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Pilot Capless Fermo


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32 replies to this topic

#1 HDoug

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 03:41

My two VP's have made me kind of a VP fanboy, but I was a little apprehensive ordering the Capless Fermo from Ujuku. One, I'd never ordered from Ujuku before, and two, I'd never seen the Fermo in person. I know more people at FPN are gaga about the Decimo, but to me the Decimo seems too skinny and light. I ordered a Fermo in dark blue and waited for a week. After a few days of USPS confusion, I was able to unpack my new pen!

In evening's light, it appeared almost black. Call it coincidence or color karma, but its deep blue perfectly matches my current blue-black mix, New Old Bishop Street Blue-Black. You can see the blueness in daylight though:




I ordered it with a fine nib even though I already had a Binder .5mm cursive italic waiting for it. I will be using the supplied nib, though. The VP fine nibs are just too good to neglect. The fine nib is actually finer than the Pelikan XF that Richard Binder custom-grinds. Perfect for my hand and very smooth and "springy" (not really a flex-nib). Also supplied, the squeezer converter. I like the piston converter that came with my Binder nib better. Dunno why, just do.

Although the Fermo uses the same lacquer-on-brass construction as the "regular" VP, it's very different in many ways. It's slightly thinner at the "section" and the clip height has been reduced by clever design. Here's a pic of the Fermo, the regular VP, and a Pelikan M605. You'll note that the Fermo's clip follows a similar arc as the older VP, but reduces height by using a "kick" at the opening like the Pelikan clip. The clip has been one of the main reasons some people don't like the VP. I guess Pilot has been listening to its (potential) customers, or perhaps lurking here at FPN!



Some people don't like the weight of the VP, and opt for the lighter Decimo. I actually like the heft of the VP and the extra weight of the Fermo just makes it more attractive to me. I didn't realize how heavy VPs are until I looked up the specs. The regular VP weighs 30 grams, the Decimo a third lighter at 20 grams. The Fermo is a hefty 34 grams. By comparison, a Pelikan M600 is 18 grams, and the big MontBanc 149 only 29 grams.

People who complain about heavy pens giving them fatigue must have a different kind of grip than mine. I don't have a problem with my 34 gram Fermo and I have used it to write many pages at a sitting several times already. BUT, if you don't like hefty pens, do avoid the Fermo.

In terms of length, the Fermo is the same length as the older VP, and a little longer than the capped M605. The Fermo actually gains a millimeter or two when the nib extends, because there is no corresponding contraction of the twist mechanism. On a regular VP, the button retracts to the extent the nib extends, so overall length nets out the same with nib in or out. Here's the Fermo flanked by a VP on one side and an M605 on the other:



The winder is "corrugated" to give you a better grip, and is spring loaded and requires almost a full turn to extend the nib. Say goodbye to the one hand nib out. But since the winder uses spring loading, you can retract the nib with one hand. All it requires is a nudge. The end of the winder is capped with a convex "jewel" that is set within a step. This pic shows the flash reflecting a circle off the step.



It seems Pilot wants the Fermo to establish its own identity. The two pens are completely different in appearance. One would hardly suspect them to be related just based on appearance. Even the "guppy" has gotten some plastic surgery.





In a yin for yang, the Fermo's guppy-mouth is set within a concave cap at the opposite end of the winder's convex "jewell." There are many touches like this that make me think that the designer had some fun and quality time with the Fermo.

In the end, for me a fountain pen is a nib. And of course, a bunch of other bits to hold the ink and allow for the hand's caress. This is the 4th Richard Binder .5mm cursive italic that I have (2 for Pelikan 600s, and another for one of the other VPs). All four nibs lay the same line and are wonderfully smooth and useable. It really amazes me how sharp an edge can be so smooth!



So there you have it. My initial apprehension is answered by happy satisfaction. Don't you love when that happens?

Doug

Edited by HDoug, 21 May 2007 - 03:55.


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#2 Mike S.

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Posted 22 May 2007 - 02:08

Thanks for a very thorough and thoughtful review. Great photos, too!

Is a .5 mm cursive italic ground from a fine or a medium nib? I have a cursive italic ground from a broad nib and it is quite a bit broader than the line in your writing samples above?

Mike

#3 HDoug

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Posted 22 May 2007 - 03:45

QUOTE(Mike S. @ May 21 2007, 04:08 PM) View Post
Is a .5 mm cursive italic ground from a fine or a medium nib? I have a cursive italic ground from a broad nib and it is quite a bit broader than the line in your writing samples above?


All the .5mm cursives are ground from Fine nibs. I have smallish handwriting, and a .5mm is just about perfect.

I'm not happy with the photos in my review -- I don't have a good lighting setup so I was rushing around on Sunday afternoon while I still had some natural light. When I take some better photos, I'll bump this thread up.

Doug


#4 Taki

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Posted 22 May 2007 - 10:36

Thank you very much for your review, Doug! Very sleek looking pen. I wish it came in more colors.

#5 Penache

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Posted 22 May 2007 - 16:02

Thanks for the review.
I had a chance to try one over the weekend and even though it is slightly slimmer than the VP, I found it a little too bulky for my hands. The Decimo is looking good right now.
~ Manisha

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#6 jpolaski

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Posted 22 May 2007 - 16:59

Does the clip really interfere less with the grip? I have a bit of an odd grip as a lefty, and I had to sell my VP because of it. My finger wanted to be where that clip was. The pen looks magnificent. I may have to look into one smile.gif
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#7 Keng

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Posted 22 May 2007 - 17:23

Nice review Doug. Just wondering if the older nib unit (from your older capless) is interchangable with the Fermo. Nice h/writing too. Is that with the cursive italic nib?
Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money.
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#8 HDoug

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Posted 22 May 2007 - 17:47

QUOTE(jpolaski @ May 22 2007, 06:59 AM) View Post
Does the clip really interfere less with the grip? I have a bit of an odd grip as a lefty, and I had to sell my VP because of it.


