Everyone’s Favorite Starter Pen

The Pilot Metropolitan is, according to most internet sources, the Go-To fountain pen for newcomers. With the low price tag of around $15, and Pilot pedigree, it’s easy to see why.


I started with the simple basic black Metropolitan with the Fine nib. The pen is shipped in a sleek plastic box with one Pilot black proprietary ink cartridge and one squeeze converter. As I have come to learn from other pen bloggers, the Japanese Fine point is much finer than other nibs. Having come to this fountain pen directly from the Uni-Ball Signo, I found the effect on paper to be very similar; a very clean and fine black line. As this was my first fountain pen, I didn’t really know what to expect, but I did soon realize that I didn’t need nearly as much pressure to lay the same line. As you would expect, the ink flows very cleanly even from this tiny point. I did initially notice a slight scratching sensation on the paper, particularly when making a horizontal movement, however the more I use the pen and refine my grip and writing posture, the smoother it gets.

After a month of fairly regular use, I began to get a little bored with the fine point nib. Although technically the Metropolitan doesn’t offer or advertise replacement nibs, it is compatible with nibs from the Pilot Plumix and Penmanship which offer a Medium Italic Nib and an Extra Fine Nib respectively. Since I had previously purchased the Plumix, I was able to convert the Metropolitan to an Italic with fairly minimal effort. This opened up a whole new level of expressive penmanship for me. The 1.1 Italic nib has a lot of line variation. That being said, it does take a bit more discipline than the rounded of even a fine point. The position of the pen in your hand has to be perfect so the full edge of the point contacts the paper.

The pen itself is fairly standard. It looks clean, professional, and at home on any professional desk or in a briefcase. Pilot also offers a series of colors and patterns for the metropolitan. If I had to make the choice again I would probably go with something a little less bland. There is nothing externally on the Pilot Metropolitan that stands out as a fountain pen. A quick glance from a passer-by would leave the impression of just some metal barrel desk pen. And that is really the only issue I have with this pen. I would classify this pen as an under-cover pen addict’s pen. It’s a fountain pen, you can use a converter and any bottled ink, but it looks like a standard executive-style writer. For anyone who wants to test the waters of the Fountain Pen world, but you don’t want to risk a bigger up-front investment, I absolutely recommend the Pilot Metropolitan.

Purchased from JetPens.com.

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