Pilot Precise V5 – Extra Fine in 5 Colors

1 04 2011

I should have just made this page all sketches and leprechauns. Who needs words, anyway?

It is apparently disclaimer week for me, because I have a disclaimer for this post as well: I am currently traveling (probably at a speed of around 65mph), and had to do my pen pictures from my cozy little bus seat. So, if the picture quality is somewhat lacking this week, please blame the poor suspension system of this vehicle I’m sardined into.

Black! Red! Green! Purple (I swear it's purple)! Blue! Also...Maryland? Probably Maryland.

I picked up the 5 pack of these (for once, a set of pens easily available at probably any major office supply retailer but NOT on JetPens) so we can get all the colors out of the way in a single review. I loved drawing with this pen–ink flow was perfect, though when writing I did feel some slight friction drag. This might be a left handed thing, since I’m pushing the pen across the page rather than pulling, but this is why buttery-smooth writing pens make such a big difference to me. I also didn’t have any problem with ink getting picked up off the page, carried around, and deposited elsewhere on the page via the side of my hand.

You can easily tell the pen colors apart based on the body. This is the only nice thing I have to say about the body.

My only problem with this pen (aside from the slight (ever so slight) drag while writing) is the body. Look at it. It looks like the 1990s distilled into a single writing instrument. I mean literally, I’m pretty sure I have some of my mom’s POWERFUL BUSINESSWOMAN pens from the 1990s, among those several old Precise V5 or V7 pens, and they look exactly the same. This is a cylinder with a clip on it. It also has no grip, for those of you who find grips crucial. This model is primarily for the purpose of having a pen that makes its marks well, but has such a cheap aesthetic that, if it walks out of your pen cup in the hands of a coworker, it’s no big deal.

IT'S WHAT'S INSIDE YOU THAT COUNTS. BEAUTY IS ONLY SKIN DEEP. Except with pens. Being a pen is like being in a beauty pageant that never ends.

There is one design element I like: the colored tips. Those are pretty neat-looking.

My judgments against this pen are completely superficial, which is good–I feel like a lackluster exterior is much easier to fix than a pen that looks neat but writes like crap. And I know there are several other Precise V5 models–I think I’ve seen a nicer looking retractable version on the shelves that would be worth checking out. As long as it writes as nicely as this model. But that will have to be another review!

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7 responses

2 04 2011
Peninkcillin

Ah I love the V5s. I’ve had my first one sometime during the early 90′s and fell in love with them. They haven’t changed over the years though I believe the plastic is a bit cheaper from what I remember.

4 04 2011
Speed

I think they are one of the few really good pens that you can buy about anywhere. Them and the G2′s of course.

5 04 2011
Weekly Wrap | PencilWrap.com

[...] Pilot Precise V5-Extra Fine in 5 Colors – No Pen Intended [...]

11 04 2011
Kiwi Don

These look exactly the same as the ”Hi-tecpoint” that we get in Australia.
A great pen to draw with, as the flow is spot on and the slight flexibility in the stem is far nicer than rigid pens (and this is from a light touch user.)
My only problem is finding them now as ‘Artline’ have swamped the market.

28 05 2013
Uni-ball Signo 207 BLX Retractable Gel Ink Pen – 0.7 mm – 4 of 5 Colors | No Pen Intended

[…] to keep the body fresh and modern (or at least keep it from being the pen design equivalent of padded shoulders (or fetid swamp water)). Or, more accurately, it’s important to me, maybe you, and probably […]

4 01 2014
waffle911

Personally, I rather like the now-retro design of the Precise V5 (25 years old this year!). It’s simple, clean, unobtrusive, and professional, yet the clear view of the ink reservoir as well as the color-finned interior of the clear grip area add a bit of visual interest. This was the pen that other “anonymous” pens of the era sought to emulate, much like how ubiquitous and simple Apple’s product designs have become. I consider it to be a classic design amongst modern plastic pens.

That said, I’ve used the sleek, modern-style V5 RT retractable version for years because of the comfortable rubber grip, lack of a cap lip on the barrel, and the fact there’s no cap to lose. I’ve had the same tri-color set for years now, though I’ve had a few of the black V5s and V7s due to more frequent use (and the consequent greater tendency to lose them). I was never much of a doodler, and somewhat admired those who were. Oddly, it seems on some papers my well-used V5 will produce a bolder line than my less-used V7.

The one drawback I’ve found of the retractable model is that over time, if abused in a relatively unprotected outer pen pocket in a bag, stress cracks can develop in the screw-on barrel that holds everything together. As soon as a crack develops where the screw thread is, the barrel will begin to split so the threads disengage due to the force of the spring in the mechanism, causing the pen to come apart and rendering it pretty much useless. Of the red, blue, and green pens of the same age, however, this has only occurred on the blue one, despite all three always being kept together since the day I bought them about 4 or 5 years ago, and it occurred about 3 years in.

10 02 2014
94redundant94

Whelp, I guess it’s necropost season on the Pilot Precise V5.

I’ve long been a fan of the Precise V5, ever since I was a young lad. During the 80′s and early 90′s my father worked as a design engineer; the Precise V5 was Dad’s weapon of choice for sketching his designs down on a pad of paper before committing a design to the drafting table or CAD. Naturally, more and more of these pens would show up at home as they found their way out of the office. I too began to doodle with Dad’s favorite Precise V5s, and soon, much like dad, I began to abscond with the pens for my own use. Compared to the generic blue sticks all the other booger-eaters were using at school, these pens were special, and certainly more pleasurable to use when jotting down “what I did this weekend” in my marbled cover composition book. The habit of using the Precise V5 stuck with me to this day, even actually paying for them.

The Precise series design however is not without fault. If you look in the above pics you can see where the ink is starting to leak down out of its chamber into the transparent “grip area.” Big deal right? Well. Maybe. Unlike Dad, I did not become an engineer; instead, I work as an airline pilot. What appears as a bit of seepage in the grip area aboard that bus – on an Airbus manifests as a full blown F-moment with blue fingers projected skyward searching frantically for a wipe. Rather ironic for a pen made by a company named Pilot, no? Yep, these things might as well be a fountain pen when aboard an airplane; there’s no way for the poor Precise V5 to equalize the pressure within its little body, and thus the trapped pressure forces the ink beyond its chamber through the grip area. I still use the Precise V5s around home, but they’ve no place in my flight bag.

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