Pilot Décimo Mitsukoshi LE: Kira Karacho 1624 (2016)

It seems that every other fountain pen user has some variation of a Pilot Capless, be it the full-size Vanishing Point or the slimmer Décimo. I knew I wanted something special, since I’d gone this far without buying a basic model, and had been eyeing the Namiki-branded Raden VPs for months, trying to convince myself to stump up the cash for one. But then this came along:

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Clicky clicky.

…Japanese second-hand sites are incredible.

Though the website I scored this off claims that this pen is out of a production run of 75, the 2017 Mitsukoshi limited editions are made in a run of 100. As the pen itself is unnumbered, I can only assume that the seller made an error. There is also another version in ivory/white design and gold trim that causes really painful pen envy in me when I see a photo pop up online. This year’s versions are superb as well.

Much ink has been spilled (ha!) over the clip position on both types of Capless, and I have only this to say: for anyone considering buying one, it is a must to try before you buy. I had the fortune of trying the VP, to check if the clip would sit properly in my grip. At any rate, a standard triangle grip should have no problems with the clip, and I have also found it possible to hold the pen such that the clip sits beneath the index finger.

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No problem with me!

The nib comes in three different trims (gold, rhodium, and black) and mine is a fine nib in 18k gold. They’re also available in “special alloy” which are significantly cheaper, though if you’re shelling out for the technology that goes into the Capless, you might as well go the whole hog and get a gold nib. The best thing about them? They’re swappable!

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Nib assembly (with Pilot Metro converter).

The pen takes CON-50 converters (and thus CON-40) but I like to use it with the Metro’s squeezy converter. I’m not a stickler for being able to view the ink level, but if that’s important to you, in addition to a large ink capacity, the only way is to syringe-fill a Pilot cartridge. There’s a metal cap that comes included with the pen, to add some weight when using a cartridge. 

All the Pilot nibs I’ve come across have been uniformly excellent, and this is no exception: even with its tiny size, there’s a nice amount of bounce, and though the line is slightly thicker one would expect from a Japanese fine, there is a very clear and precise sensation when writing, even on smooth papers like Tomoe River. Here is a writing sample on slightly more textured Fabriano EcoQua:

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A flawless writing experience!

And as for the little cloud design on the body, that’s the hallmark of Kira Karacho 1624, a Japanese department store which teamed with Pilot to release the 2016 pen show exclusives:

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