Fountain pen reviews can be tricky because it’s difficult to communicate how a certain pen feels when writing. We can say a certain nib is dry or wet, but to what degree? It’s so subjective. What may be dry to me may not be the same for you. That’s why I decided it’d be a good idea to come up with a relative score. If I score the Pilot Metropolitan a certain way, for example, and you’ve had experience with the same pen, you can now use those scores as a baseline. This baseline is helpful when looking at a review for a pen that you’ve never picked up before. Now you can easily tell how dry or wet the nib is. So my next thought was: which traits should I try to score? I thought it would be useful to focus on the nib since that’s the business end of the writing experience. Physical attributes like length, weight, and diameter can already be easily quantified. In a sense, those attributes already have a built-in relative score.
I chose three traits:
Flex - how easy it is to spread the tines and create line variation (1 being a nail and 10 being a wet noodle)
Flow - how wet or dry a nib writes (1 being like a desert and 10 being a gusher)
Feedback - how smoothly the nib glides across the paper (1 being like glass and 10 being full of friction)
I use the same ink and paper to keep variables constant. There are definitely dryer and wetter inks, so it's inaccurate to rate a nib dry if the ink is at fault. You can find my current ratings below. I'll keep adding reviews here as they're published.
I’m by no means saying this is the perfect system, but I’m hoping that it helps to communicate what it is I feel when using these fountain pens. What are your thoughts? Is it helpful or not so much? Are there ways I could improve communicating a pen’s performance? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!