A Review - Leuchtturm1917 Drehgriffel Ballpoint

This is an odd post for me, considering it’s a ballpoint pen review. Other than using gel pens or pencils at work (I work in a doctor’s office with only cheap copy paper to write on), it’s fountain pens all the way for me. I use them for journaling, for notes, for grocery lists, for everything! So color me surprised when I saw a post on Facebook from Leuchtturm announcing a new product: the Drehgriffel ballpoint pen. 

Even though I pretty much just use fountain pens—and like a proper fountain pen enthusiast, hiss at the very thought of being forced to use a ballpoint pen—I love anything Leuchtturm and immediately had to have it. I was anguished to learn that the Drehgriffel would not be available in the States for a while, so went straight to Cult Pens in the UK. Thrilled to see that they had the Drehgriffel in stock, I took a few minutes to consider what color I preferred, grabbed a few other things I’d been wanting, and placed an order.

Three long weeks later it was here, and though merely a ballpoint, I’m in love.

The Drehgriffel is a clipless aluminum and brass pen with a white twist mechanism at the top. Its smoothly hexagonal body negates the need of a clip so it will not roll off your desk, as most suicidal pens are wont to do. It is available in a wide array of vibrant colors, all which match various notebooks Leuchtturm produces: black, denim, Nordic blue, sage, red, Bellini, powder pink, lemon, and white. I did consider the yellow version before ultimately settling on black, because I liked how it resembled a woodcase pencil, but I own literally nothing that is yellow so it likely wouldn’t fit into my little collection as well.

I am happy I went with black. I love the contrast of the black and white with the brass tip, and especially the white writing on the black body. As for the unique design, I would describe the Drehgriffel as modern vintage. The Cult Pens description styled it, “…distinctly retro; this is because it’s a revival of a writing instrument that was around in the 1920s.” And it certainly looks it. Despite its vintage appearance, it does not look out of place nestled amongst my other more modern pens.

Lamy Safari All Black and Leuchtturm Drehgriffel ballpoint on Rhodia Webnotebook

Weighing in at 12g, it is light for a metal pen, though still feels very solid. I personally prefer lightweight pens, however, as it keeps my hand from tiring during long writing sessions. The Drehgriffel comes with a smooth blue ballpoint refill, which was sticky and skippy at first, but since worked itself out. 

Leuchtturm Flow Blue refill compared to Papermate Inkjoy 100 ballpoint

The good thing about this pen is that the refills are not proprietary. It takes any Parker-style G2 refill, which really opens up your options if you don’t like ballpoints. I had actually initially ordered a couple of Parker-style G2 gel refills along with the Drehgriffel, anticipating not liking the included ballpoint refill and intending to switch them out immediately. I was pleasantly surprised by the smoothness of the Leuchtturm refill, however, and have decided to use up the included blue refill. 

I purchased my Drehgriffel from Cult Pens, and after currency conversion, paid right at $20, so it’s by no means going to break the bank. And despite my earlier vitriol concerning ballpoints as a whole, this really is a wonderful little pen. If you’d like a nice metal ballpoint with a dash of retro flair, the Drehgriffel might be a nice addition to your collection. 

Thanks for reading!!



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