Though our main focus is of course fountain pens and their nibs, we are also able to provide a wide range of high-end ballpoint and rollerball pens to our customers on a special order basis. We also try to keep a small number of Nakaya Naka-ai Ballpens in stock as a standard item, though customer demand for these hand-crafted urushi pens often exceeds the rate at which they can be produced.
Customers purchasing these pens often ask about the difference between rollerball and ballpoint pens and their respective refills. Briefly, rollerball pens use smooth-writing water-based inks which are similar in many ways to the inks used in fountain pens. Rollerball ink, like fountain pen ink, requires a brief time to dry on the page, and rollerball pens, like fountain pens, can temporarily dry out if left uncapped.
Ballpoint pens, on the other hand, use oil-based inks which dry instantly and remain permanently on the page once applied. These oil-based inks are also much less likely to dry out on the tip of the ballpoint, which is why ballpoint pens can use open click mechansims rather than than the screw-on caps normally used for rollerball and fountain pens.
Nakaya Ballpens emulate Parker Pens in adopting a hybrid approach; Nakaya and Parker Ballpens utilize Parker refills, which are available in either the QuinkFlow ballpoint-style or in Gel. Gel refills are a mixture of oil and water and provide a smooth writing experience close to that of an actual rollerball pen.
So if you're buying a Nakaya Ballpen, which refill should you choose? If you want the quickness and convenience of a ballpoint style refill, choose the QuinkFlow refills. If you want a smoother-writing refill that approximates the feel of a rollerball, choose one of the Gel refills. Better yet, experiment with both and find which suits you best and for which purposes. And don't hesitate to give us a call if you have any questions...