When I started my fountain pen journey, one of the first pens I loved was the Pilot Metropolitan (this was back in the day when they were the entry model and $15-18 a pop). From there I bought a TWSBI Eco and a Retro 51. While I still love what I consider inexpensive fountain pens (Kaweco Sport anyone?) I admit that I sort of skipped right over one of the entry classes of fountain pens and never went back to try them.
I do love Japanese nibs, so I when Ana had a spare Platinum Prefounte ($10) in Night Sea with a medium (0.5) nib, I wanted to give it a try. The Prefounte comes basically ready to rock and roll with the pen and an ink cartridge for the price of around $11.00.
The body of the Prefounte is made of a transparent resin and comes in several muted colors. The pen has a chrome clip, and a stainless steel nib. The cap snaps shut and is made with “Slip and Seal” technology that claims it will keep your pen inked for up to a year. The cartridges are proprietary, which is the only downside I can see (that you can’t just grab one of the random cartridges you have rolling around at home) and has a small steel ball in it. While I gather this makes ink flow easier, it does make a little clicking noise in there if you shake the pen, so beware.
The pen is a nice length at 5 3/8″/13.7 cm capped, and 4 3/4″/12 cm uncapped. It comes in at a super light weight – 13g (capped and with the cartridge inserted).
In general, the writing experience was only ok for me. In the first sample, it took a bit to start, but then seemed ok. I took a break to take some photos and came back, and the nib was a bit dry and had a hard start. I got it going again, but every so often it would skip a bit. So I hate to say it, but compared to my TWSBI Ecos that I can pick up after weeks and write with right away, it was a little disappointing. (ETA I picked it up again this morning just before hitting post after it sat overnight and it wrote perfectly on the first try, YMMV?)
However, I would take my review with a grain of salt. Other pens that would fit in the same category as the Prefounte are the Kaweco Perkeo and the Pilot Kakuno about which I do hear lots of positive feedback. Unfortunately, I don’t own either, which is to my (and your) detriment when I write this review.
I did take a quick shot of the Prefounte with the closest competitors in my collection: (L to R) Kaweco Frosted Sport, Pilot Metropolitan, Platinum Prefounte, Scrikss 419. In terms of preference I would use the Pilot Metro or the Frosted Sport over the Prefounte.
Even though the Prefounte wasn’t my favorite, I do like that there are fountain pens available at every budget level. I think that makes them more accessible to everyone one, and also an easier entry pen to share with your kids or someone you’d like to entice over to the hobby (or should I say way of life?).
- Paper: Ghost Paper Notebook ($25)
- Pen: Platinum Prefounte ($10)
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2 comments / Add your comment below
In spite of the fact that the Prefounte is, by all appearances, a dressed up Preppy, I had some trouble like you described, with mine. I’ve never had any kind of problem with a Preppy. (
It’s such a consistent little pen for so very little money. Seems odd to have to pay twice as much for a pen that doesn’t work as well. Makes me wonder if the Prefounte is made somewhere else, with less (or worse) quality control.
I agree! My Prefounte is hard-starting more often than not, so I seldom pick it up any more. And for whatever reason, the Preppy feels more sold (i.e., less cheap!) and almost always starts. Almost. That said, if one was looking to pay sub-Metro pricing, I’d recommend a Pilot–Plumix, Kakuno, or Penmanship–every time. Pilots always start right out of the box (which is a proverbial box for the Plumix and Penmanship, of course!) and their value is unmatched, even at the low end.