It was my birthday last week, and I got some money from some very kind and generous friends and family members. I wrote a while ago about my lovely Rotring Newton fountain pen, and I’m afraid that I’ve enjoyed using it so much in the intervening time that the fountain pen bug has struck. I’ve been admiring the Pilot Vanishing Point fountain pens (or Pilot Capless or Namiki Vanishing Point – they go under a confusing array of names), and since I had some gift money to treat myself with, I decided to buy one.
I looked at them a while ago, and thought that they were probably a bit expensive, but then found an online retailer, Cult Pens which stocks them at a very good price, and also keeps all the nib sizes in stock. While I still love my Rotring, there are a couple of things that make it slightly less practical for note-taking use at work. This sounds trivial, but taking the cap on and off (to stop the nib drying out) while intermittently taking notes on a talk is a little inconvenient. I’m also prone to misplacing or dropping the cap when I do so, because it isn’t terribly secure when parked on the end of the pen. The second is probably a function of nib width, but the medium nib on the Rotring lays down quite a wet line. This looks nice, and makes for a smooth stroke, but I then tend to smudge it if writing quickly.
I think that the Pilot Capless will solve both of those problems. The retractable nib is a bit of an engineering marvel and works very well. It sounds like a gimmick, but having a fountain pen you can use with the convenience of a ball point is fantastic. I got the fine nib, which lays down a very fine line of around 0.5 mm or less with the Noodler’s Legal Lapiz ink I’m using. It’s almost like a Pilot V5 fineliner, but the line is very smooth and constant. At that width, the ink dries almost instantly, and I’ve even found that I can use it on newsprint to solve a crossword without the ink spreading. The pocket clip looks like it would get in the way of your fingers, but at least with my grip, I find that it stops my fingers slipping on the barrel, and helps to keep them in a good position for writing.
It’s a really lovely experience to write with, and quite a different feel to the Rotring. I keep finding excuses to write little notes or lists with it, because it’s such a sensual thing. I think it’s going to be a great notetaker at work, and I’ll use my Rotring for more leisurely writing at home.
I would also really recommend Cult Pens to anyone buying pens in the UK. It happened that the finish I originally chose (Black Carbonesque) was out of stock, and was on back order for a number of weeks when the delivery they were expecting didn’t materialise. They consequently offered me a discount on another finish, and sent the pen Special Delivery so it would arrive the next day – great service! I’m not affiliated with them, by the way, just a happy customer, and I think that good service deserves public praise.