This Just In: Pilot Vanishing Point Guilloche (2016 LE)

Pilot Vanishing Point Guilloche in BoxPilot releases a Limited Edition Vanishing Point every year, the limit being determined by the year. So this year brings 2,016 Vanishing Point Guilloche fountain pens. “Guilloche” is a ornamentation resembling braided ribbons. The pens are black with silver trim and the guilloche pattern slightly raised along the black portion of the metal barrel. It has the look of vintage chased hard rubber pens and when it was announced I had some small hope it would be rubber (or ebonite) as the initial announcement didn’t mention the material. I immediately signed up to be notified when it was available.

Of course and in stock notification isn’t the same as buying it. I ended up mulling it over for a couple days after getting the in-stock notification. The Vanishing Point clip has never bothered me but the metal bodies weren’t my favorites and I sold all but one of my metal Vanishing Points. Did I really want another one? Well obviously I did and I hoped the raised design would alleviate my distaste of the cold metal.

The Guilloche Limited Edition Vanishing Point lists for $240 although there’s the usual 20% discount from most online sellers. Despite being a limited edition I haven’t seen any out of stock notifications and two thousand pens seems like a lot, especially at this price point. I didn’t feel the need to rush the purchase, especially since the “Storm Trooper” Vanishing Point was now available in the US and would probably be more popular.

The Guilloche is only available with a medium nib, which is typical for the annual limited editions, although some retailers may offer to swap the nib unit. Mine has the stock rhodium plated 18-karat gold medium nib. Since the nibs are easily swappable I can use any of my nibs and was happy to take the medium. I prefer fines or extra fines but this medium is a nice writer and I’ve been using it since I got the pen. Plus, part of my calculation was that the standard nib would make it easier to sell if I didn’t like the pen.

For the record, I received #200 of 2016. The packaging is new and I like it more than the previous limited editions. It’s a nice design but doesn’t seem to be a huge expense for something I’ll never use again. The pen also included the new Con-40 converter which isn’t widely available here in the States.

As for the Con-40 converter – I was going to say “it sucks”, but the problem is it doesn’t suck up enough ink. The converter seems over-engineered, with three small agitator balls and a stopper to keep those balls in. When extending the plunger to expel the air in preparation to pull ink in there a full half-inch of air still in the converter where the plunger can’t reach thanks to that stopper. This leaves more air above the ink than the typical converter. I made a mess trying to get the last of the air out. A syringe would work of course but that seems to defeat the purpose of using a converter, although seems easier than repeated attempts to get the air out. Hopefully there’s a secret I’ve yet to stumble on. Here’s a thread on FP Geeks about the con-40 converter issues. Officially the con-40 holds 0.4ml of ink.

I picked Montblanc Toffee Brown as the first ink for this pen. The writing was nice a smooth, a typical quality Pilot nib. The ink didn’t last long and I didn’t want to deal with the converter so I popped in the blue cartridge that came with the pen and have been using that since. There hasn’t been any skipping or hard starts.

While the Vanishing Points are ideal for jotting quick notes on the go the medium nib doesn’t suit that purpose, at least for me. So I’ve been using the pen for longer writing sessions at my desk (or a table) and find it delightful to use. The raised Guilloche pattern gives it a nice tactile feel that eliminates the cold feeling I get from the typical metal VP. I like using it as much as my wooden Vanishing Points, although some of that may be due to the new pen glow. Some people hate the clip, I really like it. It fits naturally with my grip and provides some stability. With small or mostly hidden nibs such as this one I have a tendency to rotate the pen over time, the clip completely eliminates this.

I’ve seen some online comments that Pilot changed the internal design below the clip which has affected people who remove the VP clips. This isn’t something I’d ever do but if you do expect to remove the clip you may want to do some online research before buying the pen. The review linked below has photos.

The Guilloche pattern is subtle and very nice. Last year’s Twilight Limited Edition VP was a hit among the pen community and if memory serves, it sold out quickly. While I appreciated the looks of the Twilight, and it certainly caught my eye, I never considered a purchase. On the other hand, the Pilot Vanishing Point Guilloche 2016 Limited Edition was an easier decision once I knew the Guilloche pattern was raised. I’m very happy with the decision to buy. I like the simple design aesthetic along with the functionality provided by the raised pattern.

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Additional Reading

Pilot Guilloche Vanishing Point (2016 Limited Edition) | No Pen Intended

Ink & Pen Notes: Pilot Vanishing Point XXXF with Pilot Black

Pilot Vanishing Point XXXF Nib with Pilot Black ink cartridgesI inked up my Pilot Vanishing Point XXXF nib way back on Mach 11th, loading it with a Pilot black ink cartridge. The nib unit started in the Cherry Bamboo barrel and then moved to the Maplewood barrel after I inked up the left oblique nib.

