The Pilot Metropolitan is a very popular beginner fountain pen thanks to it’s sub-$20 price point, metal body, and classic design. This is a great first fountain pen for people who are getting interested in the hobby but who aren’t quite ready fro upgrading to a gold nib pen.
Unlike many newer affordable fountain pens, the Metropolitan is mostly made of metal. Later models, like the Explorer have largely moved to plastic bodies.
The Metropolitan is sold in all sorts of different colorways, like Silver Plain, Gold Zigzag, Violet Leopard, Black Crocodile, White Tiger, Black Plain, Gold Plain, Taupe Lizard, Silver Python, and Silver Dot. There is a variant of this pen called the Pilot Metropolitan Retro Pop. This is a the same pen with different patterns on the body, like Orange Flower, Green Marble, Turquoise Dots, Red Wave, Orange Flower, Gray Hounds-tooth, Green Marble, and Purple Ellipse.
The Pilot Metropolitan is a cartridge converter fountain pen that only works with Pilot’s proprietary cartridges and converts. Some models included the Pilot Con-B converter, but current models include a black ink cartridge. The Pilot Con-40 converter is a popular option for this pen if you are looking to upgrade.
Pilot Metropolitan Materials
The grip section of the Metropolitan is made of plastic. The plastic is glossy black and it fully opaque. At some angles it almost looks like it’s slightly translucent, but it’s not. This is something that was done on the Explorer, giving the newer pen a more modern look.
The rest of the pen is made of coated metal. Some commenters have called it “lacquered metal” but that doesn’t seem quite accurate, at least not for all colors. All the hardware is metal as well, including the clip, where the cap meets the body, and of course the barrel. All this metal gives the Metropolitan an impressive 27 gram weight.
Where the body ends and the cap starts there is a glossy piece of plastic (seemingly with metal under it) that is a distinctive features of the Metropolitan. It’s not clear what purpose this piece serves, but it’s found on all the pens in this line. You can see it on every model, and it has a slightly different color than the grey of the barrel in the image above. On more colorful models there tends to be printing or some sort of design placed here.
There are no finials or design enhancements at the ends of the pen.
Pilot Metropolitan Review
The Pilot Metropolitan is one of those pens that everyone likes. That’s not to say there aren’t some people who love it but, generally speaking, it’s a “starter fountain pen.” It’s a great way to dip your toes in the water and see if fountain pens are for you. If they are, people tend to go ahead and upgrade to higher end steel pen or a 14K gold nib fountain pen. If they are on the fence, or find that the Metropolitan is enough for them, this is a good enough pen to last for years.
The Metropolitan (lovingly referred to as the “Metro”) has been a real favorite in the sub-$20 (actual price) category for years. This is the case because not so much because it writes so well, but rather because it’s well built with a serious weight to it. It’s also rather a nice looking pen, in a plain sort of way.
The Metropolitan’s Nib
The Metro has a stainless steel nib. The nib is relatively sturdy, quite small, and has a bit of style to it. Quality control from the factory on these nibs can be hit and miss, so if yours doesn’t feel exactly spot on, that certainly might be the case.
A tuned, or at least true, Metropolitan nib will be smooth enough for enjoyable use and will be quite measured with its ink flow. This is a pen meant for every day use, not dramatic script or extreme line variation. The nib is not flexible and has almost no spring to it, so it’s worth being careful who you hand the pen to, though it is easy to work with if it needs to be adjusted down the road.
A Great Starter Fountain Pen?
The Pilot Metropolitan seems to be on the way out, as it is replaced with the Explorer. Whether this is a full phase-out or simply a change in tastes, the Metro remains a great pen. It’s not the best writer and it’s a bit plain to look at, but getting a hefty, metal-body fountain pen for this sort of price is always going to be a good thing. The Explorer is larger and more modern looking, but it’s surprisingly light and feels flimsy.
The Metro might be showing some signs of its age, but its a classic affordable fountain pen and it’s a great way to get into the fountain pen hobby, regardless of it you ever escalate it down the road.
Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen Information
|Street Price||Check Price|
|Pen Type||Fountain Pen | Cartridge/Converter|
|Barrel Color||Silver, Black, Misc. patterns|
|Grip Color||Black, Silver|
|Country of Origin||Japan|
|Capped? Retractable?||Capped - Snap-on|
|Length Capped / Retracted (cm)||13.8|
|Length Posted (cm)||15.3|
|Length Uncapped (cm)||12.5|
|Weight (g)||27 grams|
|Ink Color Shipped||Black|
|Nib Sizes||Fine, Medium, 1.0 mm Stub|