Retro 51 Hex-O-Matic Ballpoint Pen Review

Retro 51 are best know for their Tornado rollerball line but that’s not all they do. The Hex-O-Matic range consists of a mechanical pencil and a ballpoint, each in silver or black.

Price: £29
Ink type: ballpoint
Barrel options: black or silver
Refill options: Schmidt EasyFlow 9000M (Parker/G2 style)
Size: 13.3cm long; 1cm diameter
Weight: 23g

The Retro 51 Hex-O-Matic ballpoint is rather similar in style to the Rotring 600 mechanical pencil. Uncannily so, in fact. Rotring don’t currently make a ballpoint like this (although the Rapid Pro is close) and so if you do want a ballpoint that has this kind of style, this is a reasonable option.

The pen’s heavy enough to feel substantial and solid but not too heavy to use comfortably for an extended period. It has a satisfying click mechanism and a reasonably strong fold metal clip. It all adds up to a feeling of quality.

The grip is knurled just enough to provide grip without digging into your fingers. This knurling is mirrored, in silver, just above the clip. This not only looks good on this particular pen, it fits in with the style of Retro 51’s other pens.

The end of the knock has ‘51’ printed on it and the clip band is etched ‘Retro 1951 Hex-O-Matic’. This is the only branding and it’s subtle but effective.

The Hex-O-Matic comes with the Schmidt EasyFlow 9000M refill. This is one of my favourite ballpoints, one I enjoy writing with. It’s a hybrid ink that gives a smooth and black line without glooping. It’s a standard Parker/G2 size so there are plenty of alternatives if you don’t get on with it.

The similarity to the Rotring 600 does make me a little uncomfortable but, putting that to one side, this is a fine looking pen that’s well made and comes with a good refill.


Well constructed
Good refill


Looks very similar to a different company’s products


  1. Actually, Rotring has recently released a ballpoint version of it’s 600 series and 800 series with both of these pens being made in Japan. They have been available in Japan from the start of this year. JetPens in the U.S.A. has had them for sale for about a month or so and priced at about $36 for the 600 and $81 for the 800. They are available in black and silver and the 800 has the unique feature of having a retractable tip section similar to its mechanical pencil version. Both versions use Parker-style refills.

    1. Interesting! As far as I can tell they’ve not made it to the UK yet so I didn’t know about them. If they ever get here I’ll take a look at the 600, at least. (If anyone knows where I can get one in the UK please let me know.)

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