Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pilot Petit1 Mini Fountain Pen

The Pilot Petit1 has the honour of being only the second fountain pen ever reviewed at A Penchant for Paper.  (The first was the Platinum Preppy.)  I must admit that I am still somewhat intimidated by fountain pens.  Luckily, the Petit1 is about as unintimidating as a pen can get.

Capped (top) and posted (bottom).
The bullet-shaped body measures just over 10cm when capped, coming perilously close to being called a "cute" pen. I initially worried that a pen this small would be uncomfortable to write with, but it expands to nearly 13cm when the cap is posted and is actually not that bad, although I wouldn't want to use it for long periods of time and I wouldn't recommend it for those with large hands. One thing that I really appreciate about the design of this pen is that the barcode is printed on a sticker that easily peels off.  It always annoys me when an otherwise nice pen is marred by an ugly barcode printed directly on the barrel.

The nib of the Pilot Petit1 is marked with an "F", which presumably stands for "fine", although after writing with this pen I am beginning to suspect that it actually stands for something like "fat" or "full."  The nib is certainly not as fine as that of the Platinum Preppy, an otherwise similar sort of cheap, "disposable" fountain pen.  The Petit1 is also a much wetter pen than the Preppy, and tends to feather on most papers, even slightly on the paper of my Rhodia No. 11 Pad.
The business end.
One thing that I love about this pen is the dark green colour of the ink.  It is a much more distinguished and elegant colour than the brighter greens that are more commonly seen among pens.  The ink also shows some shading, which I always love in a pen.

Green ink!  I love it!
I think that some people have modified this pen as well as the Preppy to be used with bottled fountain pen ink so they don't have to rely on cartridges.  However, as this is approaching the intimidating side of fountain pens, I won't be getting into that here any time soon.

The Petit1 (top) looks like the little brother of the Platinum Preppy (bottom).
Overally, the Pilot Petit1 is a decent, inexpensive fountain pen.  If you're a bit nervous about fountain pens as I am, then the Petit1 is not a bad introduction, although if you prefer finer-nibbed pens you're probably better off with the Platinum Preppy.

Related reviews: The Pen Addict (1), The Pen Addict (2), Pen and Design (1), Pen and Design (2), Tyler Dahl Fountain Pens, No Pen Intended, East West Everywhere, Good Pens, From the Pen Cup, Potentially Percipicacious, UnpostedCrónicas Estilográficas, OfficeSupplyGeek.


  1. I love the Petit 1 - it's one of the best little pens I've found in years (and I love that I can just stick it in my pocket!) When they were revamping the line, I thought it was being discontinued completely and I panicked & bought up lots of cartridges, but now it's back and I'm very happy that I won't be caught without ink for it (though it does look like the dark green isn't back. Neither is the purple. :( )

    It looks like the newer nibs are finer than the older ones (like your dark green one) -- I'm also having a little trouble getting my new one to write well (it keeps stopping), so if you DO want a finer nib, I'd suggest trying one of the new ones. I don't know if the problem I'm having with mine is across the whole line, or if I just got one that's a bit off.

  2. Congratulations on trying your second fountain pen!

    Don't be intimidated by fountain pens - it is a slippery slope into addiction - but I think you have enough experience with writing instruments to have developed a resistance to that sort of thing.

    You should really try a "real" fountain pen. I would suggest a Waterman Phileas (they are hard to find now, I don't think they are being made any more) or Waterman Kultur (a European version of the Phileas without any bling - but it writes as well). These are entry level pens - but are among the best writing nibs out there. You will be shocked at how smoothly they write.

    Or you could look for some Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pens if you want to go in the other direction. I wrote about how to refill the disposables here:

    Enjoy your blog, keep up the good work.

  3. Penemuel, I'm sad to hear that the dark green ink is no longer available among the new Petit1 pens. It truly is a great colour! I wasn't aware that there was a new version of the Petit1 when I bought this one a couple months ago until I started seeing reviews for it appearing on my favourite pen blogs. I'll have to check out the new version, since I certainly would appreciate a finer nib.

    Bill, I agree with you that I certainly should try a "real" fountain pen. The trouble is that most of them, even the entry-level ones, do cost more than I am used to spending on a pen, and then there are so many different kinds, it is hard to choose one. Unlike cheap disposable ballpoints and gel pens, I can't simply buy one of each until I find one I like, but have to try to get it right the first time. Still, I'm sure I'll jump in and try a real fountain pen one of these days. As always, stay tuned!

  4. Heather, I just checked one of the places I had ordered some of the cartridges from during my 'panic buy', and they still have some dark green left. Not sure how many, but there are some: (no affiliation.)

  5. I want to try this pen out! I love the dark green color and its so small! I recommend you try the LAMY fountain pen in Royal blue color. LAMY is a GREAT brand of fountain pens, although a little expensive, its worth it.... and when your ink runs out, you just buy a new cartridge. :)

  6. I find them oh-so satisfying. Not quite like what we used in Switzerland, but for something cheap I can throw in my pocket, it makes a swell indulgent purchase.

  7. I'm happy that you ran a review of your pen reviews because I wasn't reading your blog back then. I love this little under-rated pen... and one very under-rated quality is that this pen can be full of ink and sit idle for months... and yet it will start writing smoothly again from the first stroke! I have much by more expensive pens that choke for a while if I leave them idle for even a couple weeks. Yay for the little Petit1!

    1. That's very true! I tend to be slow to use my pens (and I have a bad habit of letting the ink dry up in my fountain pens), but I was still using this pen last year (2013), two years after this review, before I finally used up the ink in the cartridge. And it didn't dry up in all that time!


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