Muji Aluminum Round Fountain Pen

10 09 2011

Hold onto your pencil cases, people, this is a good one!

Earlier this year, I got to spend a weekend in New York City / have my head explode into candy at the sight of such pen-related wonders as the Art Brown International Pen Store and Muji. So far, I’ve only gotten around to reviewing my Muji gel ink hexagonal pens, but have yet to say much about what is quite possibly my favorite starter fountain pen. But before we get into that, quickly, look at the wondrous joys of Muji:

You may proceed to roll on the floor and froth at the mouth with delight.

Now, this fountain pen. It pretty much speaks for itself, the way Muji intended: no branding, just beauty and wonderful pen.

Is it a fountain pen? An X-acto knife? A fancy screwdriver??

No words I type can add to what you can see with your eyes. This pen uses pattern and texture in all the right places and all the right ways.

I bet you could put secret messages in the barrel, behind the cartridge. Or emergency scrap paper.

The barrel is just the right amount of slim, and the cap is designed to post flush with the body of the pen, regardless of what side it’s being posted on.

Note the groove-ring on the bottom for the cap to smoothly post onto to.

There’s a little circle on either end, feels like rubber, for those people who insist on having pens with labels; Muji provides with the pen a set of stickers denoting what type of pen this silver cylinder contains (they also offer a ballpoint pen with this same body design).

You'll notice I haven't used mine yet

Everything about this pen is wonderful to touch. I’m afraid if I continue trying to describe this pen to you, I’ll sound like even more of a lunatic. Let’s open it up.

Look at that posted cap. Doesn't it just make you want to weep, it's so beautiful?

Being almost entirely metal, the pen has a nice weight to it; being aluminum, it’s not too heavy. The cap  is so small that it doesn’t affect the balance as far as I can tell. The knurled grip is comfortable, and, being flush with the body, doesn’t end up pressing on my hand in any irritating ways.

Even the nib isn't branded!

The nib is a fine point, but not too fine. I can’t remember if it came with a cartridge or not, but I did buy some Muji black cartridges anyway. I found the Muji black to be too juicy for my tastes, but the good thing with this fountain pen is that it takes the standard international short cartridge. Finding ink for this pen is ridiculously easy! I’ve currently settled on this nice Avocado color from Private Reserve, and I find that the combination is totally Goldilocks-good for me; smooth, but not too wet.

The nib stays remarkably clean. But then, isn't Japan known for its neatness, in all meanings of the word?

It’s also easy to remove the nib and feed to clean the pen out. Being able to do maintenance like that is personally empowering—I am a fountain pen person! I can take things apart and put them back together AND THEY STILL FUNCTION! I have all the passing appearances of an expert!!—and very helpful from a practical standpoint, whether you’re just cleaning between a switch in colors, or you’ve been bad and for some inexplicable reason have let the pen sit so long that ink has dried in it.

I am trying very hard to think of any caveats or drawbacks to this pen. I think the only drawback is that not every state has a Muji store, so people might have to order the pen online rather than getting to experience the whimsy and minimalist enchantment of a Muji store. This pen has everything I would want from a starter fountain pen: simple, easy to use, easy to clean, well constructed, easy to find cartridges for, excellent ink flow, writes smooth and never scratchy, nib is fine enough to be able to write on normal paper but not so fine as to be potentially difficult for a beginner to use. There’s no special angle you have to hold the pen at to get it to work. No difficult to obtain converters involved. Oh, and it only costs $15.50. On the downside, shipping and handling looks like it’ll tack on at least $5.95, and it looks like Muji currently only ships to the US and Canada (well, for the Muji USA website, which, duh, would make sense). BUT!—Muji has stores in Europe, Asia, North America, and Japan, as well as websites for those zones, so it seems like everyone should be able to get their hands on one of these pens, one way or another (international readers, you’ll have to confirm this for me!).

One last suave and sleek pen picture!

Basically, everything is beautiful, life is wonderful, nothing hurts, why don’t you own one of these pens yet?

Aluminum Round Fountain Pen by Muji 

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28 responses

10 09 2011
Jax

I looked at the european site (muji.eu) and couldn’t find it there, unfortunately. But it looks really, really nice! Would love to try it. :)

12 09 2011
Jem

Ordering gorgeous(ly utilitarian) pen now. Thanks for the infectious review!

15 09 2011
MUJI U.S.A. LIMITED

MUJI U.S.A. LIMITED
Thank you for featuring our products on your blog. We would like to share your article on our Facebook page.

http://www.facebook.com/MUJIUSA#!/MUJIUSA

Thank you!

4 10 2011
No Pen Intended

That’s awesome, thank you! I love your products :) Hopefully I’ll get to visit the Muji stores again when I visit NYC in November…

24 09 2011
Peninkcillin

This looks really cool and the price is great. And that nib is a work of art!

4 10 2011
No Pen Intended

I’m definitely gonna pick up another one (or more?) when I go to NYC again in November :)

10 11 2011
David

Can you pick up another one to me? I can’t buy it in europe.
Pleaase!

16 11 2011
No Pen Intended

Perhaps we could do some kind of trade? I do so happen to have a spare Muji Fountain Pen here, never even used yet :)

18 11 2011
David

Ok, yes, what do you propose?

Thanks!

20 11 2011
No Pen Intended

Hmm….is there some kind of awesome pen of equal value that you have access to that I don’t? Europe is a magical land of amazing pens. I’m sure there must be something?

7 12 2011
Patrick

I’ve had this pen for a while and looove it. The writing isn’t the smoothest out there but what I like about it most is the design. It feels way more expensive than $15 and just looks cool!

