Rollerballs Revisited and Gels as Well

Back here I went over my love of the Pilot Precise V5 rollerball refill and having found a great body for it with the Ti Click EDC pen from BIGiDESIGN. Since getting that pen, I never looked for any other hosts for the V5 refill. Recently, though, I stumbled over something interesting.

Some months back I bought a Pilot Juice Up gel pen during some stationery shopping. The Juice Up is a pen I keep at a desk or some other place to use whenever I’m there rather than being an everyday carry item. Gel pens aren’t normally my thing but the Juice Up refills come in many nice colors and have solid performance. Recently, I poked around at JetPens to find another color Juice Up refill I might like. Then, on a whim, I clicked a link to show the different pens that can fit the refill. That’s how I found this…

You look awfully familiar. You look awfully familiar.

The Pilot Metropolitan Gel Pen. I’m one of the biggest fans you’ll find of the Metropolitan fountain pen. I quite like the Cocoon mechanical pencil (the Metropolitan by another name.) But the gel pen? Never on my radar since gel pens are, at best, a distant third in my pen preference ranking. However, since I am so familiar and comfortable with the Metro this would be a great host to use the Juice Up refills. Add to cart? Yes.

Just as I had linked from the Juice Up refill to its compatible pens, I clicked a link to find all refills compatible with the Metro body. There are 154 refills at JetPens for it. 142 are gel ink, 6 are ballpoint, and 6 are rollerball. Hmmm. Which rollerballs? The Pilot Precise, naturally.

Ooof. How did I miss that connection in the past? You would think I’d dig deeper into the idea that Pilot might have something to fit the Precise refill other than the Precise RT plastic top knock body. Pilot’s catalog is only, like, a billion pieces deep after all.

Captain's Log: it was right there the whole time, dumbass. Captain's Log: it was right there the whole time, dumbass.

That blinding moment of obliviousness now receding, I added some other items to my cart and checked out. After a few days my order arrived and it was time to see what the Metro gel pen could do.

Pilot G2 black 0.7 refill comes standard in the Metropolitan Gel Pen.Pilot G2 black 0.7 refill comes standard in the Metropolitan Gel Pen.

The Metro’s included refill is a 0.7 G2 in black. Many of us have written with this at one point or another. It’s a good refill and does the job. I’d rather have something more interesting.

From left: Pilot G2 0.7, Pilot Juice Up 0.4, Pilot ILMILY 0.5, Pilot Precise V5From left: Pilot G2 0.7, Pilot Juice Up 0.4, Pilot ILMILY 0.5, Pilot Precise V5

Along with the standard G2, I got a Juice Up 0.4 in Blue Black and an ILMILY Nuance 0.5 in Black Yellow. What’s an ILMILY Nuance? Brad Dowdy explains it at The Pen Addict better than I could. It was a wild card that I picked out of curiosity just to see what something called black yellow would look like.

You can see above that these refills are slightly different from one another. The G2 and ILMILY are essentially the same, but the Juice Up and V5 have differing shapes to the end piece holding the tip. Regardless, they all fit the Metro gel pen body. There’s a small bit of tip play with the Juice Up and V5 but no annoying rattle in my usage so far. The metal nose cone of the pen spins freely and has some play relative to the grip section, which I did not expect. Not sure if that freedom is needed to prevent binding of the varied refill shapes when the section and barrel are screwed together.

What do they look like on paper? I’m glad you asked.

It's an incomplete rainbow, but I made it all by myself.It's an incomplete rainbow, but I made it all by myself.

My favorite color of the bunch is the Juice Up blue black. If Pilot made a V5 refill in this color it could be my number one with a bullet. The 0.4 tip makes a nice line but feels more delicate than I might like, whereas the V5 is rock solid.

The ILMILY yellow black is, well, different. In some settings it’s still close to black. In other cases, it looks brown or muddy green. I think most of the time it will stand as an outlier in the normal pallet of gel inks, but that’s coming from the perspective of pen people who pick apart color gradations and subtleties for fun. The feel of the 0.5 is quite nice, closer to the V5.

So, do any of these other refills stand a chance to replace the precious blue V5?

Love it. Love it.

Afraid not. I’ve put the black yellow in my Ti Click EDC for now and the Juice Up blue black will find some time somewhere. Ultimately, the V5 reigns supreme and, housed in the Metro, it will be the everyday work pen for a while. I’ve still got fountain pens inked for use at home but this new combination is too good to let go of right now.

28 October 2023