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.


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.