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Zebra F-701 Ballpoint Pen

WRITER Philip Watts

I’m not really a pen nerd, nor am I too fussed about what instrument I write with, or rather I should say: I wasn’t until I stumbled across this particular gem. I’m sure plenty of pen fanatics will mock my lack of foreknowledge, but the arrival of the Zebra F-701 in my life was pure happenstance. Exiting the train one morning, I realized I’d forgotten to take a pen out with me, and went looking for something to fill the stylus shaped hole in my pocket. There it sat, on the shelves at Staples, at eye level: simple, elegant, and cheap. You see, I’m not the type of person to spend a lot of money on pens, having grown up on Parker Jotters, but I do appreciate well-made, thoughtfully designed, everyday items. Luckily for me the Zebra F-701 not only fully completes all these criteria, but also costs next to nothing. It’s what is known in pen collecting circles as a win-win. Every single person that I have allowed to use this pen has remarked on how well it writes, how good their handwriting looks having used it, and how nicely weighted the stainless steel body is. In fact several of these same people have proceeded, subtly or otherwise, to try and steal it from me, making it a near miracle that I still own the original pen I purchased that fateful life-changing day at Staples. The pen’s aesthetics may also help to explain the reason why so many people attempt to commandeer it from my grasp. It looks like a writing tool should; its knurled grip reminiscent of the ratchets my father used inside the garage of my youth. So perhaps that’s it: the F-701 is the wet blanket equivalent of something one might need to fix a car. It’s also a simple pleasure, and one that comes highly recommended.

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