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A Review Of The Pilot Metropolitan With Pictures


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31 replies to this topic

#1 arandur

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 18:53

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First Impressions (8)
This pen looks very nice for such a low price. I use the word classy to describe pens a lot, but classy certainly fits this pen. A formal-looking pen at a low cost is typically something found with Chinese pens (Baoer, Hero, etc.), so, coming from Pilot, this is surprising (in a good way).

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Appearance (9)
Inspecting the pen closer, I am impressed further by some things and not as impressed by other things. Capped, the whole pen looks solid, slick, and subdued. Even on the gold-bodied pen, the black center band contributes to the look, rather than appearing to break up the design. Additionally, the option for nine different looks is very impressive. (There are three, matte body colors: black, silver, and gold; and there are three center-band designs: plain, zig-zag, and dots.) I can only speak to the zig-zag center-band design, but it looks cool and slightly art deco (which is exactly why I chose it).

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Design/Size/Weight (8)
The part that impressed me less, when I inspected the pen, definitely had to do with the design of the grip section, foremost. Compared to the rest of the pen, it looks and feels a bit cheap, though I know it is a solid plastic, probably the same material from which the Pilot Penmanship, Plumix, and Pluminix pens are made. The cap posts nicely, though loosely, but it snaps onto the body quite firmly. I have never been concerned about it coming off. On the gold Metropolitan, there was one point at which I went to remove the cap and the barrel came detached from the center-band, but this may have been on account of a lack of adhesive, as my black Metropolitan has not had this issue. I suppose this shows how firmly the cap attaches to the body, though removing the cap is not difficult by any means. I would think that other metal objects (like keys) could scratch the body, but I have not tested this (intentionally or otherwise). That being said, scratching is a potential problem for nearly every fountain pen that I own, so it is not a major factor for this review.

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Nib (10)
Thank you, Pilot, for using your standard feed design and nib size, thus making it easy for us to have other nib options, even when you do not offer them for this pen! In terms of the medium round nib that came with the Metropolitan, it is very reminiscent of my Lamy fine nib, in terms of width and smoothness. The nib also has an engraved design, which is something lacking on the Pilot nibs of less expensive Pilot pens, such as the Penmanship, Plumix, and Pluminix. The engraving is not so prominent as that on the nibs of the Pilot Custom series, but its existence is surprising, considering the lack of engraving on Pilot Prera nibs (that I have seen). Having use the medium round for a while and then swapped it for the medium stub from a Plumix, I love the versatility. Along these same lines, I also wanted to mention how easy it is to perform this swap, even for those, who are not very familiar with pen assembly, thanks to there being only one way/position in which the nib can be seated on the feed.

Filling System (9)
While I cannot speak to the use of the Pilot CON-20, CON-50, or CON-70 converters in the Metropolitan, this pen does come with a converter and can accept Pilot proprietary cartridges. I think that the cartridges may hold slightly more ink than the converter, and, considering the sturdiness of the Pilot cartridges, washing them out and reusing them is an easy task. The converter that comes with the Metropolitan is less than impressive from an aesthetic viewpoint, but, since this pen is not a demonstrator, the look of such a converter is hardly important. I, personally, like to be able to see how much ink I have remaining, even if it requires unscrewing the body. My use of the converter was easy and had no problems; it was simply a matter of personal preference that led me to reuse cartridges, instead.

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Cost and Value (10)
The cost for the Pilot Metropolitan is one of its greatest selling points. A pen like this could easily be priced at 20 USD or higher, yet the retail price of 15 USD “seals the deal,” so to speak. Performance of this pen has never been an issue for me, it looks very nice, and the construction is quite admirable for the cost.

Conclusion (9)
After using this pen for some time, I think that it absolutely stands, as a contender, for one of the best, quality starter, fountain pens on the market right now. Lamy Safaris have always been a very solid choice, and I do not believe that the Pilot Metropolitan will replace the Safari. Rather, I think that both pen styles will continue to thrive, appealing to different individuals, based on their personal preference for look and feel. I highly recommend the Pilot Metropolitan.

