This is one of my favorite pens in my accumulation. It is also one of the more popular pens in pendom. Reviews abound on nearly every website and nearly every blog. I decided to do this review because this is truly a great pen not just a gimmick. I hope you find this somewhat useful though I freely admit that there isn’t much new to say about this great pen.
I can’t really give an accurate account of my first impressions with this pen. I saw it in person several times before I finally decided to buy one. I do remember thinking 1. this pen is heavy and 2. that clip *is* in a weird place isn’t it?
I have to tell you, this is not the sexiest fountain pen on the block. It looks like an oversized ballpoint pen! (OK that was harsh.) I just don’t care for the appearance. BUT, I do like the Blue Carbonesque finish. It is very attractive.
The best thing about the design is the retractable nib. It just functions well. This is really my favorite part of the pen. You can operate it with one hand and you don’t have to keep track of a cap. This mechanism especially comes in handy for taking notes in a meeting or in class. HIGHLY functional. But, there is one slight drawback. Ink can get caught behind the trap door. As a result, you will need to rinse out the pen body occasionally. A tampered pipette works great for this purpose. [Note: Make sure you let the barrel air dry before reassembling the pen.]
Now about the infamous clip. There is no two ways about it, either you love the clip or you hate it. If you have a “schoolhouse” tripod grip, the clip should not get in the way. If you hold your pen any other way you might want to “try before you buy.” The clip doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, I actually find it helpful.
The size of the pen is average at 5 1/2”. The barrel diameter is about 1/2”. It’s a comfortable size.
Many people have complained about the weight of this pen. It is about 35 grams (with ink and converter), but it feels much heavier. This is largely because of its metal construction. It is a dense pen to be sure, but not at all uncomfortable so far as I’m concerned. I use this pen to take notes in a 3 hour seminar and suffer no fatigue. YMMV
This little itty bitty nib is 18k gold. This is standard in the US, but older models and LE models can be had with rhodium nibs. My pen is a M. It writes a true medium line width, so don’t expect the “Asian nibs are a size smaller” mantra to apply here. [Note: From what I understand the fine nib does actually run finer than a western fine and the broad nib does actually run finer than the western broad, but this does not apply to the medium for whatever reason.]
The nib writes just like I like it. The flow is VERY generous. The nib is smooth with just a hint of feedback. It’s just enough so that you know you’re writing, but not enough to make you think the nib is scratchy or toothy. [Note: If you want something ultra smooth that will “glide” effortlessly across the page you might to buy this pen from one of the famous nibmeisters and have them tune it for you.]
Well, the filling system is cartridge / converter. Nothing to shout home about. It works exactly how it’s supposed to. I just prefer something different. One drawback to this system is that Pilot uses a proprietary cartridge/converter, so you have to use their stuff.
This pen comes with a CON-50 piston converter installed. It holds a little less than 1ml of ink. A CON-20 Squeeze converter will also fit. Many people refill Pilot cartridges with their preferred ink because this increases the ink capacity. Personally, I just use the CON-50. It’s simpler for me.
Cost and Value
I paid significantly less than MSRP for this pen at Oscar Braun Pens and would highly recommend them. They offer fast service at an affordable rate. At the $100 I paid for this pen I consider it to be a fantastic value for the money. The convenience factor is unparalleled, the construction is solid, and the nib is excellent.
Conclusion (9/10, A-)
This is an excellent pen. I recommended it so long as you try it first to make sure the clip is not an issue for you. So far as I’m concerned, this is one of those instances where a gimmick product is actually worth the hype.
I use this pen mostly for note taking. This pen just works every time without fail.