When I saw the pictures of the Pilot Varsity Fountain Pens (via Amazon) with their new body designs, I quickly remembered how much I didn’t really like the design of the old bodies, which you can see in our previous review here. I figured I’d grab a pack of these to see if anything else seems to have changed.
So first things first, the new body designs. The previous bodies of the Pilot Varsity were mostly silver with some thicker black stripes, and a huge swatch of text reading “Varsity” across the body. As you can see with the new design, they’ve totally toned down the size of the “Varsity” name and completely gave up on the stripes. I think the new diamond pattern that is mostly black and silver definitely has a more modern and subtle look.
What remains the same on the new Pilot Varsity? Somewhat disappointingly, everything else remains the same on the new Pilot Varsity. If I had my choice I would definitely have redesigned the cap a bit as I just am not a big fan of the small ball at the end of the clip that you see in the lower left corner of the above picture.
One of the things that didn’t change that I’m very happy about is the writing experience with the Pilot Varsity. I’ve never used the purple or black before, but much like the blue each of the other colors lay down smooth and solid lines with no issues whatsoever. In terms of the blue vs. purple though it would be nice if there was a little more variation between the two. I think that the blue has a slightly purple hint to it, but I only really notice this when comparing the two side by side. As stand alone colors I think each on its own look great though. One other really nice thing about the Pilot Varsity is that they start writing instantly. There was no waiting for the feed to fill with ink, they were just good to go from the second I opened the package and put nib to paper.
One slightly surprising thing that I noticed with these new versions of the Pilot Varsity was that on the blue pen, it showed a spattering of nib creep. It was only a minimal amount that didn’t impact my writing with them, and it never got on any other surfaces either. You can see the blue nib in the foreground of the above photo to get an idea of how minimal the nib creep was here.
Now let me be clear here, the packaging and marketing materials for the new version of the Pilot Varsity never claim to be waterproof or even water resistant, however I thought I’d give it a quck test by wetting my finger and running it across my writing sample. I think the results above don’t need any further explanation. This definitely isn’t a bad thing in my opinion, but just wanted to cal lit out quickly. Anyway, if you like the simplicity and reliability of the old Pilot Varsity, but are like me and didn’t like the looks of them, the newly redesigned Pilot Varsity (via Amazon) is definitely for you.