A surprising fact! I actually own pens that aren’t demonstrators. Really, I do. However, black and silver bodies tend to be my staple. I’m just not really that adventurous. So, when I laid my eyes on the Pilot Matte Black Vanishing Point, it was love at first sight as the curved matte black body with the black plated nib reminded me of the famous SR-71 Blackbird.
In school, I tend to take my notes with a keyboard, but copying graphs and diagrams into a digital form is a time consuming task. It is a task best left for an analog input method. That’s where the Pilot Vanishing Point comes in. As probably the only click (is that an official term?) fountain pen in existence, the Vanishing Point deploys in a snap and tucks away as quickly as it appeared.
The Pilot Vanishing point is a thick pen. According to my measurements, it’s 1.3 cm wide, 14 cm long and just a few mm shorter when the nib is deployed. Those who don’t use a traditional tripod pen grip may struggle with the Pilot Vanishing point as the pen clip sits on the top of the pen, providing an effect similar to the Lamy Safari’s triangle grip. The entire pen weighs in at a heft 30 g. Some have complained that the matte black body scratches easily, revealing the brass underneath. With gentle use, my body has yet to suffer such an extreme scratch, though a few faintly shiny black scratches have appeared.
Disassembling the Pilot Vanishing Point is a little different from most pens as the nib unit runs the length of almost the entire pen body. The nib unit could technically be considered a pen in its own right due to its size, though it would be next to impossible to use comfortably. To disassemble the pen, unscrew the body and slowly separate the two pieces as not to cause the nib unit to shoot out unexpectedly. Once the nib unit is removed, the cartridge/converter can be removed. The Vanishing Point is compatible with cartridges, the CON-20 converter, and the CON-50 converter. When using a cartridge, the metal cover included with the pen will need to be used to ensure the click mechanism works properly. To reassemble the pen, simply line up the notch in the body with the protruding piece of metal in the nib unit, and screw the body back together.
Filling the pen will require disassembling the pen. The filler hole is actually located about an inch above the nib’s tip and will require a rather tall or full bottle of ink to fill the pen properly. It is pretty difficult to check the ink level in the Vanishing point as the CON-50 converter only has about a cm of exposed clear plastic near the piston to check the ink level. When using a cartridge, it is covered in by the metal cap, hiding the ink level.
Using the pen is very easy. The button is requires a long and solid press to deploy the nib. The nib then pushes open a trap door and pops out. The trap door does help slow evaporation, though I do not believe it is very air tight. I have yet to have the pen leak, even though it has been jostled around in pockets and backpacks.
One of the features of the Vanishing Point system is the ability to swap pen bodies and nib units with little hassle. The 14k gold nibs are available from Japanese EF to B with rhodium plated, black plated, and gold finishes, The bodies come in an array of colours and materials. Limited edition Vanishing Points are released each year, providing plenty of opportunity for collectors.
My nib of choice is the Japanese EF as I tend to use really cheap lined paper for most of my school note taking. Even for its fine size, the EF nib is incredibly smooth. There is no scratchiness to the nib, just the slight feedback expected from a nib so fine. The flow out of the box is nice and balanced. The line width is closer to a .4 Pilot Hi Tec C on Clairefontaine paper.
The Pilot Matte Black Vanishing Point has an MSRP of $175 USD and a street price of $140 USD. It is definitely not a cheap pen, but personally I think the unique click mechanism makes it worth it. However, I do wonder how much the price would drop if Pilot made stainless steel nib units available vs the 14k gold.
Pilot Matte Black Vanishing Point, EF
Ink: Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium
Paper: Clairefontaine 90g
+ Unique click mechanism
+ Fast deployment
+ Smooth nib
+ Modular design
+ Great every day carry pen
– Hard to check ink level
– Difficult to use if grip is different from traditional triangle grip