The clip is shorter, slimmer, and lower, so if the old VP clip bugged you, the Fermo clip will bug you less, but still bug you. I'm wondering if we'll ever see a Capless/VP with a completely retracting clip (I think there's a Lamy like that), or one with a rotating section that would allow the user to rotate the clip anywhere that's out of the way.

Doug

#9 HDoug

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Posted 22 May 2007 - 18:01

QUOTE(Keng @ May 22 2007, 07:23 AM) View Post
Nice review Doug. Just wondering if the older nib unit (from your older capless) is interchangable with the Fermo. Nice h/writing too. Is that with the cursive italic nib?


Thanks Keng. Yes, the nib units and converters are interchangeable between all the current Capless/VPs. I tend to keep the same nib in the same body because I get confused easily (smiley face goes here). Handwriting in pix is with the cursive italic in my afternoon "journal" hand. I was just taking some notes and blah blah in my journal and since it didn't have anything personal in it, I decided I could use it for a backdrop. If I thought I'd be using it as a backdrop, I would have written more carefully, but then I would have "choked" and my handwriting would have deteriorated. My handwriting still gets "stage fright."

Doug


#10 goodyear

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Posted 22 May 2007 - 18:43

QUOTE(HDoug @ May 22 2007, 07:01 PM) View Post
Thanks Keng. Yes, the nib units and converters are interchangeable between all the current Capless/VPs. I tend to keep the same nib in the same body because I get confused easily (smiley face goes here). Handwriting in pix is with the cursive italic in my afternoon "journal" hand. I was just taking some notes and blah blah in my journal and since it didn't have anything personal in it, I decided I could use it for a backdrop. If I thought I'd be using it as a backdrop, I would have written more carefully, but then I would have "choked" and my handwriting would have deteriorated. My handwriting still gets "stage fright."

Doug

Heh. Mine too.

I admire your hand greatly. And how do yu keep it so straight without lines?!

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I have a blog.

#11 MYU

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 22:14

Doug, what a fabulous review--congrats on the fine job! You have successfully turned me around... angry.gif

What I mean to say is that I had decided that the VP was enough for me and that a bigger, heftier Fermo would not appeal to me. I could just go on my merry way knowing I've satisfied my VP collecting needs. But no... you had to write that great review. dry.gif And now I'm seriously tempted to get a Fermo. One of the helpful hints was concerning the nib extension/retraction. I thought it was a two-handed operation both ways. It's nice to hear that you can easily retract the nib with one hand. The other allure--that beautiful dark blue. That shade is one of my favorite colors. It makes the Fermo look extremely handsome. happyberet.gif

So... you've done it. I'm convinced and the Fermo is now officially on my acquire list (which means something has got to go... hmmmmm... so long '66 Capless!).

Edited by MYU, 23 May 2007 - 22:16.

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#12 AndyHayes

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 18:17

Excellent review Doug. The usual high standard of words and pics. I must admit to being tempted by one of these, but there are others things higher up the list.
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#13 thibaulthalpern

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 03:11

Wow, HDoug, I LOVE your handwriting! It's clean, not fussy, neat, and elegant!
m( _ _ )m (– , –) \ (^_^) /

#14 oberon

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 19:03

Have not yet been a buying fan of the Pilot VP but with the Fermo I think that I would consider purchasing one.
Oberon

#15 Aysedasi

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 19:07

Nice review indeed - I'm sorely tempted! Jealous of your handwriting too........

#16 wintermute

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 17:21

Wow! Great review and great looking pen. I've been thinking about picking up a VP, and the Fermo looks much "classier" than the standard VP. I'm guessing these aren't available in the U.S.? How do you go about getting one of these?

#17 adyf

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 19:19

QUOTE (wintermute @ Sep 4 2008, 06:21 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Wow! Great review and great looking pen. I've been thinking about picking up a VP, and the Fermo looks much "classier" than the standard VP. I'm guessing these aren't available in the U.S.? How do you go about getting one of these?



Drop Taizo an email at this address taizo@mx6.tiki.ne.jp, otherwise known as 'Engeika' on ebay. Absolute first class seller, I bought my Fermo from him and I'm in the UK.

#18 scoob

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 19:48

Thanks for a nice and detailed review.

I've got 2 "conventional" VPs that are my workhorses in Fine and Med. I was looking to add a new pen and your review has made me decide it'll be a Fermo. I've always liked the heavy, big pens because my gorilla hands seem to write better...

#19 savarez

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 20:45

QUOTE (HDoug @ May 20 2007, 08:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The fine nib is actually finer than the Pelikan XF that Richard Binder custom-grinds.


Just a point of interest, the VP "F" is about a 0.3mm stroke, and Richard calls this a XXF.
Richard's Stroke-Widths Chart (PDF)

For round nibs:
XXF: 0.012" ~= 0.3mm
XF: 0.016" ~= 0.4mm

So Richard's (round) XF is, indeed, ~0.1mm thicker than a Pilot VP "F".

I like the VP's "F" so much, that I recently ordered two of Richard's Custom XXF nibs for my Pelikans, and they're pretty darn close.




Currently Inked: Visconti Pericle EF : Aurora Black; Pilot VP-F (Gunmetal): X-Feather; Pilot VP-F (LE Orange): Kiowa Pecan; Lamy Safari EF: Legal Lapis
Wishlist (WTB/T) - Pelikan "San Francisco"

#20 pmsalty

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 18:55

Informative, excellent review! thumbup.gif
Thanks,
PMS
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