Pilot Vanishing Point Matte Black Review

Pilot Vanishing Point Case - Looks kinda like a pen funeral going on here

Pilot Vanishing Point Case – Looks kinda like a pen funeral going on here

As much as I love things that are all black, I do get a craving for some color once in a while.  This picture of the Pilot Vanishing Point fountain pen in its box reminded me how important it is to have some color in your life, hence the first image above with the bow ties for the background.  This particular Pilot Vanishing Point in matte black comes courtesy of our friends at JetPens where they have plenty in stock.

Pilot Vanishing Point Matte Black Close up of Nib and clip

Pilot Vanishing Point Matte Black Close up of Nib and Clip

The close up photo of the Pilot Vanishing Point in Matte Black above shows one of the more subtle but unique things about this pen that I really like.  If you look closely at the clip you can see that there are two scallops on either side towards the near end.  These are perfectly curved so that you can rest the tips of your thumb and index fingers for a very comfortable grip.  It also gives you some subtle guidance as to how you should be  holding the pen.

Pilot Vanishing Point Matte Black Nib and Cowel

Pilot Vanishing Point Matte Black Nib and Cowel

One thing you will notice is that the nib on the Pilot Vanishing Point is very small compared to most other nibs.  Its really pretty cool to think about the fact that this is a retractable fountain pen and how precise the mechanism here had to be designed.  The smooth action on the plunger for this pen almost makes you forget how odd it is that you are writing with a fountain pen thats retractable.  Notice the shape of the opening for the nib on the pen body?  With most retractable pens you would just see a perfect circle there for the pen tip to come out, but with a fountain pen you end up with a uniquely shaped challenge.  Put the pen together in the wrong position and it won’t work.  Not to worry though, the good folks at Pilot made it very easy not to screw this up, you will see the simple solution below in a minute.

Pilot Vanishing Point Cowl Removed

Pilot Vanishing Point Cowl Removed

Here is a closer look at the mechanism that keeps the nib of the Pilot Vanishing point protected and concealed when not in use.  The silver bottom part there with the spring is the little trap door that the nib pushes open, and that closes once the nib is retracted.

Pilot Vanishing Point Matte Black with Ink and Converter

Pilot Vanishing Point Matte Black with Ink and Converter

The Pilot Vanishing Point comes with the nib and converter seen in the foreground, as well as one ink cartridge.  Because the nib and converter make up the retractable workings of this pen, you can easily swap the nib for a different size with minimal effort.  Its easier than changing the ink because you literally just unscrew the pen, take the old nib out, and put the new one in.

Pilot Vanishing Point Inserting the Converter Unit

Pilot Vanishing Point Inserting the Converter Unit

Remember before when I said that because of the shape of a fountain pen nib you need to be careful about how you reassemble the pen, and that Pilot made it easy to not screw up?  Above is what I was talking about.  That notch in the threaded end of the body and the raised tab on the converter align perfectly so that when you slide it in properly, the nib also comes out of the hole at the end of the body at the perfect angle.  You basically cant put the Pilot Vanishing Point together incorrectly.

Pilot Vanishing Point Matte Black Ink on Nib

Pilot Vanishing Point Matte Black Ink on Nib

Trying to keep with the idea of adding a splash more color here and there, when I was loading up the pen for about the 4th time now I thought it looked kinda cool all messy like this so I snapped a quick picture.  I mention that it was about the fourth time I filled the pen because I get the sense that the converter really doesn’t hold a ton of ink as I don’t usually have to fill up this often.

Pilot Vanishing Point Fine Nib Writing Sample Black n Red Notebook

Pilot Vanishing Point Fine Nib Writing Sample Black n Red Notebook

Writing with the pen has been awesome to say the least.  I love the quickness with which  you can open and close the pen because of the retractable nature of it.  Even for such a small fine nib, the pen writes incredibly smoothly.  Its been my every day pen for about two months now and has done well with the above pictured Pelikan Edelstein Topaz ink on both Rhodia Levenger Circa refills as well as Black n’ Red notebooks and the 100g paper found in the Levenger smartPlanner.

