Pilot Metropolitan

These are the first two fountain pens I bought. The fit and finish is excellent, the nibs feel great, the barrel and cap is painted brass, they just work, and they're inexpensive. I highly recommend them.

Really, they're just so well thought out it's hard to think of much to say about them. But I do have a few things I object to.

I don't like how tapered the grip / section is, and I don't like how slippery it is. I hold it at the thickest part, and this combination results in my fingers slipping down, which has resulted in me habitually wiping my fingers off whenever trying to write anything. I thought maybe the narrow end would be good for some people, but when I think of the wider pens used by children and arthritic people, that seems unlikely. I'm tempted to try texturizing it.

Similarly, I wish they used more standard cartridges, but I think their cartridges are better than international cartridges. The wider opening fits more securely, wobbles less, and I've had great success re-sealing them with their original stoppers.

I kind of wish the nibs were a standard type (#5 or #6), but really, their system is very nice. Very well made, and the nibs are interchangeable with the 1mm italic in the Pilot Plumix ($6), and the extra fine in the Pilot Penmanship.

I started with the fine, then got the medium after realizing that would show shading better (variations in darkness that are a characteristic of some inks).

I got these, in plain black, for about $15 shipped, each.