An Apple a Day: Pilot Petit1


Pilot Petit1 in Apple Green
+ fine nib
+ matching Apple Green ink

Dimensions: 10.2cm capped, 9.4cm uncapped, 13.1cm posted, 1.3cm diameter

Juicy. That’s the word that immediately springs to mind whenever I pick up the Pilot Petit1. There’s nothing sour about this baby, unless it’s the little plastic sticker with the pen’s specs stuck to the cap. But once you peel it, the Pilot Petit1 is pretty much a perfectly portable pen!


The Petit lives up to its name: capped, it’s a couple millimeters longer than the Kaweco Sport, but posted they are about neck and neck. Its demonstrator body is tinted to match the miniature cartridge that comes with it, and there are seven other colors in the line, including black, blue-black, blue, clear blue, apricot orange, baby pink, and red. You can also get fude (brush) pens and felt-tipped pens with the same body and refill system in the same colors. Most interestingly, the feed is also clear — it was a rare new experience to pop the cartridge in and watch bright green ink steadily penetrate the fins and feed.


The nib itself is utilitarian and not ornamented with anything other than “Pilot EF” — but it performs impressively well! It’s fine, but not as needle-sharp as the Pilot Penmanship I reviewed, and allows for some shading. It wrote well in my Rhodia, of course, but it also performed well in my Field Notes with no bleeding or feathering and very little ghosting. It’s a dry enough writer that it’s compatible with cheap copy paper — of course there’s feathering, but not much. I think this would make a very nice grading pen, especially given how ridiculously cheap and portable it is. Did I mention it’s only $3.80 at JetPens?


Down sides to this pen: when I was writing this review, toward the end it seemed like the feed may occasionally have had trouble keeping up with the nib. I don’t think the Petit was made for marathon writing sessions, but rather jotting down quick notes. It would work well clipped to a pocket notebook or attached to one of those magnetic shopping lists on your fridge, or maybe just for penning a quick note to a friend.


A tube with three refills is $1.90 at JetPens, which feels a bit steep to me; I think I’ll refill the empty cartridges with bottled ink. But that apple green is such a cheerful color and I’ll definitely enjoy it while it lasts!


4 thoughts on “An Apple a Day: Pilot Petit1

  1. If you’re switching out cartridges and you want to put a different colored one in, just pull the cartridge off the section (the grip part of the pen). Then rinse the section and the nib out really well. Some people use a fountain pen flush specifically formulated for cleaning out pens, but you can also just use water (distilled is best). What I do is run my section and nib under tap water until the water runs clear. Then I wipe down the nib — often I find that the ink hasn’t all flushed out of the tines of the nib, so I rinse it some more. Sometimes let it soak a bit in a teacup of water. Then I set it up to dry on some tissue (away from the cats, of course). Once it’s completely dry, just pop in a new cartridge!

    As for bottled ink: Brian Goulet’s Fountain Pen 101 video on ink over at the Goulet Pen Co is a good introduction:

    But it sounds like you’re interested in different ways you can put bottled ink in a fountain pen, is that right?

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