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Best Pilot Fountain Pen?


aussielondon
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I am looking at getting a Pilot as Icywolfe has sold me on the idea that they are good quality and value for money fountain pens.

 

I was going to PM him but I thought I may as well ask everyone about this for any views on what the best offerings from Pilot are in the fountain pen range

(Also feel free to mention any ballpoints or rollerballs that they make if you really like the model)

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There is no such thing as "best", it all depends on what you want and how much you have to spend. Since I'm aware that you got yourself a Parker Vector, I believe a Pilot Metropolitan (MR in Europe) is already an upgrade to you. Try to figure out what you want to try now, do you want a finer nib, something with more quality, a bigger pen, a gold nib, a twist cap, a pen that can stay inked for months without drying up? Pilots are usually great pens and pretty popular around here, but there are other options if you want to spend some cash.

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"Best" is subjective. The Custom 823 is well-regarded on this forum but will cost >$250.

 

The Vanishing Point is a nice way to get a Pilot nib in a very handy and unique pen for less money. I own two and use 'em every day.

 

The 78g is a well-regarded pen that is usually under $15; mine has the broad nib, and as others have reported it is a very nice stub. Probably the cheapest entry into a stub nib on the market.

Edited by Koyote
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Metro or 912 just because i own them. Its all in the writer. I like fine to medium-F nibs, skeek black pens that glide on papar. pilots do that without braking my purse.

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I am a proponent of starting out small and working your way up and as such I suggest buying a Metropolitan/MR first. That would allow you to see if you and Pilot get along well. It's a heck of a bargain and well made (be aware that the MR takes International Standard cartridges instead of Pilot carts. I believe a both pens come with converters.

 

The "best" is such a subjective concept, and you may be better served determining what you like and dislike before shelling out the money for a Custom 823 or even a Custon 74.

 

Try to hold a Vanishing Point before buying one. Having the clip so near your fingers is a deal-breaker for some.

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78G... if you dont like the step and feel of the Cocoon/Metropolitan, if you like something small the Prera, a desk like pen without being a desk pen get the Penmanship, if you like cheap gold nibs get the deskpen, Celemo, and Custom, if you want the modern taste get the Heritage line, retro Custom line, want wood? get the Legno, Ishi, Enju or Kaede, want HIGH CLASS get the Namiki Emperor or the rising dragon, want something that looks like celluloid get the legance series the material is called Cellulose Acetate Propionate Resin. want a fancy shamcy filling system the custom 823, want sterling silver bodied pens get the grance sterling silver and silvern, fancy pocket pens get the Petit1, Elite90S and Vortex, want something childish get the Kakuno, want a very versatile nib get the Justus 95, you want a different looking nib with the same semi-flex capabilities the Elabo will be your friend, want time timed tested experimented design the Capless series, want some engrosing thick nibs that no other pen manufacturer offers get the parallel, want something like another unique looking material get Cavalier, boring and girthy the Lucina, want something like the Sailor 1911 Young series the New Young Rex will be for you, want a unique looking nib yet has a snap cap get the Deluxe the nib looks like what you can find on the old Lamy pens like the Myu or Profil 87.

most of these pens vary in prices

the cheapest being Penmanship at 5 USD

Kakuno at 10USD

Parallel at 12

Vortex at 15USD

30USD New Young Rex, Cavalier plain, Cocoon, Prera

Prera Iro-ai at 35USD

50USD Celemo, Lucina, Cavalier 2 tone material

the Custom is set at 70

the 100 USD pens you have quite a selection from Capless with a steel nib, Custom 74 both solid and in demo, Custom Heritage 91, Custom 98 (think of it as a snap cap version of the 74), want something weighty Grance in painted brass, Elite 95. Stela90, Grance with Marble resin

120 USD we have the Legno, Custom 74 with Music and Cosu nib

150 USD Custom Heritage 92, Deluxe, Capless with a rhodium plated gold nib and silver trim along with gold trim and gold nib, Capless decimo. Legance (should have the same dimensions as the Stella90 and Legno)

180 USD Elabo Resin, Capless matte black,

200 USD Custom Maple, Custom 742, Custom Heritage 912, Capless Fermo, Legance Custom (Legance with the same proportions as the Heritage line), Grance with Marble Resin for the cap

250 USD Elabo Metal

300 USD Custom 743, Custom 823, Justus 95

350 USD Grance NC Sterling

500 USD Silvern its back to Pilot oldies Chisel barrel with Sterling silver material, Capless raden, Custom Ishi, Custom Enju, Custom 845

the rest are Maki-e and are steep in Japanese tradition like 12 eastern zodiac animals at 500 USD

PS: this is currently Pilot's active offerings shipping and online discount not withstanding

 

PPS: I'm using the native names of VP and Falcon, capless and Elabo respectively, Cocoon is Metropolitan

these pens are good but some of them are highly under rated... so if you can find the reviews of all of these pen asides from capless, Elabo, Justus 95, Elite 95, Custom 74, Custom Heritage 92, Parallel, Custom 823, Prera you have to seek these pens out NOW THIS IS WHAT I CALL UNDER-RATED PENZ

Edited by Algester
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I had a Pilot Lucina and really liked it. Nice size, nice colors, and a very nice fine nib, which wrote smoothly on all types of paper. Look around to compare costs as they can vary quite a bit.

 

Good luck.

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I am on a strict budget so basically anything that's good value is the ticket for me.

