Saturday, May 23, 2020

RE-REVIEW: BARON FIG SQUIRE ROLLERBALL

RE-REVIEW: BARON FIG SQUIRE ROLLERBALL
Since I am: A) terribly late with this review of the special edition - yet currently still available - Baron Fig Squire 'Clear Habitsrollerball, so at this point I don't know how useful an in-depth review of this particular edition would still be. And B) have already reviewed the Squire, in its many iterations, almost half a dozen times by now (Links to all reviews can be found HERE). I've probably said about everything there is to say about the Squire in my previous reviews, and rambled on enough to cause at least a little migraine.

So this post will be a Re-review of the Baron Fig Squire in general, instead. And I will focus on my experiences with the Squire rollerball thus far, and how my perception of this pen has maybe changed over the years.
RE-REVIEW: BARON FIG SQUIRE ROLLERBALL
The Squire was a pen that immediately won me over. How could it not? Baron Fig, if anything, really has their brand delivery figured out to absolute perfection. The minimalist in me (or rather the minimal design enthusiast, I don't think a hoarder like me could possibly classify as a minimalist!) smiles every time I see the simple packaging, clean lines, bold colors and minimal graphics that look like they came straight from Apple HQ. If you identify with a minimal aesthetic like this, it's easy to get sucked into their biosphere of minimal productivity products... dare I say addictive, even?

But packaging and branding is one thing (You could even argue if it's a valid reason for buying a product?). Luckily, the Squire inside is every bit as brilliant as its packaging. Design is certainly one area where my opinion about the Squire hasn't changed a bit, which is a good thing in this case. In many ways the Squire is about as good as minimal design gets: Just two parts. A very clean and simple, almost fluid-like design that's completely uninterrupted by hard corners, edges, or seams... except where the two parts of the pen meet.
RE-REVIEW: BARON FIG SQUIRE ROLLERBALL
Talking about that tiny seam: the slight gap between the two parts has been my only pet peeve from the beginning of the Squire's career. Albeit a bit of a stupid one, I suppose. But I can't really fault the design in any other way, so a stupid pet peeve is what you'll get. I feel like they improved the fit between the two parts a bit over the years, but you can still see and feel a slight gap. Is it a problem? No. Do I secretly wish that they'd figure out a way to make it (almost) as seamless as a Lamy 2000? Yeah, obviously!

...Oh, and while we're at it, a roll-stopper could be useful as well!
RE-REVIEW: BARON FIG SQUIRE ROLLERBALL
Baron Fig's style and impeccable ability to create an attractive story, reflects in the fantastic special edition releases they've done with the Squire over the years. Even though I'm not mad about them slowing down their pacing of special releases these days (All those seasonal subscriptions started to feel like a chore, trying to keep up with one special edition after the other), they've consistently outdone themselves on every single one of them over the years. Not just the minimal color schemes and themed engravings, but also the entire atmosphere created around each theme (The 'Lock & Key' being my absolute favorite, closely followed by the highly sought-after chemistry-themed 'Experiment' that I - as a chemist - thoroughly regret missing out on) - every piece of the puzzle just always fits together.
RE-REVIEW: BARON FIG SQUIRE ROLLERBALL
The 'Clear Habit' special edition that you're seeing here, is based on the color scheme of the 'Atomic Habits' book by James Clear (A self-improvement book about creating and breaking Habits), and Baron Fig's own Habit-tracker special edition Clear Habit Confidant notebook. Even though I don't read self-improvement books (I probably should), I still very much like the look of this rusty-orange pen and the triangle-pattern engraving.

Despite frequently having multiple Squires hanging around my desk and in my EDC carry, it still strikes me every time how compact these things are. Especially in the anodized aluminum versions that are also very light, making for an incredibly small and nimble pen. And yet despite the almost pocket-sized dimensions, it never feels like a pocket pen in the hand. It IS quite thin, though, which remains my only comfort-related gripe with the Squire. The combination of the slick, smooth shape, and anodized finish, with a fairly thin grip diameter (even at the widest point) does make it a little prone for my hand to cramp up after a while. Granted, it's not as thin as that other Baron Fig pen, the Squire Click (which is not one I'd recommend for more serious writing tasks), but I'd still like to see them try a design with a slightly wider grip area.
RE-REVIEW: BARON FIG SQUIRE ROLLERBALL
The refill... this is an area where I've changed my mind quite a bit over the past years, and my opinion on the Baron Fig-branded Schmidt P8126 rollerball refill still tends to go back and forth. Since my first experience with the Squire, I've definitely been using more rollerball and gel ink pens. The P8126 was something just shy of revolutionary for me at first encounter, and it's still one of the most satisfying and consistent rollerball refills I've used to date.

But gel pens have taken over the number one spot on my non-fountain pen list. The Pilot G2 (0.5) is just too good of a refill, and it's noticeably less picky about what paper you use it on, since the slightly more viscous gel ink has less tendency to feather and bleed on cheaper paper. That being said, the Squire does also accept Parker G2-style refills, which opens up a wide selection of refills that can be fitted (including the excellent Schmidt EasyFlow 9000M hybrid ballpoint ink refill that's a good compromise between ballpoint and rollerball inks).
RE-REVIEW: BARON FIG SQUIRE ROLLERBALL
Everything from the minimal design, aesthetically pleasing storytelling, compact and nimble size and excellent rollerball refill... Three years later, these are the things that make me reach for the Baron Fig Squire surprisingly often. And even though aesthetically you could call Baron Fig the stationery-world equivalent of Apple, their prices are actually quite reasonable I think. Starting at 55$, the Squire hits a pretty attractive price point, which makes it hard for me not to recommend picking one up. (Interestingly, the Squire's prices haven't gone up at all in the last three years, the same can't be said for a lot of other pens!)

NOTE: This product was provided by Baron Fig, so I could write this review. I was in no way influenced in the making of this review, the opinions shared in this review are completely my own! This post does not contain affiliate links.
RE-REVIEW: BARON FIG SQUIRE ROLLERBALL

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