Platinum make a few different multipens and I reviewed one of them way back in October 2014. This pen is a step up from that plastic version but costs only a couple of pounds more.
I was able to get this pen at a discount thanks to Cult Pens’ support of the site. These are my own honest opinions.
Tip size options: 0.5mm pencil; supplied ballpoints are 0.5mm but they’re D1 refills so the world’s your oyster
Barrel options: stainless steel
Ink type: supplied with ballpoint ink but can be swapped to something else
The barrel is a brush stainless steel and looks great, particularly with the contrast of the shiny push button and tip. The branding is simple and fairly tasteful. It’s a good looking pen.
The pen is light, quite slim and comfortable in the hand. The clip isn’t all that pretty but it’s pretty strong and clippy.
The R3 takes three refills (the clue is in the name). They’re deployed via gravity: you turn the pen until the label of the refill you want (printed at the top of the barrel) is facing up and then you depress the button. It’s retracted by pressing the button on the side. It’s a fun mechanism and works well. It also means that unlike some multipens it’s easy to have the pen fully retracted.
The pencil refill works well. You push the nock once to deploy it and then again to extend the lead. The mechanism retracts inside enough so that you don’t have to push the lead back into the tip, which is better than many actual mechanical pencils and means it’s always ready to use.
There’s a small but functional eraser hiding under the end cap. The R3 is a good mechanical pencil in and of itself.
The supplied red and black ballpoint refills aren’t that great. They skip a little and the ink colour isn’t very strong. However, they are the standard D1 size so there are lots of options. It’s unfortunate that the labels at the top of the barrel are ‘red’ and ‘black’ as although of course you can use any colours you like, putting a refill in that doesn’t match the label makes me feel deeply uncomfortable. Far better if they had been labelled 1 and 2 or A and B.
In use, this pen feels like a quality pen because the construction is good and the use of metal makes it feel better than a plastic pen. It suffers from the usual multipen rattle but this isn’t so bad when a refill is deployed. It’s less rattly than most.
It’s a shame Platinum’s D1 ballpoint refills are so poor. They’re the weak point with this pen. The pencil mechanism is great so one way of looking at the R3 is that it’s a good mechanical pencil with a couple of ballpoints thrown in. If you’re prepared to go to the effort of buying better quality refills you will have yourself an excellent pen that is (even with the extra expense of getting a couple more refills) good value.
Great pencil mechanism
Can be fully retracted
Usual multipen rattles
Poor ballpoint refills