Pen Review: Pilot Grance

By Jessica Coles

I found myself lost the other day in the depths of JetPens, wandering through various corridors.  It seems that even though I could swear I’ve seen everything they offer, I can still find nooks and crannies of previously unseen goodies.

This time, I came across a Pilot fountain pen that I had never seen before.  It was the Pilot Grance fountain pen ($137 from JetPens). I’ve known that Pilot offers a few amazing deals for mid-level fountain pens, but this was a special treat.  A gold nib fountain pen!

Gold nib fountain pens are not necessarily for everyone.  In fact, there was recently a great conversation about gold nibs versus steel nibs on an episode of The Pen Addict that touched on the pros and cons of nib materials (the question was asked by a listener and is near the end of the episode).

My personal preference swings between steel and gold, but I am always excited to find a great deal on a new gold-nibbed fountain pen – one that is at a lower cost than most others.  Pilot also offers the E95S at a similar price ($135 at JetPens), but it is a rather small pocket pen that doesn’t usually appeal to those with larger hands.

The grip of the Grance is 9.5 mm, about the same as a Pilot Metropolitan.  The weight of the Grance is also in-line with the Metropolitan, coming in at 25 grams to the Metro’s 27 grams. The posted Grance is about half an inch shorter than the posted Metropolitan, although the capped pens are nearly the same size.  Again, like the Metropolitan, the Grance pen closes with a very satisfying snap.

However, the exterior of the Grance is quite different.  It has a pearly finish that comes in white, pink, or light blue, each with black and gold accents.  

The pen is long enough (for my hand) to be used unposted, but the balance is much nicer when posting it.

The Pilot Grance is offered with an extra-fine, fine, medium-fine or medium 14kt nib.  The nib is a buttery smooth nib with a bit of springiness.  A small amount of variation is present when writing with no pressure at all.

The nib is soft when writing with light pressure.

In longer writing sessions, using the Grance pen feels elegant and looks amazing, especially in the sunlight! I had no problem writing for several pages with the posted pen – the balance of the pen kept me from pressing harder on the page and the nib was absolutely perfectly tuned straight out of the box.

The pen comes in a plastic clamshell box with one black cartridge but no converter.  It is a sad thing that no converter is included in a gold nib pen purchase, but it seems one way that some pen manufacturers are using to keep the retail prices down.  A converter is available separately ($7.25 at JetPens), or it can be used with Pilot’s proprietary cartridges.

Overall, I would highly recommend this pen.  At $137 for a gold nib, a post-able, snap-able, beautiful pen that writes smoothly out of the box, I think the Pilot Grance is one that you will treasure.

DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.


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10 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Very intriguing. I have some Pilot converters. Will it take a con 70? Or are we stuck with a metro type converter? Thanks for this review.

  2. Thank you! I am a fan of Pilot pens and had never heard of this model. I will have to check it out. Am curious about converter sizes also.

    1. Barbara, I think it’s quite the hidden gem. It won’t take the con-70, but it will take any of the other converters made by Pilot (con-20, con-40, or con-50).

  3. Great review, thanks! My comments and suggestions…

    First of all, don’t buy this pen for $137, it will cost you around half that on the likes of Ebay with free shipping direct from Japan. Second, this is a fairly small fountain pen (only 5.6″ posted according to JetPens), so take that into careful consideration before buying. If your hand is as big as a baseball mitt, this is not the pen for you. Third, there are more color and finish options for this little pen once you get out of the grips of the ridiculously expensive limited selections available outside of Japan. So again, put the power of arbitrage (i.e. the Internet) to work for you!

    Here is the Pilot Japan page showing some (but not all) of the Grance color and finish options:

    One alternative to the Pilot Grance is the Platinum PTL-5000 “Balance” series of pens. The larger PTL-5000 also sports a solid gold nib and is a bit cheaper than the Grance. Both the Grance and PTL-5000 have snap-on caps, not screw-on. I have two PTL-5000’s (Fine and Medium), both pens have some nib flex and line variation. The PTL-5000 pens are only available in two colors, Black and Red.

    Lately the price of the Platinum Balance has come down in the U.S., it isn’t bloated like it is with the Pilot pens. For example, Goulet Pens sells the PTL-5000 series pens in the U.S. for $64. On Amazon the same pens go for as low as $44 from Japan with free shipping. There are two versions of the Platinum Balance series, the PTL-5000 and the PTL-5000A. The only difference I can find is that the PTL-5000A series are sold outside of Japan while the PTL-5000 pens are usually sold inside Japan. All the other published colors and specifications are the same.

    Here is the Platinum Japan page showing the PTL-5000/5000A series pens (scroll down towards the bottom of the page):

    Here are the Goulet Pens and Amazon pages for the PTL-5000:

    If the small size of the Grance doesn’t bother you and you are not obsessed with solid gold nibs, take a look at the lovely little Pilot Lucina. The Lucina is significantly cheaper than the Grance and it has a screw-on cap (which I prefer). JetPens sells the Lucina in the U.S. for $83. On Amazon they go for around $44 with free shipping from Japan. I have the yellow and black version – and love it. It’s my cheap mini version of the vintage Parker Duofold in Mandarin Yellow. Like the vintage Duofold the Lucina comes in Black, Yellow/Black, and Orange/Black. Here’s a link to the Lucina series on JetPens:

    Remember these are Asian-made pens, so the tipping sizes will be a step finer compared with the same size nibs in the West. For example, a Japanese Medium nib will write like a Western Fine nib. And don’t forget to buy a converter if the pen doesn’t already come with one. Some sneaky sellers take the converters out of the box and sell them separately to make a few extra bucks. Shop around.

    Have Fun, David

  4. thanks for the review – I saw this when JetPens started carrying it and am quite intrigued! I have the white Pilot Stargazer – these could be fraternal twins maybe!

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