Parker Jotter Pen: Lightweight, smooth-writing pen

Earlier this year I purchased a Parker Jotter stainless steel pen based purely on its cool factor as being the pen that James Bond used in the 1995 film Goldeneye, as I had seen on the Bond Lifestyle web page. I searched for it online and ended up purchasing one from my local office and art supply store. I appreciated its sleek design and modest price coupled with the cool factor instantly… but the more I used the pen during my work days the more I came to appreciate it, for you see this pen ultimately changed my life.

As a teacher I am called upon to sign documents on a near daily basis — sign this attendance report, sign this behavior report, write a tardy slip, sign this check out form, etc. It seems never ending. I found myself constantly fumbling for a pen, having to borrow pens that had bits of tape on them or had been turned into paper-mache flowers to make sure they didn’t “walk away” in someones pocket. It was humiliating, but what is one to do when operating on a modest teacher’s salary? Plastic pens were pedestrian and forgettable, clicking gel pens with oversized rubbery cushioned grips were tedious when removing or inserting into the standard pen-socket that my button up shirts provided. Only the Parker Jotter was suitable for my needs! Its slippery profile glides into my shirt pocket, the light weight barely noticeable. It is easily retrieved and the polished components in the pen cap provide the authoritarian click that I need to sign these endless cascades of documents with prudence. Its smooth writing allows my own graceful chicken scratch to be properly rendered, with little hand cramping during extended grading sessions. At a modest price of between $10 to $15 for the stainless steel model, this classic writing implement should be owned by all. When I rise at the ungodly hour required and begin my daily rituals of preparing for my work life, I experience a sense of satisfaction when I pick up my Jotter and realize there is one more thing to look forward to.

Compared to similarly priced models the Parker Jotter provides value. I have a Zebra F-301 that I carry as a backup and find the design to be over wrought, with a useless and slippery plastic grip. It feels like I am scratching the paper compared to the Jotter. Anyone that appreciates the classic slip stream design of the 60s will fall in love with the Jotter, just as I have. -- Seth Wilson

Parker Stainless Steel Jotter Pen $11


  1. I entirely agree with your review. I love my Parker Jotter, have been carrying it since 1982. Indestructible, writes beautifully and is easily held.

  2. Parker jotters are at a very sweet spot. Cheap enough to lose without tears, but expensive enough for people to give back after they borrow it.

    My favourite is one that I found in the street embossed ‘DALE CARNEGIE COURSE – Human Relations Award’. It is like the essence of mid 20th century optimism and business philosophy distilled into one object. Anybody who aspires to own more than a Bic, can.

  3. I still have my Parker T-Ball Jotter from the 1960s. I just had to have it for some reason that I can’t remember and it was the only pen I would use. 

  4. Inspired by my father (who has been writing with Jotters for as long as I can remember – although not the full steel ones), I have been using one since high school. I always opt for the ‘broad’ filling; it runs more smoothly over paper than the small/medium points, and has a certain authoritative thickness of line.

  5. I much prefer gel pens because of the thicker lines they make. It makes my writing look much nicer than with any other pen or pencil, and I find them much more pleasurable to write with, because of the thicker ink. I carry one in my trouser pocket so don’t have a problem with the size of the rubber grip. You can get a box of 15 for under $15 on Amazon.

    1. Pens are a highly individual matter.  For me, fountain pencils work best, coupled with a mechanical pen and soft (B) lead.  I even got a fountain pen with neon ink instead of a standard text marker.

      I used a broad nib, which made my handwriting appear nicer, but it just masked some defects and is actually less intelligible. Bottom line: These reviews are fine and useful, but you do have to try these things out for yourself.  And not to be afraid to ditch that cool yet expensive pen when it doesn’t work out. 

    1. Sorry for your distress, old chap.

      ::punches Dave X, throws him out the window and beds his mistress::

  6.  I’ve had a Parker pen for about 20 years now but have found their refills to be lacking in the past few years. Is that why you switched to the Fisher? I very sadly stopped using my Parker but would love to bring it out of retirement.

    1. That’s exactly why I switched to Fisher. That, and the ink lasts forever. Something like 12,000-15,000 feet of lines.

    2. Lacking? I ended up throwing away my last Parker after the ink cartridge leaked all through my nice leather bag, I was furious! Parker make nice pens, but I can’t trust the brand anymore.

  7. I have big hands and I have liked these pens as long as I’ve been writing. I carry the stainless one with me when I work as an EMT because (a) You can open it with one hand, (b) it can be easily disinfected with alcohol, and (c) you can put the Fisher Space Pen refill inside for write-upside-down-on-anything convenience. Also, as mentioned, not a big deal if you lose it.

  8. I teach too, I prefer Pilot Frixion erasable rollerball pens. I use them for marking (they come in a few different colours) and also for practicing Chinese characters. They have a pretty small tip (0.7 or 0.5mm) so you can do detailed work, but as long as the eraser is clean you can go back and correct small parts of what you’ve written. It also has the added benefit of being a cool party trick for kids who’ve never seen one. It’s a bit plasticky, but I quite like the grip and it’s quite easy to write with. I imagine it’s not so good for longer pieces of writing, but I love the way that you can correct small mistakes that would otherwise mean having to start a certificate or other document again.

    1. I like erasable pens, but they are not forgiving for left handed writing, smears and stains the hand.

  9. Although I primarily use — and sell — fountain pens, the Parker Jotter has always been my ‘go-to’ ballpoint. It’s a classic design!

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