Retro 51 Tornado Touch Ballpoint review and giveaway

Retro 51 Tornado Touch review

Retro 51 are well known for making wonderful full-sized rollerball pens. This pen, the Retro 51 Tornado Touch, is a relatively new product and it continues the same excellent quality, albeit with a ballpoint refill.

Retro 51 Tornado Touch packing open

The design of the pen is stylish, even to the point of just about getting away with the little moustache at the top of the pen, near to the bowler hat shaped stylus. This stylus works, although it’s necessary to hold the pen near vertical for it to work reliably. Many styluses leave an exposed metal edge around the tip, which scares me when I think of how close to the glass you are going to be moving that pen. I don’t use a stylus myself and tend to avoid pens that have them but this pen includes it as part of the design itself and as such it doesn’t feel totally superfluous.

Retro 51 Tornado Touch moustache

I cannot praise the build quality of this pen too highly. The twist to deploy mechanism is wonderful – smooth and assured. The lacquered metal barrel feels substantial and is beautifully finished. The clip is firm and strong.

Retro 51 Tornado Touch full length

I’m not a huge fan of ballpoints but this comes with a Schmidt S 635 medium refill which is one of the better ones. What’s more, it’s a standard D1 size so can be replaced with any one of a wide range of ballpoint or gel refills.

Retro 51 Tornado Touch pointy end

It’s a little larger than one of my long-standing favourite pocket pens, the Monteverde Poquito, shown at the top of this photo. As such, while of course it does take up a little more pocket space, it is much more comfortable in the hand. (The standard Retro 51 Tornado is at the bottom of this picture.)

Retro 51 Tornado Touch compared to Tornado and Poquito

This is a wonderful little pen and one I want to own. Sadly for me but luckily for you, I will not get to own this one. This pen was very kindly sent to me by the Pen Shed for me to review and then give away to one lucky reader. The Pen Shed are, as far as I know, the UK’s only Retro 51 retailer. They’re certainly the only one that I’ve found. (The UK Retro 51 site is owned by the Pen Shed.)

Retro 51 Tornado Touch packaging closed

To have a chance of winning this pen, leave a comment telling me what your favourite pen-that-isn’t-a-fountain-pen is. Good luck!

The giveaway will close at 9am GMT on Saturday 24 May and is open worldwide. The winner will be chosen randomly using a random number generator and will have one week from me contracting them to let me know their postal address. You may enter only once. I will not be held responsible for any loss or charges due to shipping.

Many thanks to the Pen Shed for their generosity in providing this pen. This did not influence my views in any way. This is a wonderful pen!

Retro 51 Tornado Touch handwritten review


  1. My top two pens at the current moment are the Muji gel ink pens in 0.38 mm and the Pilot Easy Touch fine pens. I prefer pens with smaller tips as my handwriting is small.

  2. I tend just to use whatever a rep has left handy at work if I can’t use my fountain pen, but at home I have been known to borrow the good lady wife’s Cross ballpoint. A Century I think.

  3. I must enter because the mustache.
    SO CUTE. My current non-fountain pen favourite is a KarasKustoms “The Bolt” in pink with an EasyFlow 9000 refill. Great pen, and pink – but not washed out boring pink. It’s a great pink.

  4. I love the Uni signo DX 0.38 refill inside my Karas Kustoms Retrakt purple barrel. Great pen.

  5. I love the Pilot Petit series, and my favorite non-fountain style is the Pilot Petit2 Sign Pen (or felt tip, as we usually call it here). I have one in Apricot/Orange.

  6. My favorite pen is the Papermate (Flair) fineline marker. My color of choice these days is purple.

  7. For an alternative to my fountain pen, I am loving my Zebra 1.0 Expandz. Beautifully weighted and uniquely designed, it has a lot of style. I have it in blue/silver – very smart!

  8. I’m a huge fan of the Tornado family–I have three, and have purchased oh-so-many more for family. I call it a “business casual” pen: nice enough you know it’s a nice pen, but still fun.

  9. Parker 61 ballpoint ball pen, this was a pen given to me as a Christmas present when I was in high school. I remember carrying it in by backpack all the time, there were plenty of scratches on the barrel but was always reliable.

