01 December 2010


Para Aina-chan.

Pen review. Pilot Petit 1.

Pilot Petit 1 are small and inexpensive fountain pens aimed, so Pilot said, at the market formed by high school and college students. It seems Pilot marketed these pens only in Japan, although there are a number of online shops ready to send them anywhere. Interestingly enough, these pens attract the attention of many people, and later they become frustrated for not being able to buy them easily.

The object under review.

1. Appearance and design. (8.5/10)
Pilot Petit 1 are small pens made of plastic. The only metal part in them is the stainless steel nib. I guess we could call them demonstrators as they are transparent. Feed and clip show the original ink color, of which there are 14 different variations.

The overall aspect is very informal, but also appealing. In my opinion, this is an attempt to bring a fountain pen into the realm of kawaii!!!, cuteness, so dear to Japanese youngsters.

The 14 different Petit 1.

2. Construction and quality. (9.0/10)
This is a well made plastic pen. The material shows some flexibility keeping it from cracking. The cap fits perfectly well on the section, when closed, and on the barrel, when posted. The section has four small bumps to ensure this perfect fit, and the barrel has a special form matching that of the cap.

Inexpensive, but well made pen.

3. Weight and dimensions. (7.0/10)
Small pen, but not a pocket pen with the usual design of long cap and short barrel. Nonetheless, as was mentioned before, the cap fits tightly on the barrel to provide the extra length needed to grab it comfortably. However, this is not a pen to write long texts.

The balance is easy to achieve given the very low weight and there is not much difference whether the cap is posted or not other than providing a comfortable length.

Length capped: 104 mm.
Length open: 90 mm.
Length posted: 129 mm.
Diameter: 13 mm.
Weight: 9 g.

4. Nib and writing performance. (8.0/10)
Rigid steel nib with only one possible point: F. This pen, however, shares the nib with the disposable Vpen, and this one also has the option of a medium nib. The steel nib is fairly smooth and has a very correct ink flow.

A Vpen M nib together with a Petit 1. The red arrow points at one of the bumps to secure the cap in place when the pen is capped. There are four of those on the section.

5. Filling system and maintenance. (6.0/10)
The Petit 1 comes already inked with the matching ink. It uses a special type of Pilot cartridges—smaller than the regular ones. These can be used in other Pilot pens, but regular cartridges —nor any Pilot converter— do not fit inside the Petit 1 barrel. Too petit!

The special cartridge.

This pen, with some minor adaptation in the thread between barrel and section, could be used as an eyedropper.

Nib and feed can easily be extracted from the section by yanking them out. Therefore, the cleaning of this pen is very easy.

The nipple to attach the cartridge to the section.

6. Cost and value. (8.0/10)
This pen costs JPY 300 (plus taxes) in Japan. It is indeed inexpensive and offers a nice performance. The small size might be its main problem.

The other big pen companies in Japan also produce inexpensive pens. Platinum’s Preppy and Riviere, and Sailor’s Ink Pen rally on the same category. However, in my experience, the Petit 1 offers the best writing performance of the group. Filling system-wise, the Petit 1 is the worst as it does not accept any converter, and uses a very special type of cartridges.

7. Conclusion. (46.5/60=77.5/100)
Inexpensive and fun. Good writer save for the dimensions. Correct nib. Being a cartridge-only pen took points away.

(Note added on March 29th, 2012: Second and third generation of Pilot´s Petit 1 introduced some modifications that could affect the grades of this review. One of those changes was a substantial reduction in the price: from JPY 300 to JPY 200).

(Pilot Petit 1 – Pilot Blue Black)

Bruno Taut
Madrid, November 30, 2010
[labels: Pilot, Platinum, Sailor]

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