Thursday, August 21, 2008

The fountain pen I owned for the shortest amount of time : Namiki Vanishing Point.

Namiki Vanishing Point on Hand*Book

When I first became aware of the Fountain Pen Network, an online community of fountain pen enthusiasts, I did a lot of research and asked a lot of questions about what pen people most recommended as being a smooth daily writer.

If you are using a fountain pen to write on a regular basis, it's preferable to find one that has a nib that has little resistance against the surface of the paper - a smooth writer. The opposite of a smooth writer would be a "toothy nib."

Since fountain pens needs relatively little pressure on the paper to make the ink flow, it's my personal preference to make that experience even more pleasurable by finding the "ultimate" smooth writer.

So after booping around the FPN, I hear talk about this amazing pen called "The Vanishing Point" by Namiki. The Vanishing Point is an unusual pen in that it does not have a cap. It is a pen with a retractable fountain pen nib. People sang it's praises as being one of the smoothest writers, as well as it's unique construction. Others did not like the pen because of the way the clip was at the nib end of the pen, because they found it got in the way of trying to write with the pen. (The clip is at the top of the pen so the nib stays upright in your pocket. Fountain pens should always remain "nib up" to avoid leaks.)

The Vanishing Point is not an inexpensive pen, selling at around $100. Limited edition colors like purple & yellow had been selling for around $180. I found a used one in excellent condition and couldn't wait to receive it.

Once I got it, it didn't last a week.

The pen wrote smooth enough, the clip didn't get it the way, but the pen itself (to me) was very, very heavy. My hand would cramp from using it and I sold it almost as fast as I got it.

Sometimes I get frustrated at the lack of a local pen shop- a place where I could go and see pens in person, try some inks...rather than have to always buy things online.


Felyne said...

Oh I am so with you on this one (about pen stores).

I've got a Vanishing Point too, and it's everything I like except for the nib - it has far too much flex for my liking. I like a very rigid nib.

Mine is grey too, and I do want to be rid of it.

Biffybeans said...

Yes - it would be so much easier if we could try these things out first.

Anonymous said...

I got one 'bout 5 years ago when in DC on business at Fahrney's. It's become my 'take-around-everywhere' FP. I got the fine point so I can later read my writing, and another pen enthusiat told me that the nibs are actually intechangeable - that I could get a replacement nib. And if memory serves, I thought he told me that the replacement was actually rather inexpensive (I thought ~$25US.)

Anonymous said...

Re: VP clip - I've heard some people take the somewhat extreme measure of removing the clip!
Alternative: If you like what the VP does - one handed click and you're ready, but don't like the girth or weight; you might try the Pilot Decimo. It's a slimmer, lighter version of the VP. Clip is also smaller and lower. Available in Japan or from some places like Again, hard to test unless you know someone who has one. Uses the same nibs.

Hope that helps,

Mr. Guilt said...

You may have better luck with a "semi-vintage" Vanishing Point. While they've been around since the late sixties (I'm semi-on-the-hunt for a '71), I'm speaking of ones prior to the latest design (I got mine in '97). This was thinner, lighter, and, instead of truly round, was more facetted.

Personally, I think the VP is a mondern classic. As you observed, it writes well, looks nice, and is reasonably price. That it retracts makes it only cooler.

RedPiano1 said...

I tend to "roll" a pen in my fingers as I write which is fine for gel etc., but ugly with a fp. So the clip on top thing with the vanishing point and the rather odd design of the Lamy Safari hold the pen in the right place while writing. (Plus I have some post-chemo peripheral neuropathy in my hands so when my fingers start going numb on me, those are the two pens I grab - they always work with wonky hands :)

You'd need to do some hunting to get a price that low on the exchangable nib for the Vanishing point because it's the whole writing guts of the pen and not just the nib. I've seen them from $50-ish on ebay to merp pushing $100.

I use the F nib for daily writing and it's a good width for me - same issue of being able to read my notes later.

I've used heavier pens like most any Waterman Man and some of the new Chinese stuff cominmg in, and it can put a weight on your hand if that's not what you're used to. I'd say that the Namiki is about "middle" in weight on my collection (I have a Waterman Man100 that will set off seatbelt alarms if I leave it on the passenger seat in my car LOL

I'm getting used to the plastic bodies now though for the favs - Lamy, a Platinum Preppie (the best $3 throw away but med and up) Pelikan Future. The Vanishing Point is probably the heaviest one I have now in daily rotation, and if I had to have just ONE pen, this would be the one... just a good, basic (yet pricey) writing pen.

schrodycat said...

Sorry to hear that. I recently got my first VP and I love it. Even with a F nib (which writes like an XF) it's smooth as silk. And I find the weight actually helps with my grip and handwriting -- less finger pressure is required.

Anonymous said...

I have 10 Vanishing Point Pens. Last week, the one that I keep inked and in use, simply vanished. Not the point, but the whole pen. Worse, it was the "Old," style that is hard to replace.
I saw two of them on Ebay, but the prices are astronomical, compared to the newer model.
Now, I suppose that I'll have to grit my teeth, and buy a replacement.
Only 3 of my pens are of the old style. The rest are all the newer style. I sure wish that Namiki would return to the old style, at least to give the buyers a choice

Crim said...

Try a Decimo! Much lighter. Worth a try before you give up on them completely.

Anonymous said...

Agree that Decimo would be wise choice if you want light. Fermo if like a heavy pen. I like all three - and the Dialog 3, too.

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