Review: Pilot Metropolitan

Manufacturer: Pilot | List Price: $14.99 | Buy from Amazon

MetroAs you may have noticed, last week I did an ink review of a Pilot Namiki Black cartridge. Now I didn’t reveal exactly which pen the cartridge came with explicitly, but my powers of concealment are so horrible it’s almost sad. Nevertheless, I’m happy to announce the pen replacing my old Lamy Safari as Kantaloupe’s Chief Ink Reviewer: The Pilot Metropolitan!

I found out about this pen right after I lost my Safari about three weeks ago. I went to the Fountain Pen Network to ask whether I should buy a new Lamy or get a TWSBI 580, which had gotten rave reviews last time I checked the internet fountain-pen-o-sphere. The internet replied promptly, recommending a pen I’d never heard of before, going for a mere $15. I was intrigued, so I got one. Here’s what I thought about it.

Appearance:
The Pilot Metropolitan is a pen that looks at least twice its price. The sleek and classy matte finish covers a cigar-shaped body that is embellished near the centre with the buyer’s choice of pattern. I bought one in gold with a zig-zag pattern and it looks marvelous. Of course, it’ll never be as fancy or as unique as some more expensive pens, but for its price range, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better looking pen. (4.5/5)

Quality:
This pen is well-made. There’s not a doubt about it. The body is made of solid metal, with a nib that is a little softer than the Safari’s and writes remarkably smoothly. It has a medium-heavy weight, at over 25 grammes. This could spell disaster for the slightly softer nib if dropped (my little brother did so on his Met’s first day!), and the nibs aren’t sold separately, so be wary. Also, the converter that comes with the pen is aerometric. While it is perfectly functional, it is not transparent and more difficult to clean than a regular piston-fill converter. Thankfully, the Pilot CON-50 converter does fit the Metropolitan and can be bought online for only about a fiver. These, of course, are all only minor annoyances anyway and altogether the pen is very well made. In fact, for such high quality at a low price, I’m not too sure how exactly Pilot make a profit! (4.5/5)

Writability:
As mentioned above, the Pilot Metropolitan writes smooth as silk, as I’ve heard is typical of many Japanese fountain pens. It even gives a small amount of line variation under pressure, though it hasn’t got a flex nib by any means. I have a M nib, and it writes a European F-ish wetter line, and I haven’t had it skip on me at all, save for the occasional hard start. The pen is rather heavier, but I found that I could write a two-hour, three-essay AP English exam without significant discomfort. I don’t post my cap, but posting should work beautifully, since the cap sticks well and it remains well-balanced. Some have complained that the plastic grip is too skinny compared to the barrel, and for writers who hold the pen farther from the nib, this could cause discomfort, but for those, like me, who grip closer down and especially for those who do not favour the triangle-grip, the Metropolitan is significantly more comfortable to write with than the Safari. (4.5/5)

Value:
The Metropolitan gives the best bang-for-the-buck for any pen under $50, hands down – perhaps even under $100. If the internet is to be trusted, the pen has only been out less than two years in the West and has already taken the industry by storm. For $15 most places online, plus $5 for a CON-50 if desired, you can get yourself a fountain pen with converter and dive into the world of fountain pens for less than some – albeit mighty fine-lookin’ – notebooks, which is mildly ironic. (5/5)

Verdict: (18.5/20)
Honestly, just go and get one. Don’t buy coffee for a week and you’ll have saved enough to afford it! The Pilot Metropolitan has redefined the industry and I hope other fountain pen manufacturers try to match it, because Pilot have shown that it certainly is possible to offer both quality and value in a fountain pen.

List Price: $14.99 | Buy from Amazon

Have you used a Pilot Metropolitan? What do you think of it? Tell us in the comments!

Also, be sure to check out the rest of our writing-related reviews and articles!

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