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September 10, 2020 4 min read

Wingback products are designed for any journey, from commutes through the capital to adventures along the Jurassic Coast. Here we delve deeper into the making of our best-selling ballpoint, the Wingback Mechanical Pen.

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The Wingback Mechanical Pen 

The third member of our Machined Collection and our first foray into stationery, the Wingback Mechanical Pen epitomises our "buy once" philosophy.

Machine turned from brass or stainless steel, it has been designed to last for decades, not months, and help its owner rediscover the joy of putting pen to paper.

Over 25 iterations helped hone the design to result in a ballpoint that's compact, comfortable to use, and perfectly tailored to the Fisher Space Pen cartridge to ensure zero nib wobble while writing.

 

 

"The Wingback Mechanical Pen has been meticulously designed and crafted to be an illustrious member of your everyday carry kit" ~ Cool Material

Wingback Mechanical Pen in brass

Inspired By The Past

The inspiration for the Mechanical Pen came from a screwdriver that belonged to Wingback founder Alasdair MacLaine's great grandfather. Every feature was there for a reason and 80 years on it still functions as well as the day it was made.

We wanted to design something that would be used everyday, drawing on design values from the past, to turn something that's often throwaway, into a tool that will last a lifetime.

First we had to decide which ink cartridge our Mechanical Pen would house, as a pen is only as good as the cartridge you use. After testing dozens of options, we finally landed on the Fisher Space Pen Black PR4 and Blue PR1.

The PR refill is a pressurised cartridge with a tungsten carbide tip. It lasts three times longer than alternatives, has an estimated 100 year shelf life, will perform in temperatures from -30ºF to +250ºF, underwater, in zero gravity and virtually anywhere your journey takes you.

Next we opted for a fidget-worthy single-handed twist mechanism, that allows you to lock the nib in place with a reassuring clunk, to ensure it won't go off in your pocket.

The inspiration behind the Wingback Mechanical Pen

Wingback Mechanical Pen in brass

Heavy Metal

Having worked with brass and stainless steel previously with the Key Cache and 100ml Hip Flask, we were confident these materials would fit the bill for our pen while providing a satisfying weight to the utensil.

That's no coincidence. Our European-sourced brass (56g / 1.98 oz) and stainless steel 304 (50g / 1.76oz) pens have been carefully balanced to encourage more time to be taken with every pen stroke.

The weight acts as a gentle reminder to take more time over your writing and drawing, helping you achieve neater results.

Its wide 10mm diameter also means your hand won't fatigue as quickly as when gripping a narrower pen, and the 0.5mm perpendicular diamond knurled grip equally provides additional purchase for your fingers.

Wingback Mechanical Pen in brass

Wingback Mechanical Pen in stainless steel

Made In The UK

Each pen is machine turned from a solid block of metal, then knurled and milled by our trusted workshop partners in Birmingham, specialists in aerospace components (and now precision-engineered utilitarian stationery).

The pen is made up of three parts: the barrel and two sections of the mechanism that are screwed together by a tiny pin bolt. Incidentally, we use that same 80-year-old screwdriver to tighten the bolt in place in our London workshop.

Once the pens are assembled and Fisher cartridge loaded, they are laser engraved with the Wingback logo and custom inscriptions of up to 50 characters along the length of the barrel.

"MADE IN THE UK" is also emblazoned into the metal, only to be revealed when twisting the pen apart.

 Manufacturing the Wingback Mechanical Pen

"Wingback’s series of exquisitely designed EDC is the ideal combination of aesthetics and performance. With its comfortable broad design, the mechanical pen promises to be the last pen you’ll ever want to use" ~ Yanko Design

Manufacturing the Wingback Mechanical Pen

The Personal Touch

As with our Leather Collection, the final piece of the jigsaw for the Brass Mechanical Pen is completed by you, its owner.

Brass will develop a unique patina as its surface oxidises and interacts with the natural oils in your hands, meaning it will gradually take on the look like a timeless heirloom, yet it can easily be polished back to its original lustre.

By contrast, stainless steel 304 has a harder surface and won't oxidise over time – nor will the limited edition Black Steel Mechanical Pen, with a tungsten carbide carbon finish – meaning it will maintain its crisp aesthetic indefinitely.

 Finally, the pen is packaged in a slim double-thickness cotton sleeve to keep it safe (something we strongly recommend using to keep it from rolling off your desk).

The result is a useful, considered tool that's a pleasure to use, one that will age beautifully and last a lifetime. And with any luck, it will be found and appreciated by your grandchild a long time after that.


Credit: Aaron Phull @aarondiscovers

Wingback Mechanical Pen in brass

Our Mechanical Pen has proved extremely popular, but we're always looking for ways to improve it further, from housing alternative cartridges to additional features. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments below.

You can shop the Mechanical Pen here or leave your review here.

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