Pen Review: Pilot Spare Sign Pen

Pilot Spare Sign Pen

What if you could refill a Pilot Sign Pen ($16.50) with a cartridge or even a fountain pen ink? You can! With the new Pilot Spare Sign Pen. The pen ships with four blue-black fountain pen cartridges (and a spare tip) but will also accept a Pilot converter (I recommend the Con-40) so you can fill or refill the pen with an ink of your choosing.

Pilot Spare PSign en

I’ve been enjoying filling the various refillable pens in my collection with fountain pen inks. They allow me to use more of my existing ink and experience the vast array of colors in a different form factor. Super light fountain pen inks can now be used to underline passages in a book or sections in my notebooks where the ink may not be as useful in an EF fountain pen. I can experiment with super sheeners or shimmer inks in an inexpensive tool as well.

Pilot Spare Sign Pen

Pilot Spare Sign Pen

Once the Con-40 was installed, I filled the Spare Sign Pen with Colorverse Matter, a lovely grey ink. I wanted to play with a color not commonly found in felt tip pens. The color has a range of hues in it and dries a little darker than it appears when wet so it was fun to play with it in the Spare Sign Pen.


Pilot Spare Pen writing sample
Writing sample on Tomoe River 52gsm and Col-o-ring card with samples of Kuretake Karappo refillable pens for comparison.

I also wanted to compare the writing experience of the Pilot Spare Sign Pen with the Kuretake Karappo with Wick and with Cartridges. The Pilot Spare Sign Pen tip is a bit wider than the Kuretake Karappo Felt Tip and the Karappo with cartridges felt tip. Obviously, the brush/bristle tips are wider but I wanted to include sample writing just to show the range.

I have not yet tried to clean the Pilot Spare Sign Pen but the replaceable tip will make it possible to reuse the converter and pen barrel even if the tip needs to be swapped out with each color change.

I enjoy the opportunity to use fountain pen inks in different ways, particularly in work environments where fountain pens can seem a little “fancy”. I still get to use fun ink colors but in stealthy packaging.

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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4 comments / Add your comment below

  1. This reminds me of the Rotring Rapidoliner that was long discontinued… 1990. Loved it, but getting refills was hard. The refill had a cartridge and a tip. Expensive too.

  2. I have enjoyed my pilot petit fude (now discontinued) so really pleased this is an option. I don’t know if shimmer particles will work or get caught in the material … Have you tried it yet?

    1. I did try a sparkle ink in one of the Kuretake Karrappo refillable pens without much success. Sheening ink did work really well though.

  3. Ana,

    Nifty to know about these pens and the options they offer. Please let us know when you figure out about whether the tip can be cleaned. And I’m curious about Elaine’s query, too. Back to the lab!


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