Sometime during the early days of my initiation into the fountain pen hobby, I came across Pilot’s Capless fountain pens. The Capless pens implements the common knock (or click) mechanism that we find in ballpoint pens, which in this case, would extend the nib unit out of the pen body. I thought it was a novel idea because it just seems really handy and portable. I commute to work on the subway every day and whenever I get a seat (which is a very rare occurence), I would whip out my notebook and fountain pen to work on my journal and/or blog drafts. Having to keep track of your (very expensive) pen cap (usually held in one hand as I write) makes it an uncomfortable writing experience. So when I read about the Capless, the idea of owning one really intrigued me…
BUT the position of clip!! Why did it have to be there?! I find its position fairly unusual because that was exactly the spot where I’d place my fingers to grip the pen. From viewing photos online, I could easily judge that it would be very obstructive to my grip. Functionality-wise, the clip was at the “bottom” of the pen because you are suppose to store it nib-up to avoid ink leakage. Eventually, I had to dismiss the idea of owning one because I honestly can’t see how that could ever work out for me.
Crimson Sunset, 2017 Limited Edition
Then the Crimson Sunset, which was 2017’s limited edition, was announced and the photos of the pen simply looked gorgeous to me. In my mind, I considered that if I were to own one Capless, I’d rather get one that is a limited edition so that reselling it later on would be less of a chore as its resale value would be decently close to the its original retail value.
However, when it arrived and I’d started playing with it, I discovered that the clip position was indeed obstructive, even painful to my grip. I would position my fingers directly on the ridges of the clip grooves and it really rubs in when I attempt to hold the pen in place. In addition, the girth of the barrel was unexpected bigger than expected (I never bothered to read the pen specifications before purchase) so it really messed with my overall grip of the pen. Since the overall pen form was unusual, I would unconsciously grip it harder in order to hold it in place.
In short, this was one seriously uncomfortable pen. Having to write with it for extended periods of time, even to compose a simple paragraph of text, would cramp my hand up. In short, to my chagrin, I had to retire it into storage after just one inking.
About half a year later, I dug it up again for a second attempt. After all, it wasn’t a cheap acquisition and now that I’ve been exposed to many different fountain pens, I came to a realization that giving a pen a second chance can change ones’ perspective of it. So it came out of storage and being mindful of my past experience, I experimented with holding the pen at different position as well as being conscious of how tightly I held the pen. As it turns out, I finally realized the Capless was quite a heavy pen and its weight was adding unnecessary stress to my grip, as well as being uncomfortable to wield due to the wide barrel girth. But now armed with this realization, I could adjust my grip and as it turns out, the experience was not as bad as when I first held it half a year ago.
Then I began to wonder if perhaps the Capless Decimo - a redesign of the pen presumably for the smaller (or ladylike) hands - would be a better match for me. Eventually, one evening while browsing eBay to find something to apply a 20% off coupon, I discovered that the Capless Decimo was perfect because the overall cost would have been significantly cheaper than importing it directly from Japan at the regular retail price.
When it arrived, I knew immediately that it would not be a purchase that I would regret. For starters, it came in a lovely violet shade that was clean and muted, yet glossy and shiny. Holding it in my hands, I discovered that it was indeed lighter than the original Capless and the girth of the pen was just perfect for my hands! The regular Capless had brass implements while the Decimo is made of aluminium. There is also a sense of a lower quality build as I also found the clip and nib opening to have rough edges. Regardless, the difference in its the weight, overall grip size and price made it such a bargain for me.
In a sudden change of heart, this pen may just be my EDC!
The one downside, and this is also true for all modern editions of the Capless would be that it is a converter-cartridge based pen which means a fairly low capacity of ink because the CON-70 cannot fit the body. On the one hand, I like its low volume capacity to change my inks often, but for extended writing sessions, the need to re-ink the pen can be a hassle.