Invariably, when you ask a member of the fountain pen community for their recommendation for the best beginner fountain pen, one of the top three choices will be the Pilot Metropolitan. There are many good reasons that myself and many others would include this in our top recommendations for the best beginner fountain pen.
Why We Like It
First, the Pilot Metropolitan is very reliable pen. When you pick it up and take off the cap it almost always starts writing immediately. You don’t have to worry about having to start the pen after it has been sitting for a few days, or even a few weeks.
Second, unlike a lot of other pens in this price point, the Metropolitan feels very solid and well made. The body of the pen is made ou
t of brass, which makes it sturdy and solid. It also gives it a substantial feel when writing. It just feels like this pen will be here for years of writing enjoyment.
Next, the nib (the end of the pen that actually does the writing) is very smooth. Sometimes when getting a pen at this level the pen can be very scratchy, which can make writing with it very uncomfortable. Imagine writing with a nail on a rough piece of paper. However, with the Metropolitan, the writing is smooth and effortless. It consistently puts down a smooth, clean line. Below, you can see a sample of the writing from the Metropolitan. You can compare the line to that of a Pilot G2 with a fine point. You can see the nice line and good ink flow. You’ll have to forgive my poor handwriting.
Lastly, once you have been using fountain pens for a while you will want to start experimenting with different inks. The orange in my writing sample, for example, is an ink called Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-Gaki. It is my favorite ink. The Metropolitan makes it easy to change ink as it comes with a converter that allows you to put your own ink in and express yourself. Until then, it takes some very simple-to-use cartridges. It even comes with two cartridges to get you started.
Things That Could Be Better
Of course, with all of the good things about the Metropolitan, there are a few less than great things about it. The biggest, at least to me, is that it can be a messy pen. It has been my experience that this is not a pen that I can just throw in my bag that I carry and toss around everyday. When I do that I often find ink inside of the lid, on the nib, and on the area where you hold the pen when writing. I have tried a couple different cartridges and converters with no luck. It could very well be that it is due to my specific pen as others around the web say that they have never had this problem.
The only other problem I have with this pen is the quality of the converter that comes with it. The converter is rubber and does not feel very durable. It also does not hold much ink. If you are going to be doing a lot of writing with this pen, you will be better off using a cartridge, which can be found in many colors, or buying a better converter.
Overall, the Pilot Metropolitan is a solid contender for the best beginner fountain pen. It writes well, is very solid, and will last for a very long time.
If you have one of these pens, or decide to pick one up, let me know how you like it.