Retro Talk: The Big Five Tornado, #504


It was in the display case of a local pen shop where I spotted this orange-patterned Retro 51 Tornado. My girlfriend had taken me to the shop as a birthday gift and wanted to buy me a pen of my choosing. It was fun, but there were so many different pens – few of which I’ve used – that it was all a bit daunting. When I saw the Retro 51 Tornado, however, I knew exactly what I wanted. I’m a big fan of my Black Lacquer Retro 51 and an even bigger fan of my Albert Retro 51, so I was more than happy to add another to the collection.

From what I’ve been able to find on the Internet, this Tornado – called the “Big Five” model – was produced in 2007 in a limited quantity. A total of 1,951 pens having been made, and it looks like I snagged myself #504.


It features a South African theme with the design including the five “big” animals of the region in silhouetted form: the elephant, the rhino, the buffalo, the lion and the cheetah. But what I really like about this Tornado is just its black and orange color scheme. It even has an orange sunburst design on top that really makes the pen stand out. In fact, it’s one of the few pens strangers have actually complimented.

I’m very happy to have it as part of my (small) Retro 51 collection.


Oh, and it also pairs nicely with a Rhodia notepad.

5 thoughts on “Retro Talk: The Big Five Tornado, #504

    1. This was a pre-owned, and I found this in a local pen shop (that sadly no longer exists). I don’t think they’ve been sold as new in a while. Maybe keep an eye on eBay?


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