Confession: I have an office supply fetish. I fed the fetish this week by trading in a peer recognition award (from work) for a Cross Century II rollerball pen. It’s the nicest pen I’ve ever owned, and it writes like a dream. It got me thinking about all the pens I’ve enjoyed over the years, and which of those that stand out as particularly awesome.

Pilot G2 (and variants)

some bad writing samples with various pens

The Pilot G2 is my first love in gel pens. I used my first G2 when signing the check at a restaurant. I was impressed at how smoothly and broadly the pen wrote. It dried quickly on the slick thermal receipt paper, unlike a ballpoint pen’s smudgy oil-based ink. I’ve tried all of the widths offered, and the 0.7mm (medium) point works best for me. Occasionally the 1.0mm (bold) point for signatures.

The G2 Pro and G2 Limited have upgraded aesthetics and fatter barrels. They use the same refills as the standard G2. A G2 Pro has been my EDC pen for a couple of years now.

Zebra G-301

Other than losing them, the most common reason I would need to replace my standard G2s is because the clips would break. I was looking for a more durable pen that had the same smooth writing experience of the G2. My first Zebra pen (in the mid 90s) was a fine ballpoint. A bad writing experience, but I did like the look and feel of the steel barrel.

Fortunately, I found that Zebra offers a gel pen, and I picked up a pack of G-301s. The gel ink flows smoothly, and the 0.7mm rollerball is just the right balance between “fine” and “bold.” I keep a few of these stainless steel beauties at my desk in case I need to take a quick note.

Cross Century II

The Cross Century II has a thinner barrel, closer to the G-301. This is my least favorite aspect of the pen, as the girth of the G2 Pro is more comfortable for me. The weight of the Century II is nice.

The Century II uses the ubiquitous Cross Selectip refills, so the ink characteristics will be the same regardless of the Cross body you use.

The Cross feels more like a piece of jewelry. It’s a refined writing tool that has piqued my interest in higher-end pens.

Zebra Sarasa

The most recent addition to my pen radar is Zebra’s Sarasa line of gel writers. We have Zenoss-branded Sarasas that I tried one day at work.

The aesthetics of the Sarasa is similar to the Pilot G2, and I am finding the ink to be as black and flowy as the Cross. I like the ink on the Sarasa so much that I am currently using the ink cartridge in the Pilot G2 Pro body.

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