Edited by arandur, 25 January 2013 - 19:25.


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#2 mAnuscript69

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 19:24

Great review. I like the Metropolitan a lot: decent weight, feel and nib. My only complaint is that the section is a little too narrow with regards to the width of the barrel. I'd enjoy the pen more if the section was thicker and made of the same material as the barrel (brass, I believe); and if the cap was threaded. For $15 it is a great pen out of the box.

#3 rockydoggy

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 19:25

A thorough, fair review--thanks.
Thus far I enjoy using my Metropolican more than I do most of my other pens in the $15-25 range--eg, Safari, misc. Parkers (Reflex, Jotter, Vector), Nemosine, Schneider Base. And I can't believe that the Metropolitan isn't that different in price from the Pilot 78G. Really a bargain for what you get.

#4 arandur

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 19:45

Great review. I like the Metropolitan a lot: decent weight, feel and nib. My only complaint is that the section is a little too narrow with regards to the width of the barrel. I'd enjoy the pen more if the section was thicker and made of the same material as the barrel (brass, I believe); and if the cap was threaded. For $15 it is a great pen out of the box.

Holding the pen a bit more, I think I agree, in regard to the section width. It seems that the section is just a bit wider than that of the Noodler's Nib Creaper, which was a pen that I loved but had issues with grip size, if I was writing for a very long time with it. I totally forgot to mention how awesome the packaging of this pen was. Coming with a nice box? Amazing.

A thorough, fair review--thanks.
Thus far I enjoy using my Metropolican more than I do most of my other pens in the $15-25 range--eg, Safari, misc. Parkers (Reflex, Jotter, Vector), Nemosine, Schneider Base. And I can't believe that the Metropolitan isn't that different in price from the Pilot 78G. Really a bargain for what you get.

Rockydoggy, I think I have to agree with you, especially in regard to my Safaris and my Nemosine...this pen has seen far more use by me in recent weeks, and it has been elevated to an everyday carry, too!

#5 JustinJ

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 19:46

I purchased this pen for my wife. She likes it much better than the Safari or Al-Star pens. I find the pen to be a very smooth writer. I am using Platinum Pigment Blue in it. The nib is too smooth for my liking. There is no feedback or drag to the nib, so the nib slides across the paper. I know that many people like a very smooth nib. My personal preference is for the pen to have a little feedback.

I find the grip section a little too small for my fingers. My fingers are thick and I usually prefer a bigger pen grip. For most people, I think this pen would be a great fit. For the price, this pen is a better value than the Lamy Safari. The Pilot pen is $15.00 U.S. dollars, while the Lamy Safari will cost you $30.00 with the converter. The extra $15.00 saved can be used for two extra bottle of ink.

The medium nib is smoother than most of the Safari medium nibs that I've tried. The pen comes with a converter, which is a separate purchase with the Safari pens. Also, if you give the pen as a gift, the person is not forced into a tripod grip, which is how the Lamy Safari is setup.

I usually give Safari pens to new fountain pen users. Now, I plan on giving this Pilot model.

Edited by JustinJ, 25 January 2013 - 23:14.


#6 mikehodgman

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 19:48

Great review of a great pen! This pen is an unbelievable value.

#7 lurker

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 03:55

Great review. I had the chance to try one of these out and loved it. I bit the bullet on buying one and it will be here in a few days. I like the design of the Safari ( I wish I hadn't lost mine last month :bawl: ) but I think the Metro writes smoother than the Safari, plus it is have the cost. I'll probably re-invest in a Safari down the road but I'll be more than happy when my Metro finally arrives.

#8 MKeith

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 05:10

Thanks for a great review!
"Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?" Patrick Henry

#9 MKeith

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 05:11

OOPS.Sorry for double post.

Edited by MKeith, 26 January 2013 - 05:12.

"Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?" Patrick Henry

#10 lurker

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 19:02

I just received my Metro and I'm liking it a lot already. For $15, I cannot complain. I love the weight of the pen, the nib is more than adequate, and even though the squeeze converter is something I'm new to, I like it. This will probably be a workhorse pen for me so I'm curious to see how it holds up over time.

#11 K. Cakes

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 19:41

I have to admit, I really love these pens. I am a big fan of the Pilot Penmanship EF nibs and Plumix stubs, but the bodies they come on are terrible. The Metropolitan gives an affordable alternative to putting them on a Prera body.
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#12 akustyk

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 21:32

I enjoyed your review! You've made some really interesting points about the quality and versatility of this pen. When I tried the nib myself, I liked it better than the Edison medium steel nib I used to have. I also have not heard any complaints about sample variability, but maybe it's too soon for that. Pilot managed to make a very respectable pen that writes and feels like pens many times the price. How did they manage that?

One off-topic comment is that your 54th ink looks much nicer than mine. Mine looks rather gray, like dried up mud. I am disappointed with it. Yours looks really, really nice.

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#13 arandur

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 07:36

Thanks for a great review!

You are very welcome!

I just received my Metro and I'm liking it a lot already. For $15, I cannot complain. I love the weight of the pen, the nib is more than adequate, and even though the squeeze converter is something I'm new to, I like it. This will probably be a workhorse pen for me so I'm curious to see how it holds up over time.

I am glad that it is meeting (exceeding?) expectations. The squeeze converter is a bit strange in this pen...

I have to admit, I really love these pens. I am a big fan of the Pilot Penmanship EF nibs and Plumix stubs, but the bodies they come on are terrible. The Metropolitan gives an affordable alternative to putting them on a Prera body.

Those bodies are certainly not amazing, but just buying one of them only costs around 8 USD, compared to the 14 USD for new Lamy nibs. Now, that is not totally a fair comparison, but merely a point (no pun intended) for consideration.

I enjoyed your review! You've made some really interesting points about the quality and versatility of this pen. When I tried the nib myself, I liked it better than the Edison medium steel nib I used to have. I also have not heard any complaints about sample variability, but maybe it's too soon for that. Pilot managed to make a very respectable pen that writes and feels like pens many times the price. How did they manage that?

One off-topic comment is that your 54th ink looks much nicer than mine. Mine looks rather gray, like dried up mud. I am disappointed with it. Yours looks really, really nice.

The difference in ink color may have to do in part with the lighting. I have noticed that there is some variance in the 54th based upon environment.

#14 Mr Ink

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 21:45

I bought a Pilot Metropolitan this morning while on holiday in Paris. There was no converter provided with the pen and, to my surprise, there was a standard short international cartridge in the barrel of the pen. I'm not sure that the model I have does take the proprietary Pilot cartridges.

#15 arandur

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 21:52

I believe that you got the international version of the Pilot Metropolitan, which is called the Pilot MR. Pilot did this same sort of thing, creating a separate pen for standard international cartridges and calling it the "Pilot Plumix Neon," while their "Pilot Plumix" takes proprietary cartridges.

#16 Mr Ink

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 05:41

I believe that you got the international version of the Pilot Metropolitan, which is called the Pilot MR. Pilot did this same sort of thing, creating a separate pen for standard international cartridges and calling it the "Pilot Plumix Neon," while their "Pilot Plumix" takes proprietary cartridges.

Thank you, arandur. I wasn't aware that Pilot had 2 separate versions of this pen. I suppose this means I should be able to use a Pelikan converter?

#17 UK Mike

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 11:35

I believe that you got the international version of the Pilot Metropolitan, which is called the Pilot MR. Pilot did this same sort of thing, creating a separate pen for standard international cartridges and calling it the "Pilot Plumix Neon," while their "Pilot Plumix" takes proprietary cartridges.

