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