‘Why are you living in the 20th century?’
Product: Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen, fine nib
Purchased in October 2017. My first fountain pen since elementary school. Also my first fountain pen for writing in English. Reason for purchasing? I had finally decided to improve my handwriting. It was a terrible mix between print and “cursive,” completely illegible. I had never learned cursive systematically, and I do think cursive does look very nice.
So when browsing Reddit, my default site to browse for reviews and advice, I learned that a good fountain pen is quite helpful for improving handwriting. At first, I was doubtful about this claim. Even though I used fountain pens in elementary school for Chinese calligraphy, I had quickly switched to roller ball when fountain pens are no longer required. After careful consideration, I decided to give it a try. Eliminated down to two “beginner” fountain pen options: the Pilot Metropolitan and the Lamy Safari, I picked the former. The primary reason is that it is cheaper, but I do think that it looks more modern and professional.
So, reviewing it after a year and a half, is it a worthy purchase? Do I like it? Do I really benefit from writing with a fountain pen? Short answer, yes. It is an amazing daily writer, and it is worth every dollar. Here is a more comprehensive review of the Pilot Metropolitan.
It looks good. What else should I say?
Well ok. It has a matte black torpedo-shaped body. The clip and the ring at the top of the barrel add a silver accent. The top section of the barrel has a polished texture. For different versions of the Metropolitan, that section can also look different.
The specific model that I bought is a Japanese fine nib, so around the size of Western extra fine nib. In comparison to other fountain pens, it is a little bit finer than other Pilot fine nibs such as the Falcon or the Custom 823. It could be because of the material differences as it is a steel nib. It also writes finer than Lamy Safari extra fine or the TWSBI Eco extra fine.
The writing experience is smooth. Though due to its fineness it is a bit on the dry side. As a steel nib, it is harder and less springy than gold nibs. There is not too much width variance. The fine nib also makes it perfect for regular note taking on non-fountain pen specific paper.
It is compatible with squeeze converter, con-50 piston converter, and cartridges. I mostly use the Pilot black ink cartridges due to the easiness to use, as well as the large capacity of ink.
The weight is on the lighter side of fountain pens. Substantial weight to make it feel like a fountain pen, but light enough that I would not get tired in a longer writing session such as note-taking in lectures.
My first impression was that it did feel a lot different than ballpoints or roller balls. It felt like… something special. It is a weird feeling of nostalgia: meeting an old friend that you haven’t seen since elementary school; during the time of separation both of you have improved, yet you appreciate each other even more than before.
Anyways, it soon became my daily writer for taking notes and practicing writing. I started learning practicing cursive, specifically Palmer’s method of business writing using this pen. Throughout the next year, my handwriting gradually improved. Though I am still not satisfied with my current handwriting, I am very pleased with my improvement.
I really enjoy using this pen. It is not my most prized possession, but it is the pen that I use the most often. It is the pen that inspires me to get into the hobby of collecting fountain pens (for better or for worse), and it is the pen that I bring to anywhere without worrying too much about losing it. For the price I paid, it delivers great performance.
Using a fountain pen is certainly an interesting experience. People do often comment when seeing me using a fountain pen, and I am always glad to let them try it out to feel the uniqueness of the fountain pen. Also, it is quite nice to receive compliments on my handwriting.