The Bic Cristal is a one of the most popular pens in the world. It’s a classic ballpoint pen that has been produced continuously since 1950. Over 100 billion of these pens have been produced in the nearly 70 years that it has been made.
While it’s not as common today as it once was (or at least that’s how it seems in the typical American office), it’s an iconic pen that still holds an important place in the history of writing instruments. For the full history of ballpoint pens, read out article on who invented the modern ballpoint pen.
The Bic Cristal is an entirely plastic pen, made of a soft plastic cap and a hard plastic body. The pen is not billed as being refillable, but the ink seems to be an ISO B3 refill design.
Today the Bic Cristal is sold in fine (Cristal Xtra Precision, 0.8 mm), medium (Cristal Xtra Smooth, 1.2 mm), and bold (Cristal Xtra Bold, 1.6 mm) sizes.
The age of the Bic Cristal’s design means that the pen is nicely built and, not surprisingly, is no longer the cheaper pen in Bic’s line. Cost-conscious office buyer are much more likely to purchase the Bic Round Stic. The newer Round Stic is also available with a body partially of recycled materials, which the Cristal does not yet offer.
Bi Cristal Models
Despite the age of the Cristal there aren’t many variants on the pen. The most popular is the Bic Cristal Grip, though it’s not a pen you’d run into very often, at least today in the US. There is also the Bic Cristal Vermeil, a gold-plated, metal version of the Bic released for commemorative purposes.
Another variant on the Bic Cristal is the Celebration, which are shiny gold and silver Bic Cristal pens. They might look metallic because of the glossy finish but they are plastic.
Bic Cristal ReNew Refillable Pen
In early 2021 Bic introduced the Cristal ReNew (sometimes spelled “Re’New”) which is a Cristal pen with a metal body and a refillable design. The pen includes two refills, which are not normally sold alongside the Cristal as it’s been considered to be a disposable pen.
The Cristal ReNew has a small window at the back with a metal sliding piece in it, known as the plunger. This can be pushed down to push the refill out of the pen body.
The Cristal ReNew included two refills that appear to be standard Cristal refills, which are identical to the B3 refill standard. They don’t seem to be sold separately yet but presumably they will be sold independently of the pen.
While the pen is metal, the cap is still plastic. The cap appears to be identical to the previous plastic caps.
Bic Cristal Ballpoint Pen Information
|Street Price||Check Price|
|Barrel Color||Clear, Smoke, Yellow, Silver, Gold|
|Barrel Material||Plastic, Metal|
|Body Diameter (mm)||9.0|
|Grip Color||Clear, Smoke, Yellow, Silver, Gold|
|Grip Material||Plastic, Metal|
|Grip Diameter (mm)||9.0|
|Country of Origin||France|
|Length Capped / Retracted (cm)||14.5|