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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pilot E95S Fountain Pen Overview


It’s no secret, I’m a fan of Pilot. And pens like the new Pilot E95S show you why. Sure, I’m a retailer of theirs and you should always take what I say about products I sell with that in mind, but I try to be pretty honest and objective despite that. I won’t go saying that the E95S is the best pen ever made, but I will say that it’s a pretty unique pen and one that I was more impressed with once I had it in my hands than I was just looking at pictures.

The E95S is known in Japan as the Elite 95S, which for copyright/trademark purposes had to be named something different in the US. So the “Elite" became “E”. The pen comes in two different color options: black with gold trim and burgundy and gold with gold trim. The black one is pretty straight-laced, but the burgundy/gold is really interesting. That’s actually the color I like more, but it’s a personal preference thing.
Pilot E95s - Overview

It’s a small pen, a really small pen! Only measuring 119mm long (4.7in) closed, it kind of looks like a stick of mascara or lipstick or something! But when you open up and post the pen, it lengthens up quite a bit to 147mm (5.8in), which is about the length of a ‘normal’ pen. This makes it a nice, compact pen. It’ll be a little too short for bigger-handed folks like me unless you post it, but the almost effortless sliding cap actually makes it a pleasure to do so.

The E95S is really light, too, only weighing about as much as a Lamy Safari, even though this pen is made of metal. It’s a cartridge/converter pen that uses the proprietary Pilot/Namiki cartridges and comes with a Pilot Con-20 squeeze converter. It’ll also fit the similar squeeze converter that fits the Parallel and Metropolitan (that’s not available apart from these pens). Here’s the thing though, the Con-50 won’t fit in it, the metal band around the converter is too wide to fit in the pen. And the Con-70 is just way too big, don’t even think about it.
Pilot E95s - Exploded
Pilot E95s comes with the Pilot Con-20 converter and accepts Pilot/Namiki cartridges

Now let’s talk about how it writes. It’s awesome. I really haven’t met a Pilot nib I don’t like at this point, they just really know how to do their nibs (which they make in-house). And this nib is cool, it’s 14k gold and inlaid into the pen body which gives it a really unique and kind of vintage look. It’s also smooth and has a lot of spring to it. Press the nib and you can get some line variation, but I’d go easy on this because it’s not advertised as a soft or flex nib at all. Don’t overdo it. But wow, that EF nib especially is really, really small, and writes with a little bit of tooth which is perfectly alright and expected given how thin a line it draws. The fine and medium nibs are very smooth, and the medium in particular is a nice, wet writer.

Pilot E95s - Inlaid Nib
Here are my personal thoughts on the pen, take it or leave it:
Take it:

  • Very light, portable Incredibly easy (and fun) to cap/uncap 
  • Classy looking, definitely looks the price 
  • Price is great, at $170 list ($136 at GouletPens.com) it’s a very affordable 14k gold nib pen
  • Inlaid EF, F, and M nib is unique, looks cool, and writes really nicely 

Leave it:

  • Con-20 limitation means you’ll never be able to see your ink level 
  • Because the pen is light, I wonder how well it’ll hold up to abuse. Treat it well
  • Short length means it pretty much has to be posted to be usable, by most hands 

The Pilot E95S might not be the easiest name to remember, but one glance at the pen and it’ll definitely stand out to you. If you’re in the market for a Pilot Vanishing Point, Pilot Stargazer, or Pilot Falcon, basically a gold-nib pen that’s really convenient as a pocket pen, I would certainly give this one a look. Pick one up for $136 at GouletPens.com, and if you have any questions be sure to ask in the comments below.

Write On, 
Brian Goulet

16 comments:

  1. The Burgundy version looks like it has a gold-ish or silver tone to the cap (and in the video too) but on the website it calls it Ivory (more white in color in the picture). Am I confused, or am I not seeing the color correctly in the video? How would you describe the Burgundy cap in that version?

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  2. Just posted on youtube, but I love this pen so much (because of the nib) I thought I;d double post.

    I got this at the beginning of the year direct from Japan. It has a
    REALLY nice smooth and "soft" nib. Not really flexy or with line
    variation, but the very opposite of a "nail". Really lovely to write
    with.
    It's also a great travelling pen because of it's small size.

