Monday, May 8, 2023

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 490

I can't recall seeing any pens from this British company at our meetings, or in any review posted here on our site (or any website---is mine the first review for this ballpoint???) so I thought I'd show you of one of my newest acquisitions -- a Before Breakfast 'Onigiri' ballpoint in "Pine Green"!

(all photos by Maja ~ please click on images to enlarge)

But first....a little background on Before Breakfast, a London-based design company:

According to their official website
, the company's name is an homage to the quote from the book "Through the Looking Glass" by Lewis Carroll (the sequel to "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland"): “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Their brand concept (from their website): "The aim is to bring a new perspective to design and craft through the use of sustainable materials and a responsible making process. To create carefully crafted stationery that inspires everyday tasks and creativity in the workspace.

The world that is your desk is made up of a number of objects you use, whether it is for work or for your studies. Stationery probably makes up the smallest objects in this world, but the possibilities you have with pen and paper are endless." 

(I love that last line ☺️)

Onto the pen now...

The ballpoint is part of their 'Onigiri' writing instrument line, which consists of four forms--fountain pen, ballpoint pen, mechanical pencil, and rollerball (including a rollerball that comes with a stand/pen holder).

The name of the line was inspired by Japanese triangular rice balls, and the company spent four years designing and refining the writing instruments. The resulting shape of the models is a "soft triangular" one. All are made of aluminum, which is both durable and lighter than brass/bronze/copper/stainless steel. Their choice of metal makes sense as the company's aim was to create a line of writing tools comfortable to write with for extended periods of time. I think they've achieved that with this handsome ballpoint.

The manufacturer's packaging is simple, functional and tasteful (like the pen itself) --the pen came wrapped in a single piece of dark grey felt, which was in a small presentation box made of sturdy grey cardboard with "Onigiri Writing Tool", a checklist of the 'Onigiri' models (with a small "x" in the ballpoint box) and the company's website address lightly debossed on it.

The box is actually very interesting... The box and its lid are each made of one piece of very thick cardboard that’s been lasercut to create beveled edges, and then folded to create the individual parts (the box & lid). No adhesive was used (that I can detect) — just one metal staple at each corner. There's a lot going on, design-wise, before you even get to the pen inside!

My ballpoint is the "Pine Green" colour, but it also comes in "Space Blue", "Silver Raw" and "Black". Laywine's webstore only had the "Pine Green" in stock, but I would have chosen it even if the others were available; it's a lovely colour and reminds me of a darker shade of "British Racking Green".

Pen specs (taken from the Before Breakfast website):

Dimensions: 150 x 14 x 14 mm
Weight: 42 g
Material: Aluminium (or "Aluminum", as we say here in Canada ;)

It uses a push-button (clicker) mechanism and takes Parker or Parker-style ballpoint/gel refills (it came with a Schmidt 'Softline' Parker-style refill). The clicker on my pen works smoothly with no problems (and I like that it's dimpled :).

The pen has a nice heft to it and is well-balanced in my hand; this means I don't have to put a lot of pressure on the pen to write with it. With a fountain pen, this wouldn't be an issue, but with a ballpoint, you have to press harder on the writing surface. In any case, it's very comfortable for me to write with.

The design is simple and clean, and the ballpoint is both functional and elegant. There is no clip or ornamentation on the barrel, aside from a small Before Breakfast logo discreetly silk-screened onto it.

The rounded triangular shape of the pen makes it easy to grip and hold comfortably. The surface is lightly-textured so it helps with the grip, without being rough on your fingers. Actually, the texture and coolness of the metal surface make using this pen a very pleasant tactile experience.

Here another reason why I love this ballpoint---the tip of the refill protrudes just the right amount from the pen's nose cone. I'm probably not the only person who cares about this feature lol, but I don't see it mentioned in reviews very often. When it comes to fountain pens, I prefer the look of those that have sections that match the rest of the pen; when it comes to ballpoints, I don't mind a mismatch (I think the grey nose cone and clicker pair nicely with the dark green barrel).

As mentioned earlier, I bought the pen from Laywine's in Toronto via their web store, and it cost me $95.15 CAD including taxes (shipping was free). I paid for it via Sezzle in four equal, interest-free installments -- $23.78 every 2 weeks. No, it's not inexpensive...but neither were some Retro 51 special/limited edition rollerballs I purchased over the years. I love using my Before Breakfast 'Onigiri' ballpoint, and I think it's worth every penny :)

I'm so glad that Laywine's carry the Before Breakfast line of writing instruments because BB don't have any online retailers in Canada, aside from Laywine's (they do sell their products via their own website). Many thanks to the folks at Laywine's (who included a nice handwritten 'thank you' note with my purchase) for this wonderful ballpoint!

(~blog post by Maja~)

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