The Pilot Metropolitan Retro Pop: 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.)

When I first saw the Pilot Metropolitan Retro Pop pens advertised, I was excited about them. I loved the vivid colors, and I had heard good things about the Metropolitan pens before. So, as soon as I could, I ordered a turquoise Retro Pop from Goulet Pens for $15.00.

I've been using it non-stop since it arrived because, as a university professor, I have a mountain of grading this time of the semester. I figured the Retro Pop would make a great grading pen, and I was right.

The Retro Pop is a metal fountain pen, but it's not at all heavy (26 grams/0.92 oz). It comes nicely packaged in an oval clamshell box with a clear top, so you can see the colorful pen.

The metal is shiny and sparkles in the sunlight. Each pen has a different retro design on one portion of the barrel.

The only other embellishment is the clip which has a few decorative elements on the sides, but is otherwise plain. The cap is a snap on.

The grip is black plastic which is always easier for me to hold than metal since my hands get sweaty, especially while grading research papers.

The pen comes with a squeeze converter and one cartridge, but if you prefer twist converters, you can purchase one for $5.50 more, which I did. Squeeze converters are messy and I don't like the limitations of cartridges. The Con-50 holds a teeny amount of ink, though. I blew through several fills as I graded. But, it's not like the pen is difficult to refill.

The fine steel nib on my Retro Pop is smooth but hard (no bounce or flex). As with most Japanese pens, the fine writes more like an extra fine. I like this size for grading because I tend to write lots of notes all over my students' papers (which I'm sure they love). The nib has been a champ–no hard starts; no skipping. I'm very impressed since this pen is so inexpensive.

The Retro Pop is a relatively small pen. It is 5.43 inches capped; 5 inches uncapped; and 6.02 inches posted. The grip (0.33 inches) is pretty narrow, and my hand gets fatigued after long grading sessions.

The Retro Pop comes in six colors: grey, orange, purple, turquoise, red, and green. At $15.00 (plus $5.50 if you want the twist converter) from Goulet Pens, this is the perfect stocking stuffer or holiday gift for anyone interested in fountain pens. Add one of the mini bottles of Diamine or Iroshizuku ink and a Rhodia pad and you've got a terrific starter kit for someone special. If you want all the colors, you can purchase a set for $84.90.


  • A smooth-writing, steel nib fountain pen at a terrific price.
  • Lots of bright colors from which to choose.
  • Several filling options (cartridge, squeeze converter, twist converter).
  • Comes in a nice clamshell box that is perfect for gift-giving.
  • Lightweight and suitable size for most people.


  • Neither the squeeze converter nor the twist converter hold much ink. Plan on re-inking often.
  • The pen is light and thin. People with larger hands may find this pen too small for comfort.
Posted on November 27, 2015 and filed under Fountain Pens, Metropolitan, Pen Reviews, Pilot.