Posts filed under Vanishing Point

Pilot Capless Decimo Fountain Pen Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

The Pilot Vanishing Point has long been a point of discussion on the podcast, and typically polarizes users because of the unique shape and clip positioning. If you're a fan of the Vanishing Point, then you might be interested in the Capless Decimo from Pilot, as it's essentially the same pen with a smaller barrel diameter.

If, however, you don't care for the style or grip of the Vanishing Point, the Capless Decimo won't do anything for you since it uses the exact same grip. The clip is a little smaller, but not enough to make any difference in how it feels, and the larger issue remains the placement of the clip more than the size.

For me, I'm a huge fan of the Vanishing Point, and I was excited to try out the cousin based on the different barrel diameter and color options. My verdict? I prefer the Decimo over the standard Vanishing Point exclusively because of how it feels in my hand. That smaller diameter barrel hits the sweet spot for me. Luckily, the Vanishing Point and Decimo pens use the exact same nib units!

Appearance and feel

At first glance, the Decimo looks like a Vanishing Point, and vice-versa. It's difficult to tell them apart on their own, but there are a couple of factors that make it a bit obvious. For one, "decimo" is printed on the clip of the Decimo models, while the Vanishing Points only feature the "Pilot Japan" print on the barrel above the mid-section. The Decimo also includes this print in the same location. So, in a pinch — just look at the print on the clip to identify a Decimo.

Along with the printing on the clip, the clip has a slightly narrower shape than the Vanishing Point. It's more slim and matches the smaller diameter barrel perfectly. The tip of the pen looks a bit smaller than the Vanishing Point, but it's hard to tell from the naked eye. Apart from these differences, I can't find any others when looking at them side by side.

Weight-wise, the Decimo is a tad lighter. The Vanishing Point has long been a favorite pen of mine, and that doesn't change. But, I prefer to Decimo over the Vanishing Point because of how the Decimo feels in my hand when writing. It's a more enjoyable experience. That's not to say my Vanishing Point is annoying or negative — it's just not as enjoyable as the Decimo.

For me, the clip placement is perfect for how I grip pens, and it didn't take any adjustment since I was already accustomed to the Vanishing Point.

If you're unfamiliar with the Vanishing Point and Capless lines, the retractable mechanism is really well-designed. When the pen is retracted, there's a small door that closes on the inside of the tip to keep the nib from drying out. As you extend the nib, the door opens. In my experience, the pen never dried out after sitting for more than 5 days, and didn't have any hard start or skipping issues.

There are some unique colors in the Decimo line, but nothing out of the ordinary if you stay in the same price point. The Light Blue color that I received is nice, but it's not my favorite out of the full lineup. Although, the Iroshizuku ama-iro pairs very nicely with this body color — almost like they were made for each other.

Writing performance

I'm practically in love with the nib on this pen. It came outfitted with an 18k gold Medium nib unit that writes like a dream. I have one other 18k Medium gold nib from Pilot, and I've exclaimed my affection for that nib as well. Pilot continues to impress me with their out-of-the-box nib tuning and performance, and this Decimo is just another tick on the "winning" side for me.

The nib glides over all types of paper like satin over glass. The medium nib is wet enough to show off ink properties and provide a good amount of line variation, but still small enough for everyday use. There's a subtle amount of feedback in the nib when writing, but it's just enough to let you know that you're writing on paper instead of butter.

Of course, being a gold nib, it exhibits a small amount of flex if you apply pressure. It's not something I do often, but the added flourish is worth it in some occasions (even with my shabby handwriting).

I expected good things when I received the pen, but my expectations were exceeded immediately after I inked up the pen.

Conclusion

In summary, I love this pen, and I love the nib unit even more. I'm continually impressed by the Pilot brand, and this pen has been no exception. I really wish there was a readily-available version of this pen in a clipless model so that more people could enjoy the Vanishing Point and Capless lines. I'm lucky in that my grip happens to match up with the intended grip on the pen, but it's a shame that it makes it difficult or intolerable for other writers.

The Pilot Capless Decimocomes in Burgundy, Champagne, Light Blue, and Purple from Goldspot and retails for $140. And again, the nib units are compatible with both the Capless Decimo and the Vanishing Point.

(Goldspot provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


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Posted on July 13, 2016 and filed under Pilot, Vanishing Point, Pen Reviews.

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 protector.

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.

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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.