  10. My favorite non-fountain pen is probably my KarasKustoms Retrakt. Loaded with a Pilot Juice .38 blue-black refill. That’s tough to beat.

  11. honestly, I love the Pilot G2 Limited Edition gel pens! The colors are nice, but the writing experience is even better (however, nothing beats my fountain pens)

  12. At the moment I am loving the boring old WHSmith Handwriting Pen but that’s only because I am holding off on allowing myself to fall in love with anything fancier. 🙂

  13. Not necessarily a favorite, but the good old Pilot G-2’s always work for me, and I tend to like them in assorted colors. Cross ballpoints have also been a favorite, maybe because I have so many memories of my father’s Cross pens growing up that looked very elegant.

  14. Love, love my Karas Kustoms Render K bar stock with the Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.4mm black refill. Great writing pen with a really unique look, great conversation starter.

  15. I am quite fond of my Fisher Telescoping space pen. It’s a great front jeans pocket carry pen.

  16. I really liked my Retro ballpoint that I stole from my dad until he stole it back. So right now I use my second choice, a Cross 2000 millennium. Thanks.

  17. I just got a Jetstream recently; I wouldn’t have guessed it was a ballpoint! It writes great.

  18. My favorite non fountain pen these days is my Retro 51 Big Shot Titanium Tornado. I have been collecting Retro 51 for more than 15 years, and would love to add one of these to my collection.

  19. My Retro 51 Tornado Stealth is definitely my favorite non-fountain pen. This pen is a beast and the smoothest rollerball writing experience that I have ever had!

  20. A Uni Jetstream Ballpoint 0.7 mm Alpha gel grip has been my pen of choice for the past three years.

  21. My favourite non fountain pen is an old papermate ballpoint . thin little thing from the 1980s.

  22. My favourite pen is Parker ballpoint pens . But tornado touch is BEAUTIFUL . we also has same style moshtache . 🙂

  23. My favorite pen is the classic pen that is marketed here in Italy, that there red, I being a future teacher. 🙂 Every time I pick up I guess from the classroom to correct the endless tasks and smile to myself. 🙂

  24. Hello! I like fine tip pens with black ink and mechanical pencils. Now, my son, uses what I call “fancy” pens. If I won this, it would be for him for either his work office or home office. He would love it! Thank-you

  25. the pen I am using now is a cello silk, but I use whats on hand, pen thief ( such as myself ) can’t be a choosy 🙂 @tisonlyme143

  26. I don’t have a favorite pen since all I have is really cheap Bic and Paper Mate plastic pens that you get on sale for 12/$1 or so. I would love to call this pen my favorite though.

  27. Oddly enough I suppose, but I like Papermate with a medium ballpoint. They seem very smooth to me.

  28. My every day is a uni-ball signo 207 1mm gel rollerball.

    My super fancy favorite is my Mont Blanc Meisterstuck classique duoe ballpoint with broad ballpoint.

  29. I usually just use what I can find around the house, and don’t even recognize many of the Brands in the comments. My husband is a pen-addict lol, and would love this! Thanks for the giveaway!

  30. Tough question. Love my Retro 51. I’d say that my Hi-Tec-Cs or Pentel Sliccis get the most use. I have been enjoying the Ohto Graphic Liner too.

  31. Which ever pen I have in my bag…they dont stay put long (the pen fairy gets them) so I cannot be picky.

  32. I like a Uni Ball pen with a nice fine point. A nice pen definitely needs protecting from being picked up and relocated by other people. They are always going missing here.

  33. I like ball point pens as they so fuss free. I tend to lose pen caps very easily and unlike gel pens and inkpens, ball point pens don’t dry up. 🙂

  34. My Lamy 2000 Taxus ballpoint, in yew wood that has a lovely warm smooth feel to it; Lamy Accent brilliant pencil (0.7mm leads) and my Sailor brush pen.

  35. Uni-Ball Signo DX 0.38mm great for writing with – ultra comfy and write smooth as a baby’s bum

  36. My favorite not-a-fountain-pen is a Schrade Tactical in which I can use Pilot G2 gel refills.

    I really like the Tornado pencils, although I’ve never had one of their pens. My wife thinks it would be funny if I won this pen, because I have a handlebar stache that is just like the one on the pen!

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