The XXXF nib is a custom grind done by Richard Binder a couple of years ago. The nib is extremely thin, making it stingy with ink. It’s about as smooth as such a thin nib can be. It’s great on Rhodia or Tomoe River paper but I also use it a lot on “regular” paper too. It will catch a bit on coarse or fibrous paper.

A Vanishing Point with this nib used to be a regular carry in my shirt pocket, but this became less useful to me so now the pen is just part of my regular rotation.

Pilot Black is an ink I like a lot for everyday use and it’s dark enough for this thin nib. As usual it was problem free and easy to flush from the fountain pen.

There’s not much else to say about this fountain pen and ink combination. The Pilot Vanishing Point XXXF nib combined with Pilot Black ink to provide a consistently pleasant writing experience.

Ink & Pen Notes: Pilot Vanishing Point Left Oblique with Montblanc Bordeaux

Cherry Bamboo Pilot Vanishing Point Left Oblique nib with Montblanc Bordeaux ink bottleI inked up my Pilot Vanishing Point left oblique nib with Montblanc Bordeaux ink back on April 29th and refilled it once since then. One of the things I like about the Vanishing Points is that it’s super easy to swap the nib (filled with ink) between barrels. This one spent most of its time in the Cherry Bamboo barrel, but it did spend a couple days in each of my other Vanishing Point barrels.

While the click-action Vanishing Point is well-suited for quick notes, the left oblique nib is not. At least not for me. While the left oblique nib is perfect for my Vanishing Point grip, it does require a consistent writing angle. So the nib mainly gets used for longer writing sessions at a desk or table. The nib is a custom grind, of a factory medium, done by John Mottishaw.

There’s not much to say about Montblanc Bordeaux. It sits solidly atop my Favorite 5 inks list and will soon return in another fountain pen.

As for the Vanishing Point left oblique nib, it will be a regular visitor to my rotation but will take some time off.

Ink and Pen Notes: Pilot Vanishing Point with Pilot Black

Pilot Vanishing Point Maplewood XXXF nibThis pen and ink combo is a quiet but consistent worker for me. Actually, it’s the Vanishing Point XXXF nib and Pilot black ink (in a cartridge) that’s quiet and consistent. The barrel is interchangeable. It was inked up back on September 18th and I wrote it dry on Sunday. So it was just shy of four months of use. While it started and ended in the Maplewood barrel it did spend some time in the Red Bamboo barrel for variety. It’s one of the things I like about the Vanishing Points, the nibs are easily (and cleanly) swapped while inked.

I like using cartridges in the Vanishing Points since they have more capacity than the converters and are easy to handle. Since I’m not a fan of re-using cartridges this means I use Pilot ink. I like Pilot ink so this isn’t a problem at all. The black ink shows up nicely with the thin XXXF nib.

The pen performed perfectly over the four months it was in the pen. No skipping or hard starts. It was mainly a shirt pocket carry and was used for quick notes which explains the four months of use.

Even after four months there wasn’t any staining and the pen was easily flushed.

I’ve done this combination before so the pictures are repeats since my schedule and the weather didn’t cooperate for natural light photos.

Ink & Pen Notes: Pilot Vanishing Point with R&K Scabiosa

Pilot Vanishing Point Left Oblique Nib with R&K Scabiosa ink bottleI fitted my Cherry Bamboo Pilot Vanishing Point with a left oblique nib with the intent to use it to write the postcard replies to the contest entrants. I picked Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa as the ink. Being an Iron Gall ink means it’s waterproof which is ideal for the postcards.

The ink and pen are great, my choice of postcards was fountain pen hostile. I couldn’t find any postcards locally, at least none that I liked and were reasonably priced so I ordered some postcards from Amazon. The postcards were fine (Connecticut themed) but it wasn’t completely unexpected that they were coated and glossy. As shown in the photos the coating was attracted to the nib and clumped up a bit. Cleaning the nib while writing was required as it would affect the flow. Plus, neither the ink or nib were able to highlight their character on the coating.

I used a Con–50 converter that has the agitator inside, so it doesn’t hold much ink. Despite this I was surprised when I actually wrote the pen dry. I used the pen last night, with the intent of cleaning it when I finished, empty or not. I inked it up back on November 24 and three weeks was long enough for an iron gall ink. Instead it went dry. I must have used it more than I remember in the week before the Visconti Bronze Age arrived since I haven’t used it much since then.

The Vanishing Point is an easy pen to clean since the nib unit is removable and the Scabiosa ink was easily flushed from the pen.

A nib and ink that I like. For the postcards I’ll pick a more basic waterproof ink and a run-of-the-mill easy to clean (and harder to clog) medium nib. (I already have better postcards, but will use these up first) The left oblique Vanishing Point nib and the R&K Scabiosa ink are both worth frequent visits to my rotation and will return. I wrote about the Cherry Bamboo Vanishing Point and Left Oblique nib here.

As is my practice, the nib is photographed after using it for awhile. So in most of the photos you can see the coating that accumulated from the postcards, although in the last two I cleaned the nib off a bit.