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Pilot Vortex


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28 replies to this topic

#1 mafiablues

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Posted 22 August 2005 - 22:35

Here in Europe, at least in France, young pupils at school learn to write with fountain pens. Thus there is a huge market and a hight diversy in scholar and entry-level fountain pens.
The Namiki / Pilot Vortex is one of these FPs.

Construction
The Pilot Vortex is a short pen with a long cap as its big brother the Pilot Elite. This design allows it to be put in small pockets and to become a full sized FP when the cap is posted.
The cap is transparent probably made in plexiglass.
The barel is made in a cheap grey plastic, nothing exiting.
The section is rubber covered, what ease handling.
The nib is a stainless steel nib.
This pen is offered with different "fun colors", mine is purple - but it is not well seen on pictures.

Performance
The pen is very short and very light wen cap not posted, and become longer and heavier when cap posted. However, the cap is very heavy and posting gives a weird balance thus I prefer to use this pen not posted.
The section is a sort of conic and diameter is pretty smaller than the Waterman Phileas' one.
This pen then may not suit in my opinion to very big hands.
What was amazing is the nib performance: it wrote wery smooth and pretty wet loaded with a black small international cartridge - Carrefour brand - and the nib was not as stiff as the Phileas and also smoother.

Conclusion
Pro: smoothness, cheap, easy to fit in a pocket, fun look
Cons: weird balance when cap posted, will not suit for biggest hands, cheap look
To conclude, the Pilot Vortex is a serious competitor in the entry-level market of FPs and can be recommanded as first fountain pen instead of the Waterman Phileas.

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  • vortex2.jpg


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#2 mafiablues

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Posted 22 August 2005 - 22:36

Size comparaison

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  • vortex1.jpg


#3 southpaw

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Posted 22 August 2005 - 22:41

Mafiablues, thanks for the look at a neat entry-level pen.
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8, NKJV)

#4 Dillo

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Posted 22 August 2005 - 23:54

Hi,

Now, I want one of those!! The green one. Just one question, does it accept Pilot cartridges and convertors?

Dillon

Edited by Dillo, 23 August 2005 - 04:42.

Stolen: Aurora Optima Demonstrator Red ends Medium nib. Serial number 1216 and Aurora 98 Cartridge/Converter Black bark finish (Archivi Storici) with gold cap. Reward if found. Please contact me if you have seen these pens.

Please send vial orders and other messages to fpninkvials funny-round-mark-thing gmail strange-mark-thing com. My shop is open once again if you need help with your pen.

Dillon


#5 Dillo

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Posted 22 August 2005 - 23:58

Hi,

For now, they are not sold in the US, so we will have to resort in buying from different countries.

Dillon

Stolen: Aurora Optima Demonstrator Red ends Medium nib. Serial number 1216 and Aurora 98 Cartridge/Converter Black bark finish (Archivi Storici) with gold cap. Reward if found. Please contact me if you have seen these pens.

Please send vial orders and other messages to fpninkvials funny-round-mark-thing gmail strange-mark-thing com. My shop is open once again if you need help with your pen.

Dillon


#6 antoniosz

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 06:49

hi, and thanks for the review.

the vortex is a neat little pen - or the Kaweco sports style.
i have two - bought from france of course.
I used one of them during my summer in greece - and it performed nicely despite the abuse. the only problem was that the clip was pulled awkwardly and instead of bending - it made the plastic break :(
otherwise a neat pen.

#7 freecia

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 07:24

Dillon, actually, you CAN get these here. My local japanese importer sells them :)
MaiDo 378 Santana Row, #1125 San Jose, CA 95128 Ph. 408.213.1985.

I did test a M nib Vortex in the store, dipped. I think that's what they had in that specific store but there are a few other sister stores which may carry a different nib (though doubtful since they share the same supplier).

IMO, the nib was very rigid. Perhaps not "hard as a nail" but they allowed me to dip it and my first impression was, "whoa. rigid. *poke poke*" A few of the other pens I use daily is a Sailor School Pen, Sailor 21, Pilot Petit, and Pilot disposable. My desk pens include Lamy 2000 (too fat for me), Rotring Core (too big for me but the side of the nib is scratched so I won't sell it either), and my favorite Mont Blanc Meisterstuck 144 with fine nib. I wish I had a Pelikan m200 or Namiki/Pilot VP/Capless to FPN's a better comparison, since many of you own one of those two pens. They're next on the list!

The price, as I recall, was about ~$27 USD?

This store also does special orders from Japan. I'm a lucky lucky girl. :bunny1: And I have half of their rollerball collection scattered about the house from my student days, pre-Noodlers.

