What’s in an EDC: the Schon DSGN Pocket 6 Rollerball

Every Day Carry, or “EDC” for short, is a popular topic on the internet. People love to show off the items that they choose to fill their pockets, or their bags for the people who still have cause to leave their home. I’ve mentioned before that I used to carry a Kaweco Brass Sport fountain pen everyday, but I actually replaced that pen in my daily line-up a couple of months ago with a Schon DSGN Pocket 6 fountain pen. Specifically, I’ve been carrying the P6 I picked up at the 2019 DC Pen Show; the same one that posted a review of last year. I’ve since updated it with a ridged brass grip section,and with a Fine Architect nib ground by Marc Bacas at the the BWI Pen Show earlier this year. It has been great for daily carry, but I swapped it out for a couple of weeks to check out something else from Schon DSGN, the new Pocket 6 Rollerball, in polished brass.

As much as I love my Kaweco Brass Sport, I have to give the brass P6 credit as the better implementation of a brass pocket pen. The P6 is shorter when capped, longer when posted, and heavier as well. See for yourself with these pictures and measurements (taken with no ink in any of the pens, for consistency):

Brass Sport (Capped)44.1 g108 mm
Brass Sport (Uncapped)27.6 g100 mm
Brass Sport (Posted)44.1 g126 mm
Aluminum P6 (Capped)14.6 g90 mm
Aluminum P6 (Uncapped)10.5 g87.5 mm
Aluminum P6 (Posted)14.6 g133.4 mm
Brass P6 (Capped)48.6 g90 mm
Brass P6 (Uncapped)34.2 g87.5 mm
Brass P6 (Posted)48.6 g133.2 mm

But enough about my old pocket pens, the P6 Rollerball deserves to be considered on its own. Ian Schon, of Schon DSGN, ships his pens in a neat utilitarian box made with plastic and foam. No extraneous sleeves or pleather accents, just your pen, some ink to put in it (the Pocket 6 line all take short international standard cartridges, including this Rollerball) and a little bookmark at the bottom (not pictured) that shows you how to ink your pen if this is your first time. Ian also has a habit of collaborating with other creative people for pack-ins. Currently Ian is including stickers of this great Pocket 6 design he worked on with Brian Zager of BKZ|GRFX, but in the past he has also included pocket notebooks from a local favorite of mine, Write Notepads.

The pen is designed with pocket carry in mind, of course, and the added touch of a rubber washer inside the cap, next to the threads, ensures that if something goes wrong and ink leaks in to your cap, it’s not going to seep out all over your pocket. I know that many people carry their P6 loose in their pockets, but I just can’t bring myself to risk scratching up a metal pen like that, so when I got my first P6, in late summer of 2019, I ordered a custom pen sleeve for it from Mark Dwight at Rickshaw Bagworks. Luckily for future pen sleeve purchasers “P6” is now one of the standard size options available at Rickshaw, and in fact there are some more Schon x Rickshaw collaborations in the works, hopefully about a month away, that I am excited to see. It’s always wonderful to see awesome collaborations from your favorite makers.

Alright, so I’ve gone on and on about the form of the pen, but how about the function? Well, you put the ink in it, and then it writes. Specifically, you put a standard international short cartridge in the pen, just the same as the fountain pen version. That’s because the P6 Rollerball makes use of Schmidt’s “ink ball” nib unit that features a traditional fountain pen feed that leads ink to the rollerball tip. The ink ball unit comes in both 0.7 mm and 0.5 mm widths, and Schon offers both options (the writing sample below was primarily done with the 0.5 mm, but the upper left section is done with the 0.7 mm tip.) I believe that there are technically some Schmidt nib units that are interchangeable with this ink ball unit (FH 41 and FH 241), but they are definitely not swappable with common Bock or Jowo nibs, so one should not buy this pen assuming they will be able to swap back and forth as is. However, the entire grip section can be easily swapped with one that is designed for a Bock or Jowo #6 nib, so if your are really looking to be able to do both with your pen my recommendation is pick out the color/finish you like on Ian’s site, and then add an option extra grip unit of the type you want to your cart before checking out (keep in mind that fountain pen grips don’t come with nibs, but rollerball grips do come with the rollerball unit, so if you don’t already have a spare nib you want to use you are better off adding a fountain pen version to your cart, and then choosing a rollerball grip to add as well.)

The rollerball grip writes wonderfully, as you can see, but I’ll admit that my big question was how easy is it to clean? After leaving it inked for a couple weeks I flushed it out to test, and I’m happy to share that it wasn’t difficult at all to get the water to flow out of it pretty much clear. If I were switching ink colors with a standard fountain pen I might like to pull the bid and feed and give them a little extra soaking, which you can’t do here. But since this is a cartridge only pen you’ll never be dipping the nib unit into a bottle of ink to fill it, which is the real fear of ink cross contamination, so the worst case scenario is a few lines of mixed color before your new ink cartridge starts coming through.

With all of the awesome finishes and facets and ridged grip sections and rollerball nib units taking focus, it’s worth pointing out just how much of a game-changer the Pocket 6 is in and of itself. Looking at the measurements above you can see that it is super compact when capped, and comfortably long when posted. Comparing it to my faithful Brass Sport, I prefer the feel of the P6, the heavier weight, the longer posted length, and the further distance between page and grip when writing. I do miss having the pocket clip that Kaweco sells as an option, but with everything that Ian has been working on I wouldn’t be shocked if there was a P6 pocket clip in the future (I don’t have any inside information on this, just speculating based on the clip option that exists on Ian’s earlier ballpoint pen.) Even without the clip, the P6 fits comfortably in a pocket, with or without a pen sleeve. If you’re looking for a new pocket pen to carry with you every day, fountain pen or rollerball, you should definitely take a look at Schon DSGN.

Schon DSGN provided us with this pen in exchange for an honest review.

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