I was coming off a sepia phase, but don't rightly recall.
I got myself some Diamine Autumn Oak and took a flyer on J. Herbin Orange Indian.
The Autumn Oak was a great success but I could never get the J. Herbin to work for me. None of the pens I tried would make a go of it. It was my first out-and-out ink failure.
So when I unboxed the PenBBS 350, I did two things. First, I swapped out the fountain pen nib for the rollerball. Then I filled the pen with Orange Indien.
I was being a little perverse. Like many, I write with a fountain pen unless I can't help it. You know the type. (You may be one yourself.) But I was impressed by the moxie PenBBS was showing by including a rollerball with the pen. They were thinking outside the box.
To reward the daring, I gave the pen the hardest ink I have. To my surprise, it worked.
Conceptually, PenBBS has hit it out of the park. I love the idea of adding a rollerball to the mix. It fits the style of the pen and it writes very well. The line is satisfyingly bold and the rollerball is smooth, agile and consistent.
Ergonomically, however, the rollerball isn't a complete success. The rollerball tip is much shorter than the the fountain pen nib - making the pen just that little bit smaller in the hand. The balance between the girth, length and writing experience is slightly awkward. After writing with the rollerball for a bit, I swapped in the fountain pen nib and felt much better.
In its fountain pen configuration, the PenBBS 350 rocks:
Given that the pen is made of aluminum and goes with a minimalist, industrial design, I put the PenBBS 350 in the workhorse camp. It's durable and functional and could easily serve as a beater pen for everyday use. It works as a full-sized pocket pen.
I like the style of the pen. It feels modern. I'm becoming a bigger fan of the PenBBS brand. It could easily be the best Chinese pen brand today.
At under US$15 on Taobao, it's offers solid value.
I've been trying to figure out the root of my affinity for this pen. It stuck me that it's quite a bit like my current (now actually longtime) favorite folding knife, a CH3001. When I first got the knife I was not all that impressed. It's small and not really a snappy flipper. But over time, it's been the one that's hung out. I like the subdued design, solid construction and bang-on fitness-to-purpose. It's everything I need in a pocket knife.
More often that not, my desk is my pocket. But everyday desk items doesn't have the same ring.