Monday, January 20, 2014

Pilot Metropolitan: Idleness Update

Here’s an update to my Jan. 7 product review of the Pilot Metropolitan. Before giving it an across-the-board favorable review, I wanted to see how it would do after sitting idle for a period of time. Although all fountain pens have to be used regularly to keep them flowing well, I’ve discovered that some can be left idle longer than others.

To test how the Metropolitan idles, I filled it with water-soluble Diamine Denim ink on Jan. 3, and I stopped using it on Jan. 5. Stored upright (nib pointing up), it sat in a cup on my desk untouched for 14 days. Yesterday I pulled the cap off and put the nib to paper – and it worked immediately from the first stroke as smoothly as ever. I kept writing for a page in my journal, and it never missed a beat. By comparison, I’ve had some Lamys filled with water-soluble Diamine inks sit idle for far less than two weeks – probably no more than a week – and they sometimes take a while to get flowing again. (Results have varied. The pen? The ink? I’d have to do a more controlled testing than I have patience for to know for sure.)

Results might be quite different with a waterproof ink like my favorite Platinum Carbon. I rarely go as long as even a week without using Platinum Carbon, so it would be an unusual circumstance to let it idle that long. But I’m curious, so I’ll try another test soon: Fill the Pilot Metropolitan with Platinum Carbon and leave it idle for two weeks.

I have a feeling the Pilot Metropolitan might kick the Lamy off my top 10! 

Edited 2/7/14: On Jan. 24, I filled both my Pilot Metropolitan and my Lamy Vista with waterproof Platinum Carbon ink. Today, 14 days later, both pens were clogged and skippy when I first tried to write with them. I tried holding a wet paper towel against the nibs for a bit and wiping any ink off. The Lamy required a complete nib flushing to get it flowing properly again. But the Metro was flowing smoothly again after only the paper towel wipe. As I mentioned earlier, it’s unlikely that I would go two weeks without using Platinum Carbon, so this was mostly a theoretical test, but the results are interesting nonetheless.


  1. Interesting. I do not have one, probably because from Goulet Pens, it only comes with a medium nib. Same at Jet Pens, so that must be the only option

    1. I'm watching Brian Goulet's most recent Q&A (pens, paper, ink) in which he mentions a video he did about his 3 favorite carry pens. One of them IS the Metropolitan and in the text he writes that though it's labeled a Medium nib, it's more of a Fine.

    2. Hi Kate,

      I've heard that Japanese nib sizes are generally finer than nibs made in other countries. I think the Pilot Metropolitan is about the same as a Lamy F.

  2. Sound like this could be a winner. Thanks for the update.


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