The Pilot Petit1 made my JetPens shopping cart late last year in the form of a bundle of eight in different colours (the order also included a ten-pack of the 0.5 mm Zebra Sarasa Clip) to be included in Christmas gifts for friends. Thankfully, I kept a couple, and as I’ve found with most Pilot nibs, for the price, the Petit1 certainly punches well above its weight.
Look and Feel
The Petit1 is a compact or almost “half-sized” pen, and requires posting to achieve a regular length for writing. Like a Kaweco Sport, once posted, I find these types of pens no less comfortable for writing than those of standard size.
For those who may be more familiar with the Kaweco Sport range, this is indeed a good comparison, as the two pens are identical in size, and with the exception of the clip on the Kaweco (assuming you are someone who uses the clip), the plastic construction is very similar in both as well. Though admittedly the Petit1 does not feel as robust as the Kaweco, which given the price, is to be expected.
A full list of specifications for the Petit1 can be found on the JetPens site, however in summary:
- plastic body, cap and clip
- metal (presumably steel) nib
- length capped 10.6 cm; uncapped 9.4 cm; posted 13 cm
- cartridge fill type
- variable body and ink colours
- refill cartridges available
- eyedropper convertible
Once the sticker is removed (which explains the method of cartridge insertion for anyone unfamiliar with this), the remainder of the body is fairly clear, save for the Petit1 and Pilot branding in the centre of the body. This provides a nice view of the ink from the cartridge down through the feed.
The clip is moulded plastic arising for the tip of the cap, and although has a little spring to it, I fear is a prime candidate for snapping off. With a pen of this size, a clipless body may find it’s way to the bottom of a pocket, making extraction a little more fiddly than you might otherwise like. Conversely, it is precisely pens like this which I often throw in the bottom of my pocket rather than clip, so in my mind this really doesn’t detract from the pen itself. I suspect if you prefer parts not snapped off your pens it may be an issue.
There is an absence of any taper to the grip section with a significant step down from the body itself, however the plastic construction inherently provides a certain softness to the feel in this particular part of the pen, and I found the step not sharp enough to bother.
The nib construction is described on JetPens as metal, and I can only assume is therefore steel (however this does leave the door open to it being some kind of cheaper alloy, though I’ve no reason to suspect this is the case). Pilot branding and nib size are the only embellishment on an otherwise minimalist looking nib. For the price, this is a fantastic nib.
What is there to say here really? The nib is as good as any Pilot nib in this price segment of the market (read fantastic), I have used of late, and perhaps even a little better than the fine nib on my Pilot Metropolitan1, which is not quite as smooth on paper with a little more tooth, such as the Baron Fig Confidant notebook.
Having just completed a 31 day journaling challenge to kick off the year, I found myself picking up the Petit1 on quite a number of occasions during January. It is indeed a joy to write with. Feedback from one of the Christmas gift recipients also indicated a preference for writing with the Petit1 over the Lamy Safari they already owned – another big rap for the nib.
As expected, there is minimal flex in the steel nib, and on smoother paper such as a Rhodia No. 16 pad, is as smooth as any fine steel nib I’ve used. Regardless of storage (often on its side in my pocket), the Petit1 started immediately every time, with a full flow of ink, and no skips.
The Petit1 is a cartridge filler, and refills in any of the eight available colours are just $US1.90 for a pack of three. I plan to add a few to my next (and probably each) Jet Pens order for some time to come. One thing to note — the Petit1 only takes the proprietary Petit1 cartridge refills — standard short cartridges do not fit. Something to bear in mind, though with the colours available (and those of you with syringes for refilling out there), I don’t see this as a problem.
It appears the Petit1 is also convertible to an eyedropper pen, however I’ve not done this myself — perhaps for another day. Should you wish to undertake such an endeavour, JetPens has a tutorial for you on exactly how to do it. Also, as you can see in the image above, the Petit1 is part of a series from Pilot, which also includes sign and brush pens.
For the price of $US3.80 (or a bundle of 8 for $US30.00) on JetPens, there is no better value for money fountain pen out there for the writing experience you get with this nib. Whether or not the shape and size suit you might be another matter, however I wouldn’t consider it a waste of money to find out.
Really, the way this pen performs, I would have no hesitation in recommending it as an entry into fountain pens for someone who has not tried them (my fear of course is in recommending something too cheap which sours the entire experience). In fact, given the price, a pen such as the Petit1 is perhaps more likely to be tried if someone is not prepared to spend $US30.00 on a Lamy Safari or even the $US14.50 for a Pilot Metropolitan.
I have not personally used the Platinum Preppy (currently $US3.00 on JetPens), however find it hard to believe the writing experience would be better than what this Petit1 achieves.
Overall, a great little pen with a big writing experience, and one I will continue to throw in my pocket for some time to come.
- Incidentally, the nib gods did not look favourably on a recent slightly heavy-handed upstroke while using my Pilot Metropolitan. The tip of the nib “popped”, a filament of metal came off and I had a somewhat uneven instant stub nib. I’d thought about simply grinding it smooth, however perhaps will simply swap in another nib. A cautionary tale for those who might also apply a little downward pressure! ↩
7 thoughts on “Pilot Petit1 Fountain Pen”
Thank you for a well written review of an under-appreciated fountain pen. For the price of the pen the nib is excellent. I believe that it is the same as that on the Pilot Varsity. Unlike Kaweco, for instance, Pilot makes it own nibs and these have very high quality control. I have rarely encountered any problems on any of their pens. In design terms, the way in which the cap posts on the Petit 1 to make the pen a longer length for comfortable writing is reminiscent of the Pilot long/short pens of the 1960s to 1980s, such as the Volex and the Elite. They are all pocket pens, which can be clipped into a shirt pocket. it is also worth mentioning that the small cartridges will fit any Pilot cartridge pen. Nice review of a great little pen.
Thanks for the kind words – glad you enjoyed it.
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I liked this review! The Petits are seriously underrated pens: affordable, sturdy, and fun!
Thanks for the feedback. I agree, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality for such a low price!
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