Pilot Vortex – Iroshizuku Kon Peki
I saw the Pilot Vortex on JetPens for the first time a couple of months ago. I thought it looked unique and unlike any traditional fountain pen. The look somewhat reminded me of a 1950′s view of a futuristic rocket. It could almost be something out of a Jetson cartoon episode. (I wrote that before reading Jetpens’ description)
The pen feels a bit “plasticky”. It has a rubber grip section that is comfortable to hold. The semi hooded nib reminds me of the nose section of an F-86 Sabre jet fighter. That early jet fighter theme seems to be carried over to the cap band with its jet engine looking, perforated accents. Just above the rubber grip section is an ink window that is tinted smoked gray. The smoked gray accents are also found on the clip, nib hood, cap finial and barrel “jewel”. The clip has an oddly uneven shaped sweeping curvature that has my OCD side trying to even it out visually. The cap screws on and it posts securely with a satisfying click. It takes about four turns to remove the cap.
The pen does not come with an ink cartridge or converter. JetPens was nice enough to send a Pilot black cartridge but I ended up using my CON-50 converter with the pen. It worked just fine and seats very securely in the pen. While the whole pen is plastic, I would think twice before converting it to an eye dropper. The barrel finial looks to be a separate piece and could possibly leak. I did not try it but proceed with caution if you do want to attempt it.
In typical Japanese fashion, the fine nib is more of an extra fine that my caliper measures at .4 mm give or take .1 mm’s. The nib is smooth with just a slight amount of feedback on Rhodia paper. I am not sure if the nib is interchangeable, but it has wings similar to what Lamy nibs have and looks like it could possibly slide off the feed in the same manner that Lamy nibs do. The nib also has somewhat of a beak to it similar to what the Namiki Falcon has but less pronounced. It may just be an optical illusion caused by the transparent hood.
The pen is comfortable to use posted or un-posted, and is somewhat of a portable pen. I do not usually post my pens but this one seemed to lend itself to posting comfortably. The light weight of the cap does not throw the pen off-balance at all. Dimensions of the pen are as follows:
Capped – 125.3 mm (4.93″)
Uncapped – 114.1 mm (4.49″)
Posted – 148.4 mm (5.84″)
Section Diameter – 9.6 mm at the thinnest point
Overall, I think it is a fun pen but I am concerned at how well it can handle every day use. The cap band covers and reinforces the cap edges, but it looks very fragile. Mine did not crack, but only time will tell how well it holds up. The pen comes in an array of colors. A plus is that the CON-50 converter can be used with the Vortex. At $25 it seems a bit over priced when you compare it to the metal Pilot Metropolitan that comes with a converter and an ink cartridge. The only thing the Vortex has going for it is its looks and portability. Once you factor in the price of cartridges and a converter, you are in Lamy Al-Star territory. A Kaweco Sport is going to offer similar portability for around the same price or slightly less. I can recommend the pen as far as writing performance but I am not sure the value is there when it comes to price and lack of ink.
Thank you for reading,
The Fountain Pen Sith Lord
*This Pen was provided by JetPens for review. Thank you to JetPens.