Uniball Signo UM-151 Hits The Big-Time

If you have a minute, you definitely should check out the recent ode to the Uniball Signo UM-151 in the New York Times magazine.

Tom Vanderbilt’s piece “Letter of Recommendation” describes how he was fairly indifferent to pens until a friend talked him into trying inexpensive Japanese gel pens.

UM 151 Group

He eventually fell in love with the black-ink UM-151 with the .038 mm point. Now, his praise of the pen is effusive and lyrical:

For me, the pen’s virtues are multifarious. The cost is such that I do not mind if I lose it (almost inevitably, I will). Aesthetically, there is the sleek silhouette, the smooth barrel, the graceful link of the arcing clip to the gentle curving cap; viewed on its side, the pen perfectly evokes a Shinkansen bullet train. I love the way the silver conical tip sits visible through its clear plastic housing, like a rocket waiting to be deployed. I love the small black rubber grip, with its pairs of dimples, arranged in a pattern whose logic evades but intrigues me. The pen slides discreetly into a pocket, and like a sinuous dagger it just feels meant to be held.

He likens the experience of writing with the fine-tipped Signo to driving a “small, highly tuned sports car.” Vanderbilt also sends some love Brad Dowdy’s way, with a nod to his well-known Pen Addict blog.

Vanderbilt also gives honorable mention to one of my favorite pen lines, the Pentel EnerGel, as well as the Pilot Hi-Tec-C. It’s really nice to see America’s newspaper of record awarding some due credit to the Signo and these other great pens.

By the way, if you’re a fan of micro-tipped pens and haven’t yet tried the UM-151, we’d recommend taking it for a test run.

Peter Scully Sketch

Check out what British expat and “Urban Sketchers” correspondent Pete Scully has to say about the UM-151. And, also, be sure to take a look at some of his excellent sketches done with the pens.

Photo of author

Tony Bridges

As a seasoned journalist and freelance writer, I've spent over three decades telling stories and exploring the world through the written word. With a passion for writing instruments, I found my niche at The Pen Vibe, a blog that shares our collective fascination with pens, pencils, and other tools that have shaped the art of writing.

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