A quick nomenclature note: Namiki/Pilot has apparently used the model name "Capless" in Japan and "Vanishing Point" in the U.S. until the current full-size model arrived with the name Capless. For the rest of this post, I'll call the old plastic model the Vanishing Point or VP, the current full size model the Capless, and while the Decimo's packaging called it the Capless Decimo, I'll just call it the Decimo. And by the way, the company name is Pilot on the barrel of the Decimo, rather than Namiki, as the old VP’s clip was inscribed and as my Raden’s barrel shows.
This is the "dark grey mica" finish, but I wouldn't call it terribly dark. In fact, it has a rather silvery tone that works with the rhodium plated trim very nicely. I find that grey mica finish, by the way, to be very handsome. The "mica" refers to the slight sparkle of the finish. I chose the grey because I wanted it to complement my predominately black VP collection: a mid-1960s VP, the 1990s faceted plastic model, and the Raden: all black, with a bit of color on the Raden, of course!
Now, I have to say that the Decimo strikes a very nice balance between the previous light weight plastic VP and the current metal Capless model. It is metal also, but because it seems to constructed differently, it is noticeably lighter than the Capless. I have weighed all three of my VPs on my office's postal scale and for what it's worth, here's what I came up with: 1.1 oz for the Raden Capless, 0.8 for the Decimo, and 0.7 for the plastic VP.
The shape of the clip is also quite different. The Decimo's clip is thinner and has a lower profile, making it much easier to deal with. I say this as someone who does not have much of a problem with the Capless clip placement--except when I put a Mottishawed italic nib in it and then my usual problem with italic nibs became much worse. Anyway, the old VP's clip placement did not interfere with my grip at all--it was almost "invisible" to my fingers, and I think the Decimo is a lot closer to that type of shape and position than the current Capless. However, I don't think that someone who was bothered by the Capless clip will be fine with the Decimo: if you don't like the clip at the grip, you may not like any pen with this configuration!
The fit and finish of the Decimo is every bit as good as the Capless. I like the different mid-barrel rings, as they are a little less obtrusive than are their counterparts on the Capless. The Decimo also has a subtle "bulge" at the base of the tassie that surrounds the click button, lending a nice visual flow to the barrel.
This is the new rhodium plated 18K nib. Since I had a fine nib and a medium italic, I decided to try a medium. My nib, according to the date code, was made in December 2005 and it has a hallmark at the base of the nib, something new, I believe, for VP nibs. It is, of course, about equal to an American fine and a fluid and smooth writer, in line with Namiki's great reputation. This model is about ease of use and reliability and it delivers. It really does give the simplicity of a retractible ballpoint and the liquid style of a fountain pen.
The pen comes with two cartridges and the special sleeve for carts, and--surprisingly, since the new Capless pens now come with a piston converter--a squeeze converter. Comparing this stainless steel converter to the one that came with my 1998 VP, it is identical in size and shape.
This close-up of the clips illustrates how modest the Decimo's clip is next to the full-size Capless. Yes, that's an accent mark over the "e". So is it the des-i-MO or DAYS-i-mo? Since no one has ever been able to purge the Midwest completely out of me, I'll stick with Des-i-MO, thanks!
To sum up a bit, this is a lighter, slimmer pen than the Capless, but every bit its equal in quality. In styling, I actually prefer the Decimo, I think. It may be that the girth of the Capless demands a "statement" clip, but I prefer the Decimo's minimalistic clip and more refined barrel rings. What really tells the story, though, is that I want to grab this pen every time I walk out the door. It doesn't weight down the pocket of a lightweight summer shirt and, like every VP since the 1960s, a quick clip* and it's ready to write! I'm really pleased with this pen--if Namiki decides to market here, they will sell a lot of them. If not, the kind gentleman behind Ujuku will be mailing them across land and seas for some time to come!
*A quick click: this characterization does not include the VP model that used a rotating mechanism to extend and retract the nib. I don't know how quickly that device worked, but judging by the many Safety pens I've used, not as quickly as the click button!
Edited by dcarmell, 14 July 2006 - 16:05.