If you really get down to it, what is the beating heart of a high-end pen? Most people would agree that it’s the ink. While that’s not generally the feeling here at Unsharpen — we are pen geeks after all — it’s hard to argue that point if you aren’t as into pens.
With this thinking in mind, here is how you can get a top-notch Montblanc rollerball refill into a highly affordable pen body, like the Pilot G2. That’s the heart of a $200+ pen but with a total cost of about $97.
For this hack we used:
- Pilot G2 retractable pen (Price: about $1 per pen)
- Montblanc rollerball refill (Price: about $8 per refill)
Note: Prices vary over time. At the time the price was about $7 in total, now it’s more like $9.
It’s important that you get a rollerball refill, not a ballpoint! A ballpoint will not work for this hack.
With a little trim the Montblanc refill is a perfect fit for the Pilot G2. The same thing is true of many other Japanese rollerball refills, like the Pentel Energel Infree or Energel-X pens for example.
You can also do a similar hack with one of these body and another European rollerball refill. Some are even better fits for Japanese pen bodies than the Montblanc. Our favorite for a long time was the Montblanc but it’s since become the Pelikan 338, a truly excellent rollerball.
How To Do The Montblanc Hack
The Pilot G2 refill is quite close in size to the Montblanc, which follows the ISO standard for a rollerball. The problem is that the Montblanc is just a tad too long.
The fix? You simply need to get a sharp knife, X-acto knife, razor, or even some good scissors. Then put the refill on a flat surface and cut a few millimeters off of the plastic end piece on the back of the Montblanc rollerball refill. You’ll want to make sure not to cut off too much, so start wit about a 2 mm cut and then cut more until the refill fits in your pen body and has a smooth clicking action.
Other Pens To Try
This is called the “Montblanc Pilot G2 Hack” but it’ll work with a number of other Japanese rollerball pens. The main things you need to take into consideration is the length of the refill as well as the shape of the front of the refill (where the refill body tapers down into the writing tip).
One of the best pens to try is a Pentel Energel-X or Infree.