3 03 2012
Hotrod

The absolutely best fountain pen you can buy for under $20…writes much better than my much more expensive pens. I love this pen !!!!!!!

4 04 2012
Matt

I have two of these MUJI pens and love them, but I hate the idea of being dependent on disposable cartridges. Do you have any idea whether there are any refillable reservoirs that would fit this pen?

And if this is a good starter pen, what would you recommend as a next purchase for someone who has been bitten by the bug?

12 04 2012
No Pen Intended

I imagine there are gonna be tons, since it takes the standard international style cartridge, though some may fit better than others. Length should be no issue, as the barrel can hold the Pelikan extra long cartridge (I haven’t so far seen any converter that’s longer than that cartridge). I’d second ironduke’s comment; try a Pelikan converter. I haven’t, but the Pelikan cartridges fit very nice and secure. I have a Monteverde mini-converter that fits nothing, and a converter from a Caran d’Ache that fits (but not as snugly as it fits in the Caran d’Ache, nor as snugly as the Pelikan cartridge fits in the Muji).

As for next pen. Hm. I’ve had a lot of luck with Lamy Safari/Vista/Al-Star models, personally (have five total so far); those are around $26 to $38, but take a special cartridge (go ahead and get a converter for it). There are a lot of good starter pen options: Sheaffer VFM ($15, standard cartridge), Sailor Clear Candy ($16.50, nonstandard), Kaweco Classic ($23.50, standard), Sailor HighAce Neo ($16.50, nonstandard), Ohto Rook ($16.50, standard), Schrade Tactical (~$24, standard), Rotring Art Pen (~$24 at Jerry’s Artarama, standard cartridges)….I’d also recommend trying out Noodler’s Ahab Flex Nib pen, various cheap Indian fountain pens (fountainpenrevolution.com carries them), Pelikan Steno if you can find one….

12 04 2012
No Pen Intended

And then the next level is where you get to the levels where you stop telling normal people what you paid for the pen. In that category, personally, I’ve got a TWSBI, a Caran d’Ache, a Kaweco Liliput, a Pilot Prera (outfitted with a Pilot Plumix nib), a Pilot Vanishing Point, a Cross Spire, a Lamy Dialog 3….out of all of those, I think I’d recommend going for a TWSBI first. It’s designed so that you can easily take apart/clean/maintain the pen, it’s pretty, etc.

12 04 2012
mkg

Great suggestions — thanks so much. I’ve begun by ordering a Pelikan converter for one of my two Muji pens; also ordered a Lamy Nexx pen. I’m also going to send my old Lamy accent palladium black fountain pen in for repair.

Again, many thanks — really appreciate your suggestions.

11 04 2012
ironduke

On Japanese BBS people recommended Pelikan converters.

11 04 2012
mkg

Thanks! I’ll give one of those a shot.

4 06 2012
website

I love your wordpress web template, where did you get a hold of it?

28 07 2012
No Pen Intended

It was just one of the free ones, plus a header image that I took myself

4 07 2012
Benjamin

Love these pens! But I’m having problems with cleaning. I’m not sure how to remove the nib as I’m scared of spoiling them. They aren’t available over here and I just got them from my Japan trip a week ago. Any tips on that?
Thankyou~!

28 07 2012
No Pen Intended

Just hold the nib and feed with one hand (say, between your thumb and forefinger) and the grip/body of the pen with your other hand, and pull them directly away from each other. It may be a little resistant at first, but that’s how they come apart. Let me know if you need me to take an instructional picture or something like that!

22 09 2012
Pxduce

Hello, so glad I found this page – nice pictures of my favourite pen! Now, I was stupid and let my pen dry out; I couldn’t unscrew it as it had dried fast. I tried something to unscrew it and unfortunately, the plastic component of the nib has broken. Do you know how I can replace it??

19 10 2012
No Pen Intended

Hmmm. Try checking the Muji website for a customer service section; if you can find a way to contact them, write to them and ask if they will sell you just the plastic component piece since yours broke. If not, time to buy a new pen :)

21 12 2013
Ink Drop Soup: Expensive Fountain Pens Just 30 and Below | No Pen Intended

[…] tired of the fountain pen, and it doubles as a weapon. What more could you want for about $25? The Muji Aluminum Round Fountain Pen is a little more comfortable than the Schrade, but less likely to help you win an impromptu brawl. […]

26 06 2014
Mathias Ahonen (@mathiasaw)

I third that the Pelikan converter fits very well in this pen. I have had this pen for almost a year now, purchased at Muji Ueno in Tokyo and I have been using Pelikan 4001 cartridges up until now. It is also my first fountain pen. However I felt that the Pelikan 4001 ink didn’t work well in this pen. It had very poor starting and it frustrated me. As such, I went to a fancy and large department store which have a large section for fountain pens and purchased the converter. The man who sold it to me wasn’t sure it would fit, but alas I had information from here that it would fit snuggly, but I already knew that the 4001 cartridges fit as well. So, by upgrading to a converter I also needed ink. So I purchased Mont Blanc’s Midnight Blue, a colour which I have looked at before and I found it very appealing.

So, stepping into the world of ink–I am going to expand my ink collection. I have looked at the Iroshizuku inks (Japanese ink in a Japanese pen!) and I found them very nice. The salesperson also let me try his pen a turquoise Iroshizuku ink, and it flowed very well. I also think I’d like to get another Japanese pen later on.

27 09 2014
Mr Hoque

I found it really interesting but talking about the meanings of the words in Japan; the rest of it was short and detailed so well done whoever created this website is really CREATIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

10 06 2016
Eleazar Guzman

I have one and love it! What type of converter does it take & where can I get one?

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