A fountain pen disguised as ballpoint?
Of course, it is not really the way it should be: fountain pens that work like ball pens. And yet they exist. Is it a gimmick or are they fully-fledged fountain pens? Pilot was the first with the Pilot Capless. As early as the sixties they developed a fountain pen that uses a simple pressure mechanism to make the nib disappear into the holder. With a lid the pen is sealed airtight so that dehydration is prevented. Another capless fountain pen is the Lamy Dialog 3. The Lamy Dialog 3 works with a turning mechanism. This pen also uses a lid that is rotated over the nib when it is closed. As a fountain pen enthusiast I already had the old versions of these pens. Recently we were able to test two completely new versions. The first thing that struck me: over the years the pens have improved considerably.
First impression of the Pilot Capless
My Pilot Capless from the nineties still writes excellent, but the case is made of plastic and has an unpleasant tear. The new Pilot Capless is almost impossible to compare with its predecessor. The current Capless exudes much more class and is made of durable materials. The pressing mechanism has also been renewed and works much more smoothly. In short, the Capless has become a top quality product. So we will judge this fountain pen as such.
First impression of the Lamy Dialog 3
The Lamy Dialog 3 is also a very qualitative fountain pen. Of course I also have an earlier version of the Dialog 3 in my possession, but for this pen too it has to be said that the current version of this fountain pen is slightly better and especially more beautiful than the older Dialog 3. I particularly like the lacquered versions, but you can see fingerprints on them very quickly. The lacquered versions of the Lamy Dialog 3 are also a bit more expensive than the matte versions.
Which capless fountain pen is the best?
In order to determine this, I devised a system of criteria. I am looking at the following criteria for both fountain pens:
- Writing quality.
- The clip.
- Drying out of the nib.
- General quality.
But what is clear from a first conclusion: the pens barely manage to outrun each other. The writing quality of both pens is excellent. I have a slight preference for the Lamy because the nib is somewhat larger than that of Pilot. Both nibs are 14k gold. Where Lamy’s clip is easy to handle and gives a slight back pressure, the Pilot has a lot of back pressure and is therefore difficult to handle. This makes it easier for the Pilot Capless to stay in a breast pocket! For both pens the clips are a bit obstructing when you write with these pens. The old pins are both in fact better on this aspect. With Pilot the clip has grown over the years, forcing you to place your fingers on the sides. I prefer to write with my index finger on top of the pen and that is not really possible with the current capless fountain pens. Also with Lamy there will still be a part of the clip on the pen when writing. With the old fountain pen the clip was pulled all the way into the case when you removed the nib. I don’t understand why Lamy chose this solution.
The appearance of the fountain pens
The looks of course remain something personal. The Lamy looks a bit trendier in my eyes. With the current Pilot Capless they have rounded off the clean lines and used classical elements in a super modern fountain pen. The styling of the Pilot Capless from the nineties with its clean lines looks even more modern in my opinion. The Lamy is much bigger than the Pilot and frankly a bit too big to write with. You really have to love a thick pen to get along well with this pen.
It’s all about the details
In the Netherlands, only the thicker Pilot Capless is usually offered. In fact, there are two versions, one thick and one thinner. To be complete there are actually three versions, there are also Pliot Capless with a turning mechanism. I think the thin Capless is the most beautiful, the clean lines stay in tact with this pen. But the thick Capless is a nicer pen to write with. The Pilot Capless is available in many different colours. I think the black or metal, which is uniformly colored, is the most beautiful. Although the light blue metalic version is also very nice to see. There are so many different colors, there is one to suit everyone’s taste. The Lamy is available in three colors: white, black and metal.
How do the capless fountain pens perform?
Although the working methods of the mechanisms are completely different, both of these pens work fine. This also applies to the closing mechanisms. However ingenious the mechanism may work, it is not yet perfect. If you put these fountain pens away for a month, there is a good chance that the nib has dried out. Nevertheless, if you enjoy these capless fountain pens they are very nice to play with. The Lamy with its twist mechanism is just a bit more playful I believe. But in my opinion, the sliding mechanism of the Pilot is more functional. In short: choose the capless fountain pen you like or enjoy most, because the overall quality of both fountain pens is excellent.