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Adrian Foster
Adrian Foster

Buy Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen

My dad bought me my first fountain pen nearly 50 years ago, and I've been a fan ever since, but I've drifted away in recent years. I still have so many of them, though; time to pull some out and use them again. For my regular journal, I also favor old lined ledgers (they often say "Record" in fancy script), and they go along well with fountain pens! Now if only we could start a manual typewriter resurgance (and yes, I have a couple of those as well).

buy pilot metropolitan fountain pen

So now the question that many of you are wondering about: Is the Pilot Metropolitan the best entry level fountain pen on the market? No, I'm sticking with the Lamy Safari for the wider range of nib and barrel options. The Pilot Metropolitan is at least in the conversation though, which is more than most under $30 fountain pens can claim.

Exploring a wide range of modern and vintage writing implements, and how to incorporate them into modern life, with a focus on fountain pens, fountain pen inks, woodcase pencils, and other quality stationery products (especially paper).

I bought my first fountain pen when I was living in France in 2000-2001. I was a university student at the Sciences-Po in Strasbourg, and the only one in all of my lectures who was writing with a rollerball (a Pilot V5, my then pen of choice). After a week or so of watching my new classmates write elegant cursive on their Seyes-lined paper and change their ink cartridges to switch back and forth between ink colors I had never seen, I was intrigued enough to stop by the stationery store on my way back to my apartment and pick up three student-grade fountain pens and what must have been a half gallon plastic bag of generic blue-black ink cartridges. I no longer have any of those pens, but I'm pretty sure they were a Waterman Kultur, a Sheaffer No-Nonsense, and a generic Stypen. With the lone exception of the Kultur, these pens were horrible writers, with dry, scratchy nibs and flow issues. The Stypen leaked and ruined at least two pairs of pants. But I was hooked.

I mention this story because I probably spent twice the price of a Pilot Metropolitan on those three cheaply made pens, only one of which worked *reasonably* well, and none of which I ever could have used in the professional environment I work in today. It's possible that if the Metropolitan had been available, and I had bought that pen as a student, I would still be using the same pen today, and I certainly would have been spared five years of rotating through handfuls of cheap fountain pens looking for something that was halfway reliable and wouldn't break the bank. I also can't help but think that if I caught the fountain pen bug using the "first pens" I had available to me, how many people might be converted if they had the opportunity to test the waters of the fountain pen world with an attractive, reliable pen like this one.

The body of the pen is predominantly plastic, but it has some heft to it, so I suspect there is a brass weight in the barrel. The plastic is thick and not brittle, unlike some pens billed as "beginner" or "entry level" fountain pens. It feels sturdy. It also doesn't scratch easily. I've tossed these things into various bags, pockets with keys, car glove boxes, etc. and they still look good as new. The clip is nothing special: It's not spring loaded, but it's tight, and the pen definitely stays clipped to wherever you keep it stored. Finally--my favorite part--the cap is a "click" or "slip" cap that pops on and off with a satisfying "thunk" and stays on, with no wiggle.

Unlike many (if not most) pens at this price point, the Metropolitan sports a smooth stainless steel nib that has none of the scratch first-time fountain pen users sometimes complain about. The nibs on the two Metros I have are actually smoother than many gold nibs I own. They are stiff as nails--don't be expecting any flex or significant line variation--but these pens aren't intended to write Copperplate or Spencerian. I've heard the nibs are swappable with the Prera and other mid-range Pilot pens, but I have no experience doing that and can't recommend it one way or another.

The Pilot Metropolitan is the quintessential fountain pen. Its simple black body is sleek and businesslike, tapered on both ends with little decorations, aside from a shiny black band of plastic around the barrel. The pen's brass body gives a nicely weighted feel. The Metropolitan's slick design and thoughtful packaging give it the appearance of a $50 pen, a pen that I would feel comfortable carrying in a suit pocket while attending a fancy conference or important meeting. I can't say the same about my Safari.

The Pilot Metropolitan is my first Japanese fountain pen. I read that Japanese nibs run fine compared to European nibs, so I wanted to compare the "fine" of the Metropolitan with the "fine" of my Kaweco, TWSBI, and Lamy. I've never written with a hypodermic needle before, but I bet it's much like writing with the Pilot Metropolitan for the first time. The nib scratched across the page, leaving a razor thin line, but pulling up bits of paper with it. The scratchiness went away after a few minutes of writing, but the fine line remained. The Pilot Metropolitan "fine" is dramatically finer than the "fine" of any of my European fountain pen nibs. Those looking for a similar line as a European fine nib would probably prefer the medium nib version of the Pilot Metropolitan. Despite my preference for a thicker line, the Metropolitan lays down a juicy consistent line and slides across the page effortlessly, which is surprising for its tiny nib.

