Review of the M90
I've wanted this pen since I first saw it. It is strange - sometimes you buy a lot of stuff - pens - that you don't know if you want, instead of the things you really want. It becomes even more strange when the things-you-don't-know-if-you-want-but-buy-anyway actually are more expensive than the things you really want. I've bought a lot of substantially more expensive pens than this (main part of them now sold) since last year befored I finally managed to order the M90 - after I had had the opportunity to try the pen live, and realised how ridiculous it was that I hadn't bought one. So, I ordered one - immediately.
For me the M90 is an icon of the perfect shape and simple perfection. A stylized, simplified modern quill. Modernism and classicism united.
Even if it is made in brushed stainless steel it is very sensual with an almost organic feel. Like one graceful movement - a bird diving to catch fish or an arrow on its way through the air. Divine simplicity. I believe the Japanese and Scandinavian design have a lot of elements in common - simplicity with focus on material, shape and craftsmanship - the M90 could easily be mistaken for being a Scandinavian design from the end of the 60s/beginning of the 70s. I thought it was divine when I first saw it and I still - with it in my hand, using it - think it is. Like Troglokev - who also have reviewed the M90 here I really like that this pen is Pilot's LE to celebrate its 90th anniversary. It is rather brave, actually - considering the traditional view on LE pens.
What can I say? It came in an understated, stylish, simple box that suited the pen well and filled its purpose. The only flaw (but I actually couldn't care less since the box only sits in a drawer) was the rather ugly grey padding. For the sake of making this review somewhat balanced, I'll let the padding knock one point off the grade here. The pen was everything I had expected.
I mentioned it in the intro - this is the perfect shape incarnated. I truly and dearly (if someone did miss it) love this design. It is both beautiful and clever (see more under build and quality). It is original and manages to combine both futuristic and archaic elements. Space age and ancient history in one. This design feels very close to my values and ideas on beauty. It is a joy to look at this pen while writing. The profile is...(that word again) divine.
This is an extremely well built pen. Everything from the snap-on-cap with the clever cap ring that holds the cap in place, both posted and capped, is top notch. For me, who write fast and thus need a cap that posts well and doesn't fall off, this pen is a dream. The clip is beautifully streamlined and functions well. It surprised me - as others also have mentioned - that the gripping section is so non-slippery. I was a bit afraid that the pen should be too small (even posted) for longer writing sessions, but it actually works better than I had thought. It has a nice weight to it (27g~1 oz) and is well balanced when posted. I really like the simple cleverness in making a pen with a short barrel and a long cap to combine the convenience of a compact pen with the usability of a bigger pen. Considering its compact size capped (and unposted) it is almost like using a full-bodied pen, but if someone wants a have a complete allround pen, this pen might a little bit too small to answer to all needs.
Uncapped and unposted. The girdle is the clever and convenient cap ring that secures the pen both posted and capped.
A brilliant little feature.
The only bling - simple style - simply stylish.
Dimensions (measured by me)
Weight: 27 grammes - fully loaded and with converter inserted
Lenght capped: 11.8 cm
Length uncapped: 10.4 cm
Lenght posted: 13.8 cm
Nib and Performance
This is a fine, integrated nib in stainless steel. I've read that some people aren't that impressed with this nib, but I am. It is smooth, without being slippery and uncontrollable - thus designed for fast, fine-nib-writing, which suits me perfectly. It is quite stiff, but not a numb nail, which also suits my writing style splendidly. It lays down an even, medium wet line and seems to enjoy various inks. The inks I've used so far includes Pelikan, Diamine, Pilot, Visconti and Homebrews. A favourite feature is that the nib is very distinct and precise, which I both like - and need - when I write. It is excellent. Maybe not divine (but I have yet to find a - THE - divine nib). In all a very smooth, stainless steel nib that compares very well to substantially more expensive nibs. And - yes - it wrote without hesitation right out of the box.
The M90 fills via cartridge/converters, but doesn't accept international cartridges or any other cartridges/converters than Pilot's own, which I see as a drawback. The converter - Con-20 - is on the other hand excellent. Since it is a bar fill converter it has rather good ink capacity since it doesn't need any space for a piston. It is easy and convenient to use and easy to flush. I really appreciate that Pilot has a converter that fits this compact pen - especially since the cartridges are proprietary.The filling system works flawless, so - apart from the own c/c standard - there is not much to complain about. An extra plus because it is so easy to sweep ink off the nib and feeder after filling it, and a little minus because a converter isn't supplied by default, which is rather silly.
...even the ordinary standard convertor is stylish and well designed and worth capturing in a photo.
I bought this new for $120 (plus $10 for shipping). A converter wasn't supplied (I think I paid about $4-5 for a converter) and I think this pen is well worth the money. Compared with other pens in this pricerange you get real good bang for the buck - both with regards to function and beauty. A first class pen - as well as a LE - for this kind of money must be considered - if not a steal - a bargain.
I'm very happy that I got this pen at last. I will not sell it. This is an absolute keeper. I love this pen. End of story.
54/60 ~ 9
OK - I really couldn't resist trying to capture that shape in a few extra photos - I guess I am - just a tiny, tiny little bit - obsessed with this shape - this profile.
Edited by dandelion, 28 August 2009 - 21:42.