Posts filed under Vanishing Point

Pilot Vanishing Point Raden Water Surface Fountain Pen: A Review

(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

Most fountain pen people are familiar with the Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen, even if they don't own one. It's a fountain pen with a retractable nib. And, it's a pen that some people love and others hate–largely due to the location of the clip.

My first Pilot Vanishing Point did not impress me. I bought a blue carbonesque with an EF nib from Amazon, which, in retrospect, may have been my primary mistake (buying it from Amazon, that is). The pen itself was gorgeous. I loved the carbonesque design and found the click mechanism fascinating. But it was a horrible writer. The nib was ink-stingy and scratchy. Plus, I found the clip annoying and the pen too heavy. I eventually sold it and thought I was done with Vanishing Points forever.

But then Pilot came out with the Vanishing Point Metallics. Oh! That Mountain Blue called to me. I thought the black clip and nib looked terrific against the metallic colors. This time, I bought my VP from Classic Fountain Pens. I got a broad nib and had it ground to an italic/stub. What a difference! I loved this pen. It wrote beautifully, and, though it took some time, I grew accustomed to the clip.

Now, to the Vanishing Point Raden Water Surface. I wasn't really considering this pen at all because it retails for $640.00. But I wanted a Raden pen, and I found the Platinum Galaxy Maki-e at Classic Fountain Pens with tons of Raden for just a little more than the VP, so I bought it. When it arrived it was . . . well . . . too blingy. I called it my "unicorn pen." My daughter told me it looked like the floor at Mr. Gatti's. And, sadly, she was right. I returned it.

About that time someone on Fountain Pen Network posted a Pilot Vanishing Point Raden Water Surface in the classifieds. It was half retail price, so I jumped on it. A few weeks later, I was the proud owner of a like-new Raden Vanishing Point.

My Raden VP came in a wooden box lined in yellow satin (though I believe my pen was packaged in Japan; American packaging may differ). Included with the pen is a converter, a cartridge, and a cartridge adapter for international cartridges.

The pen is absolutely gorgeous, with just enough Raden to make the surface sparkle, but not so much that it looks like glitter glue. The Raden comes from abalone shells. On this pen, the shells are arranged in straight lines to evoke light reflecting off the surface of water. The pen is coated in urushi lacquer, and the effect is mesmerizing.

The Raden Water Surface is just like any other Pilot Vanishing Point form-wise. This one sports rhodium-plated accents and an 18K rhodium-plated nib. The click mechanism works just like all the other VPs.

The pen uses a proprietary cartridge/converter system. The converter holds a minuscule amount of ink (0.82ml), requiring lots of refilling. That's really my only criticism of this pen. I wish the converter held more ink. Cartridges hold 1.05ml of ink.

The pen is heavy (30 grams), but I've grown to like more substantial pens over the years. It is a large pen, 9.07mm at the grip and 140mm in length. The pen is well-balanced in the hand, and even though many people complain that the clip gets in the way, it helps me hold the pen steady. I no longer even notice it.

The nib on my Raden Water Surface is a fine. It writes like a Western EF, and though it's smooth and writes beautifully, I will eventually get another broad nib ground into an italic/stub for this pen. I love how my other VP writes, and the fine is a little too fine for my tastes, though it works great as a grading pen. But really, who wants to use a pen this beautiful for grading? I should be writing Haiku!

You can purchase this pen from Goulet, Classic Fountain Pens, and Goldspot Pens for $640 (many other retailers also carry it). That's an awful lot for a Vanishing Point. If you love this pen, I hope you'll luck out like I did and find it on sale.


  • Absolutely gorgeous pen. The abalone shells reflect the light and contrast beautifully with the black urushi finish.
  • If you like Pilot Vanishing Points, you'll love the Raden Water Surface. It has all the perks of a retractable nib fountain pen and is one of the most elegant models.
  • The nib writes smoothly with no scratchiness, hard starts, or skipping.
  • The retractable system works flawlessly and with one hand (unlike other retractables that require two hands to twist the nib in and out).
  • This is a great choice when you need to start and stop writing often (such as in meetings). The click system is fast and keeps the nib from drying out.


  • This is one of the most expensive Pilot Vanishing Point models at $640.00 retail. You really have to want this pen.
  • The converter holds so little ink it's almost laughable. I don't mind refilling, but I wish Pilot would figure out a better converter system.
  • The pen is heavy. If you prefer weightless fountain pens, this one isn't for you.
  • People tend to have a love or hate relationship with the Pilot VP. Some can't stand the clip or they think the design is ugly. If you've never tried a Pilot VP, I suggest finding a retailer and trying it out first. Keep in mind, that first impressions can change. I hated my first VP. Now I love them.
Posted on December 11, 2015 and filed under Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews, Pilot, Vanishing Point.

Pilot Vanishing Point Gun Metal Black Matte Fountain Pen Review

I didn't need another Pilot Vanishing Point. I already had two: the famed Black Matte, which became one of the "pens who shall not be named" on the podcast, and a retro Black Faceted model, which is a mainstay of my collection. So why did I NEED this new Gun Metal Black Matte Vanishing Point? I rarely need any new pen, but this one I had to have.

