marks days ballpoint pen review
Review

Review: Mark’s Days Ballpoint Pen

mark's days ballpoint pen review

Introduction

The Mark’s Days ballpoint pen is something of a sleeper hit. We have sold them for many years now and they seem to pass under the radar, rarely getting mentioned or featured and yet when I checked the sales they are quite a hit. So I thought I would address the lack of attention and give the Mark’s Days pen a full review all of its own. With the new orange colour just arriving recently it seemed the right time to review one.

Mark’s is a Japanese stationery brand that is known for producing quite smart, stylish if unfussy notebooks, diaries and pens. Often quite innovative, they are quite Japanese in being fine, practical and well-designed (or at least they fit with my idea of what Japanese stationery is all about!). The brand also has something of a French theme about it, and this pen is part of the Days range of books and pens.

 

Style

From the outset you can tell this pen is going to be a fine writer. It is a slimline pen in a satisfyingly bright colour. The range has the days of the week printed in French on the hexagonal barrel. It doesn’t come in a pen box but it isn’t aimed as a gift in its own right so that’s not a problem for me. Overall, it looks very nice although I would mark it down for being a tad too light in the hand.

I chose the orange pen as it was new, but there are six colours to chose from at time of writing so it should keep most people happy.

Score: 8/10

mark's days ballpoint pens - colour choice

Features

This is not a pen packed with features but then it is not intended to be. It is a lightweight pen, maybe too light for some, with simple push-button action to extend the nib. This is a ballpoint pen with a very fine 0.5mm point. It is a refillable pen so no unnecessary waste, and the refills come in any colour, as long as it is black. The barrel is hexagonal which means it won’t roll off the desk when left.

Score: 7/10

Usability

The key here is the fine point. Either you like a fine writer, or you don’t. I really can’t imagine someone who likes a bolder nib would be happy with this as it might feel scratchy. I do like a fine point and I would not describe this as scratchy at all. It is a consistent, even writer. The weight is, as mentioned, just a bit unusual but after a few minutes I forgot about the weight. It takes an OHTO refill and I have always had a soft-spot for OHTO pens so that is a plus for me.

Score: 8/10

marks days ballpoint pen - colours and french days

Value for money

This depends on how you look at it – compared to a cheap biro it might appear a lot (£5.95 at time of writing) but it is comparable in price to other refillable pens like the Noto from Lamy. I think this is a well-priced pen that is nice enough to make you look after it. It is the kind of pen you would feel disappointed if you left it at home or it went missing, and on that basis it is good value for money.

Score: 9/10

Verdict

I like this pen but the crucial is whether you like fine writers or you don’t. If not, look elsewhere. If yes, then don’t overlook this good little pen in favour of more expensive options.

There is also mechanical pencil version if that is of interest.

 

Style
Features
Usability
Value for money
Stories

The Lamy Noto Pen – An Unsung Hero

lamy noto pen by naoto fukasawa

Naoto Fukasawa – The man behind the Lamy Noto pen

At first glance, the Lamy Noto pen is a simple plastic ballpoint – in fact it is the cheapest Lamy pen we sell. But look a little closer, and you will see this pen is definitely more than the sum of its parts.  It was designed by award-winning Japanese industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa, who is known for his stripped-back design aesthetic.

Naoto Fukasawa

Other work

He has designed bathrooms, furniture, lighting, electronics and clothing, and you’ve probably seen some of his work in Muji – he designed their wall-mounted CD player, paper shredder, and more recently a kettle, toaster and rice cooker.  Fukasawa has won over 70 international awards, including the Japan Good design award, IDEA awards, 21 IF design awards, a Red Dot award, and a D&AD award, amongst others . His Muji wall mounted CD player, humidifier for Plus Minus Zero (Fukasawa’s own design brand), and Infobar and Neon mobile phones for Japanese telecoms brand KDDI all have a place in the MOMA permanent design collection.

kettle by naoto fukasawa
Muji Kettle
toaster by naoto fukasawa
Muji Toaster
rice cooker by naoto fukasawa
Muji Rice Cooker

What makes the Noto?

lamy noto pen
The Lamy Noto 283

The Lamy Noto is a pen reduced to the essentials. Its triangular barrel sits comfortably in the hand, and its matte surface offers a non-slip grip. The lapel clip is a clean slice out of the body of the pen, seamlessly blending into the overall silhouette. The Noto is a push-button style ballpoint, but the action is completely silent – no irritating clicking noises with this slick design.  It is available in two styles; the Noto 282 in white and black, as well as in four colours (white, black, navy and anthracite) with a silver coloured grip section (the Noto 283).

Branded

branded lamy noto pen
A branded Lamy Noto pen

Its softly triangular shape means it can be branded with your company logo on the body or the clip. Lamy’s commitment to sustainability means all their products are repairable, and refillable. The Lamy Noto pen comes with a medium refill as standard, but takes Lamy M16 giant refills in fine, medium or broad sizes; these are known as ‘giant’ refills because they will write for an astonishing 10,000m!