The Pilot Decimo Fine Fountain Pen ($139) is my first foray into the world of retractable fountain pens. The Pilot Vanishing Point or Capless is the best known of these pens but the Decimo is its smaller version. The barrel is slightly narrower and in general looks like it was designed with the “fairer sex” in mind as it comes in lighter, brighter colors. While I don’t mind the color options, I do get a little annoyed at the gender bias. I’m not inclined to want the carbon fiber looks but the fact that the range of colors available for the Decimo is considerably smaller than the Vanishing Point is a little bit annoying. But I’ll take the sky blue, pearl purple or burgundy any day over the black, black and more black options available for the Vanishing Point!
One of the hidden treasures of a Decimo or VP is that it comes with an 18K nib. Whether the nib is silver rhodium-plated like this one, black or gold, underneath the fancy paint job is a slightly springy nib. Its a little added bonus on top of getting a retractable fountain pen that is beautifully designed.
Sometimes I have a little too much fun with the macro lens. Look at the detail of the nib on the Decimo! You can even see some of the ink droplets from the pen being tossed around in my bag and a stray cat hair. Yes, life at The Well-Appointed Desk isn’t all that glamorous sometimes.
The mechanism the controls the knock that exposes and retracts the nib also covers the opening where the nib retracts inside the pen so even though there was some ink on the nib, none leaked into my bag, pocket or anywhere else.
Part of why the clip is on the nib end is so that if you do clip the pen to your pocket it is nib-end up as a final precaution against any possibility of the pen accidentally leaking on your pocket. Or if it was clipped to the front of a notebook, the nib again would be pointing up reducing any chance of leakage down the front of your papers, clothing or anywhere else.
Since the nib unit is so unique, I thought I’d show the inner workings. This is the nib unit with the converter attached. The nib unit can easily be swapped out should you decide you want a different nib size in your pen or if you have more than one Decimo or VP (they are completely interchangeable).
The pen ships with the converter as well as a cartridge and a metal cartridge cap. It’s recommended to hang on to the cartridge cap if you intend to use cartridges as it protects the plastic from being punctured by the retract mechanism. Remember that Pilot cartridges are proprietary sizes so be sure to have the right size on hand.
The Decimo measures about 5.5″ (14cm). The length did not change with the nib exposed or closed as the button depressed the exact distance that the nib was exposed. The body weighs 25gms filled with the converter filled.
I was worried that the clip was really going to bother me, especially being left-handed but Pilot pens are so well-tuned they are quite forgiving of all the janky angles I tend to write at. After a couple of times using it, I found the “sweet spot” of holding it where I didn’t notice the clip and it didn’t get in the way.
I bought the pen because I wanted a good pen that would be good for using in meetings, on-the-go, and for those jot-it-down-quick moments that happen throughout the day. The Decimo has taken to living tucked in the front of my Traveler’s Notebook, on my desk and in the front pocket of my bag. I guess that pretty much makes it my everyday carry, doesn’t it?
If I were intending to sit down to write a long letter or journal entry, I would probably choose one of my other pens but for everything else, the Decimo is working out great. And I’m actually pretty glad I picked a bright color because I can find it easily.
I tested the Decimo on Rhodia Uni blank pad paper using my standard 7mm guide sheet underneath and deAtramentis Pigeon Blue ink (It was the only bottled ink I had at work and I was impatient to fill this and try it right away).