Japanese beauty: A review of the Pilot Bamboo fountain pen

I wonder when they’ll write the last chapter in the history of fountain pens? When they do and begin the business of trying to narrow down the very best of the best; those iconic fountain pens whose style linger in the memory I think the fountain pen under review today will be included in whatever list is put together.

This is none other than the Pilot Bamboo fountain pen. Sadly I believe that this pen is no longer in production. This one under review is the black with rhodium trim edition. It comes with a rhodium plated matte and shiny two-tone 18k gold nib in medium.

Design & Description: As you can see from the pictures this fountain pen displays a beautiful asymmetry. In my view it is without doubt one of the most beautiful fountain pens ever produced. Surprisingly perhaps the pen’s designer is French not Japanese but she obviously drew heavily upon classic Japanese forms and culture in the pen’s design.

The pen is wonderfully tapered, curved and tactile, superbly balanced whether posted or not. It is reminiscent, at least to me, of a samurai short sword although it is, in truth, more akin to a cut section of bamboo, hence the name :). The great thing about this pen is that every bit is well put together. The cap and barrel align perfectly to display the asymmetrical design. The long clip is both curved and angular which accentuates the long lines of this pen

The grip section is some way narrower than the barrel which swells at the middle with bamboo-like ridges upon it. Behind the grip is a secure screw-thread that provides a silver contrast to the rest of the pen which is continued on the nib. The nib itself  is large and one of the most attractive I’ve seen. The contrast between the matte and polished finish works well and is very nice.

Dimensions: This pen weighs in at a decent 34g empty. Uncapped the pen is 128mm long and 150mm capped. The pen posts deeply and well and is 170mm long when posted.

Filling System: The Bamboo fills via a cartridge/converter. The pen was supplied with a Pilot CON-70  converter which is a clever kind of press filler that holds a huge amount of ink. perhaps a more elaborate filling system would have been nicer on this pen but personally speaking I don’t think it’s that much of a big deal.

Maintenance: Thus pen is easy to clean and easy to replace if the converter breaks. The only slight drawback is that Pilot have their own, proprietary, cartridges and converters. There is nothing wrong with any of them, especially the CON-70 which I like immensely, but it is worth bearing in mind.

On test: The pen is a true balance of engineering and art. In use the nib, though relatively firm for a gold nib, glides effortlessly over the page. In truth this is one of the most comfortable pen I have in use. It allows prolonged use without giving rise to fatigue. The medium nib writes in a way that is more akin to a european fine which suits me and my writing style perfectly. Using it gives and extremely pleasurable writing experience and the pen is one of my favourites.I particularly like to twin this pen with various colours of Pilot Iroshizuku ink as in the pictured writing sample, the combination is exquisite

Summary: This is an original and beautifully designed pen with which it is a pleasure to write. It shows  excellent quality and impeccable attention to detail.. This is something I’m learning to expect from Pilot and I love it.



13 thoughts on “Japanese beauty: A review of the Pilot Bamboo fountain pen

  1. It must be me. I can not see the appeal in this pen. Perhaps it is my perception of your photos. The proportion of the pen does not look complete and the “bamboo” ridges look like a gimmick. In the documentaries about Samurai swords that I have seen the blades have a pronounced curve. This looks like a sharp straight stick. Wow I sound terrible. I know you are in love with this pen and that is great, maybe if I saw it in person I too might be taken with it. The thing I did like was the nib. The contrast of the frosted finish next to the smooth was unique. I apologize for the tone of this comment, but I would be less than truthful if I gave the pen a glowing review. Am I still your brother? Brthr Shirl

    1. We’re still OK Shirl 🙂 Though I’m beginning to question your taste in pens 😉 I would imagine that it is my poor photography that fails to do justice to the pen.

  2. If my taste in pens is corrupt, I have several Pilots, I really like my Mini, then you would be doing a little self criticism perhaps ,He he. I love the Japanese attention to detail. If you want to give me the pen I’m sure my opinion would change. I’M KIDDING! The sad thing is no brick and mortar store close and the closest pen show is in November 150 miles away. I don’t want to criticize your photography when I can’t do any better. I’m glad, glad, glad we are still OK. Don’t want to ruin a pleasant relationship.

    1. I’m glad you like it, it’s true that Pilot are no longer producing them but they can still be purchased used via forums such as the fountain pen network and fountain pen geeks…

    1. Hi thanks for the comment, try fountain pen geeks and/or fountain pen network, or contact Pilot direct, you never know they may have one or two still lying around 🙂

  3. Hi there
    Is the pen available for sale? I am to make an offer up to 3x the retail price.
    Pls kindly let me know if you are interested.


    1. Hi Jon
      It is possible but would depend on your whereabouts and a secure way of transaction, happy for you to make me an offer

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