Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pentel VICUNA 0.7mm Gel Ink Pen

Stopped by Kinokuniya over the weekend to check out any new pens or notepads and saw this display for the Pentel VICUNA. I have to say I was rather taken by it: the display included a 12-page booklet in Japanese (to the left in the above picture) featuring a young woman in black, wearing a Michael Jacksonesque fedora, lots of black eyeliner, and pale lips. For some reason it reminds me of the Virginia Slims cigarette ads of the 70s.

From what I could find on the internet, the VICUNA is a "three ink" pen designed with women in mind ("You've come a long way baby" for those who remember that tag line). I think they simply mean three inks were blended to make the one black gel ink used in the cartridge in the pen. I did notice when writing with it that the black ink is very dark and lays down on the paper slightly damp but dries very fast. It's a nice pen, the colors are very cute (I chose purple, but could have gone with orange), and costs about $3.

What I'm curious to know is why it's call the VICUNA (all caps)--the plastic molded name on the pen even includes the tilde (the wavy line) over the capital "N" so it's definitely Spanish and meant to invoke the Andean camelid. Uhmm...huh?

UPDATE: Thanks to @PentelofAmerica on Twitter for getting an answer to my question:
"The Vicuna has smooth, smooth wool. And the ink on the Pentel Vicuna is smoooooooth." So that's why Pentel named the pen the VICUNA. #nowyouknow


  1. I think I need to get me one of these! Thanks for the great review!


  2. It writes very well, the line is thinner than I originally thought. But equating it with an Andean vicuna for its smooth fur is...different, lol.

  3. The ad copy on the display says "World's Smoothest".

    So it MUST be smooth, ne?

  4. I bought a couple of them from Japan. Very smooth and my friends love it esp women. Great pen.

  5. My friend got me some from Japan and i LOVE it! I need more! do u know any online shopping site I can buy these pens??! My job requires me to write lots everyday and i can use up one pen in 3-4 days. help!

  6. have them - Awesome pen! This pen lays down really smooth ink, writes well on glossy surfaces without much smearing.

  7. 1. Vicuna is NOT A GEL PEN!


    Pentel Japan specifically says it is a ballpoint pen that uses ink similar to that found in Bic ballpoint pens, but with lower viscosity, and thus smoother, easier rolling due to that.

    3. Pentel states that in 2010, the black Vicuna was the smoothest writing ballpoint pen on the market.

    The lower viscosity has resulted in a pen that feels like you are using a gel pen, but it's not a gel pen.

    4. This pen is ok.
    Not as reliable as a Pentel Hybrid Technica, Pilot G2, or Uniball Signo when laying down SHORT (1-3mm long) strokes over and over.
    In this situation, the pen will skip like crazy, and you'll drive yourself nuts trying to write small 1-3mm tall characters.
    However, for larger, more normal usages, like cursive writing, regular-sized printing, etc., it won't skip much and does write very smooth.
    The ink does tend to glob a little bit on the tip, requiring cleaning off the ink now and then.

    You don't encounter these issues with the other pens I noted - simply reliable, consistant ink output all the time with no globbing of ink on the tip. (One of the benefit of gel inks and advanced tip design.)

    Due to the lower viscocity ink, it also smears a touch more than a regular ballpoint ink as well. Not as much as a gel pen when wetted, but just a touch more.

    The Vicuna also requires a few grams of pressure to be applied before reliable lines can be written w/o skipping. Gel pens noted above do not need pressure besides simply holding it above paper, and gel pens will write consistantly w/o added pressure.

    While the 0.7mm tip of the Vicuna allows this pen to write rather smoothly, smoother than most ballpoint pens, if you ignore same tip size and compare it vs. the Bic Atlantis 1.2mm ballpoint, the Bic Atlantis is noticably smoother! than the Vicuna!!