Retro 51 Tornado: The Gateway pen

So I have been holding off on reviewing the Retro 51 for a little while now. Not because it is a bad pen but because it is hard for me to put it down. The Retro 51 Tornado Stealth has been with me everywhere I go since beginning of January. I’ve written many pages with this pen.. This wasn’t my first entry-level pen enthusiast pen but I definitely like to give it credit for being the pen to start me on this journey. So let’s get into the nitty-gritty.

Retro 51

This pen has been beat, dropped, thrown in bags, carried in pockets with knives, keys, and everything else. I carry this in my tech bag when I go out in the field and I still love this thing. All though it is banged up and some of the matte black has come off of parts like the clip and knock, it is still a beautiful pen and I kind of love it more for having that worn personality.

The Retro 51 Tornado Deluxe was made by Retro 51, a company based in Richardson, TX and has a slogan that I believe all pen geeks live by, “Life is too short to carry an ugly pen!”. Oh so true Retro 51, oh so true. The Tornado wasn’t their first pen but is such a huge success that it has become the standard pen for them. Retro 51 even likes to release a new design for this pen every year and there are soooo many great looking pens it is hard to not find something that fits you.

Retro 51

The Tornado is about 5in long and .45in in diameter. It is made of aluminum with a matte black finish and has a glossy black finish on the clip and knock. They pen weights bout 1oz all together. This pen is weighted rather nicely and isn’t heavy at all but feels very solid in the hand and as you can see in some of the pictures, it can sustain a beating. This pen takes a rollerball refill but they do make a mechanical pencil version of this pen too! I highly recommend throwing in a Schmidt p8126 refill for the Tornado.. It has kind of taken over my life..

Retro 51


  • Price
  • Weight
  • Takes my favorite rollerball refill
  • Size is spot on
  • Comes in tons of styles and colors
  • Extremely durable


  • The clip could be a little more thicker to help it keep that tightness. I’ve found after excessive use the clip gets worn in and doesn’t really “clip” only anything.. really it just turns into more of a hook to hang off of stuff with. Take a look at the last picture and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Retro 51 Tornado Deluxe Stealth

Price: ~$27

Length: 5in

Diameter:  .45in

Weight: 1oz

Filling Mechanism: Rollerball refill (Schmidt p8126 recommended)

Material: Aluminum but other metals are available in other themes

Styles: Comes in all sorts of different colors and styles


Make sure you swing by Retro51 and check out their catalog, they even make it easy for you to find the links for Retailer Exclusive Themed Tornado’s like the amazing Terabyte at Anderson Pens!

Comment below or message me and let me know what you think about the Tornado if you have one or questions if you are thinking about purchasing one!

2 thoughts on “Retro 51 Tornado: The Gateway pen”

  1. Spot on with this write-up, I seriously believe this website needs much more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the advice!

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