For a long time I didn’t see the appeal of the capless pens from Pilot (also know as Vanishing Points). But I wrote about my changed opinion when I purchased the Raden Stripe Vanishing Point for my 40th birthday gift to myself. So when Appelboom offered us the chance to review the Pilot Capless LS Matte Black Fountain, I knew I wanted to compare and contrast the two!
The Capless LS Matte Black Fountain pen is the newest iteration in Pilot’s Capless series that started back in the 1960’s. The LS stands for Luxury and Silent, which is how they describe the new retractable mechanism they’ve developed for this model. The difference is that now the mechanism is a click to expose the nib, and a twist to retract it, whereas previous models had a click for both functions. This means that the knock and the end pieces have been somewhat redesigned.
The LS has a few other areas where it differs from the more “standard” Vanishing Point line (I use standard in quotes because the Raden editions are already more premium models as they contain the fine abalone work in the body, but the body design itself remains the same as the base level Vanishing Points.)
The LS weighs in at more than the Raden – the LS is a hefty 40g whereas the Raden is 31g. The LS is also a smidge longer at 5.75″/14.5 cm versus 5.5″/14 cm. Both models feature Pilot’s 18k gold nib and ink converter unit. Nibs are available in Fine, Medium and Broad and amusingly enough both the LS I reviewed and my Raden are M nibs. I find the Medium Pilot nib in both the LS and my Raden to be quite wet, and capable of putting down enough ink to get a good shade or sheen depending on the ink used.
Finally there are differences in body and trim. The LS is a matte black resin body, with a black clip whereas the Raden is a black lacquered body with the Raden stripes, and rhodium trim.
Functionally, the pens write very similarly. If weight is an issue, then some might find the LS heavy to hold, but I found it well-balanced and I do like the feel of a slightly weightier body (though I love my Sailors, I also adore my Retro 51 metal bodied pens so I’m used to a variety). Vanishing Points and the LS are the larger pen in Pilot’s “capless” offerings (if you’re looking for something with a slimmer line, try the Decimo). If I’m honest, I admit that even my Raden Vanishing Point is a bit wide for me to hold comfortably for long writing sessions, but it is one of my favorite pens in my collection so I still pull it out and use it. However, my discomfort is because I have fairly small hands, so if you’re not afflicted with that curse, size alone shouldn’t keep you from enjoying this one.
The LS, for its Luxury and Silence, comes at a premium price of €413.22 (or approximately $493). The base models of the Vanishing Points start around $200, and yearly Limited Editions start closer to $300. The Raden Vanishing Points are in more limited supply these days and run anywhere between $550 and $800, though I found mine in a screaming eBay deal and paid right around $400.
If you like capless fountain pens, there’s no one who executes it better than Pilot and the LS is no exception.
- Paper: Write Notepads Dot Grid Steno Pad ($14)
- Pen:Pilot Capless LS Matte Black Fountain (€413.22 or approximately $493)
- Inks: Birmingham Pen Co. Emerald View Park Oxidized Brass
DISCLAIMER: This pen was loaned to us by Appelboom for the purposes of this review. Please see the About page for more details.
3 comments / Add your comment below
I have a large collection of the std VPs and many of the annual LEs and I love them all. And I didnt initially. I purchased my 1st P-VP in black lacquer/gold trim back in 1999, wanted to see this clicky fountain pen, and maybe it was the blah B&G or…. not a fan. Stayed in a drawer for 20 years. Fast forward to 2014-15 and I found the Goulet Pen Co and became a FP fan again. When Pilot introduced the VP Twilight, it mesmerized me, and I quickly grabbed that up as well as the Crimson Sunset, Turquoise, hunted down the cherry bamboo, blue guilloche, and up to the release of the twisty one last Fall – mine is in the deep burgundy, and I swear, most of the time it looks black. ALL of my VP nibs are either B or Stub (1.1) . I lust after that Radon you have, but I lust after so many things, it has to get in line!
I love the look of the matte black and I love the idea of the retractable nib. But boy, that cost… Not sure I’m ready to fork that much over just yet. I guess I’ll stick to my cheaper Pilot options for now.