Rollerball – a Successful Combination

We use ballpoint pens almost everyday, while most people are only familiar with fountain pens from historical movies and TV shows. What many people don’t know, however, is that a rollerball pen combines the best of both. You can write as fast with a rollerball pen as you can with a ballpoint pen, and thanks to the liquid ink, you get the smooth look fountain pens’ are known for. This makes the rollerball pen the perfect combination of different writing instruments for both a shopping list and a long handwritten letter.


4 products

Rollerball refill

Rollerball refill

Rollerball refill, ball diameter 0.5 mm (equiv. to a line-width of approx. 0.3 mm), colour: blue
Ball Diameter selectable
ZOOM ying Samon indigo

ZOOM ying Samon indigo

High-quality rollerball pen in the ZOOM ying series with an exquisite surface pattern. Available in two colors.

The History of a Writing Tool

The history of the rollerball pen is closely linked to Japan, where the first rollerball pen was developed in 1963. As the name suggests, it rolls – thanks to a ball at the tip of the pen – over the paper and applies the ink in this process. Unlike a ballpoint pen cartridge, however, the ink inside the rollerball cartridge is liquid, making it easier for the ball to slide over the paper. As a result, the writing looks much more harmonious. If one compares the ink flow with that of a fountain pen, however, it is lower. The ink dries faster, meaning there is less risk of immediately smearing what you’ve written. In addition, the ink can flow through the ball more quickly, so you can write faster with a rollerball pen than with a fountain pen.

Selecting the Right Ball Diameter

Thanks to refillable cartridges with different ball diameters from 0.3 - 07 mm and colors (blue, red, black), you can adapt the rollerball to your own needs. The Japanese appreciate smaller ball diameters and thus also a smaller line width, since Japanese characters are very intricate and generally written very small. In western countries, on the other hand, people tend to prefer larger line widths and thus larger ball diameters.

If you want to use the pen to sign important documents, we recommend the black ink roller refill BK-LP03-33 and BK-LP05-33, as they are indelible.

Indelible ink has to meet several criteria. This includes, among others: 

  • Wipe resistance – the ink must dry quickly
  • Cannot be removed without leaving traces – the ink cannot be erased or removed with an ink eraser
  • Light resistance – the ink must not immediately fade in sunlight
  • Water resistance – the writing must remain legible, even if it comes slightly wet 

The exact requirements are set forth in the ISO 12757-2 standard.

Exceptional Material and Design

Tombow rollerball pens stand out thanks to their exceptional design and material. The ZOOM 505 Havanna line of high-quality rollerball pens received an iF product design award for its design. But the ZOOM 101 line of rollerball pens is also impressive with its carbon case. This makes it light as a feather, weighing just 14.5 g. The timeless design makes it a luxurious gift for every occasion. 

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