I can’t leave a big-box SuperStore without checking their pen section, and a recent prowl of Target’s pen aisle did not leave me disappointed. For the first time, physically before me in a store where arguably normal people shop, an affordable fountain pen!
The somewhat garishly designed packaging enthusiastically proclaims in sunshine-daycare yellow, “Real Fountain Pen!” …Unlike all those fake fountain pens you’ve had to contend with, Pilot delivers a finely-crafted stick of plastic veracity and unparalleled integrity. Thank goodness Pilot’s on top of these things. And that they’re telling you about it–I would have surely mistaken this for another one of those confoundingly meddlesome fake fountain pens if it weren’t for this astute packaging.
The body of the Plumix is lightweight plastic, but seems well thought-out.
The cap unscrews from the body (snap-on caps, especially if snapped on with the pen pointing down, encourage the ink to come out, leaving beads of ink on the nib and in the cap. Very wasteful) but posts on the end just by pushing the cap on.
The barrel unscrews from the grip and nib section, and the nib itself is easy to remove so that you can align the grip and nib to be conducive to your hand’s writing posture, a fact I did not figure out until after I’d dropped the pen from my pocket, knocking the nib loose, necessitating my fiddling with the nib.
Having never really removed a nib from a pen before, I found it a surprisingly simple task (“AUGH! UAAGH! THE METAL PART FELL OFF! OH CRAP LET’S JUST WASH EVERYTHING OFF AND HOPE IT’LL ALL GO BACK TOGETHER”), and my original problem with the angle of the nib relative to the positioning of the grip became a moot point–I could angle the nib however I wanted!
Since there isn’t much weight to the body, it’s hard to comment on the balance of the pen, but nothing feels off about the way the pen sits in the hand. Above the grip, the barrel has a slight bulge outward that fits perfectly into the web over the thenar space (thanks, The Internet; I was just going to call it “that fleshy web crook space, you know, the one between your thumb and forefinger, whatsitcalled, you know”) and then tapers off into a slender end. The barrel has these strange parabola-shaped grooves, the purpose of which I cannot discern beyond being merely decorative, and the cap has two modest little anti-roll protrusions that effectively render the cap a convenient squid-shape.
These are all small, simple touches that make a pen unique, and I appreciate them. This is what I feel so many common American pens are lacking–an appreciation of pennovation.
Before we move on to the nib, the grip needs a little more appreciation. Note how the the bottom of the grip arches up to rest comfortably atop your finger. Carefully discern the subtly cut out concave panel–there are two of these, one for the thumb to grip, the other for the gripping finger of your choice (I rest the pen atop my ring finger, and grip with thumb and middle). The grip is entirely smooth and entirely hard plastic, but it’s comfortable. It’s a carefully designed molding of plastic where I was expecting something bare-minimum. My apologies, Pilot. The grip you designed here is an unexpected delight.
The nib, I’m happy to report, is not like other cheap Pilot fountain pen nibs. Granted, I don’t really have any other Pilot italic nibs for comparison (or any italic nibs for comparison), but this one seems to put out a decent but not excessive amount of ink, and it writes so smoothly (especially on Rhodia and Clairefontaine paper) that I can’t stop writing in cursive with this pen. The mere act of cursive writing is so fun! I just keep writing nonsense even when I have nothing of substance to write. And my handwriting asymptotically approaches being pretty!
At the end of the day, this is a fun and cheap (AND REAL!!!) fountain pen that you can (provided your Target has them in stock) get with instant gratification, ripping open the package the moment your transaction is complete, and it makes writing fun. Isn’t that what a pen should really be for?
You can’t order them online from Target, but they do have a link to find it at a Target store: Pilot Plumix Refillable Fountain Pen – Blue at Target
And, because I love JetPens, they get a link too:Pilot Plumix Fountain Pen – Medium Flat Italic Nib – Black Body at JetPens