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The M90 - Pilot's Gracious


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#1 dandelion

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 22:42




Review of the M90

Prologue

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.

First Impressions
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.
9/10

Design

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.
10/10



Build/Quality/Function
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.
9.25/10


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.
9.25/10





Filling system
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.
7/10


...even the ordinary standard convertor is stylish and well designed and worth capturing in a photo.



Price/Value
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.
10/10



Conclusion
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.

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#2 rroossinck

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 23:03

Very nicely done, and with great photos, too! The granite makes a great contrast!

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#3 ralphawilson

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 23:06

Tack så mycket!

A really nice, and unfortunately (for my pocketbook) very convincing review. And, as usual from you, great photos.

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#4 I am not a number

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 23:06

I'm just lucky that I already have one. With the standard of Petra's reviews and photography if I hadn't then my next camera purchase would have been put on hold while I got one.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of nothing at all...

#5 HenryLouis

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 23:14

Great... something else on my want list.

Where's a good place to buy these with fine nibs? John Mottishaw ran out of them... and Ujuku is hard to navigate through...

Edited by HenryLouis, 27 August 2009 - 23:51.

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#6 kushbaby

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 01:33

I have two of these (F and M), and they come to work with me every day. Amazing!!! Gorgeous, yet tough (so it goes in the jeans pocket on the way to the store). And yes, very smooth nibs.

Also, this is the ultimate traveling pen (IMHO), having done so.

I will never ever part with these pens!!!!! biggrin.gif
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#7 troglokev

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 07:38

It's great to see another review of one of the best little pens around (in my estimation, at least). Pilot really kicked a goal with this one.

HenryLouis, Melpens and Pen Gallery have some listed on their websites. I've not dealt with either personally, so I wouldn't presume to comment on their service, though both seem to have a good reputation around here.

#8 MikeF

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 09:40

I bought mine from Cult Pens in UK and it did have a converter fitted (plus 2 cartridges of ink in the box). I believe they are sold out now.


#9 dandelion

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 12:01

Thank you so much for praises! I really am obsessed with the shape of this pen, so I actually had to take an emergency break in my essay writing to try to capture this shape even better. smile.gif

Henry Louis, I actually bought it from a relatively new dealer at eBay, which I believe still has some F nibs left. Search for M90 and you'll find him.I think he has them listed in £, but the price is equivalent to $120.

Edited by dandelion, 28 August 2009 - 12:03.

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#10 mirko

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 13:31

Just won a bid on one with an F nib on eBay yesterday, new in box, to be shipped from Japan.
Seeing those pictures makes it even more difficult to wait for its arrival!
Latest additions: Delta Dolce Vita Stantuffo (Stub and M), Aurora 88 Large (M), Montblanc GB Shaw; Favorite pens: Montblanc 146 (M and OB), Visconti Homo Sapiens (F), Sailor 1911 Naginata Emperor (MF), Pilot Custom 823 (M), Pilot Capless Black Carbonite (M)Pelikan M605; Notable others: Visconti Wall Street LE Red (M), FPN LE Stipula T-Flex, Montblanc Kafka (M), Pilot M90 (F), Sailor 1911 Naginata Togi (NM, NB)

#11 Bearcat

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 13:33

Fantastic pen. Amazing modern design. Exceptionally great review!

Thanks for taking the time to post this.

Tusend Tak!

Edited by Bearcat, 28 August 2009 - 13:35.

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#12 diplomat

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 15:09

Great review. The only way I can resist buying one, is looking at my original MYU from the 70s!

#13 pcarlson

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 15:24

Great Review. Love this pen.

As I've stated before, this was the pen that got me into fountain pens. I fell in loves with it's looks.
After getting this pen, (Actually I've got 2) I had to have and original 701.
Everything about this pen screams class and distinction to me.

You have very good taste in pens. Congratulations on your purchase.

But be careful and don't fall into the trap like I have.
I've been "forced" (just can't resist) to also buy a couple of 1977 Long Murex pens, and I hope to win a 1978 Red Trim Long Murex on Ebay.
All for the love of that integrated nib.

God I love Stainless Steel.... notworthy1.gif
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#14 MYU

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 15:44

Petra, I am blown away by your review! First off, your photos are exemplary. Very nicely done with the granite surfaces and green plants in the background. You chose some excellent perspectives of the pen. Secondly, you communicate your personal experience of the pen so very well. It's one thing to know facts of a pen, but an entirely other to get a sense of how they relate to the owner. Lastly, I'm happy to be the one to have made your introduction to the pen! biggrin.gif

In case all you folks didn't know, I just came back from a 3 week trip to Europe. The M90 spent most of the time in my shirt pocket. I had brought quite a few other pens with me, but the M90 kept finding its way to the #1 position. I couldn't agree more with Troglokev, that Pilot really made a major goal point with this pen.

Again, great review! thumbup.gif

~Gary



Edited by MYU, 28 August 2009 - 15:49.

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#15 Silvermink

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 17:10

Nice. I think I'm going to shoot for a birthdate MYU 701, myself, but I've handled Maja's M90 and it's very nice.
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#16 Tsujigiri

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 18:29

Amazing pictures! Thanks for sharing.
QUOTE (diplomat @ Aug 28 2009, 08:09 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Great review. The only way I can resist buying one, is looking at my original MYU from the 70s!

My thoughts exactly.

#17 fcw

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 19:22

QUOTE (diplomat @ Aug 28 2009, 04:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Great review. The only way I can resist buying one, is looking at my original MYU from the 70s!


Aargh. I tried that, but decided I'd like to have a "walking-around" version, so that I can keep my 701 at home. So I've succumbed to a M90 purchase as well.

#18 troglokev

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 22:13

QUOTE (dandelion @ Aug 28 2009, 08:42 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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.

A number of people have made the comment about the precise feel of this pen. The same is true for me. The integrated nib puts the tip in line with the surface of the pen, which gives me a feeling more direct control (I also like the old Sheaffer Triumph nibs for the same reason). I do find that I write more legibly with this pen.

Something to ponder while contemplating dandelion's wonderful photography.

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#19 MikeF

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 22:37

Henry,

these nibs are quite fine. The medium will be finer than many fine nibs on other brands, and the fine will be more like an extra fine, so if you find a medium, don't let that stop you, you may prefer it to the fine.

#20 bgray

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 23:44

I own one, and it's one of my favorites....

I usually don't post caps, and it took getting used to. Unposted, the pen is way too short...it has to be posted.






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