J. Herbin Black Metal Ink Rollerball Pen review

J Herbin Rollerball logo

J Herbin Rollerball review

The J. Herbin Black Metal Ink Rollerball Pen is a refillable rollerball pen for a very reasonable price. It’s rather small and impossible, for me, to comfortably use unposted. It has a good solid feel and heft to it though. The black matte finish is lovely, the chrome trim not so great – it looks cheap. (This is a relatively cheap pen, but the rest of it feels such good quality it’s a shame this lets it down.)

J Herbin Rollerball clip

J Herbin Rollerball cap

I like writing with this pen but it does feel a little scratchy. You can feel the metal ball moving in the metal tube. Again, it’s a shame, but it’s not a disaster.

J Herbin Rollerball tip

It’s not a disaster because you can use just about any fountain pen ink you want to in this pen. It’s supposed to be used with J. Herbin cartridges and that’s a pretty good deal to begin with. I rather like J. Herbin inks. But you can actually fit any international short cartridge in here. And what’s more, I’ve been using it with the Kaweco Sport convertor without any issues whatsoever. So although I used a J. Herbin ink for this review, there’s no reason why you can’t use just about any ink you like. Or, at least, try any ink you like and see how it goes.

J Herbin Rollerball feed

That, for me, makes this pen a winner. A rollerball that lets me use an extra one of my inks? Yes please.

J Herbin Rollerball full length

The ink in the pen when I took the photos isn’t the same as the ink that was in it when I hand wrote the review. (It’s Diamine Ancient Copper.) This is because I need natural light to take my photos and, living in England, that has been conspicuously absent for most of this year. So by the time I actually did get some light I’d re-inked the pen.

J Herbin Rollerball capped

J Herbin Rollerball handwritten review


  1. I’ve had my eye on the clear plastic version of this pen for a while, but the metal version may just give me enough push to make the purchase. My quick search didn’t turn up any US vendors of the metal version. Saved me from an impulse buy, anyway.

    1. I’m thinking of getting a plastic version myself just because I’d like another one of these and the plastic one is very cheap. They’re fun little pens.

  2. I suspect Diamine inks might work better in this as they usually have more lubricant in them – especially Onyx Black. You can get these in cartridges quite cheaply. Would it take a converter? You could always refill a cartridge. Interesting review though. I notice that the Pen Shop does a similar own brand pen made of plastic for about £5 (last time I was in a branch).

    1. It will take the little Monteverde converter (with some adjustment) and presumably the rather useless Kaweco Sport one. Refilling cartridges is definitely the way to go.

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