Realizing I can’t review only ballpoint pens, I decided to review the Namiki Vanishing Point fountain pen. If you are someone who uses fountain pens, especially if you need one you can carry reliably, the Namiki is for you. These are the only retractable fountain pens out there, and they write wonderfully.
The pen can be filled via cartridge or converter, but I use cartridges because a) Namiki ink is among the most waterproof and fade resistant, b) I can carry spare cartridges a lot easier than an ink pot, and c) Who doesn’t love Pilot-Blue ink?
The pen is fairly comfortable to hold, with the pocket clip aligning the pen into proper writing position. I don’t care for the ultra smooth gripping surface – a matte surface would be easier to hold on to, although probably not as attractive. The clicker mechanism is not very quiet, but has a solid, positive feel to it. There is a sort of trap door that seals the nib from the outside, with the idea of keeping it moist and ready to write. It mostly works really well – too well, as it’s easy to forget to empty this pen if it’s going to be left unused for a while.
When then pen is opened, there is a central portion that is the nib and ink feed, with the cartridge or converter attached. No other parts come out of the pen, and the architecture makes it easy to swap nibs and bodies if you have more than one. I have the feaux carbon fiber, and an older green one, with one medium and one fine nib. The fine is very fine, and the medium is more like a fine in other brands.
The reveal is a tad too short – it can be difficult to grab the pen out of a tight sleeve or pocket, but most of the time this isn’t a problem. The clip is a simple spring style, but has pretty good grip if not much capacity. It certainly seems strong enough, and I’ve had no problems with it loosening.
I love my Namiki’s, and will never sell them. They’re great writers and are easy to carry. The only downside is that, being fountain pens, they don’t write on many kinds of paper you commonly run across in daily life. However, for serious note-taking, nothing beats a fountain pen for reducing hand fatigue. If you are looking for a reasonably priced (~$100) fountain pen and would prefer something simple to own, try a Namiki Vanishing Point.