After lampooning the Pilot Varsity, I got a lot of feedback from readers that they had a good experience with the pen and that it helped to inspire them to try fountain pens. While I am still not over the bruising experience of the Pilot Varisty, I was willing to try some other sub-$5 fountain pens. I did like the Zebra V-301 that I’m willing to admit that not all entry-level fountain pens are cheap. So I ordered a Platinum Preppy 03 ($3.30) and a Pilot Petit 1 (fine) ($3.80) from JetPens in hopes of finding a gem or two.
The most notable difference between these two pens is the length. The Platinum Preppy is a full-length pen (5.5″ closed) while the Pilot Petit 1 is a tiny pocket-sized pen. The Pilot Petit 1 is about the same length as a Kaweco Sport when closed at 4.25″ long. It’s 3.75″ uncapped and 5.25″ with the capped posted. The Preppy is 5″ uncapped and 6″ with the cap posted. If small pens are uncomfortable in your hands, then the Preppy will definitely be better suited than the Pilot Petit.
Both nibs seem similar in width. The Pilot Petit actually has a longer nib-to-grip ratio and the Preppy nib is tinted to match the cap and ink color chosen at purchase. Both pens are cartridge-filled and use a proprietary cartridge style. Preppy cartridges refills are available in packs of two for $1.65 and the inks work in both the fountain pens and their line of Preppy sign markers. The Pilot Petit 1 cartridges work with the fountain pen and their two other pen styles — the marker and brush pen. Their cartridges come in sets of three for $1.90.
In writing tests, they both preformed really well. For me, surprisingly well. The Preppy had a little bit of friction on the paper but no more than a pencil would have — I never felt like the pen was moving without my control. The Pilot Petit 1 was silkier on the paper but I think the grassy green ink is much wetter than the red in the Preppy.
I will probably refill the ink cartridges in both these pens with my syringe method to see if they behave differently with other inks. In general though, I am quite satisfied with the results of these pens. If I had to pick one, I like the way the Preppy writes a little better than the Petit 1 but I think both are great options if you are just getting into fountain pens or are looking for pens you wouldn’t be heartbroken to lose in the office or while traveling.
Lefty-approved. Recommended for anyone.
(This pen was tested on the Miquelrius medium flexible 300 grid paper book purchased from B+N.)