The overall balance of the pen is great, and long writing sessions don’t seem to cause any sort of fatigue.  I’ve only noticed two minor issues with the pen so far.  My first issue was that the plunger itself can be slightly rattly at times.  Its not a huge deal but that is one thing that always gets under my skin, when you are writing and you hear rattling or can feel it going on.  Second was an interesting anomaly where I found that Noodler’s Bad Green Gator ink did not behave well in the pen.  Quite often when I would deploy or retract the nib, there would be a faint mist or spattering of ink due to the movement of the nib.  Initiallly I thought this was a problem with the pen, but when I went back and re-read my review I recalled that the Noodler’s Bad Green Gator ink actually caused a bunch of nib creep, so it makes sense that the mechanical action of the pen would cause some splatter if there was excess ink getting on the nib.  All in all this is a great pen that I’ve converted to my go to every day pen for now.

Pilot Vanishing Point Matte Black Summary

A few things to keep in mind about this pen.  First, you definitely wont want to use an ink that is known for having some nib creep because you will probably end up with it spattering on your paper, clothes or desk.  Second, if you are terribly adverse to the plunger rattle sound and feel, stay away from this pen, although I did get used to it.  Lastly, check out some other reviews, especially this one from EdJelley where he mentions the issue with the finish starting to come off.  I have not had the pen long enough for that to become an issue, but this definitely seems to be happening for some folks.  Either way I really love writing with this pen so its a permanent part of my rotation for now.  Special thanks again to our friends at JetPens for sending over this Pilot Vanishing Point in matte black.

©2014, Brian Greene. All rights reserved.

Want Our Latest Posts Delivered to you via Email?

Get notifications of new posts right to your inbox. Keep in mind you will only want one of these, not both. The weekly summary is a compilation of the daily email.

Comments

  1. 1
    Adam says:

    Good review. I’ve had my Matte Black VP since December, and I have to agree with this review. It’s a great pen, and the retractable point makes it very convenient for taking quick notes.

    I’ve also noticed the tendency for nib creep with certain inks (I’ve seen it with Noodler’s X Feather). I don’t think the pen itself is any more susceptible to nib creep than others, but the tiny nib means that ink can almost cover the whole thing. I’ve got mine loaded with Aurora Black at the moment, and have had no issues with it.

    To expand on what you mentioned in the review the easily removable nib unit not only allows you to change nibs, but conversely to change pen bodies too. I’ve been tempted to buy another body (which are available separately) for different occasions. The black one for work, and a gloss white for Weddings and Christenings :)

  2. 2
    David says:

    I owned a Pilot VP, and sold it PDQ. I couldn’t get past the clip being in the section/grip area. But it seems most people have no problem with this. The Matte Black version of the VP would look a lot better with the gold nib instead of the plated gold in my opinion. I too have heard of the finish wearing off on this particular model VP as well. But I’ll never know in-person because as I said, I’m pretty much done when it somes to the Pilot VP.

    Thanks for the review, especially the pic showing the nib door open with the nib extended. That aspect of the pen is often overlooked in VP pen reviews.

  3. 3
    Evan Dust says:

    I have always loved the Vanishing Point pens since I received one as a gift from a prior wife (the pen lasted longer than the marriage). That pen died when I broke the body by putting it in a front jeans pocket one busy Saturday and forgot about it until I found it in two pieces later that day!

  4. 4
    Andrew says:

    How did you get the front cowl off? Did it go back on ok?

  5. 5
    Brian Greene says:

    @adam – Thanks, and thank you for your additional feedback. I like your idea about switching up the bodies to be more suitable/specific to certain events.

    @david – Thanks for your feedback/perspective, its always good to hear what everyone else has to say. I love writing here and reviewing things, but sometimes I worry about it being just my one voice and perspective on items.

    @Evan Dust – Thats a bummer about both situations. Maybe a new pen for the new year will prove to bring you better luck!

    @Andrew – I’m not sure if its really meant to come off but I just gave it a bit of a twist and it came off, definitely went back on and has stayed on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *