I call this product the “pen croissant”. I’m hoping the name sticks. I hope the product sticks too, because I really like it.
What we have here is a simple, rustic-feeling case for a single pen, made from thick, soft leather with a single popper closure.
It’s available in three colours. I picked the blue, which is dark like a pair of jeans, and I expect it to break in in much the same way.
It’s finished with thick white stitching, and the popper closure is in rustic aged brass. It all feels very solidly put together.
Onoto branding is taken care of by some subtle embossing, and the Onoto coin symbol on the popper. I think it looks rather smart. Part of me wants the popper in proper silver though, like on the pens.
Getting a pen in and out takes seconds. Even very large pens (like my King of Pen Urushi) fit, but due to the design, even small pens don’t rattle around.
Although the case isn’t padded, the multiple layers of thick leather give some protection when closed. There’s no metal on the inside to scratch a pen, and the openings are closed enough that I’m not concerned about dust ingress. So overall, it’s pretty practical as cases go.
My only real qualm is that the pen roll is fairly bulky for a single pen. In a bag it’s no problem at all, but I wouldn’t put it in the inside pocket of a suit jacket: it’s too thick.
Onoto clearly have big plans for this case, because they’re starting to offer it as a more sustainable alternative to their huge plush wooden boxes for shipping new pens.
I always like the idea of shipping pens in usable cases, for instance as Scribo and Franklin-Christoph do. But it’s a bit of a shame that the price doesn’t drop when you choose to forego the big box.
One thing surprised me about this case. I asked Onoto where it was made, since the leather feels thick and soft. The answer was unexpected: China.
That may put some people off, and I don’t feel great about it — after all, Onoto describes itself as “luxury, handcrafted, British fountain pens”. But I believe Onoto when they said they couldn’t find the same quality made in the UK for an affordable price.
And as to price, the Onoto pen roll is £45. I think that’s a decent number, although I’d be happier at £35. As an introductory offer, Onoto is giving a pen roll free with the new Arabica pen, too.
If you use a Magna as your weapon of choice, this is an attractive and practical choice to keep it safe when you’re out and about.
Onoto gave me this pen roll for free to review. You can get yours here.