The Pocket Six (which I first reviewed last October) is one of the most exciting new pen designs I’ve seen in years.
It manages to pack a full-size #6 nib and a comfortable full-size grip into a pen that makes the Kaweco Sport look chunky. It’s fair to say that the Pocket Six has revolutionised the pocket pen category, and with the never-ending array of funky colour combinations hitting Instagram (and new retailers like Izods coming on board), I can already see the Pocket Six turning into the pen equivalent of Beanie Babies. Buying new ones is almost irresistible. They’re just so cute!
And Ian Schon isn’t resting on his laurels.
Welcome the virtual pen show
In the absence of the pen show season, he’s started doing virtual pen show consultations over Zoom (Webex would have been better, of course…). I participated a few weeks ago, enjoying a great chat about pens and the opportunity to pick out the exact shade of beautiful new petrol Pocket Six…
… and also a tour of his enormous workshop, including smart innovations like his automatic nib assembly machine. This guy knows how to push my buttons — anything that improves QC consistency is a good thing by me.
The man should be sectioned
That’s not all. Ian has innovated and iterated the already wonderful Pocket Six design, bringing out new sections that swap from Bock to JoWo compatibility (which I prefer), and offer a smart ‘hooded’ effect to lengthen usable grip without making the pen itself any longer. I bought a few.
Also new is colour-matched sections in the default concave style. The first wave of Pocket Sixes came in amazing colours, but the only section choices were silver, black or brass. Now, the colour of the pen extends onto the section itself, which I think looks fabulous.
The aesthetics of the hooded sections may not be to everyone’s tastes, but to me they are a triumph. The ribbed texture adds a bit of grip, and now that the profile is no longer concave, the pen doesn’t feel so slim. The extra length is a practical addition. And I do love having bright contrasting colours hiding under the cap of a pen.
I am also thrilled to bits about the JoWo option. It’s given me the option to use my Franklin-Christoph Music nib (which I admit is an unusual choice for a pocket pen), and the Masuyama-tuned F-C nibs I’ve picked up over the years. JoWo nibs simply look better finished and perform better than Bock nibs in my experience.
And now Ian is experimenting with material finishes, too: as well as a multitude of anodised aluminium colour schemes, plus brass, he’s trying out hammered and cut patterns (like my favoured Montblanc Martele and Geometry). Ian sent me a prototype Geometry-style Pocket Six in brass to check out.
Ian was the first to tell me that the finish on the facets isn’t perfect — there are some machining marks visible — but honestly it doesn’t bother me at all. Brass is a finish to patina, and a pocket pen is a pen to live with the rough and tumble of life. This kind of texture will only look better with age.
This is my first experience with one of the brass Pocket Sixes, and the extra heft is noticeable, in a pleasant way. It’s still not a heavy pen — it’s way too small and slim for that — but the weight is noticeable over the aluminium version.
As well as these cool updated finishes for the Pocket Six, Ian gave me a sneak peek at some entirely new designs. I don’t want to steal any of his thunder, so all I can say is that I’m really, really excited to see what comes out of Ian’s workshop next.
And until then, I have four Pocket Sixes to keep me company. Get yours here.