Though they may seem like a relatively new addition to the fountain pen market, retractable fountain pens have actually been around for quite a while. Take the Pilot Vanishing Point, for example, which has been around for a number of years. You’ll find many enthusiasts who have this model in their collection.
While retractable fountain pens aren’t new, they aren’t exactly common either. There are only a handful of capless or retractable models around, so finding one to try can be a bit tricky. Whether it’s a fad or here to stay, here’s what you should know about retractable fountain pens and which models to try out.
What is a retractable fountain pen?
It might seem obvious, but a retractable fountain pen is a pen that uses a conventional fountain pen nib. The main difference is that the nib can go into and back out of the pen. This action happens as opposed to or in addition to using a cap. Both a click and a twist mechanism are frequently used to eject and retract the pen's nib.
With these pens, the nib is usually concealed behind some sort of door which prevents it from drying out when the pen is not in use. These pens commonly use an undersized nib so that the pen doesn’t have to be extra wide to accommodate a bigger nib. Most fountain pens have a flared nib which is wider than the bottom of the pen, but this is not possible retractable models
Why get a retractable fountain pen?
Convenience and simplicity of usage are key, and retractable fountain pens provide exactly that. A screw-top fountain pen is perfect for sealing the nib and keeping it wet and ready to write, but this isn’t convenient if you want quick access to your pen. After all, one of the main factors why individuals choose a ballpoint or rollerball over a fountain pen is convenience.
Also, a capped pen is almost impossible to open with a single hand, especially if your other hand is preoccupied with something like holding a phone. A retractable fountain pen can fix this with a click mechanism.
Retractable fountain pens can also be smaller than standard models. With the nib going into the body and the possibility of removing the cap, the overall length of the pen can be shortened significantly depending on the design of a specific pen.
Retractable fountain pens to try
There are several popular retractable fountain pens that you can try. Here are a few of our recommendations:
Perhaps the most popular retractable model out there, the Pilot Vanishing Point is often referred to as a great wet writer. If you enjoy pens with a better ink flow, then this retractable fountain pen might be for you. The nib is very smooth with just a touch of springiness, which is another quality that many writers may look for when considering which nib is right for them.
One thing to note is that you may get through more ink than you expect, especially if you’re a heavy writer. This pen does use a cartridge-converter filling system, so it is convenient but ink capacity may be an issue for some. However, it’s a great workhorse pen and very useful in office settings like meetings.
The LAMY Dialog 3 is known for its reliable performance and beautiful design. Instead of clicking to bring the nib out, this fountain pen uses a twist mechanism and has a sealed window that keeps the nib ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Instead of using a smaller nib, the Dialog 3 actually uses a full-sized LAMY modular nib. If you aren’t a fan of undersized nibs in your retractable pens, then this is a great option for you. And those who prefer the springiness of a 14k gold nib will surely appreciate this retractable pen.
Another Pilot model on our list is the Capless LS, sometimes referred to as the Vanishing Point LS, the LS standing for “luxury and silent.” This retractable fountain pen has a more modern and clean design with a knock mechanism that is a bit quirkier than the original click design and gives it its quiet characteristic.
Similar to the original Vanishing Point, the Capless LS comes with an 18k nib. The improvements in design have not changed the performance of this pen, making it just as reliable as its predecessor. If you want a pen with a more contemporary flair, then this is the one to get.
The Bottom Line
Retractable fountain pens are special and convenient ways to have a better writing experience, especially when you’re on the go. Whether you’re jotting down notes at a meeting or writing a letter, having a click, knock, or twist mechanism is always helpful.
Written by EndlessPens Blogger Ramona Kabigting