Review: Pilot Metropolitan

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Hand Over That Pen, please!

Katherine: The Metro was my first pen as an adult (and therefore first pen in ~15 years). It’s a sleek, practical pen that is comfortable for me to write with. However, I don’t love the metallic finish and how light the pen is. I’ve commented before that if the TWSBI Eco was my first pen I may never have gone off the deep end, but it wasn’t, the Metro was my first pen. It’s a good enough pen that it lead me to love fountain pens and keep exploring — but wasn’t a pen I loved enough to be comfortable sticking with (as cliche as “buy it for life” is, that was my initial goal). But, to the Metro’s credit, I used it for nearly a year before I decided I was willing to spend more money to try another pen.

Pam: I was really interested and excited to get my hands on a Pilot Metropolitan once I found out from the Pen Addict Podcast that the nibs on the Pilot Metropolitan were interchangable with the nibs on the Pilot Prera, Pilot Plumix (a stub nib), Penmanship (a EF nib)  and Kakuno (the smiley face nib).  I bought an all black Metropolitan and was a workhorse pen for me at work.  It was a great gateway pen as I learned to use a fountain pen more on a daily basis.  The Metropolitan taught me how to swap out nibs, clean the pen and the differences between using a cartridge and a converter.

Franz: The Pilot Metropolitan is a neat looking pen with a satiny finish that I enjoy holding. Its torpedo shape gives it a timeless look that I’ve seen in the majority of Pilot’s pens. If you search for this pen on the net, you’ll find that this pen varies either by the overall color or the accent design on the barrel. These accents give the pen some personality but still maintains its simplicity and subtlety.

 

In the Hand: Pilot Metropolitan (posted) — from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam
In the Hand: Pilot Metropolitan (unposted) — from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam

 

The Business End

Katherine: I have had both a Fine and a Medium, and both have been smooth writers that are on the dry side — but not annoyingly dry. A great dryness for taking notes at work without having to worry about smudges. However these nibs don’t have a lot of character — I’ve never thought “wow, I’m EXCITED to write with this Metro!”

Pam: I preferred to use the Pilot Metropolitan with the EF steel nib from the Pilot Penmanship.  It was the nib that worked best with cheap paper.  My ink of choice “back in the day” was Private Reserve DC Electric Blue.  The dark color was great professionally, however, there would be instances that the sheen would still come through, which is a treat for me!  The EF nib had some feedback as one would expect, but surprisingly smooth for a $6-8 dollar pen nib.  I suspect that if you like the Pilot Prera nib, you will like the EF steel nib.  Both nibs state “Superior Quality” on them which gives me the impression that they are possible similar?

Franz: This medium nib is a very nice smooth writer with a little bit of feedback. I got to try out a fine nib before and even though it was a very good writer, my preference is a thicker line. I’ve always had good experiences with Pilot nibs out of the box.

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Write It Up

Katherine: Now that I’ve explored more pens, I know that I prefer slightly larger and heavier pens. However the Metro is sufficiently comfortable for me to use it for extended periods of time. I’ve journaled with it quite a bit and drawn with it. (No choice really when you only have one pen…)

Pam: I really enjoyed carrying the Metropolitan for quick notes and for journaling.  It was overall, a very well rounded pen for daily use and carry.  I actually prefer writing with this pen posted.  Yes, it can feel a bit top heavy, but I really enjoyed the total weight of the pen when writing.  My only complaint because I write with a “white-knuckle-grip-that-horrified-THE-Micheal-Sull” is that based on my hand placement, the step on the Metropolitan is quite noticeable for me. Depending on my stress level, the step may leave an impression in the area between my thumb and index finger.  Yeah… I knew when I had a stressful day at work…

Franz: Because the Metropolitan is lightweight and has a thinner section, I prefer to post the cap and grip it higher. Writing with this pen for twenty minutes wasn’t really unpleasant but I felt my hand cramp a bit.

Just like Pam, the step from the barrel and section can be a bit sharp and dug into my fingers. So this pen isn’t an ideal journal pen for me.

EDC-ness

Katherine: +10 points for being a snap cap — easy to grab and get writing. Additionally, the metal body of this pen is durable — by the time I retired it, I had a small dent or two on either end, but no noticeable damage. It held up well to being thrown in my backpack (hopefully clipped to a notebook, but not always) day after day. However — of all the pens I own, somehow the Metro and the Prera (same feed, same nib, go figure) are the pens that spit the most into their caps when I fly with them. I’ve flown with at least a dozen pens at this point, and as long as I keep them nib up, other pens have been fine.

Pam: The Metropolitan was my most used “beginner” pen for it’s durability and snap cap.  The versatility of the pen with interchangable nibs compelled me to purchase another Metropolitan when the retro pop ones were released so I can swap between the F nib and the stub nib (from the Pilot Plumix).

Franz: This pen is great to use on a daily basis for quick note-taking at work or on the go. I found no fuss when I used this at work as it easily clipped onto either my shirt or jacket pocket, and there was no delay in uncapping the pen.

I have to share that I found myself one-handedly capping and uncapping the pen compulsively at my desk. I wonder if anyone else has experienced this with snap cap pens.

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Katherine: The Metro is a solid entry-level pen. I personally didn’t find it particularly charming, but that’s just a personal opinion. It felt a little too sterile (and now we know why most of my pens are vintage. Complete with germs of generations past!) but checks all the boxes for a solid writer — good nib, durable body and comfortable to write with.

Pam:  Up until the Pilot Prera or the Pilot Vanishing Point (oh, you will be missed my dear lost pen), the Pilot Metropolitan was my go to pen.  Yes, the aesthetics of the pen may be bland as it doesn’t have the modernity of the Lamy Safari or the demonstrator quality of the TWSBI Eco (which wasn’t available when I first started dipping into the FP world), but it’s a solid pen for a GREAT price point.  The price point is one of the best factors of this pen, as the threshold for entry of the FP rabbit hole is low.  The pen even comes with a cartridge of ink!  For a beginner “beater” pen that you can learn a lot from as one needs to get more comfortable with getting ink on their fingers, the Metropolitan is a wonderful introduction.

Franz: The Pilot Metropolitan is a great pen to have in your collection as it is a reliable pen that just writes when you need it to. This is a pen I recommend for no matter what hand size you may have. Of course, not every single person may like it so if you can, try before you buy.

In our TWSBI Eco review, I recommended the Eco as a second or third pen for beginners. The Metropolitan was actually the first pen recommendation I had in mind. I bought my silver Pilot Metropolitan from Goulet Pens in January 2013, and wrote with it for about four months until I gave it to a co-worker as she became interested in writing with fountain pens.(#Penvangelized!) This year, I gifted a Pilot Metro in Retro Pop Red Wave to another co-worker as her first fountain pen and she loved it as well.

Thanks for your time and hope you enjoyed our review of this cool pen!

 

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: Pelikan M200, Parker 75, Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Pilot Vanishing Point, *Pilot Metropolitan*, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M800, and Lamy Safari
Posted pens from left to right: Pelikan M200, Parker 75, Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Pilot Vanishing Point, *Pilot Metropolitan*, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M800, and Lamy Safari
Unposted pens from left to right: Pelikan M200, Parker 75, Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Pilot Vanishing Point, *Pilot Metropolitan*, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M800, and Lamy Safari

Pen Photos

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. The Metropolitan was the also my firstpe. Purchased after deciding I wanted to get back into writing in cursive with a fountain pen after 43 years of printing with a ball point. It has a great deal of sentimental value to me. I used it for about three months before purchasing a more expensive pen.

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