There’s so much beauty in simplicity, this is a truth generally acknowledged, especially when it comes to fountain pens. The simpler, the better. However, any enthusiast or collector also has a taste for the unconventional fountain pens or those with interesting features. That’s why, we’ve rounded up 5 iconic fountain pens with a retractable nib. Even though we deal with a pretty narrow niche, we’ve selected both reliable and top-shelf fountain pens. Let’s get started, shall we?
PILOT Vanishing Point
The reference point when it comes to Capless fountain pens, the Pilot Vanishing Point is probably the most popular retractable fountain pen ever produced. It is stated that the very first model was introduced in 1963 featuring a twist-action mechanism that extends and retracts the tip. The invention was seen as a giant leap for the pen industry at the time. Since then, Pilot has improved its retractable fountain pens and besides the twist-action mechanism, the company added another two variations: the push-button as well as the clip-slide mechanism.
The fountain pens available on the market vary in price, but if you’re looking for a regular edition with an 18k gold nib, you’ll pay around EUR 130 whilst for the special editions like the Raden models, you’ll pay around EUR 670. Each of the regular edition pens comes in different patterns and color schemes, and we chose the Blue Carbonesque pattern because it seems the most unique of all. The major pros of this pen might be the 18k gold nib and the push-button mechanism that allows you to expose the nib or retract it with a single hand. It’s a nice feature, and comes in handy when you can’t use your both hands. However, there is a disadvantage you should consider: the CON-40 converter provided by Pilot is not that generous in terms of capacity.
LAMY Dialog 3
More and more pen manufacturers are deciding to collaborate with renowned designers to develop products with artistic flair. Such is the case with Lamy, which took a step forward when it launched this retractable beauty. Its design is inspired by Franco Clivio’s vision, and we very much enjoy the clean approach of the famous designer. The pen is a piece of German engineering and craftsmanship and Lamy took care of each detail. From the nib to the clip, each pen is crafted of high-quality materials such as gold, platinum or palladium. The nib is made of 14k gold and is actioned by a twist mechanism. When the nib is retracted, an innovative ball valve protects the nib from dirt as well as from drying out. Thanks to this pretty smart feature, the pen requires less maintenance and can be cleaned easily. If you want to get yourself a Lamy Dialog, the cost would be around EUR 285.
PILOT Capless LS
If the Vanishing Point wasn’t enough for you, there is a premium version available that comes with a knock/twist mechanism to replace the button. This version is luxurious not only in terms of aesthetics but it also performs smoothly thanks to the slow moving mechanism that works quieter than the click mechanism. Similar to the Vanishing Point model, the Capless LS is equipped with an 18k gold extended with a push, but as a distinguished feature, it is retracted with a twist of a metal piece placed at the bottom of the button. The technological improvements are noticeable on this writer, if we look back at the Vanishing Point version. But if we consider the price, EUR 492, it somehow reflects the overall quality of the pen.
Believe it or not, Platinum has a retractable fountain pen and it’s called Curidas. But, is it a piece worth buying? At first glance, the plastic body might make you think of a cheap pen, and even if the price is quite low, in fact the pen is pretty robust. Developing a retractable pen is no easy task and in order to keep the selling prices low, you need to avoid expensive materials and only use them for important parts such as the nib, the filling mechanism, retractable mechanism, etc. Crafted mostly of plastic, the pen feels nice in hand and isn’t that cheap plastic construction most of you are thinking of. There are 5 different versions to choose from and each pen is fitted with a stainless steel nib which performs pretty nice on paper. The nib is protected by an internal seal which also prevents it from drying out when retracted into the pen. For the money you invest in such a pen, it behaves more than well. However, there are better options if you are willing to spend more than EUR 86 on a retractable pen.
Visconti Pininfarina 1930 Carbongrafite
Any car enthusiast might be familiar with the name of Pininfarina. Visconti is already an institution in the pen industry, so let’s find out what is so special about this pen. The collaboration between these two Italian giants has proved to be very successful because this retractable fountain pen is a masterpiece. Limited to only 930 pieces worldwide, the pen is highly sought after. The overall design is impressive, but the most interesting aspect is the unique rotating nib extraction mechanism along the back half of the pen. The pen is fitted with a chromium tubular nib as for the filling mechanism the pen uses cartridges and an exclusively made converter. It is the most expensive piece mentioned in today’s list, but also the most unique and you can still find it, even though it’s quite difficult, at around EUR 1300.
A very special fountain pen with a retractable nib is also the Richard Mille mechanical pen. We wrote an article about it if you want to check it out you can do so following this link:
Do you have a favourite capless fountain pen? Let us know in the comments section!
Image sources: web