Sunday, May 18, 2014

Identifying Bic Cristals

This is totally nerdy, and I may be the only person on the planet who cares, but here we go anyhow!

As I mentioned in the comments on my recent post about Bic Cristals, I ended up splurging (for about three bucks) on a box of the new Easy Glide variety. When I got them home, I realized I couldn't easily tell them apart from the older "writes farther" variety I already had on hand. They're clear, and they don't have any model number or anything easily visible on the pen. So...I resorted to a piece of blue paper. What will my boss think if she comes across pens labeled "smooth?" Unknown.

But today, as I was A/B-ing these pens again, something caught my eye. There *is* a difference! The "Bic" logo is farther back from the point on the "Smooth" model than it is on the older type.

Top: Bic Cristal Easy Glide. Bottom: Bic Cristal "Writes Longer"

So there ya go. If you come across one in the wild and are wondering what it's your field guide.


Scott Kernaghan said...

That's one way to differentiate! How do you find them in your hand while writing?

Little Flower Petals said...

The Easy Glide ink *is* smoother. I did some blind testing today, writing with the two with my eyes closed to see if I could guess which was which, and I could when contrasting. It'd be harder to say for sure if I just picked up one or the other and started writing.

And it's nice to be able to visually distinguish between the two when I set them down on my desk, without having to scribble samples to figure it out!

Anonymous said...

Never even gave them a second thought before. I have a red and a black Cristal M on my work desk. The Bic logo seems to be somewhere between your two examples!

Little Flower Petals said...

Aw, now you have me wondering if it's simply a batch variance, and therefore only the way to tell the difference between my own two packs--not an across the board rule. Which makes me feel a bit silly. Though I'm still glad I noticed it for my own sake!

Little Flower Petals said...

But now I'm curious! For anyone who has these, does the logo location vary? Is it more or less random? Does it shift around by year? Or what?

Robert Z. said...

As chance would have it, I just bought a 10-pack of Blue Medium Cristals yesterday and only opened it earlier this morning. The packaging only claims that the pen will write "first time, every time;" it doesn't say "easy glide" or "writes longer." (It *does* offer me a chance to enter a sweepstakes for a car of some sort.)

Bad news: the placement of the "Bic" logo is closer to the nib on eight of the pens, and further up on the remaining two.

I selected one from each subgroup and scribbled around a bit and, unfortunately, I can't feel or see any difference between the two.

Little Flower Petals said...

Ugh...that clinches it, then. I guess I'll stick with my brightly-colored paper shred method of ID.

I rather want to remove this post, since it is now evidence of my own foolishness...but maybe it may still provide amusement to passersby.

The wily Bic Cristal will not be pinned down and classified!

Johnny @ Pencil Revolution said...

I think different batches/boxes have different letters/numbers near the plug. I have no idea what they mean, but it helped me sort some "give these away" Bics from the new ones. :)

The new blue ones: HEAVEN for a cheap ballpoint pen.

I'm glad I'm not the only one paying attention to the Cristal, even with all of my pencil blogging and podcasting. :)

notagain said...

I remember putting my name in there to identify my own pens at school.

Little Flower Petals said...

Yep! The ability to stuff a name tag (or other notes) into the body is one major reason these were one of my favorite pens in high school. I'd put my name on a scrap of bright yellow post-it and tuck it in there, and any straying pens generally found their way back to me again.