Review of the Pilot Decimo – Fountain-pens as souvenirs?

During the summer of 2016 I went on a trip to Japan. Prior to setting of to my destination I was aware about the rich tradition the country had on stationery and in particular fountain-pens. I had therefore planned to start a new tradition of my own where I would purchase a locally produced writing instrument as a souvenir to mark my travels starting in Japan.

I was not certain about which pen to choose but I was always attracted to the utility of a retractable nib pen. Even though initially the Pilot Vanishing Point did not catch my eye in terms of beauty, it slowly grew on me. It thus became my pen of choice when I finally visited the iconic Itoya stationery shop in Ginza, Tokyo.

SIZE AND DESIGN

The pen I purchased was the Pilot Vanishing Point (Capless in Japan) Decimo in the blue trim with silver furniture. Compared to the normal VP, the Decimo is slightly thinner and lighter. Naturally the clip is also thinner making it easy to grip and I have found to often use it as a marker in order to grip the pen consistently comfortably without looking.

Another visual difference to the larger brother is that the two metal rings that connect the two sections of the barrel for refilling are not the same size. The one towards the nib is slightly smaller than the one on the back. While this is not a deal-breaker for me, I would have preferred for the rings to have been more proportionally sized as it does stand out a bit. The overall size is comfortable to use even though I would not mind the slightly heavier feeling of the classic.

NIB

One of the biggest selling points of the pen in my opinion is the nib. It is an 18K gold nib and writes like a dream. I chose the medium size which does write thinner than a European medium but its wonderfully calibrated wetness makes it the perfect daily writer size. Thankfully, if I wish to keep my current nib, if I purchase the larger size, the two sections are interchangeable. The nib is slightly soft however and taking into account its small footprint I feel that I have to treat it with a lot of care when I write to not spring the tines or damage it in any other way. Maybe this is just in my head but it keeps me from fully engaging with this pen as the daily workhorse it is designed to be.

FILLING SYSTEM

The decimo is a cartridge-converter pen. While it does not come with a converter in the box, I was able to easily purchase a CON-40 in a local stationary shop while in Japan. The converter however in my opinion is mediocre at best. It  holds a tiny amount of ink and I find it extremely difficult to get a full fill as the piston stops almost an entire centimetre shy of the actual opening point. That one centimetre is a substantial amount of ink considering the small capacity and size of the converter. While I do sometimes try to flip the nib section upside-down to release the air and get a larger fill, it is far too messy and time consuming so I mostly stick to cartridges. Thankfully, the ink selection of the Pilot proprietary cartridges is good in terms of variety and quality but I do prefer using bottled ink.

WRITING SAMPLE

FINAL THOUGHTS

While the pen does suffer from some negatives I think that the one-handed ease of use of the buttery smooth retractable nib make this pen an excellent purchase. For me, thanks to my new-born tradition, every time I write with the pen I day-dream about my trip to Japan making this pen have a special place in my heart.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Items mentioned*:

Pen: Pilot Fountain Pen Capless DecimoInk: Pilot Namiki Blue
Paper: Rhodia Orange Dot Pad
Converter: Pilot CON-40

Photography equipment:

Camera: Nikon D3300
Lens: Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm

Other blogs about this topic:
Goulet Pens Blog Decimo Review
The Pen Addict Decimo Review
The Well Appointed Desk Decimo Review

 

* Please keep in mind that buying through any of the links on this website helps support StationeryBlogger.com, and keeps the site going. I appreciate all your support and thank you for visiting.

Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Review

The Lamy 2000 is probably my favourite pen of all time. I know, it is a big statement but my admiration for this pen is well founded. I first purchased this pen back in 2014 when I began my first year studying law at university. I can honestly say that since then it has been almost everyday on me, taking notes and writing exams.

DESIGN

The pen looks and feels phenomenal. Its bauhaus inspired design makes it easy to look at with no extra bling. This makes it the perfect everyday pen when you do not want the entire room thinking you are trying to make a statement with your choice of writing instrument. In addition, the texture of the fibreglass-infused plastic gives a textured feel. Perfect for those with sleek hands constantly suffering from sticky-pen syndrome. The attention to detail and excellence of craftsmanship is evident from the fact that the brushed microscopic lines transition perfectly between the piston-knob and hand-section seams.

SIZE

Another great win for the pen is its size, measuring at 140mm caped. What is particularly outstanding however, is its centre of balance when posted. You can literally find the middle of the pen by simply balancing it on the tip of your finger. This is because the cap fits really deeply into the back of the barrel. That means that it will not only post securely but it will not stick out too much when writing. Moreover, the hand-section extends to cover a fair amount of the nib meaning that there are literally unlimited ways to hold the pen ensuring a comfortable grip.

NIB

The nib is fantastic to write with. I currently have the medium size but I have tried both the extra-fine and fine. They are all smooth, wet and always perform upon demand. I have had some issues in the past which I will go into more detail in the section below but I am more than happy overall.

 

CUSTOMER SERVICE

One of the biggest selling points however is the customer service of Lamy. A few years ago, after owning the pen for a few years, for some reason the extra-fine nib that I had started writing very dry. I had no idea why but I contacted Lamy with my problem and they immediately requested that I send the pen back for repair free of charge. A few weeks later, they had fixed the problem and also replaced my cap as the clip had become a bit wobbly. Moreover, a year ago, after owning the pen for three years, I emailed them asking whether they sold replacement nibs as I had outgrown my extra-fine size and wanted to change to a medium. They offered to replace it for free. I believe that this is how customer service should be and more companies should be striving towards such a high standard.

OVERALL

I believe that the Lamy 2000 is one of the best choices for a fountain pen out there. Whether you are a student or a seasoned professional the iconic look of the pen and quality are bound to make you smile every time you pick it up. As for negatives, I am struggling to think of any. Maybe if you like your fountain pens to be glossy and blingy you would not like this pen but it would be hard to argue it does not deserve a spot in everyone’s collection.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Items mentioned*:

Pen: Lamy 2000
Ink: Pilot Iroshizuku Asa-Gao
Paper: Rhodia Orange Dot Pad

Photography equipment:

Camera: Nikon D3300
Lens: Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm

 

* Please keep in mind that buying through any of the links on this website helps support StationeryBlogger.com, and keeps the site going. I appreciate all your support and thank you for visiting.