    The
    durability seems to be fine. I have been just throwing it into a
    pocket. Cap has been slightly dented, but more from my teeth (my bad!)
    than throwing it around in a backpack. Only slightly downside is that it
    does dry out a little after maybe 2 weeks (because of the slip cap). A
    small drop of water dabbed on the nib gets it going immediately though.

    Incidentally
    another good pen from Japan that may be coming over that I would try
    and get hold of is the Pilot Custom Heritage 91 which comes with a
    variety of "soft" nibs. (e.g. SFM SF etc)

    In general I hate posting my pens (small hands and often wrecks the balance), but despite having to post this pen I still love it, it's balance when posted is great.

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  3. I would describe it as an ivory that has been overlaid on a metallic brass/gold colour. (A subtle brass). It's sort of hard to describe. It's definitely not ivory because it looks metallic, but the colour is like a soft brass that has a thin coat of ivory over the top. That description may sound a little ugly, but I think it's pretty beautiful, especially with the burgundy. YMMV!

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  4. Maybe my favorite pen of the year! I'm going to have to move it to the top of the queue I think. Thanks for the video!

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  5. Thanks for the clarification Robert. I thought it had a metallic sheen just from looking at Brian's review, and pictures above (especially the pic next to the Midori Passport size travelers notebook) but wasn't sure after looking at the picture in the online order section of the site. I'm definitely going to pick one up in the Burgundy. Again, appreciate the information and de-confusing me!

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  6. Might be worth mentioning this is a revival of the Pilot Elite of the 1960s which was extremely popular in Japan. Other Japanese pen companies also imitated this design. Pilot made versions in a variety of colors, some clearly targeted to women.

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  7. It looks kind of like the Pentel Kerry pencil...

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  8. What kind of journal is that?

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  9. Aaron, that is a Midori Traveler's Notebook, passport size, see: http://www.gouletpens.com/Midori_Travelers_Notebook_Passport_Brown_p/tn15027006.htm . I love mine, all kinds of options to set up (sticker pockets, zippered pouch, blank, lined, graph, weekly/monthly planners). See Brian's videos at the product page. Very thin but fountain friendly Japanese paper. Mine goes with me everywhere. It is a notebook analogy of a Swiss Army Knife. I have 3 different refills, 6 stick-on pockets, a file folder, & a zippered pocket.

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  10. Brian you might really be surprised how Japan can make all these gold nibs for such a price... if you still check the Pilot catalog they can make gold nibs at 50 dollars Japan retail... so is Platinum also yes I think you may now know this pen is old also the 95 means the 95th anniversary year of Pilot which means this pen also came out the same time as the Justus 95 which also happens to be an "old" pen infact the first Justus (1980s) came with the Cigar shaped body found on the Custom line

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  11. There is this video on YouTube showing a Pilot pen being made. It isn't this model, but it gives a good idea how it's made, specially how they make the nibs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTjwbemFyRY (japanese, but you can activate english captions.)

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  12. Is it easy to clean thoroughly when you are changing ink colors? Can you use a bulb syringe to flush the nib and section? Can you use a syringe to clean the converter?

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  13. Peter Buergin-WittOctober 11, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    ...One could also resort to refilling Pilot/Namiki cartridges, which is especially easy since they have this huge opening. Then you'd have some Idea of how much ink is left, and obtain more ink capacity. The best way to flush a Pilot pen, again, is to attach the open part of a Pilot cartridge to a bulb syringe or even a larger medical syringe and get a tight seal to the feed this way. Otherwise you are flushing forever with those small converters...

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  14. Peter Buergin-WittOctober 12, 2014 at 4:20 PM

    ...flushing hint above - I may even have picked that up from Brian at some point in the past...

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  15. Got Deep Red EF from Japan recently (they are almost twice as cheaper there). A good companion to my vintage Sailor 21 pocket (pocket is the common name of these pens), elegant and smooth design. Writes.. like EF should :)

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  16. Would this make it into your regular rotation more than a TWSBI mini? Sounds like the Elite 95s has an edge on writing performance and portability/durability but may lose points head-to-head on ink capacity/maintenance. Considering the 2 for a first-time fountain pen purchase and would appreciate any thoughts.

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