At $20 or so, it's really not a question of whether or not to buy a Pilot Metropolitan. You will own one of these pens eventually. For most, the question is whether or not this should be your first fountain pen. If you're looking for a sleek but professional-looking pen to take to your jobby job, this isn't a bad place to start. It's a well-performing pen that's well built and sturdy. This is probably where I should end the review, but there's something that's been nagging me about this pen.

No one could argue that the Pilot Metropolitan isn't a very good pen for the money. The problem is, the Metropolitan just isn't very interesting. The mint Kaweco Skyline Sport was my first heavy-use pen, and I still find it so exciting to use. The color is unique, and the retro touches make it fun to use and look at. It's not a perfect pen, but it's memorable. I would never confuse a Kaweco for another brand of fountain pen. The same goes for my Lamy, with its divisive grip design, and TWSBI, with its clever nib mechanism. I've had several people compliment my Kaweco and TWSBI 580, but no one has even noticed my Metropolitan. Although the Metropolitan is a safe introduction to the world of fountain pens, it's not a very fun one.

I started writing with a fountain pen because I wanted to have fun while writing, to motivate myself to take notes and improve my handwriting. To me, quirky and unique pens are what make this hobby attractive, and this pen simply isn't either of those. The Pilot Metropolitan is a very good pen, and you'll like it if you buy it. It's only fair to note that the pen comes in a few colors and design variations, but they do little to make the pen more exciting. The question is, do you want a pen that you'll like, or do you want a pen that you'll love? I want a pen that I love to use, even if it has flaws. It's oftentimes the outrageous design choices that make pens interesting, and the Metropolitan plays it so safe that it's completely forgettable. The Pilot Metropolitan is merely a stepping stone to far more interesting writing experiences.

It's a skirmish of the starter fountain pens!In this post, we are pitting the Lamy Safari versus the Pilot Metropolitan in an all-out war of the written word. Which pen will win this decade-old rivalry? Let's find out!

Many pen enthusiasts start their journey into fountain pens with either one of these pens. They're both affordably priced under $30 USD, have dependable stainless steel nibs, and easy-to-use cartridge/converter filling systems. For a first-time experience, you really can't go wrong with either pen.

While you're here, you can enter for a chance to win your choice of a Lamy Safari or a Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen by entering in our giveaway. Earn additional entries by completing the simple tasks on the giveaway form on this page. We will randomly select winners on March 1st, which is about when we expect the new Safari Terra Red and Savannah Green to arrive.Deadline for entries is February 28th, 2021.

Both pens have a reliable and durable stainless steel nib with an iridium ball fused to the tip. The Safari and Metropolitan nibs are proprietary to their manufacturers and are made in Germany, and Japan, respectively. The Lamy LZ50SL nib can be purchased separately in a wide range of nib sizes (EF, F, M, B, LH, 1.1mm, 1.5mm, and 1.9mm) and can be swapped on any Lamy Safari, Nexx, AL-Star, Studio, Accent, and CP1 fountain pen.

The Pilot Metropolitan nib is available in F, M or a 1.0mm stub. It is also possible to exchange them between a smaller variety of Pilot fountain pens, namely the Kakuno, Plumix, and Prera models. The Metropolitan nib unit is not available for sale separately.

Both pens use the accessible cartridge/converter filling system that offers the convenience of "plug and play" disposable ink cartridges or a refillable converter to use with bottled fountain pen ink.

Pilot includes both a Pilot ink cartridge as well as a CON-20 aerometric squeeze converter with the purchase of any Metropolitan fountain pen. If you prefer using a screw-type converter, the Metropolitan is also compatible with the CON-40 converter, sold separately.

Personally, when I started writing with fountain pens, a blue safari in extra-fine was my first refillable fountain pen. It's a pen I still use today when I want to write with something that I don't mind getting knocked around. So, when people ask me which pen would I choose to start in the world of fountain pens, I would usually recommend the Safari unless they were looking for a more traditionally-styled pen design. 041b061a72


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