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J. Herbin Refillable Rollerball Pen Review

The J. Herbin refillable rollerball pen is a welcome addition to Exaclair’s new products for 2012. The feature that distinguishes this rollerball pen from most other rollerball pens is that J. Herbin’s pen can be filled with colorful fountain pen ink!

With its transparent body and simple design, the J. Herbin refillable rollerball has a modern minimalist appearance. It is accented with a chrome clip and trim and has “J. Herbin” printed in red on the snap-on cap. The pen has a “soft touch” feel to it – kind of similar to the “soft touch” feel of the R by Rhodia notebook covers. No doubt this helps to keep the cap securely posted while you are writing. The clear barrel comes in handy to keep track of how much ink is left in your pen.

(J. Herbin Refillable Rollerball Pen alongside an R by Rhodia Bloc No. 12)

Without its cap on this pen is a very compact 3.88”! It has been cleverly designed to be 5.5” when posted, a comfortable length for writing. With it’s cap on it’s about 4.75” in length which is a good size for carrying in a purse or pocket.

(J. Herbin Rollerball and Exacompta's Forum Journal with a Club cover)

The J. Herbin rollerball writes in a medium line and is refillable with short international ink cartridges. J. Herbin ink cartridges are a great choice since they are available in 20 different colors! Most ink converters will be too long to fit inside this pen, but at only 2.25” long the Monteverde Mini Converter seems as if it could be adjusted to fit. I haven’t tried it personally, so if anyone gets an opportunity to check it out let us know. There are small holes on the end of the barrel so this pen is not suitable for conversion into eye-dropper fill.

(J. Herbin Rollerball alongside a previous version of the J. Herbin Rollerball)

We’re having a great time using the J. Herbin refillable rollerball pen! Do you like the idea of using fountain pen ink in a rollerball pen? What refillable rollerball pens do you like to use?

(J. Herbin Refillable Rollerball Pen Writing Test - with a Rhodia Webnotebook & custom mixed green ink)



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Comments

What a fun little pen—I will probably need to get one. :) As much as I love fountain pens, there are instances when a rollerball is just more practical. I have four liquid ink rollers in my collection: a Rollink my brother-in-law brought me from France; a Noodler's Nib Creaper; and 2 of the Kaweco Sport Ice pens. The Rollink has a metal body and is quite heavy. I love the Kawecos because they are small and light and dependable. The Nib Creaper writes with a finer line than the Kawecos, but unfortunately leaks ink from the nib. I have replaced the tip to see if that makes a difference, but it will only work for a while before—BLOB on the page.

Any chance they would make a fine point version of this? I have a Kaweco roller ball pen and it's a great pen, but a pretty wide medium. If this one is medium too, it probably won't help. I need a fine line for work so I end up using a needle point EnerGel most of the time.

Hi Melissa,

I agree, I love fountain pens but sometimes a rollerball is more practical for the moment. Interesting to hear about your rollerball experiences. Since the Nib Creaper is piston fill, Noodler's makes this suggestion (maybe you've already tried this):

Keep the bubble of air in the barrel at less than half the volume of the barrel to prevent ink from leaking out around the ebonite feed. This can be done by refilling the pen with ink OR through the expulsion of the air by twisting the piston forward to remove the air bubble while holding the pen point up with a paper towel around the tip and leaving the piston in its new forward position. This pen is NOT insulated and the air in the chamber can be subject to expansion when exposed to the heat of your hand.

If you haven't tried this yet and decide to try it, let us know if it works or helps prevent the leaks. Since the J. Herbin rollerball pen is cartridge fill, I haven't experienced any leaking problems.

Penemuel,

I haven't heard of any plans to make a fine point version of this same pen. The rollerball pens I've used that are filled with fountain pen ink have all been more or less medium tip. Perhaps there is a reason for this due to the the nib needing some friction with the paper to be able to write? I'm not sure. If we ever find a fine point rollerball that takes fountain pen ink we'll let you know.

Thanks for that info, Cheryl. I will try it out this next week with my Nib Creaper and let you know how it goes. But you're right; the J. Herbin is adorable, and I may just have to get one for fun, anyway. ;)

I have the Kaweco sport rollerball pen (2) and the medium point is pretty broad for me. I tried the J. Herbin pen at Book Expo and the point is definitely finer. Still medium but not as wide as the Kaweco.

Hi Alison,

Thanks for sharing your personal experience with the J. Herbin and Kaweco rollerball pens!

I like the J. Herbin roller ball, but I still have a couple of issues with it.

First, if the cap is not posted, it is a bit short for my fat hands. Rollerballs are better than ballpoints (that statement is ALWAYS true), but they still aren't as comfortable writing as fountain pens. But if the rollerball is short, it is even less comfortable.

Second, I don't have a J. Herbin converter and can't tell if it is even possible to use a converter in this pen. I can confirm that it won't take a standard 'international' converter. That's unfortunate, but I can still refill an empty J. Herbin cartridge. BUT - - - absent a converter, there's no way to flush out the pen. That makes changing colors rather inconvenient. I was able to force-fit an international converter onto the pen well enough to flush it out so that I am now running Noodler's Lexington Gray in my J. Herbin Rollerball.

Hello Louie,

Many pocket size pens are meant to be used when the cap is posted which extends the length of the pen to a comfortable writing length. The Monteverde mini converter will work with this pen if you prefer a converter: http://www.shopwritersbloc.com/monteverde-mini-ink-converter.html

I converted this to an eyedropper. I filled the tiny holes in the end of the barrel with super glue. Greased up the threads with silicone grease and filled with Noodler's Cactus Fruit. No o-ring. There has been some migration of ink up the threads, but no leaks. Will keep you posted.

Hello Kevin,

This sounds like an fun experiment. We're interested in knowing how long the super glue holds up. Keep us posted!

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