Eversince I have started using fountain pens for daily writing (especially at work), one of my few apprehensions is that I always fear losing the pen cap. During hospital duty, everything can happen so fast: one minute you’re quietly writing orders on hospital charts, and the next minute, you’re already prepping for emergency endotracheal intubation on a patient at the emergency room. I used to write with retractable ballpoint pens and since I have switched to fountain pens, I terribly miss the efficiency of having clicky ballpens for writing on the go and I wanted it with the same writing experience I have with fountain pens.
Then, I discovered Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen.
I usually would go for the white pens (hello, my White Walkers!) but the matte black of Pilot Vanishing Point has a subtle charm to it and I love how it isn’t a smudge-magnet. Useful indeed, when my hand is already grimy and I’ve to write things in a hurry.
The pen came in with this basic sturdy box with a cartridge, a cartridge container, and a CON-40 converter. I still have an old CON-40 lying around so I just used that and saved the converter that came with the pen as a backup. I might switch to the cartridge soon, since it can contain more ink compared to the converter (0.80 mL ink capacity of the Pilot Namiki Cartridge versus the 0.61 mL ink capacity of CON-40).
This is how the pen looks like when disassembled. The nib is actually part of a “nib unit” which is composed of the black-ionized 18k gold nib plus the feed mechanism and housing. It is easy to clean and easy to swap with other Pilot/Namiki Vanishing Point fountain pen models. So, if you’re feeling the broad nib better on a particular day, you can simply just bring the extra nib and swap it when you need to use it.
Just remember to slide that protuberance in the nib unit into that notch in the body of the Vanishing Point.
I have an EF black-ionized 18k gold nib in my Vanishing Point Matte Black, since I write small and I’m used to writing very fine lines. It’s also a foolproof solution to writing on cheap, non-fountain pen-friendly paper. Some people may find the EF nib of the VP a bit scratchy, but I did not have any such experience. Or probably it’s because I was using wet inks mostly.
And then, of course, the novelty of this pen lies in the complex gliding mechanism that enables one to hide/unhide (cover/uncover) that nib without the need for cap. Goldspot has a nice illustration of how that nib mechanism works. So far, I have not experienced ink drying out because it is capless. And due to the unique position of the clip, one can be sure that the pen will not leak its ink on your shirt pocket, if you have your pen clipped there.
However, that clip position may be bothersome for other people who do not grip their pens on the sides. As shown in the photo above, I also have a grip different from most people, but I don’t find the clip bothersome. I actually find holding it this way somehow stabilizes my writing and helps me write faster. Thus, the Vanishing Point serves my need for minimum effort writing for toxic duties. And since it is capless, I don’t need to worry about placing a cap on a desk while I write hurriedly and then finding it rolling on the blood-stained floor of the emergency room.
The Pilot Vanishing Point fountain pen is, indeed, a marriage of beautiful, fluid writing experience of a fountain pen and the effortless, on-demand efficiency of a retractable ballpoint pen. There are other brands that also produce retractable fountain pens, like the Lamy Dialog, but I am hoping that there will be more brands producing their own take on retractable fountain pens.