I've been running this blog for over two years now. I've reviewed well over a hundred fountain pens, pencils, inks, paper products,... In these reviews I always made sure to give you my personal thoughts and opinion.
But the thing is: I've changed. My opinion changed. Which is quite normal if you see from where I came, and where I am right now. My collection has grown substantially over these past two years (I blame my blog for that, but actually it's just my neverending craving for pens!). With getting a bit older, I also got into more expensive pens, Quality over quantity, you could say.
A while ago, I came across some of my older posts, which made me question myself really. I wrote things that I probably wouldn't say today. That's why I decided to start doing re-reviews of products I wrote about in the beginning of my pen-blogging career!
The first pen that gets a thorough second opinion is the ever-so popular Pilot Vanishing point. I bought this pen almost exactly two years ago. It has an ugly scratch near the tip on the rhodium plating, which is why I got it cheap. I got it in blue, only BECAUSE it was cheap (I actually very much dislike blue...). Back in the days, I wrote a pretty positive review about it. I didn't really have many nice pens, only one gold-nibbed fountain pen, and that was it. Needless to say everything above average was enough to really impress me. The Pilot VP is above average, but that's about it if you ask me.
Don't get me wrong though, the VP is a solid writer. The 14k nib (Medium) performs very good out of the box, and it's a reliable writer. But it isn't much more than that. It writes a hair finer than a regular European medium, and it has very good, balanced flow. It's not the smoothest nib in the world, which is good, because it only costs about a third of the actual smoothest nib I own. It's not a scratchy nib either, definitely not, but it has some feedback to it.
My biggest issue with this pen, is the blandness. It's a boring pen. I can understand that some people rave about the utilitarian awesomeness of the VP. Because it IS actually a very practical and user friendly pen. But I wouldn't understand if anyone said this is the nicest pen they have ever seen or used. It's a well-designed, well-manufactured pen at most, with excellent fit and finish, good balance, and a pretty comfortable shape (minus the clip that annoys some people when writing...). But it doesn't do much for me, designwise. It's not a 'true' fountain pen in some regards.
To me, part of a nice fountain pen is the ritual of uncapping, holding the cap in one hand, or posting it. A real fountain pen has a meticulously engraved nib, preferably rather large and a bit springy. The VP doesn't provide that, and therefore it lacks a certain 'je-ne-sais-quoi' that I expect to find when using a fountain pen.
That 'lack of fountain pen-ness' is what keeps me from saying this is a great pen. To be honest, it even keeps me from using it. In the two years of owning it, it got into rotation twice, and even then it only survived about three or four days before ending back in storage.
The Pilot Vanishing point, in essence, shows how I feel about fountain pens. I'm a pretty 'conservative' collector. I like pens that stay true to certain values and principles. I like simple pens without much gimmicks or special features.
The VP doesn't really abide by my idea of a 'great' pen, and therefore doesn't get the attention it deserves. I guess I should give it at least SOME credit. Because in the end, love it or hate it, the truth is that the VP is one of the most innovative and user friendly fountain pens around. It would most likely be the one fountain pen that would make it in a world full of BIC users, perhaps just because it isn't all that different...
'It works, it works well. But it won't win a beauty contest...
nor a place in my top five'