Sunday, November 20, 2016


Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen review
The Pilot Metropolitan is a pen I've held off from for several years before buying one last summer. I have a couple Pilot Prera's, which are decent writers, but I never really cared much for them. So I figured I'd think the same about the Metropolitan, (or MR as they are called in some places). Spending a couple months with one proved my bias wrong...

Despite being a relatively cheap offering, the Pilot Metropolitan is a serious pen. It can hold its own, even outside that 15-25$ price range. But especially in that economy price range, which is quite a competitive one with a bunch of interesting alternatives, the Metropolitan is perhaps one of the strongest from the bunch. 
Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen review
Starting off with the cigar-shaped metal body. The MR immediately has the edge on many sub-25$ counterparts in terms of durability. That doesn't mean plastic pens like the Lamy Safari or Kaweco Sport aren't sturdy, but the metal build on the metropolitan does give it a more 'premium' feel.
Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen review
The brass cap and barrel have a matte metallic coating that has a very pleasant 'soft' feel in the hand. The center of the pen has a wide decorative band, which has a slightly textured pattern etched or printed on it. I opted for the 'bronze lizzard' colorway, which is a bronze-grey body with a lizzard-pattern on the center band. Along with the long, slender clip, the metropolitan is actually a really refined-looking pen, especially in the more subdued colorways. 
Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen review
Sizewise, the metropolitan measures in at a fairly average length of 13.8cm (5.4 In) closed, and 12.6cm (5 In) open. At 26g capped, it's a well-weighted pen without being too heavy. It's balanced both posted and unposted. For a reference, that's almost identical to the Lamy 2000, both in size and weight. But of course it's in no way comparable in terms of design and functionality (and price!).
Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen review
L to R: TWSBI Diamond Mini, Hero 616, TWSBI Eco, Faber-Castell Loom, Lamy Safari (Vista), Pilot Metropolitan
The outside may be metal, but on the inside you'll still find a plastic section. It feels cheap compared to the rest of the pen, and you can see the seams from where it was moulded. But then again, we're talking about a price point where you shouldn't expect absolute perfection. The section has a well-defined tapered shape to it. 

The step behind the section is quite high and a bit sharp. Depending on how you hold the pen, it can be either bothersome or downright uncomfortable. Of course if you hate the pre-formed section on the Lamy Safari, chances are you'll still find this much better. 
Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen review
Worth pointing out is that there are two versions of the Metropolitan, a Japanese and a European model. They differ only in one area, but it's important to know because otherwise you won't be able to ink up your pen: the European version is made for standard international cartridges and converters, while the Japanese version uses the proprietary Pilot system. I wasn't aware of this until I actually bought one, so it could be wise to double-check before you buy. It was pointed out to me by an observant reader that US stores (or at least most of them) sell the Japanese version!

Pilot is a Japanese brand of course, and you probably know what that means: great nibs! Japanese nibs are usually a bit finer than european counterparts, which makes them ideal for a lot of people that prefer to write smaller (or just prefer finer nibs). 
Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen review
I'm personally more of a broad nib fan, which is probably why I have so little Japanese pens in my collection, but there's no denying that Pilot does something very right when it comes to manufacturing their nibs. 

Reliability is key with most Japanese pens, and indeed the metropolitan starts right up after the first inking and every single time you pick it up, regardless of how long it had been unused. The steel nib has a nice flow, considerably towards the wet side, and lays down a consistent, crisp medium line. As I said, Japanese nibs usually run slightly finer, the difference with this pen is slightly more nuanced, but I'd still consider this medium on the finer side (especially considering the rather wet flow). If you want a really fine writer, there's also a version with a Fine steel nib, but it's not available everywhere.

It's not the best pen in the world, and it has its flaws, but at an incredibly low price of just 15 USD/ 19 EUR, the Pilot Metropolitan is basically too good to pass up. It's easily one of the best beginner pens I can think of, and I'm pretty sure even the more seasoned pen addict will enjoy them as well.
Note: La Couronne Du Comte is a sponsor of this blog, I received a discount on this purchase, so I could write this review. I was in no way influenced in the making of this review, the opinions shared here are completely my own! This review does not contain any affilate links.


  1. I'd characterize the MR (which takes international cartridges) as a European model, rather than a Western. Metropolitans sold in the US take proprietary Pilot carts.

    1. Thanks for the info. I wasn't really sure which version is sold in the US. I'll change it in the review! Thanks for reading!

  2. This is really great pen!
    Indeed, MR is European model which unfortunately come only in Medium and takes International cartridges. Only Metropolitan version provides Fine nibs, and it takes Pilot cartridges. For example, in Russian Federation, all Metropolitans are actually MR+Medium.


  3. The Metropolitan is an appealing pen, but living with it is a telling experience.
    The nib is nothing special at all, and it appears from the three models I have that no effort is expended at the manufacturer to ensure its proper function: tines misaligned, scratchiness even when tines are aligned.
    The pen is deceptively heavy, which some will not like.
    Finally, the darn pen is slippery. Very slippery.
    You know what that leads to...luckily the nibs from some other really cheap Pilot pens are the same and slip right on. Meh.

  4. I love the Metropolitan. It has replaced all of my more expensive pens as a daily no-nonsense user. The fine point is perfect. So is the price! The one flaw I find is that the cap does not post well or sturdily. If you don't post your pens, then no problem!

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