Monday, January 25, 2021

Fountain Pen Review: BENU Tattoo Black

Last year, I have had the pleasure of reviewing two of BENU's fountain pens, Tessera Amber and Euphoria Scent of Irises — both beautiful and excellent writers. Before these two pen models, BENU produced a series of fountain pens in 2019 that paid tribute to the earliest form of visual art and the most unconventional form of modern art — the tattoo. BENU's Tattoo fountain pens are inspired by the beautiful images that people from all over the world use to ink themselves, and they are truly fascinating. I missed getting one when the Tattoo Collection was launched, but BENU has kindly included one when they sent the Euphoria fountain pen. These pens are no longer in production, but major pen sellers still carry them.

The BENU Tattoo fountain pen is a statement pen. It's a large pen at 5.6 inches, and it is full of images, giving it a full tattooed appearance. I received the black Tattoo, the only model in the series without the colored patina, so the textured part of the pen contrasts with the glossy resin and stainless steel accents, giving it a dramatic and captivating effect.

Each fountain pen has eleven old-school style tattoo elements inspired by sailors from the 18th Century, including symbols of good fortune navigating the seas. These elements adorn the pen from the finial to the barrel end, including the following: swallow, dice, sun, gun, rose, nautical star, wind rose compass, ribbon banner with BENU logo, snake, skull, and fire and flame. These elements are sculpted with patinated colors that sharply contrast the pen's barrel color. 

BENU Tattoo Black fountain pen.

The Tattoo's design makes it a must-have pen. It's a beautiful mix of glossy and textured resin with chrome accents. The tattoo elements are embossed and glossy against the textured matte resin, giving them an almost 3-D appearance.

The Tattoo fountain pen is available in six colors: black, gray, blue, green, red, and yellow. The fountain pen has the following measurements and specifications:

  • Length, capped: 5.6 in | 14.2 cm
  • Length, uncapped: 5.3 in | 13.5 cm
  • Length, cap posted: 6.8 in | 17.2 cm
  • Length, barrel only: 3.6 in | 9.1 cm
  • Length, section to nib: 2 in | 5 cm
  • Length, cap: 2.75 inches | 7 cm
  • Weight: 25 g | 0.8 oz
  • Body material: Acrylic resin
  • Cap: Screw on, postable
  • Clip material: Stainless steel
  • Clip and cap rings: Stainless steel
  • Nib: #6 Schmidt, stainless steel in Fine, Medium, or Broad
  • Filling mechanism: Standard international size cartridge or converter included in each purchase

The eleven tattoo elements are beautifully distributed in the pen's cap and barrel.

Tattoo fountain pens are made from high-quality acrylic resin, a weatherproof and durable material. Capped, this pen weighs around 25 grams, and approximately 20 grams when uncapped, which is just right in the hand. This pen's size and length allow for inking with standard international long cartridges or converter. The Tattoo's screw-on cap can be posted and the barrel end is slightly tapered for this, but the pen becomes a little top-heavy when it's posted. 

BENU's Tattoo fountain pens can be filled with ink using cartridges or the supplied long international standard converters.
The Tattoo has the standard BENU steel clip, wide clip band, and cap ring. The sun is placed prominently under the clip, with the ribbon banner bearing the BENU logo.
More details in the Tattoo's cap: the dice are partly seen above the clip band in the left image, together with a series of nautical stars. The cap also has the iconic guns and roses with the wind rose compass above it.
A swallow rests at the Tattoo's finial. The swallow symbolizes love, happiness, freedom, and wisdom. It is used by sailors to show off their sailing experience and the successful end to a voyage.
The pen's barrel has more roses, but it also bears the skull (left) and snake (right). Fire and flame are at the bottom part with more nautical stars in the barrel end.

The Tattoo fountain pen is fitted with a stainless steel #6 Schmidt nib in Fine, Medium, or Broad. The Broad nib on my Tattoo pen wrote well out of the box. It's a very wet and smooth nib, perfect for regular writing for my notes, lists, and journaling. 

The Tattoo fountain pen is fitted with a stainless steel #6 Schmidt nib available in Fine, Medium, or Broad.

The Tattoo shares almost the same length as the Tessera, but shorter than the Euphoria by approximately 0.3 inches. These BENU fountain pens are truly collectibles and each has its own unique design story to tell.

Three iconic BENU fountain pens. From top: Euphoria Scent of Irises, Tattoo, and Tessera.

My first BENU fountain pen was the Classic Ghost White Silver, a short, clipless pocket pen with a #5 Schmidt nib. The Tattoo, on the other hand, is a standard full-length fountain pen, sharing the same length as an Esterbrook Estie and Bexley Intrepid, and shorter than a Laban 325 and Edison Collier while capped. Uncapped, the Tattoo is almost the same length as all four pens except the Estie which is the shortest pen in this lineup.

Top to bottom: Bexley Intrepid, Esterbrook Estie, BENU Tattoo, Laban 325 Wisteria, and Edison Collier Antique Marble.
The Tattoo and Bexley Intrepid are the longest pens in this lineup.
The Tattoo fountain pen's Broad Schmidt nib is complemented by the excellent flow of Monteverde Valentine Red ink, so it writes wet and smoothly. The Tattoo is a comfortable pen to use.

To test how the Tattoo fountain pen writes, I filled it with Monteverde Valentine Red, a bright red ink with excellent flow and consistency. I chose red ink for this big black pen for contrast and boldness. I am happy that I did not experience any hard start and the pen wrote instantly. The Schmidt nib wrote very smoothly. It wrote very well, no skips, no inky blobs, no trouble at all. The Tattoo is an enjoyable pen, and it is comfortable to use even for long periods of writing.

I am very happy that I finally have a BENU Tattoo fountain pen and I am recommending it to anyone who wants to own a pen with exquisite details. It's a beautiful pen and definitely a keeper. BENU is an excellent pen maker who uses only the best materials and takes great care in manufacturing their pens. Get a Tattoo for your collection!

Rants of The Archer thanks BENU for providing the Tattoo fountain pen in this review. While its production has been discontinued, the Tattoo is still available from major pen sellers where it retails for ~US$150-US$190. 

To learn more about BENU, where to buy their pens, and for other details on purchasing BENU pens, visit their website at or follow them on social media:

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