A thank you goes out to the good folks at Jetpens.com for providing this pen for review.
The OHTO Rook is a pen I have watched for some time. I became obsessed with small form factor pens sometime around 2012 when I reviewed the Kaweco Liliput. That being said, there were a couple of things that bothered me about the Liliput. One was it did not have a clip and the other, was it had an annoyingly long amount of threads on the cap that made posting and taking the cap off somewhat of a chore. The OHTO Rook addresses both of my concerns with the Liliput. It has a slip cap and a clip. Oh my.
The Rook is a mini pen, and like a lot of mini pens, it uses the length of the cap to leverage its size. Normally you cannot use mini pens without posting the cap. This is true of the Rook. You might be able to jot a quick note without posting the cap, anything more than a name and phone number might be a bit difficult. Luckily, once the cap is posted, the pen becomes much more user friendly.
The section is very thin. According to my caliper it measures only 7.9 mm in diameter. Normally this would have been too thin for me to use comfortably before I learned how to properly hold and write with a fountain pen. Because the diameter is so small, it requires a light touch and a relaxed grip so as not to tire my hand out in long writing sessions. This is a skill that will greatly increase your writing gratification, once mastered.
The nib is about average for a sub $20 pen. My example had a slight scratch on the down stroke that was quickly solved with a downward push on the left tine. The nib is very small and reminds me a bit of the nib on my Stipula Passaporto, but only in looks. The exception being that the the Stipula does not say “Iridium Point Germany” :) The flow is good and I do not find it particularly wet or dry. Just enough to right at a normal pace without drying out. The cartridge ink I am using dries in about 5 seconds on Clairfontaine paper. If I pause and keep the pen uncapped, it writes immediately even after 30 seconds. The cap seals tightly and keeps the ink from drying out even after a few days of non use.
This is where things start to get a little “iffy”. I have read comments that the cap can become loose while posted. I have not experienced this yet but I can see it becoming a problem in the future. The cap holds fine now but it may not be the case after some use. One other thing I have noticed is that every time I slip the cap back on, it catches on something and that is not a good feeling. It may also be the source of some nib alignment issues some experience.
The pen itself is very lightweight. I barely notice it in my hand or in a shirt pocket. The clip is tight but springy. The cap is made of what I believe is plastic but I am not positive. The barrel seems to be aluminum. These are only guesses as both parts are equally light in weight. Overall, if the cap grip holds up, I think this could be a good portable fountain pen option. The issues I have read about could be a problem but are non-issues in my example. Nib scratchiness was solved with a very minor adjustment but the uninitiated may not feel comfortable performing the adjustment. You will be stuck buying cartridges or refilling cartridges, none of my mini converters fit the Rook.
At this price point, you are in Pilot Metropolitan territory and it is a formidable foe. It is a much better quality pen at a smaller price. If portability is what you are after, the Rook wins. Sort of.
My Amazon links:
Also Available: Ohto Rook Ballpoint Pen – 0.7 mm – Black Green Body – Black Ink