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:
Now, this fountain pen. It pretty much speaks for itself, the way Muji intended: no branding, just beauty and wonderful pen.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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!).
Basically, everything is beautiful, life is wonderful, nothing hurts, why don’t you own one of these pens yet?