If you do end up getting a pen from them, tell them to add one of their A4 notebooks. They're usually $3.30 for spiral bound and less for cloth tape bound, but for a school notebook, the paper quality is astoundingly decent for astoundingly cheap. Well, at least for those of us in the land of Mead.

Cart/Converter- It should take both. It might not take the plunger filler converter Pilot makes, since the plunger is wider/fatter than the other two styles. The pressbar converter is $3.30 and I think the piston is $6/8.

Self-Disclosure: I do shop a lot at this store in person and have had them order the Pilot Petits from Japan for me (they ended up stocking all their stores with them and the dark colors sold like mad). Having said that, I feel like I should also point out that I shop so much in this store that I can easily recite half their stock off the top of my head. It is more expensive than getting it in Japan at Yen rates, since they need to ship it over, but being able to get any Japanese goods in USA is simply marvelous. I'll go in and take some pictures soon since some have expressed interest in the stock but Maido does not have a website or catalog. There's no profit in this for me except that I want all the Maido and Kinokuniya stores to stay in business so I can buy more.

Edited by freecia, 23 August 2005 - 07:25.


#8 JeffTL

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 13:16

From your pictures, the nib reminds me of the low-end Parkers, e.g. Reflex, which write pretty well. How does it actually compare?

#9 mafiablues

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 13:40

I have no Parker Reflex so I can not compare the Vortex to it, the Vortex writes better than my French Parker 75...

The price, as I recall, was about ~$27 USD

In France, pens like Pilot Vortex are sold in supermarkets, I think cheaper.

#10 Velma

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 14:44

Dillon, actually, you CAN get these here. My local japanese importer sells them :)
MaiDo 378 Santana Row, #1125 San Jose, CA 95128 Ph. 408.213.1985.

May I say that you are an evil person, seducing me into possibly making a phone order to California for pens and notebooks? And that if we ever meet in person, I shall have to thank you profusely?

#11 Roger

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 15:04

My desk pens include Lamy 2000 (too fat for me), Rotring Core (too big for me but the side of the nib is scratched so I won't sell it either)

If the Lamy 2000 and Rotring Core are too big for comfort, Freecia, be sure you handle a Namiki VP before committing to it. I suspect that the holding area of the VP will feel much like the Lamy 2000 to you. :unsure:
Roger
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#12 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 17:30

Dillon, actually, you CAN get these here.  My local japanese importer sells them :)
MaiDo 378 Santana Row, #1125 San Jose, CA 95128 Ph. 408.213.1985.

Hi Freecia,

MaiDo is a very cute store, its only flaw being the location... Santana Row... a.k.a. Humvee Row :lol: Last time I went, they had a wood Pilot Custom in their pen display. :drool: I've never seen the cheaper FPs though. Where do they hide those ?

Denis.

Edited by Denis Richard, 23 August 2005 - 17:31.


#13 freecia

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 19:31

MaiDo is a very cute store, its only flaw being the location... Santana Row... a.k.a. Humvee Row :lol: Last time I went, they had a wood Pilot Custom in their pen display. :drool: I've never seen the cheaper FPs though. Where do they hide those ?

They're hidden in the corner of a case where most people don't look ;)

There's also a few other Maido stores around.
Maido - 33 Town and Country Village, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA 650-330-0284 (right off of Embarcadero across from Stanford, sorta around the back near the drug store)

Kinokuniya bookstores, San Jose and SF. San Jose's is on Saratoga Ave off 280 near the Applebee's and Japanese Grocery store.
The one in SF, very enjoyable and large, is in Japantown near Sophie's Crepes (all the way into the mall).

As far as I can tell, the managers shuttle up and down the area so the supplies are consistent. The prices seem to be consistent, too, but I haven't checked and compared the cased pens.

For stress lesser browsing, try Maido in Palo Alto. This one is pretty big and less populated than the others. Parking is also easier.

And oh, Humvee Row has quietly ceeded territory to Lexus, I think. Still a few left but I saw quite a few Lex(i?) for sale. For those wondering, Santana Row is our local pseudo-European shopping experience with bunches of upscale shops (Gucci has a store here) and car dealerships park cars on the main boulevard for strollers to oogle.

Velma- You're welcome and also, my apologies for enabling. When I can't travel, I hit Maido and get a fistful of pens and goodies instead. Retail Therapy.

#14 Daniel Shih

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 20:34

Maido - 33 Town and Country Village, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA 650-330-0284 (right off of Embarcadero across from Stanford, sorta around the back near the drug store)

Well, there goes my food budget in college. At least I'll have cool pencils and notebooks.

