**UPDATE: As of 2019, the Pilot VP Fermo is no longer available at GouletPens.com **
The Pilot Vanishing Point Fermo is the lesser-known sibling pen to the click Vanishing Point, but shares a similar design and the exact same interchangeable nib units. It is a retractable fountain pen, that utilizes a twisting mechanism instead of a click one. I shot a video covering just about everything I could think to cover, including all of the following topics summarized here.
Pilot Vanishing Point Fermo, in Deep Blue, Diamond Silver, and Black
Box and Packaging
The Pilot Vanishing Point Fermo box is the standard Pilot box like you see with the Vanishing Point (except Black Matte), Custom 74 blue, clear, and smoke, and Namikei Falcon and Pilot Metal Falcon, and Pilot Custom Heritage 92. The pen comes with a Pilot Con-50 converter and a single Pilot/Namiki cartridge with a metal cartridge cap.
Pilot Vanishing Point Fermo, with Con-50 converter, Pilot/Namiki cartridge, and metal cartridge cap (all included)
Color and Model Options
The Fermo comes in 3 different colors, Black, Deep Blue, and Diamond Silver. All are rhodium trimmed and come with an 18k gold, rhodium plated nib in extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad nib options.
Cartridge/converter, Pilot/Namiki proprietary cartridges, Con-50 converter. Ink capacity isn’t huge, that’s a bit of a drawback to the Con-50, but it’s no different than any of the click Vanishing Points or other Pilot pens. Refilling ink cartridges is a method that some prefer for slightly greater ink capacity.
Stipula DaVinci (not a close comparable, but it’s a retractable fountain pen)
Nib Size Options
Extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad 18k gold nibs with rhodium plating. Some retailers may choose to offer the pens with fine, medium, and broad 18k yellow gold nibs as well. These nib units are exactly the same as the click Vanishing Point nibs, and are interchangeable.
Typical pen maintenance, the capless design may require more regular use to keep the pen from drying out, but I didn’t experience anything unusual with Ku-jaku during my test week. The inside mechanism on this appears to be the same little ‘trap door’ style as the click Vanishing Point, which actually does a pretty good job of keeping the nib wet when the pen isn’t in use. I didn’t notice any difference between this and any other pen I have. When cleaning out the pen, it’s actually pretty easy because you can remove the converter, and use the good ol’ bulb syringe to flush it out. There isn’t a real intricate feed system exposed that makes it hard to clean out.
Retractable, slightly slimmer/sleeker than the click VP, can use any existing VP nib. It might be a little more comfortable to use for those with smaller hands, if the click VP is just a tad too big.
Size and Dimensions
Weight: Overall: 33g (1.16oz)
Length: Nib retracted: 141mm (5.55in), Nib protracted: 150mm (5.91in) Nib Length Outside of Pen: 9mm (0.35in) Diameter: Body (no clip): 12mm (0.47in) Body (w/ clip): 13.8mm (0.54in)
Flow is nice, drier in the EF and F nibs. EF and F write much finer than Western nibs like Lamy, medium and broad write more like other brands’ nibs. EF nib is CRAZY thin. Make sure to pull nib unit out of the pen, don’t try to ink with the pen body attached! Fully immerse the filler hole when inking up. Grip Section is smooth, part of the body. slimmer than the click VP, which is nice. No problems with gripping, despite it being metal. The metal is lacqeuered, which helps keep a better grip than you might have on a chrome-plated metal grip section.
Strengths: This is a beautiful pen that I personally find more comfortable to use than the VP. It is very well balanced and the nibs are excellent. You don’t need to worry about losing or dropping a cap when you go to use it, and it definitely has a cool factor to it. It looks very classy and professional, without being flashy or gaudy.
Weaknesses: It’s a significant jump in price to the VP, no doubt because of the engineering involved in developing a retractable twist pen. The ink capacity isn’t outstanding, but that only really matters for the wetter medium and broad nibs as the smaller nibs sip ink.
Price: List $325, our price of $260. Certainly not cheap, but it is an attractive pen that writes really well, very nice for a snazzy work pen that isn’t gaudy. I fully realize the price will drive most pen fans to consider the click Vanishing Point first, given that it’s nearly half the price, but the Fermo is a respectable pen on its own.
Recommendation: This pen definitely won’t be for everyone, but for those that love the click VP and want something different, this will be a pleasure. It’ll also be nice for those that want the convenience of a retractable nib like the VP, but haven’ been crazy about the thickness of the grip section or the click action.