Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen
- Review Paper: Nanami Paper Seven Seas Writer
- Time Owned: ~4 Years (since 7/13/2012)
- Nib: 18k gold
- Material: Metal Body and components
- Filling Mechanism: Cartridge / Converter
- Weight: 30 grams
- Measurements: 140mm
- Ink Capactiy: ~0.7-0.9ml
- Link to Original Review
- Buy on Amazon
The whole point of the “Review Redux” series is to tell you if a pen has held up over the years, especially once that honeymoon period is over. You can check out my last entry in the series on the Lamy 2000 here. This time, I’m revisiting the Pilot Vanishing Point fountain pen in matte black. I’ve owned the pen for just over four years, read on to see how it’s held up!
The matte black finish on the VP has its fair share of complaints. Some users report that the finish wears off, and others went as far as sending theirs back to Pilot for replacement. I haven’t sent mine back, but admittedly I usually carried the pen in a case. You can start to see some spots where the brass is showing beneath the surface of the finish, and honestly I can’t wait for more of it to show through. It reminds me of an old black Leica where the brassing comes through the finish, resulting in a beautiful vintage look. I hope that my VP gets there some day! The metal body has been quite durable, no major dings, scratches, or dents.
The nib on the VPs tend to run a bit dry, and the fine nib on mine was no exception. Since it’s a Japanese pen, the nib sizes tend to run a full size smaller than their Western counterparts. After a few months with the fine, I sold it off and bought a medium nib unit from Richard Binder that was adjusted for smoothness and increased ink flow. Boy is it great. It’s glassy smooth, lays down a ton of ink, and is a pleasure to write with. Since the ink capacity is on the lower end, it does need to be topped off more frequently. I’m much happier with the pen since swapping the nib out, I’m glad I went for it.
Mechanically, the pen has performed well. The click mechanism is operating just as well as it did on day one. There are a lot of moving parts in the VP, and I’m happy to report that none of them have broken. Between the click mechanism, trap door that keeps the nib wet, and awkwardly (for some, not me) placed clip there’s a lot going on. I haven’t had any problems with the pen and I’m sure it will continue to serve me well for years to come.
The Pilot Vanishing Point was my second expensive pen purchase. Way back when I first started the site, I was between the Lamy 2000 and the Vanishing Point. I opted for the Lamy 2000 initially, but it didn’t take long for me to add the VP to my cart. The pen is convenient for quick notes and was great throughout classes in college. I still use the pen, but admittedly not as much as I used to. I’m not even entirely sure why, as it’s a great writer that’s nice and portable. Redoing this review prompted me to ink up the pen and I’m excited to use it at work this upcoming week.
- Unique design and sleek looks
- Retractable nib for quick notes
- Metal construction has held up
- Fine nib was dry and scratchy
- Finish isn’t so durable (not a problem for me)
- Small ink capacity
Does It Hold Up?
Yes, I believe it does. The Pilot VP has been around in one form or another for many years now, and I don’t think it’s going anywhere. Since my initial purchase I’ve acquired two more VPs (but sold them – I didn’t need three) because I liked the first one so much. Pilot regularly releases different colors and finishes, so there’s no hints that they’re abandoning the form factor. Over time, I’ve used my VP less and less, but after spending some time with it I am excited again to use it. It’s been durable and convenient over the years, definitely pick this one up with confidence.
If you like what you’ve read, you can pick up your own Pilot Vanishing Point through this affiliate link. Any purchases made through this link help support the site and they’re much appreciated!
8 thoughts on “Review Redux – Four Years with the Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen”
Thanks for the redux review! I have a VP of similar vintage and get a similar “I should use this more often” feeling when I pick it up. Mine is gray with the matte black trim, and the main place I’ve noticed the brassing is on the nock plunger from sliding in and out. In your pictures it looks like that area is still pretty black.
I’ve seen more brassing around the middle of the pen body and on the end. Nothing too visible on the plunger.
I love the leica brassing reference! Plus reminds me of the Japanese term for beauty through usage, wabi-sabi.
Thanks! It definitely does, and as long as something isn’t trashed, I definitely don’t mind showing a little wear!
As I am only 6 months into my Vanishing Point ownership, I read your review with great interest. I noticed you list the 2mL ink capacity as a con but your review redux of the Lamy 2000 lists the same 2mL ink capacity as a pro. Does this reflect a change in your thinking or is your VP nib, which you had adjusted to increase flow, just blow through the ink faster? Incredible photography as always.
That’s actually a typo! I copied the format of the Lamy post (for consistency) and neglected to update the ink capacity. I’ve updated the post.
The VP takes a converter, and the Pilot ones hold between 0.7 and 0.9ml of ink. I don’t think I made the wrong choice in getting the nib adjusted, as I like the way it writes MUCH better. It would definitely go longer between fillings if I had kept the original fine nib.
Thank you for the kind words!
Good review. Mine is the perspective od one who has relied on Vanishing Points daily for more than 20 years.
The Vanishing Point is a great pen. If you work with a pen – editing, interlining, etc. – this is your pen. Comfortable to use all day. Does the clip interfere with the grip? Not to me. I think it helps to index my customary grip location. Of the nibs, i like fine the best. No more 2-handed manipulation of caps. Just click and you’re in, or done with, business. The mechanism doesn’t leak. In 20 years of constantly carrying one in shirt pocket, I’ve never had any damage from a leaking VP. Have I ever put one in my pocket without first clicking it shut? Well, technically, that’s not leaking. The converter could hold more ink, but let’s ignore that. When you have the pen in hand, you will see the mechanism works brilliantly; over time, you will learn that it just keeps on doing it. Nervous habits? Perfect. Click away, in and out; try to click it to failure. If you discover how many protract/retract cycles are engineered into the VP, let the rest of us know. Is there an Achilles Heel? Yes, and you can bet it’s not the fault of the genius responsible for designing the mechanism. Look at the tip, at the hole where the nib goes in and out. That tip is not made for the working world, in which a pens rolls off a desk top, or an ace writer stirs from the sofa, forgetting the pen in the lap. Though the nib is retracted (please say it is), the metal around the tip takes the brunt of outrageous fortune. And it should be thicker. It takes some time, but eventually, that metal tip will start to show hairline cracks radiating out from the edges of the opening. Then pieces will fall away; where the neat hole was, appears a jagged, yawning cavity. Like where the country singer’s heart (and yours, if you love the pen) used to be. With a reinforced tip – another mil or two of thickness, or maybe some tempered steel there instead of pot metal – this pen would be perfection. Get one. You won’t regret it. Yes, there will be suffering, like the suffering you know is coming as you grow to love a special pet; Yes, this pen will hurt you, but it will hurt you good.