Pens and Pencils | Reviews and Data

Bic Cristal Ballpoint Pen

Bic Crystal

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.


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.

Bic Cristal Ballpoint Pen Information

Street Price Check Price
Manufacturer Bic
Pen Type Ballpoint
Barrel Color Clear, Smoke, Yellow
Barrel Material Plastic
Body Diameter (mm)9.0
Grip Color Clear, Smoke, Yellow
Grip Material Plastic
Grip Diameter (mm)9.0
Country of Origin France
MSRP $1.00
Still Sold Yes
Release Year1950
Similar To
Capped? Retractable?Capped
Length Capped / Retracted (cm)14.5
Weight (g)9.0