I started using fountain pen when I was 9.  Back home, third grade was a time when students learned how to write with ballpoint pen.  Prior to that, we were only allowed to use pencils.  (Interestingly, in my school, we started learning Chinese calligraphy around age 8.  Would not you assume brush pens were harder than ballpoint?)  On first day of school, the teacher announced that we needed to bring ballpoint pens with us in addition to pencils, but she strongly recommended fountain pens because it would have more control over strokes.  Knowing me, I went home and told mom that fountain pens were much preferred by my teacher, and that I should get one.  While mom was still hesitating, dad just rushed out and got one for me.  I no longer recall the model, but it was a basic student fountain pen by Pilot.  That poor pen was dropped by me so many times and eventually pigeonholed, but I still remembered my dad’s look when he saw the way I wrote (or carved?) with that pen.

Dad:  “That is not how you use it.”
Me:  with defiance “well, then how do you use it?”
Dad:  scratching head, “you supposed to hold the pen at 45 degree angle, and you are not supposed to hold it like a pencil.”
Me: “But nothing is coming out!!”
Dad:  Sigh, “Patience, young lady, patience.”

I think that was the first and last time dad ever instructed me on proper way of using a fountain pen.

I like to write with fountain pens whenever I can.  Partly because we just do not use pens as often as before.  Since I usually have a lot of whatnot in my tote, I do not want my fountain pen to be damaged; hence I embark on a search for a portable and economical fountain pen, so even if something happens to it, I will not cry too hard.  Disposable fountain pens are available in the market, but the idea just does not sit well with me.  What do you mean that fountain pens are disposable?  They supposed to be renewable with ink of your choices!  One option eliminated.  I thought about Platinum Preppy.  It is an economical pen, writes smoothly, and it can be converted into an eye-dropped ink system, so I will not need to bother with cartridges.  The pessimistic/ disaster conscious part of me ruminates, “how about if the barrel cracks?  Then my tote will be dyed by ink.” In addition, Preppy is still a regular size pen, that is in regular length, so it might not be as portable as smaller pens.  After much debate, I give Pilot Petit1 a try.

The pen is quite tiny.  It measures a little over 10cm (roughly 4 inches), and about 12.5cm (5 inches) when the cap is posted.  It has four color choices on the pen body:  clear (opaque white), transparent magenta, transparent green, and transparent purple. I chose the opaque white, thinking that is something different from the rest of my collection.  On the cap, it has a plastic clip that looks a bit on the fragile side for me.  I am afraid with my brutal force, the clip will snap in no time.  Petit1 fountain pen takes its own specific cartridge; international short cartridges do not fit it (yes, I have tried).  I purchased Petit1 cartridges thinking I can use a syringe to refill them with ink of my choice.  In case you think refilling is a hassle, Pilot offers 14 colors of cartridges (depending on websites), which is a great variety consider this is a mini economical fountain pen.

Looks like a compact bullet.

It is still petite when it is posted.

To my surprise, Petit1 writes very well, consider its size and price.  It responds to writing pressure quite well; I have not have a time when it is not ready to write besides in some circumstances, which will explain later.  If I understand correctly, Petit1 only comes in fine nib, but it writes between a fine and medium.  On regular paper, it sometime write with a bit of scratches, but not rough enough to deface the paper.  On premium paper, Petit 1 glides across the surface without much problem. 

Midori notepad.  Ink still behaves.
With MiquelRius, ink behaves by chance.  In this case, it does not feather, but in some cases, it is pretty prominent around corners of letters.

Petite v. regular paper.  I am lucky that it did not feather.  Hopeful, isn’t it?

Rhodia conquers all!  It works just like fountain pens that are significantly more expensive.

Can you tell that this is written with a Petit1?

Ink is the component that I am less enthusiastic.  There are great selection of colors, reminding me of Pilot Hi-Tec-C, but it does feather a bit on regular papers, especially if you pause at any point while writing.  Even on some fountain pen friendly paper, such as MiquelRius (75g), it still feathers. The ink works beautifully with premium paper. 

In my experience, if I leave the cap off too long, then the pen will experience minor difficulty in writing, so if you need to pause to put your thoughts together, I would suggest to cap the pen; otherwise, your thoughts might flutter away while you get the pen to write.

Bottom line, if you are thinking about trying out fountain pen, need a pen that can take some beating, or a pen that is great portability, Petit 1 will be a great choice.   

Pen varies from $3.30 to $4.20, refill costs between $2-$2.5 (3 counts). You may obtain Petit1 either at JetPens, JStationery, Maido Stationary, or other Japanese bookstores. 


Nowadays, I subconciously angle to 45 degrees when I write with fountain pens.  I finally take heed of dad’s suggestions.

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8 thoughts on “Fountain Pen Review: Pilot Petit 1

  1. I think what he meant was you don't hold a fountain pen like any other pens or pencils. If I understand it correctly and I am no expert, it is the nib and the surface of the paper should be in 45 degree angle.

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  2. Someone once told me that fountain pen makes one's penmanship better. All in all, writing with fountain pen suppose to give you a delightful feeling just something about it. You can do calligraphy with fountain pen, but the disposable type is just a regular fountain pen. Possibly for those people who just want to try one out or do not bother to fill it up.

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  3. What happened to your old ones? I still not yet to have a fountain pen exploding episode (I would not even wish that to my arch enemy). I can imagine how sad I would be even if it is only a Petit1 that is being damaged. I guess I will not feel AS guilty as I were to damage a Lamy or Montblanc. A nifty little pen. Maybe I should just be your secret Santa for this holiday season šŸ˜‰

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  4. Thanksgiving Turkey… that would be the first. I guess that would give me a legitimate excuse to gobble, gobble. Petit does look like a disposable fountain pen, and I was hoping that it would take the international standard short, so I could avoid buying the cartridges altogether. Did you remedy the situation by purchasing all available colors for the new version?

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  5. P.S. Disposable fountain pen. . . I suppose it is for those who have elegant and formal calligraphy but are constantly on the go? For me, most of the fun with fountain pen is playing with the nib and cartridge parts. The artistic value of my calligraphy is negligible.

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  6. Sometimes they're nice just to have if you want to toss one in your bag and not worry about it exploding or the body being damaged. I used to have a few of the older models but this one is extra cute! Sigh. Another thing to add to my wish list. Love the review šŸ™‚

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  7. GAH! Sorry I didn't see your reply! Well, I was STUPID and thought the Petits were disposable. At the time, I didn't realize they had mini cartridge refills so I ended up throwing out the bodies šŸ˜¦ Even though I had the entire color set. Sigh. I try not to think about that mistake because it makes me sad. You're actually like my Thanksgiving Santa… perhaps my Thanksgiving Turkey? You're so sweet šŸ™‚

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