No, don’t blink. You’re not seeing double – much. The Pilot Penmanship Fountain Pen does indeed look very much like the >Pilot Plumix, but with some definitely differences – and it’s the pen I’ve been picking up the last couple of days, so it’s time. This is a pen I had on my JetPens wish list that my husband bought me for Christmas (yes, I’m that behind on some of the reviews). In fact, I kinda got two because the first one came in without a cap – just the clear body, nib, and ink cartridge. So he ended up with a second one. Now we have some spare parts.
There are some very obvious similarities between the two pens, the Plumix and the Penmanship – as well as some very, very significant differences. Let’s look at the similarities first. The Penmanship and the Plumix are based on the same “mold” they have the long, tapered body – 5.75″ capped and 6″ with the cap posted. The cap posts securely. It feels secure and balanced in the hand. Both pens have the “ergo grip” – the three-sided, built to sit correctly in the hand and not be tiresome when you write with them. They both use the Pilot/Namiki ink cartridges, and now have a converter available for refills.
Where they differ… The Penmanship comes in an extra fine nib instead of the medium flat italic nib that the Plumix offers. I prefer this finer point for every day writing. The Penmanship is only available through online retailers like JetPens in the US. The Plumix is available at Target. And…most importantly, though the CAPS are interchangeable, the NIBS are not. I rather like the color selection in the Plumix pens – the Penmanship comes in clear and black only. I tested the caps, they do fit either pen. But the Penmanship extra fine nibs are threaded more tightly together than the Plumix – so you cannot put the extra fine nib in your Plumix body or vice versa. That was disappointing, but I do find myself using the Penmanship a lot more than the Plumix just for the nib size.
Oh, and being an extra fine nib, there is a bit more feathering of ink – especially on inexpensive paper, but I don’t find that to be significant. I do like the “scratchy” sound it makes while writing because it gives me a sense of accomplishment. Even with that sound, it’s still a smooth writing line with few skips, jumps or splatters. I do like the pen.
Now to the numbers.
1. How does it work? – 1 – it works well. The Penmanship has the same decent learning curve as the Plumix. There’s minimal leaking around the nib (and generally only if you don’t dry it well after cleaning). The nib is sturdy for the fine point.
2. Grip and feel – 1 – the length is comfortable. The pen is light, but balanced and comfortable in the hand. The grip is slick, but ergonomic. There’s no doubt that it can be used for long periods of time, because I have.
3. Material – .5 it’s plastic. It’s lightweight plastic. It’s meant to be a beginner pen and to be graduated up to a nicer pen. These pens have the feel of the old fashioned dip pens, but with more functionality.
4. Overall Design – .5 The Penmanship has a lot of the same buts” and “ifs” as the Plumix. It’s great, BUT… it’s difficult to find refills if you don’t know where to look. It doesn’t have a clip. It doesn’t secure to anything, BUT it’s comfortable and easy to use.
5. Price Point – 0.5 – It’s an OKAY price point for a beginning pen. This pen is slightly more expensive than the Plumix because you can’t get it as easily in the US. This one runs $8.25, however, it is refillable (in both converter and cartridge). This is one I can see keeping around and using , so it should actually earn out its investment.
It gets a 3.5 out of 5 bronze pencils.