Fountain pens are lovely things to write with and probably improve our handwriting but they can be pretty impractical for daily use. While they are great for people who work at a fixed location, they are not as much use for taking notes on the move as they always have a cap that needs to be removed and stored somewhere (the best place is not usually on the end of the pen) each time the pen is used somewhere.
Pilot solved this problem back in 1963 with a capless fountain pen introduced for the Tokyo Olympic games held in Japan in 1964. This is a lovely pen to write with but a decidedly quirky design. For a start the nib retracts through the top of the pen, at the end where the clip is through a great guppy shaped hole. The other end of the pen houses a button, like a ballpoint pen, that drives the mechanism and this sits at the bottom of a pocket when not in use. Everything is the wrong way round!
Photo by pigpogm
This week I saw that Pilot now have a capless model called the Fermo that uses a twist mechanism instead of the button. As a result it looks much more like a conventional fountain pen. The nib still comes out at the clip end but there is no button at the other end now. It looks fantastic, still a little quirky but, thanks to the lovely people at Cult Pens, I now have one and it is a joy to write with. If I had any criticism it would only be that the medium nib is slightly too broad for my taste but I have a fine nib on back order which will make it just about perfect.
Edit (Oct 2010) - In the end I stuck with the medium nib, with the fine nib being just a little bit too fine for comfort.