The Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen review with photos, description, video and a writing sample. Here’s everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the pen…
Fountain Pen Design
Nib Width: 7mm
Pull Off Cap
Mid-Grip Width: 6mm
Cap Band Width:11mm
The Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen looks like a pen you would’ve found on Don Draper’s desk in the show Mad Men. The show was set in the sixties at an ad agency and the visual style and design of this fountain pen in gold just fits well in that era. There’s an understated class to this design that just works and belies its low price.
It is cigar-shaped with a wider middle tapering to either rounded end. The pen I’m reviewing here is in gold but it’s also available in silver or black. What I love about the finish is it has an anodized appearance, like a powder finish which is attractive.
One drawback to the luscious matte finish gold is the brand stamp is printed in a plain black typeface in ALL CAPS, “PILOT JAPAN” on the opposite side of the pen clip and the lack of design cheapens the look of the pen. If the brand mark were another color, even brown, another typeface, or even not ALL CAPS it work better with the gold finish.
The body band is the only exception to the anodized-look finish. It is still the same gold color, but there is a wide, shiny band of gold at the body band just above the cap ring.
Pull off the cap and you’re greeted by a black shiny plastic section that flows into a medium steel nib.
The pen clip and cap ring are both a silver-toned finish. Kind of an odd choice for a gold pen, but somehow it works. In the photo to the right, it’s shown with a chrome Cross Plume.
The clip itself is very long and plain but it somehow works with the overall styling of the pen. It is functional and springy so it’d hold well in a pocket.
The Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen is only available in a steel medium nib so there’s no variety here but the medium is more of a fine line width as compared to western pens. The nib is paired with a plastic feed which works just fine. (We’ll get to that in the next section)
I know that people complain about cartridge-fill pens but I’ll syringe-fill a cartridge any day, it takes 45 seconds to clean and fill a cartridge and I never have to worry about getting water behind the o-ring and then spend minutes playing with it trying to get the water out before filling it with ink like I have with converters.
It’s not to say I won’t use a converter, but I am not opposed to cartridges either. They both have their place on the planet.
What’s amazing about this fountain pen, is that at less than $15 U.S., it comes with a squeeze converter standard so you can draw ink from a bottle. I think this is the only fountain pen at this price point I’ve used that comes with a converter without being sold separately.
Fountain Pen Performance on Different Papers
What I love about this fountain pen is that it is such a great writer. It’s an amazing find.
Now, since there’s no variety in nib size choices, you’ll have to love the line width in the writing sample because that’s what you’re getting but the writing will be smooth and reliable.
I used a Pilot black ink cartridge for the writing sample above and I took this pen everywhere for two weeks writing with it to see how it did. This pen kept up with my super-fast scrawls on every type of paper without hesitation. In fact this pen is still inked and in rotation and I don’t see putting it away any time soon.
While it lacks the extremely buttery feel of a solid gold nib because there’s no give in this steel nib, it is smooth and not at all scratchy. I’m delighted by its reliability.
I took it everywhere as usual, for longer than usual. My next shipment of pens didn’t come in as quickly as I’d thought so I had the opportunity to test drive the Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen for longer than my typical week.
The Pilot medium nib is more like a fine and because of that you get a great level of detail in your handwriting and it doesn’t bleed-through notebook paper. When I was writing in script, I noticed the pen nib caught flourishes that a medium usually doesn’t, like when you curl back over-and-down when drawing a cursive capital “I” it caught the entire loop on paper when a wider nib would’ve just made the loop into a solid ink stroke.
It’s one SMOOTH nib, you just won’t find many nibs this smooth under $15.
Using this fountain pen on my heavy journal paper was interesting. It will write on grainy paper but it, like most fountain pens, doesn’t like it. It prefers a smooth paper and will give you a smooth ride.
While I didn’t experience many skips, there was once or twice this pen hard started, meaning I had to retrace the first letter of what I was writing after I wrote it because the ink wasn’t there yet. This happened after sitting in my purse cap up for a few hours. No big deal at this price point.
All-in-all, this is such a great performer, you’d think it cost twice what it does.
Okay, But How Does It Feel?
This pen feels balanced. Now, if you’ve read any of my reviews you know that I’m a poster. What that means is I like to post the cap on the back of the pen as I write.
This was my only disappointment with the Pilot Metropolitan. This pen will post and I did, but not securely. It doesn’t chatter as you write but if you move your hand horizontal for any reason the cap will fall off. I thoughtlessly scratch my forehead as I think sometimes and the cap kept falling off. Bummer, I almost thought we had the perfect cheap poster!
I didn’t experience any hand fatigue while writing with this fountain pen. It’s heavier than many pens at this price point because it’s brass, not plastic. I like the feeling of balanced metal fountain pens better than plastic, there’s a certain luxuriousness to it that’s hard to get so cheaply.
The Cap – Screw/Pull/Post and What That Means
The pull-off cap doesn’t stay posted securely, but will post as long as you’re not stopping to grab a drink of coffee in your pen hand. I did that and the cap fell off. Right after I scratched my head. Oh well.
One drawback relates to the cap, it’s the metal band where the cap secures to the body when you cap the pen. The metal cap abruptly steps down from the thicker body to the thinner section. It is in exactly the place where my thumb sits on the section of the pen and it is slightly annoying but more than worth working around in such an inexpensive pen.
Who is the Fountain Pen Good For? Is It a Good Overall Value?
Are you looking for a cheap fountain pen that is a daily carry that can take a beating? What about a fountain pen that is one of the cheapest on the market (outside of disposables) but still writes smoothly?
If you found a stylish yet cheap fountain pen that comes with its own converter so you can use bottled ink without having to syringe fill a cartridge would you want to buy it?
The Pilot Metropolitan is all of these things AND less than $20, it’s an amazing value for the price. Yes it’s not perfect, but it’s smooth, has a classic look, and writes well.
What I love about it is you won’t be scared to take it to work or the garage and lose it… At less than the cost of tickets to a movie for two, you’d be crazy NOT to buy it. A movie will be over in two hours, this fountain pen will last decades. FANTASTIC VALUE!
Get your Pilot Metropolitan on Amazon. You’ll be happy you did.
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