July 09, 2021 3 min read 20 Comments
For my very first fountain pen review, I thought it’d be fitting to start with my very first fountain pen. Like many folks my age, I wasn’t familiar with using fountain pens, so I took to the internet to research what my options were. One pen consistently popped up as a great choice for beginners: the Pilot Metropolitan. It seemed to check all the right boxes: solid performance, durable, and reasonably priced at around $20. Here, I’m going to write about some of its attributes, how it writes, as well as what I like and don’t like so much. Feel free to let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments below.
One of the things that attracted me to the Metropolitan is its classic look. Its cigar-shaped brass body adds a bit of heft, so it feels substantial compared to plastic pens in the same price range.
I opted for it in black, though it does come in plenty of color/patterned variations. It has a standard clip and snap cap, making it fast to use when jotting a short, quick note.
The steel nib and plastic feed are friction fit and are easy to pull out for cleaning. This is a medium nib, which is a great all-around size. It makes a thinner line when compared to its European counterparts, like the Lamy Safari.
To fill, there are a few options. All of Pilot’s pens use proprietary converters. This means that a standard international cartridge or another company’s cartridges/converters won’t fit. The Metro comes with a squeeze converter as well as a black ink cartridge. The Pilot CON-40 piston converter will fit as well, but the larger CON-70 will not. This is one gripe about the Metropolitan: if you write a lot like me, you’ll have to refill frequently with the small cartridge converters. That said, it may be an excuse to try out a bunch of different ink colors.
Here is a quick writing sample. It’s in our Field Journal (Dot Grid Refill), which uses Tomoe River 68 gsm paper. The ink is Iroshizuku Shinkai. As far as how it writes, here is the nib score (if you’d like to learn more about how I developed this nib score, click here).
As a quick comparison to a pen in a similar price range, I rate the Lamy Safari as follows:
Lots of folks ask me for fountain pen recommendations. If they’re just starting out, the Metropolitan will always be one of the three that I suggest. Even though it was my first pen (and I’ve purchased many since), I still use the Metro on a semi-regular basis. It’s the perfect pen to keep at your desk to journal or to carry around town in case you quickly need to jot some notes. The durable, metal body makes a great knockaround everyday carry pen. It’s a solid writer at a great price and you can’t go wrong whether you’re new to fountain pens or have been using them for years.
What do you think? If you have a Metro (or several) do you agree or disagree with this assessment? If you’re new to fountain pens, do you have any other topics you’d like me to discuss? Let me know down in the comments below.