Thanks for the tip, Freecia!

#15 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 23:54

And oh, Humvee Row has quietly ceeded territory to Lexus, I think. Still a few left but I saw quite a few Lex(i?) for sale. For those wondering, Santana Row is our local pseudo-European shopping experience with bunches of upscale shops (Gucci has a store here) and car dealerships park cars on the main boulevard for strollers to oogle.

I avoid that side of the sidewalk now :lol:... the one great thing in Santana Row is the guy who makes the deadliest Kettle Corn every Sunday at the Farmers Market :drool:

#16 freecia

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Posted 28 August 2005 - 00:18

I avoid that side of the sidewalk now :lol:... the one great thing in Santana Row is the guy who makes the deadliest Kettle Corn every Sunday at the Farmers Market :drool:

Maki-e pens are at the Santana Row Maido. Stopped by the Palo Alto town and country location which did not have them. No vortex, either. So that is two things you can "feast upon" in Santana Row which are great, popcorn and pens ;)

Really, aside from some of the hulking cars, crowds, and highbrow 'tudes (of which I think there's less than some places, anyhow, since it is a public street with some "normal people" stuff like a Borders and Best Buy) it is a great place to stroll.

Np Daniel. Food's not bad at Stanford, I hear. There's also a Jamba Juice in the same complex as Maido if you want to get all California'ized.

#17 Dillo

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 05:19

Deleted and replaced. I would be obliged if our near and dear admins would remove this. Thank you!!

Edited by Dillo, 22 August 2006 - 20:46.

Stolen: Aurora Optima Demonstrator Red ends Medium nib. Serial number 1216 and Aurora 98 Cartridge/Converter Black bark finish (Archivi Storici) with gold cap. Reward if found. Please contact me if you have seen these pens.

Please send vial orders and other messages to fpninkvials funny-round-mark-thing gmail strange-mark-thing com. My shop is open once again if you need help with your pen.

Dillon


#18 stypen

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 20:55

From your pictures, the nib reminds me of the low-end Parkers, e.g. Reflex, which write pretty well. How does it actually compare?

I recently got one (orange). I love it and so does my wife.

In my opinion the nib is notably smoother and more consistent than on the Parker reflexes. It is a really nice little nib.

#19 Busyfingers

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Posted 22 August 2006 - 19:28

Here's another happy Pilot Vortex user reporting in! In the interest of full disclosure, and just to keep the record straight from the start --- I chose the green one. (You never know when one color might decide to be extra-cooperative, or another might have a "blue" day!)

My source was the California-based internet company Jet Pens. I'm guessing that the Vortex suffered a hefty mark-up as it crossed the ocean, but, oh well.... It was supplied with a Pilot cartridge, which still sits in its cellophane wrap. I tried out a piston-style Pilot converter (at least, I think that's what it is!) and discovered that it works just fine; the pen has been fueled with Waterman green ever since. I've discovered that the cartridges Pilot sells for its Petit1 pens also work.

The nib is semi-hooded, as is obvious from Mafiablues' photos, but with translucent plastic; through the plastic I see the <M> on the nib. As you might have guessed, the line is that of a Western fine nib, but perhaps on the wide side. My pen lays down a nice, even, wet line with no skipping or hesitation.

A curious point. I compared this pen with a Petit1, available from the same source at a fraction of the Vortex's cost. While there clearly isn't as much care expended in the production of the Petit's nibs, this pen does have an inner cap, while the Vortex does not. These pens I tend to store flat, and both are prone to starting quickly after a rest of a week or more. [ B) sorry, couldn't resist!]

I'm afraid my pen hasn't been in a position to suffer the kinds of stresses that would show whether it will survive being dropped into the Grand Canyon, or run over by an SUV; I haven't used the clip much either to provide a report on its durability either. Others will have to volunteer their Vortexes for this kind of testing -- I'm keeping mine intact and out of harm's way, thank you!!!!!

#20 Dillo

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Posted 22 August 2006 - 20:48

Hi,

I might buy a green one for myself some time. Pilot modified the pen so that it would accept Pilot refills instead of the international ones that the gen I Vortexes did. The gen II can use Pilot cartridges and converters.

Dillon

Stolen: Aurora Optima Demonstrator Red ends Medium nib. Serial number 1216 and Aurora 98 Cartridge/Converter Black bark finish (Archivi Storici) with gold cap. Reward if found. Please contact me if you have seen these pens.

Please send vial orders and other messages to fpninkvials funny-round-mark-thing gmail strange-mark-thing com. My shop is open once again if you need help with your pen.

Dillon







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