Sometimes A Rollerball Beats A Fountain Pen


Yes, you read that right. Sometimes a fountain pen isn’t the best choice, especially when a pen might be idle for months at a time. Recently, I became acquainted with the Uni-ball Signo 307, a gel pen that suits such situations admirably.

The 307 was recommended for use with watercolors due to its permanence and saturated black color. Unlike some gel ink, the Signo does not produce globs that dry slowly. It is smooth, archival, and skip-free. According to Uni-ball, the 307 contains “Super Ink™ that protects against water, fade, and fraud.” In addition, rollerball pen tips do not fray or wear down on textured watercolor paper like felt tips do. The combination of permanence and durability makes the 307 a useful addition to my collection of watercolor tools. It is a bonus that it fills my need for a maintenance-free, always read to write pen.

It is comfortable in the hand, extremely light weight, and should tolerate normal use easily. It has been many years since I used a rollerball and it is good to see there has been improvement in the quality of the ink.

My 307 has a medium 0.7 nib that comes with black, red or blue ink. The kicker is that it requires absolutely no pressure to write a consistent line. My hand is very happy with it even if it is an inexpensive plastic pen. My fountain pens aren’t remotely jealous. The little stinkers have no fear of being replaced by a no-class upstart. Have they been raised right or what?

You don’t have to take my word for it. The Pen Addict posted a review in 2015 if you want to learn more from a trusted source.

On Amazon, I bought several to keep in locations where I write only on occasion but don’t always have a fountain pen handy. Note that there is an earlier model 207 that does not seem to have the same ink though it is a smooth writer. It does come in more colors if that is important for your needs.

Inkophile is an Amazon Affiliate. If you buy through these links, I get a tiny commission that will help finance new products to review.

Signo 0.7mm black ink

Signo 0.7mm assorted color set

Signo 0.5mm black ink

Signo 0.5mm assorted color set

Signo 307 Refills























  1. I love the Uni-ball Signos! They’re my favorite non-fountain-pen.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this enjoyable read. I don’t think we need to apologize for liking other forms of writing instruments in addition to fountain pens 🙂 As you say, these gel pens represent a useful addition to one’s armoury. Anyhow, so taken was I with the Uni-ball Signo 307 after reading your post that I went to my nearest Rymans at lunchtime and bought one each in black and blue. Thanks for the tip! You are an influencer and I have been influenced.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! How do you like your new pens? Will you place them in locations that are unsuited for fountain pens as I have?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Very impressed so far! I am thinking of keeping one in the car but need to see how it copes with cold temperatures overnight.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ah, cold weather. No freezing temps here so the car is fine for a pen. One on my nightstand with a journal that was not FP-friendly so the paper goes to good use. Lastly in my handbag for a pen that can get loaned to someone without concern about damage or loss. Plus it works for writing or sketching when I don’t want to carry a fountain pen. These pens are quite handy. Other uses will emerge I am sure.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally agree! I work in a library, and I couldn’t use a fountain pen to write due dates inside books. My Lamy Safari rollerball is perfect for the job.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What color is your Safari? It’s such a sturdy pen. I can’t tell you how much abuse mine have endured but it doesn’t slow them down in the slightest.


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