It took a while for me to get on the Gun Metal bandwagon. I wasn't sure of the color scheme at first, but after seeing multiple pictures of it and checking it out in person I went for it. The barrel is slightly different than the full black matte version, with the grey area being smooth as opposed to a satiny matte feel, which is reserved for the tip, clip, middle band, and knock. It's quite a stunning look, especially in person.

It also sports one of the recently introduced black nib units, which I am in love with. I went for the EF nib, which is ridiculously small, even for me. I never recommend this size to anyone but I love it. Paired with a well lubricated ink like Sailor Nano Black, this nib writes wonderfully smooth and consistent. But boy is it fine. You really need to manage your writing angle with this one to make sure you are hitting the sweet spot.

Many people have asked what fountain pen best compares to the Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.3 mm/0.4 mm gel ink pens. Pilot's EF nibs, as found in the Penmanship (which can be swapped into the Metropolitan or Prera) and the Vanishing Point, are the closest I have found. Looking at the writing sample in my Field Notes it is closest to the 0.28 mm Uni-ball Signo DX and 0.3 mm Hi-Tec-C, so that seems like a good range. Ink and paper will cause this to vary of course.

But back to this whole idea of needing this pen. Although yes, I got this pen for free as part of my JetPens sponsorship, I still couldn't justify it without selling one of my current Vanishing Points. I didn't see myself actively using two similar pens, so my trusty black matte VP, one of my first big fountain pen purchases, has found a new home. More than any other fountain pen I own, the Vanishing Point is made to be used, anywhere and everywhere. That is this pens job, so having one sitting around collecting dust would be doing it a disservice.

My friend Mel found the words I was struggling to find about my Field Notes Butcher Orange, and it applies here too: "By using it, it is now truly yours and you've fulfilled its purpose." Words to live by.

(JetPens is an advertiser on The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)

Posted on July 21, 2014 and filed under Pen Reviews, Pilot, Vanishing Point, Fountain Pens.

Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen Video


I mentioned in my Pilot Vanishing Point review last week that I made a short video to share with you. I’m no Scorsese, but I at least tried to capture a few of the high points of the pen.

There is a quick shot of the door that keeps the nib from drying out and a good look at the clip in case you were questioning how your fingers might land on the barrel. I also point out the little hole that you need to get all the way in the ink bottle to fill the converter properly.

I have moved over to the standard Pilot Namiki Black Ink Cartridges which I plan on trying for a while and then testing out syringe refilling to see how that goes. So far so good with the black ink cartridges in the few days I have used them.

This is a heavy rotation pen for me and really the only pen I am using right now. The next thing I want to do is several nib and line width comparisons so look for that in the near future.

Posted on May 16, 2012 and filed under Fountain Pens, Pilot, Vanishing Point, Video Review.

Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen Review

Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen

We all have that one pen that fascinates us. Wether it is your holy grail pen, or the one at the top of your wish list, there is a pen out there that you have to have. It may be hard to find or out of your price range, but one day the planets align and the pen you have always wanted lands in your hands. For me, that pen is the Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen with the black matte body and fine nib.

I almost feel like I am doing this pen a disservice by running it through the normal Pen Addict review process, so I am going to take this a slightly different route. This post will contain what you normally see when I review a pen the first time: my handwritten review, a few photos, and some general comments. After that, many pen reviews vanish into the ether. The Pilot Vanishing Point deserves more.

I have ideas and uses for this pen and I plan on making it a recurring theme on the blog. I already have a short video made with romantic music playing in the background (Ok, no romantic music. Maybe.) that I will post soon to talk a little more about the pen. The Vanishing Point will also be in heavy rotation when I start my new job so I want to discuss the ups and downs of heavy, repeated, daily use.

Can you tell by now that I am really happy with this purchase?

I will elaborate in future posts on what makes this pen so great, but let me touch on a few of the high points. First of all, this is a retractable nib fountain pen. Think about that real quick. There are other retractable nib fountain pens on the market, but the Pilot Vanishing Point is the one by which all others are measured. Initial concerns about the nib ejecting too easily or drying out were quickly erased once I saw how well designed the pen is.

Pilot Vanishing Point Exploded View

To keep the nib from drying out, there is a small door that seals off the end of the pen when the nib is retracted. In my upcoming video you will see it in action. The nib writes immediately every time I click it out. The knock on the end is very firm and sturdy, which keeps you from accidentally ejecting the nib. It takes much more than a little brush of the knock to send the nib into the world. I have felt extremely safe clipping it to my shirt pocket or placket and going.

Let’s talk about the clip for a second because that was my biggest concern initially. For me, it turned out to be a non-issue, but if you have a non-standard or awkward writing grip it could be an issue for you. This is the biggest thing you need to consider when purchasing a Vanishing Point in my opinion. I already don’t even notice it is there when I’m writing.

Pilot Vanishing Point Close-up

I went with an F nib on my Vanishing Point knowing that would be awfully fine for a fountain pen. I felt I had a good idea about the line width after using a Pilot Prera F nib and I would say they are close, with the Prera F nib being slightly finer and firmer. My choice of the F nib has turned out great.

There is so much more I could talk about, and that is the plan. If you have any questions that I haven’t covered yet (and there are plenty) just let me know in the comments section or on Twitter @dowdyism and I will do my best to answer quickly.

Posted on May 9, 2012 and filed under Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews, Pilot, Vanishing Point.