Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Lamy Safari, Vista, and Al-Star Rollerballs... yup, Rollerballs

If you've been following GouletPens.com and what we've done over the last five years, you've very seldom seen us carry or cover anything besides fountain pen, ink, paper, and associated peripherals. It might seem like rollerballs are coming out of the blue, though we've actually been seriously considering carrying them for about a year now. We've dabbled with them in the past, and we actually exclusively sold rollerball pens back in the founding days of The Goulet Pen Company back when I was turning wood pens. 

Alright, so why rollerballs, when we've been driving hard with fountain pens for five years now? We're definitely not looking to change who we are, in fact, we're looking to better serve the fountain pen community by offering something we've been asked about quite a lot. That offering is select rollerballs from a brand that is primarily known and loved by fountain pen users, Lamy. 

Why rollerballs? 
  • It's a gateway for people coming from using ballpoints to have an enhanced writing experience, who aren't ready to go all in on fountain pens.
  • They're great gifts for non-fountain pen-using friends and family.
  • It's a part of our Goulet history, and what originally led me on the path to discover fountain pens
  • It is an enhanced writing experience beyond the typical ballpoint pen

Some notes from the video:

Here are the Lamy rollerball pens we're now carrying: (1:58)

Lamy Vista & Safari  $25.60

Al-Star  $33.60

Refills $5.00

Comparison to Lamy FP (4:25)
  • Weight of rollerball is about 2g heavier than FP 
  • Dimensions same (side-by-side visual) 
  • Truly triangular grip (3 vs 2) 
  • Finial slash vs. X 
  • No ink window 

How to replace a refill (5:07)
  • No spring
  • Just do it
  • All pens come with black refills, except the Safari White, which comes with blue refill

Vista body/swap trick for eyedropper conversion?  (7:18)
  • Nope! It leaks, don't do it

How they write (8:32)
  • Smooth, consistent, fairly broad
  • Nib size closest on steel Lamy fine nib, on Clairefontaine paper (would be extra-fine on more absorbent paper)
  • Close to Pilot G2 1.0mm

All-in-all, we're excited about the Lamy rollerball pens here at Goulet. We're all about some fountain pens around here and are certainly not looking to change our focus, it's just nice to have the option when you need them. You can learn more on GouletPens.com. I'd love to hear your thoughts, share down in the comments below!

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. Still making me want one... aiiiiish. But no, I really need to save up some money to eventually get a Pilot Falcon xD Haven't been saving up at all lately, geez >.< By the way, just received this week's newsletter, and uuuugh, that bottom shelf restocking broke my heart. I don't have money for those pretty things right now TT_TT

  2. The safari is my go-to rollerball (I have about ten) and I can not wait for the orange! (Also the orange ink for the fountain pen.)

  3. Meh. If it could take international fountain pen ink cartridges then it would be something to consider. My Kaweco Sport rollerball allows that and I love it.

  4. Right there with you on stuffing your pens in your shirt pockets! I tend to do the same with my work carry bag......decisions...decisions.... which pen will I use for now?? hmmm....

  5. Nope, no body swap, no way ! But we can have a section swap to get a triangular grip. How ? Just do it. DO IT !

  6. Waski_the_SquirrelMarch 11, 2015 at 7:26 PM

    As much as I love fountain pens, they are not the best pen for all jobs. This is a good option to offer, and it supports a brand you already carry.

  7. In the close-up photos, why can't you get a larger depth of field? Or maybe the out of focus thing is an intentional effect?

  8. OK art questions: how permanent is the ink? Will it write over slick stuff like acrylic paint/medium?

  9. Thanks Brian. Very informative video. With respect to Rollerballs, I'm a longtime aficionado of Pilot G2 - 07's, so I was interested in your comparison with the M63's. Definitely going to give the latter a try. Needless to say, fountain pens all the way!

  10. Off topic - Brian, do you have any experience with Akkerman inks?

  11. Wow! Good timing. :)

  12. Hi Amaryllis! Falcons are fantastic but so are these rollerballs... decisions, decisions. :P

  13. Hey Andria! Good to see we already have some fans! We should have the orange one soon, so stay tuned. :)

  14. Hey David! Sarah uses a Macro lens which has a shallow depth of field. Because of the size of the stuff we carry (small!) you get that out of focus effect. We like it! :)

  15. Uuugh I know D: I'd buy everything if I could xD

  16. Arika Harman CloudMarch 12, 2015 at 4:01 PM

    Well, I like what I see. I'll definitely try one at some point. It does seems to rare among FP users, to also use other types of pens, but I still use all kinds. And there are definitely instances where I even prefer a rollerball!

  17. Hey Jordi! Good question. We don't use a lot of acrylic paint around here, so I'm not entirely sure. It's a regular style rollerball pen with gel ink, so I wouldn't expect it to perform well in this scenario.

  18. waterproof? Permanent? I keep hoping..

  19. We haven't thoroughly tested it, but I don't think they'd be either. :( Sorry about that!

  20. thanks to this video I learned I've been using rollerballs for years and didn't know it


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