A Love Letter to the Uniball Signo 207

A Love Letter to the Uniball Signo 207


I love stationery.

And so did most of the kids I went to elementary school with those many years ago. Admittedly, There weren’t many hobby options for young grade schoolers; especially since most I went to school with had overbearing parents of East Asian descent obsessed with their child’s education. Personal computers had recently become “expected” in students’ households at this time, so most kids were only starting to become familiar with computer gaming in the years that followed.

And thus, it was no surprise that every kid’s pride and joy eventually came down to their writing instruments that they could show off and use all day, every day.

Thinking back, what was considered normal back then sounds quite strange to me now. My grade school classmates and I were so serious about stationery that within different classrooms emerged full fledged “economies” around its distribution.

Want a quarter piece of Jason’s new eraser that cleans super well? Kids don’t have any money, so instead that’s going to cost you at least 7 pieces of 0.5 HB lead. Want to borrow Kelly’s new blue alpha-gel mechanical pencil with the satisfyingly squishy grip for a week? That’s going to cost you even more lead.

New fads surrounding stationery included the art of pen spinning, in which children practiced as much as they could to compete and see who could spin and flip their pens over and across their fingers the smoothest to fidget in class in style. Pen spinning in particular caused a ruckus in classrooms because students were “accidentally” dropping their pens on the floor every few seconds. Pen spinning was promptly banned.

On top of that, cases of pen and pencils mysteriously disappearing and reappearing in other students’ pencases were so common that worried children would take their prized pens with them to the recess playground like anxious hoarders. Everyone loved their stationery so much. Unwittingly, I was the same. My friends and I all craved having functional and beautiful stationery that wrote well, didnt break, and looked cool. When someone walked into the classroom with a new fancy pencil, pen, or highlighter set, they immediately became the talk of the town and would quickly have a line of fellow classmates behind them begging to try it out for themselves.

One day, a friend of mine who I’ll call Aiden, dropped a red pen right next to my feet while walking to the teacher’s desk. Being a thief was something I never did as a child, but something came over me in that moment and I found myself quickly swooping it up and putting it in my own pen case. And before I (or Aiden) knew it, I was a proud owner of a Uniball Signo 207 Red 0.5 MM Gel Pen.

The Uniball Signo 207 Red 0.5 MM Gel Pen (Source: Walmart)
The Uniball Signo 207 Red 0.5 MM Gel Pen (Source: Walmart)

I felt bad about stealing Aiden’s pen for weeks, but the feeling quickly dissipated the moment I began to use it. I loved pretty much everything about it. It was sleek, tastefully red and white, and the body was just translucent enough to watch the ink reservoir shift up and down when retracting the pen to fidget in class. The ink was vibrant, feather-resistant, and never smeared no matter how quickly and messily I wrote. Not to mention, the weight distribution was just satisfying enough to practice my own pen tricks, which made passing time in class a breeze. I loved this pen so much so, that marking my own homework answers wrong actually became enjoyable and softened the daily education-flavored anxiety. It feels like a stretch to say that this pen had a hand in teaching me that making mistakes were okay, but that’s pretty much what happened.

I used it in every opportunity I could, finding excuses to use red instead of using highlighters (that smeared like crazy anyways) and wrote very descriptive test and homework corrections for any answers I got wrong. I even developed a note-taking color scheme that became habit out of this pen which persisted beyond graduate school.

Notes I took as recently as a few months ago, with the same red keyword style.
Notes I took as recently as a few months ago, with the same red keyword style.

Since graduation, I found myself having very little reason to pick up physical writing instruments again now that nearly everything I do requires a mouse and keyboard. Despite this, my love for stationery hasn’t changed much. I bought my first fountain pen this year as a way to step back into this nostalgia and have been enjoying trying different inks and writing mediums since. While going down this rabbit hole I also started to follow several Youtube stationery retail channels just to see what kind of products were new and popular. I scrolled past some of my favorites from those days including the Kuru TogaZebra Pen MildlinersKokuyo Campus Notebooks, and… the Uniball Signo 207.

Suddenly remembering all of the memories I had with this pen got me immediately thinking, “I’m an adult now, with my own money. I can now buy all the pens I want!”, which delighted my inner child beyond words could describe. I immediately opened up Amazon to see how expensive this revered pen from my childhood costs to see that it was… $2.10.

Really? That’s it?

If I had known, I could’ve been swimming in all 8 colors of these in every class back then. And despite everything I know and love about the pen, why does it immediately seem to be “not as good” now that I know its inexpensive?

Then it occurred to me that being a child and not knowing the price of something I used every day made it that much more precious. I’m not sure if this story has a moral or not, but if there is one, it would be how ignorance about money is bliss for children. I didn’t really understand what money really was back then, and so everything I had around me I looked at with equal importance. Being the way I am now, I probably would’ve scoffed at the price of the pen without thinking much further and turn back to my fancy LX-edition LAMY Safari.

Thinking about how happy $2.10 made me as a child (though technically, it was not my $2.10) is now a silly memory I’m grateful to have. I have an 8-pack of 0.7 MM Signos in my Amazon cart right now, but I might wait a bit longer to see if the familiar 0.5 MM version will come back in stock.


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