Majohn A1 Fountain Pen Review
The Pilot Vanishing Point* is a Holy Grail pen for a lot of people.
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It’s not a cheap pen, and as someone who owns quite a few fountain pens already, I wasn’t ready to take the plunge just yet.
I love the styling of the VP though, and I’d never tried a retractable fountain pen before. One day I came across a recommendation for the Majohn A1*. This is a wonderful dupe for the VP, for a fraction of the cost.
I know dupes aren’t to everyone’s taste. I find dupes can be handy to try something you’re not sure of and see whether it works for you before splurging on the full thing. The design of this pen is unusual compared to most pens in my collection.
With these pens, you’re actually holding the pen where the clip is.
I had no idea how I was going to fair with such an unusual grip.
Given the ~£150 difference in price between the two pens, that would have been a lot of money to spend to find out I didn’t like the design of the pen.
This isn’t me purchasing this instead of the VP; this is me ensuring I’d like it when I do buy it.
Ordering & delivery
I ordered this pen from Ali Express*. You can order from Amazon* if you don’t want to wait (or don’t like Ali Express). However, it is almost double the price on there. Given shipping to the UK only took around two weeks, I was happy to save the money and wait a little longer.
I was impressed with the accessories received with this pen.
You receive two refillable cartridges (one is in the pen), a converter and pipette for filling them. This is a nice amount of accessories (I’m used to having to purchase converters separately, for example). I also really like that there is a lid for one of the cartridges, so I can have more ink ready to go. This is really handy for travelling so I don’t have to worry about taking ink bottles with me.
This pen is very easy to use. Simply turning the barrel reveals the insides.
While the matte black body of the pen feels heavy and well made, the silver cover for the cartridge does feel thin and cheap in comparison. You also have to be a little careful when putting the body of the pen back in. You’re effectively going in blind, so need to make sure you’re not hitting the nib against anything internally.
The EF nib is listed as made from ‘Iraurita’ which a Google tells me is actually is ‘Osmium’. I don’t know too much about nibs but a little research shows this is a common material for nibs and produces smooth and consistent writing.
This is one of the more obvious areas showing the difference in price between this and the Pilot, as the VP has an 18 carat gold rhodium plated nib.
As the nib material suggested, the writing in this is lovely and smooth. Inked up with my Diamine Onyx Black*, I’ve been enjoying using this in my Weeks since I received it.
Despite being an EF nib, it’s not scratchy at all. This was my biggest worry with this pen. I had an EF Lamy Safari in the past and absolutely hated it. I thought EF nibs weren’t for me. Turns out, it’s just the Lamy ones that don’t agree with me.
Holding the pen feels surprisingly natural. I was worried that the clip would get in the way but the design makes it feel unobtrusive.
It is noticeably wider than my TWSBI Eco, which is my daily driver pen for my Hobonichi Cousin. This is definitely at my limit for pen width in terms of writing comfort. The A1 comes in at 1.1cm where I hold it, whereas the TWSBI is a little over 0.9cm.
It’s also a weighty pen, which I like. Particularly when writing small in the Weeks, I need the extra precision that a heavier pen gives me. Full of ink, this pen weights 33g which is a full 10g more than a filled TWSBI Eco.
The weight of the pen also helps the feeling of quality. For a ~£20 fountain pen I’ve been very impressed. I’m glad I picked this pen up. It’s been nice to add a beautiful matte black pen to my collection, and try this new form factor.
While I’m enjoying using this as my pen in my Hobonichi Weeks, it hasn’t yet dethroned the TWSBI Eco as my got to pen of choice. If and when that happens, that’s when I’ll know to upgrade to the Pilot Vanishing Point. Pilot are by far my favourite pen manufacturer and you’re always guaranteed a good quality pen from them. But, I need to be convinced that the slightly larger size works well enough for me to be happy to use it every day.