Thank you, arandur. I wasn't aware that Pilot had 2 separate versions of this pen. I suppose this means I should be able to use a Pelikan converter?


Pilot MR with International converter.

It is a great pen at any price and a real bargain at the current rate. My only issue is the big step between barrel and grip section which sometimes makes it awkward (or painful) to hold as I tend to hold the pen farther back.

It feels more of a "grown-ups" pen than either the Lamy Safari or the Platinum Plaisir and should be an instant classic. Certainly a pen you could use anywhere.

Pilot MR.jpg

Edited by UK Mike, 27 March 2013 - 11:47.

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#18 tguk911

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 12:53

Great Review. I originally picked up a Blue Pilot Cocoon(Only for Eastern market) which is the same pen just with different colors, no band designs, and available with a fine nib as well as medium(different engravings on the nibs but they are the same) and I absolutely love it. I got it with a fine nib cause I knew I would eventually pick up a Metropolitan which only comes in medium. So I picked up a Silver one with the plain band from Anderson Pens at the Long Island Pen Show and I love being able to switch between the fine and medium nibs(I actually just swap the entire grip sections cause I'm lazy). I haven't swapped with the Plumix or Penmanship yet but I plan to once I change inks. Now although I like the colors for the Cocoon better and IMO it comes with a nicer box, it's $30 from Japan with no converter which is still a great price but the Metropolitan is only $15 and it comes with a converter and it's the same pen. I really think that Pilot should make the fine nib available for this pen since it's available for the Cocoon which is the exact same.

Sorry for the bad lighting and bad picture quality from my sister Point and Shoot

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The outer cardboard sleeves for the boxes.

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I don't care for packaging for cheap pens but I do like the Cocoon's packaging much more although I do not think it's work double the price just for packaging.

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The barrel, cap, grip section, and feed are identical and there is a slight difference on the nibs.

IMG_3919.JPG
The engravings are slightly different. The Cocoon has a dotted pattern while the Metropolitan has a vertical line pattern. Also the Cocoon has a 1212 written in the bottom right corner and the Metropolitan has a 712, I'm guessing this is the month and year of production stamped on it but I could be wrong.

IMG_3920.JPG
The aeromatic converter on the right is the one that comes with the Metropolitan, it also came with my Parallel but only is used for cleaning since it does not fit right on the Parallel(I think it comes with a couple other pens like the 78G and Knight but I don't have these so I would not know). My Cocoon came with a con-50 but I think the seller just sent it to me I don't think it actually comes with the pen.

#19 arandur

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 15:14

Thank you, arandur. I wasn't aware that Pilot had 2 separate versions of this pen. I suppose this means I should be able to use a Pelikan converter?

If the pen takes standard international cartridges, you absolutely should be able to use a Pelikan converter.


Great Review. I originally picked up a Blue Pilot Cocoon(Only for Eastern market) which is the same pen just with different colors, no band designs, and available with a fine nib as well as medium(different engravings on the nibs but they are the same) and I absolutely love it. I got it with a fine nib cause I knew I would eventually pick up a Metropolitan which only comes in medium. So I picked up a Silver one with the plain band from Anderson Pens at the Long Island Pen Show and I love being able to switch between the fine and medium nibs(I actually just swap the entire grip sections cause I'm lazy). I haven't swapped with the Plumix or Penmanship yet but I plan to once I change inks. Now although I like the colors for the Cocoon better and IMO it comes with a nicer box, it's $30 from Japan with no converter which is still a great price but the Metropolitan is only $15 and it comes with a converter and it's the same pen. I really think that Pilot should make the fine nib available for this pen since it's available for the Cocoon which is the exact same.

The Cocoon sounds like a decent pen, if it were not for the price. From where did you procure it? Thanks for the comparison!

#20 MKeith

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 16:55

I noticed that jetpens.com have the Cocoons for sale at $40.00 here in the U.S. Metropolitans are $15.00.
"Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?" Patrick Henry






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