Like the Ford Falcon of pens, a workhorse that's not too flashy, but good at what it does.

 

I got a lot of googling from all the suggestions here :)

Btw where is Icywolfe on this thread? He loves the Pilots, haha

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budget and intended use? willingness to purchase from Japan direct?

I have no issues ordering from Japan direct as I order many things direct from China or the USA by post

But yeah, low budget, and for writing letters to family etc, even though I don't want a pricey one I really don't trust taking it to work as my colleagues will want to borrow it and never return it.

Edited by aussielondon
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Budget with good response? 78G or the Metro. Both are inexpensive, both are good writers. Very smooth steel nibs.

Cool, gonna google those two now.

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Cheaper Pilots that usually work great: 78G, Metropolitan (same as MR and Cocoon), Cavalier, Young Rex, Prera, Knight (if you can find it for under $30). If you want to spend a little more you can get a Pilot Lucina, and a little more, Pilots with gold nibs. The cheaper gold nibbed pen will be the Pilot Celemo, then the Pilot Custom (they are pretty similar, the clip and nib is different, they share the same body of the Young Rex too), and then you reach the luxury models that start with the Custom 74, Custom 91, Custom 98 and Stella 90s. Around the price of these 4 you can get a Capless (Vanishing Point) with a steel nib.

 

For better prices, you can buy a Metropolitan from the USA, a 78G from Hong Kong, and the rest you should buy from Japan for better prices. eBay, Rakuten and Amazon will provide you with the best prices. For better service you can choose a reputable dealer like Goulet Pens and check what they have.

Edited by arcadeflow
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Thanks for asking this question! I have a Pilot Prera - it's wonderful. I am watching for reviews of the E95S. It's got a gold nib and intrigues me.

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It's highly unusual to be disappointed with a Pilot, so you should be happy whichever choice you make. Pilot's gold nibs have a bit of spring and are a pleasure to use. Their soft nibs have a bit more give and are also quite nice, but definitely not designed for flex. I don't have a FA nib, but you'll find plenty of reviews here - IMO this one isn't your daily workhorse. And at the affordable end, Pilot's steel nibs also have a reputation for smoothness and flow.

 

Things for you to consider:

- Pen shape - cigar (74x) vs flat top (91x, 92, 845) vs torpedo (823)

- Nib feel - firm (steel or PO), springy (gold), soft, flex (FA)

- Nib tipping size - IME F and EF will be one size smaller than western, M and B will be about the same as western. FM is a good middle-ground in between.

- Nib tipping shape - traditional round vs stub (sutab/SU) vs posting (PO) vs waverley (WA) vs music (MU)

- Nib size/scale - #5 is smaller (74, 91, 92), #15 is larger (845, 823, 743), #10 is in-between (912, 742)

- Demonstrator vs solid colour - The latter is available in Japan, is cheaper, looks (to me) classier, and offers more nib options

- Clip - ball style vs modern flat style

- Material - regular resin (feels OK) vs urishi (845, feels... WOW!)

- Filling system - converter (Custom series all fit the lovely con-70) vs piston (92) vs plunger/vac (823)

- Trim - rhodium (9xx) vs gold (everything else in the Custom line)

- and for course, what is your budget

 

As you can see, it's a highly personal decision. If you're like me, you'll fall in love with your first and then add other combinations of the above when you next feel the need for a different experience.

 

Hope that helps. Enjoy.

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Oh, and don't forget the Metropolitan/MR (affordable), Vanishing Point (retractable), Elabo/Falcon (soft/semi-flex), Elite 95s (pocketable) and Justus 95 (adjustable)... if you didn't have enough options already! :lol:

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It's highly unusual to be disappointed with a Pilot, so you should be happy whichever choice you make. Pilot's gold nibs have a bit of spring and are a pleasure to use. Their soft nibs have a bit more give and are also quite nice, but definitely not designed for flex. I don't have a FA nib, but you'll find plenty of reviews here - IMO this one isn't your daily workhorse. And at the affordable end, Pilot's steel nibs also have a reputation for smoothness and flow.

 

Things for you to consider:

- Pen shape - cigar (74x) vs flat top (91x, 92, 845) vs torpedo (823)

- Nib feel - firm (steel or PO), springy (gold), soft, flex (FA)

- Nib tipping size - IME F and EF will be one size smaller than western, M and B will be about the same as western. FM is a good middle-ground in between.

- Nib tipping shape - traditional round vs stub (sutab/SU) vs posting (PO) vs waverley (WA) vs music (MU)

- Nib size/scale - #5 is smaller (74, 91, 92), #15 is larger (845, 823, 743), #10 is in-between (912, 742)

- Demonstrator vs solid colour - The latter is available in Japan, is cheaper, looks (to me) classier, and offers more nib options

- Clip - ball style vs modern flat style

- Material - regular resin (feels OK) vs urishi (845, feels... WOW!)

- Filling system - converter (Custom series all fit the lovely con-70) vs piston (92) vs plunger/vac (823)

- Trim - rhodium (9xx) vs gold (everything else in the Custom line)

- and for course, what is your budget

 

As you can see, it's a highly personal decision. If you're like me, you'll fall in love with your first and then add other combinations of the above when you next feel the need for a different experience.

 

Hope that helps. Enjoy.

correction Custom 98 only fits until CON-50 so no not all Custom series fits and it sports a number 3 gold nib it is a short version of the custom 74 after all

Edited by Algester
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