Okay, I thought I would start off 2017 with one of my grail pens. People in the fountain pen world talk about their “grail” pen, or one of the pens that is their goal to get and is an accomplishment when they do so. The vanishing point is mine because it takes a fountain pen and makes it the most functional for my everyday life, a retractable, clicky pen!
First Impressions: I picked the matte black vanishing point, and it looks amazing in entire matte black with a black nib! When I first saw it out of the box, I thought, “this is the definition of a murdered-out pen.” It comes in a very nice black case, that is awesome for presentation as a present or just storage.
Design/Features: The vanishing point is a retractable fountain pen, so it is probably one of the most unique fountain pen mechanical designs. The tip had a closure so when the nib is retracted it also prevents the nib from drying out. The “section” area does taper to the tip, but it is difficult to call it a section because of its unique retractable design. The clip is placed near the tip and on top of the pen, which sits between your fingers when you hold the pen to write. The clip placement the largest point of contention for owners/users (more in the feel section below). The end of the pen has a retractable mechanism that you click, which is sturdy and gives a nice, satisfying click. I appreciate that the pen includes a con-50 converter along with a metal cap for any pilot cartridges that you want to use.
Feel in the Hand: I really enjoy the matte finish when writing because it gives a little more friction. The width of the pen is nice and I can even write longer journal entries without my fingers cramping. The big controversial aspect of the design is the clip located near the nib, which lies between your fingers when you write. Now, I understand that different people have different grips, but for my grip, the clip does not bother me at all. Also, Pilot cut the clip in a little near the “section”, so your fingers can be closer together if you so desire. The pen also has a nice heft to it, reminding me that I am actually holding a pen and I don’t have to press to write!
Writing: I chose the fine nib because Japanese nibs tend to run smaller than European nib and I like writing with fine nibs especially in the hospital. The nib, for a Japanese fine, is quite smooth, even on steno pad paper, and the flow is good with no pressure, just the weight of the pen. One thing I do warn about is leaving the pen inked. I left it inked for about 2 weeks without any use and it tended to hard start for about a day of use before it returned to zero hard starts or skips. I think it’s because the converter does not hold much ink, so it tends to dry if left too long. Otherwise, I have had no issues with hard starts or skips on any paper.
Use in clinic/hospital: I love this pen on wards and in the clinic because I don’t have to uncap the pen – all I must do is click it and it’s there, click it again and I don’t have to worry about it drying up. So no matter if it’s a quick note, or a long paper note that I have to write, this pen is there when I need it. Also, since the clip is at the tip, when I put it in my pocket there is no ink leaking in my white coat or pants, which has been a problem in the past with other pens. When people find out about the pen, they are intrigued, however unless you are around fountain pen uses, I don’t think “borrowing” will be an issue. The downside is the limited ink capacity and no ink window. The largest converter that fits is the con-50, which holds about a little less than a pilot cartridge worth of ink. Depending on how much writing I did, some days I would need to refill at night for the next day. Also, there is no ink window to tell how much ink is left.
Price: The pen costs $148 on Goulet Pens. This is not a pen that I would suggest someone start on with fountain pens, but once you are comfortable writing with a fountain pen, then I would suggest looking at this as a everyday carry upgrade pen.
To be honest, when I bought this pen and prior to its delivery I was nervous regarding if I was going to like this pen or not. Well, after using it for over 2 months, I have to say it is probably my favorite pen that I have ever used to date. It has the usability of any retractable pen, but it is still a fountain pen and I can change ink at any time, and it feels good in my hand. The downside of the pen is the limited ink capacity and no ink window. However, all things considered, this is the best fountain pen, in my opinion, for the wards and clinic even with the downsides.