Re-Review: Pilot Varsity

Pilot Varsity

I took a lot of ribbing from readers after I reviewed the Pilot Varsity awhile back. I had a particularly bad experience so when I spied the newly repackaged Pilot Varsity ($3), I decided it was as good a reason as any to give the Varsity another try.

Pilot Varsity

The new pen design is the same shape as the original pen but features a black, grey and silver diamond pattern on the barrel and a small yellow “Varsity” logo on one side. The clip is a little larger and bulbous and too plasticky but the pen is comfortable in the hand and the cap is easily postable. The nib is labelled as a medium and its definitely equivalent of a European medium nib.

Pilot Varsity Writing Sample

I’ve been writing with this pen on and off for over a month and I’m quite pleased with its performance. It writes smoothly and starts as soon as I remove the cap. There are no hard starts or need for priming. The nib is wider than I generally prefer for an everyday writer but its a pleasing medium nib with some nice line variation and requires the lightest of touches to put ink on the page. Even writing upside down, sideways and just grabbing the pen to quickly write down a number presented no problems for me.

This is one of the best values in fountain pens. While the Platinum Preppy is available in a much finer nib and refillable, the Varsity will put a smile on anyone’s face. “Three dollars for this?!?! What a good deal!” I’m willing to admit that my previous experience with the Varsity might have been a fluke, one bad apple in the bunch. If you had a bad experience with a Varsity, I recommend you give it another shot. At $3, quality control is probably not a top priority but it also means it won’t break the bank to buy two.

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6 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I tend to agree. I heard you can refill the varsity but you need to take the nib out. There was a great similar product from marvy, the le fountain pen.

    1. There are several ways to refill the pen without taking the nib off. In youtube, search for refill pilot pen … The method works for all “disposable”

  2. These are always reliable. I can find one that has been sitting in a drawer for a year and it writes as if it were brand new. My expensive pends can’t do that!

  3. Always impressed for three dollars, the fountain pen experience and disposable not afraid to lose it convenience. Plus the new style does dress it up a bit. At least as much as you can dress up a $3 pen. Thanks for the review

  4. i like the design pattern of the old Varsity tbh. for me personally, i think this was a good starter pen, although the criticisms of this pen are obvious & valid. i am going to probably buy another round of starter fountain pens — Platinum Preppy, Pilot Petite, Plumix & Metropolitan — then get a TWSBI Eco.

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