Pilot Capless

I sent away for a Pilot Capless a couple weeks ago.  It was coming from Japan and I’d almost forgotten about it but it arrived today.  It came in a cardboard box, wrapped up in a Japanese newspaper.  I was quite pleased with that as I’d never seen a Japanese newspaper before.  I used it as background for these photos.

Anyway, inside the cardboard box was this:
And once that was removed, there was this:
And finally we got down to this:
Having bought the cheapest version possible, I didn’t get a converter, just one Pilot cartridge.  That’s okay by me because as I understand it, the converter that comes with the pen is called the con-50 and it holds so little ink as to be useless.  Separately, I’ve ordered a con-20 converter, which I understand holds a more sensible amount of ink.
I’m not fond of gimmicky or over-engineered pens, and I expected not to be impressed by the Capless.  Actually I am, goshdarnit!  I expected it to be very heavy, given all the gubbins inside this pen, but it isn’t.  It’s a sensible weight.  I didn’t think I would enjoy writing with it but I do.
To be sure, this isn’t the pen that you would choose to write wedding invitations with, or even to do your correspondence.  There are many better pens for those jobs, most of them older than me.  However, for a pen that sits on the desk to take notes as you work it’s perfect.  The clicky mechanism that exposes the nib is light and positive and the little cover protects the nib from drying out when the pen is not in use.  To my shame, I must admit that I’ve used a rollerball in my everyday working note-taking, but no more!  The pen is actually a pleasure to write with.  The nib is a fine because that’s what you want for note-taking.  As such, it’s not the smoothest nib in the world – there is just the right amount of feedback.  It’s comfortable in the hand and the pocket clip doesn’t get in the way at all.
These, then, are the practicalities.  What about the aesthetics?  To be honest, I think it’s kind of ugly.  They say that beauty is the meeting of form and function but I don’t think it is in this case.  Given what it is expected to do it is hard to see how it could be any other shape.  It’s the Ugly Duckling that will never attain the elegance of a Swan SF230, but I like it anyway.  In consolation we can say that the gloss burgundy finish is very nice.
There is more to be said about this pen, I think, and it will all come out in time when I’ve used it a bit more.


6 thoughts on “Pilot Capless

  1. I admit the Pilot VP is not the most elegant FP on the market but it does look efficient if the writer needs to be writing often between breaks. Do you find that the ink capacity is small? Thanks.

    1. As I said in the blog post, there is a better converter than the one usually supplied which gives quite a bit more ink. At the moment I’m using the cartridge that came with it which is about average for a cartridge. As the nib is fine, I won’t get through the ink as fast as I would with a larger tip.

  2. Wow so this is basically the Japanese version of the Vanishing Point. They are the exact same pen. The VP comes in a totally different box and also includes the CON-50.

    1. It’s the same pen. It’s called Vanishing Point in America and Capless elsewhere. The deal I went for is quite a bit cheaper but it includes no converter. Considering that the converter only costs about £3, I’m still well ahead.

  3. I bought one of these in my first months of pen collecting. My partner borrow it and I have never seen it again. I would love to know how it writes.

    1. Hi Philip,

      How is the world treating you?

      I can actually add a bit to what I had earlier said about the Capless, having used it for a few days now. As I said before it is fine and firm with a little feedback. In comments, someone had mentioned that it doesn’t hold a lot of ink but with this one being fine it’s not getting through the ink too fast. Though I’ve used it for copious note taking I’m still on the one and only cartridge that it came with with. I had sent away for a converter for it and that came today. It’s not the standard converter, which is the piston type, with very little room in the barrel to accommodate it. This one is a squeeze converter which makes much more sense in the restricted space and holds quite a lot more ink.

      I have to say that I’m very taken with the Capless. I was out all day yesterday and this morning so the pen wasn’t used at all in that time but it started instantly. It actually is that rare thing – an innovation in the field of fountain pens that actually does what it’s supposed to do and does it well.

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