Pilot Explorer Fountain Pen Overview

The Pilot Explorer is a great entry level fountain pen that might not be on your radar. I'm Drew and today we're on a mission to explore the Pilot Explorer! We'll go over some of this pen's defining characteristics, and do a quick comparison between the Explorer and its cousin, the Pilot Metropolitan.



First things first, let's talk about the Pilot Explorer's exterior. It's got that defining, recognizable Pilot logo debossed into the plastic. It's not shouting for attention; it's just there, being all cool and understated. The cap has this nifty cutout circle, allowing you to sneak a peek at the finial.

Cap of a Pilot Explorer fountain pen close up to illustrate the debossed Pilot Logo, the black clip and finial

When you pick up the Explorer, you'll notice it's as light as a feather. Some might say it feels a bit "plasticky," but that’s reality- it is plastic! It's a nice lightweight pen, and that's ok. It's comfy in your hand, which is what matters.



Let's talk colors. Most Explorers have this not-quite-matte-not-quite-glossy finish, except for the clear and white ones. They're like the divas of the Explorer family, showing off their shiny finish and standing out! Then, there's the black matte version, which is super matte. So, you've got high gloss, matte, and everything in between.

Assorted Pilot Explorer fountain pens in Gold, copper, silver, matte black, clear ad white finishes on a white and gray background


The Clip and Cap

Now, that clip! At first glance, it might seem plastic, but nope, it's metal. It's a bit stiff, so lifting it requires a little effort, but you can do it. Just be careful – it can leave an impression on your fingers.

This pen posts and caps like a pro. The satisfying click when you cap it is oh-so-Pilot. Since it's such a lightweight pen, it adds a touch of weight to the back when posted, making writing even more comfortable.


Filling Mechanism

Each Explorer comes with a Con-B squeeze converter. Not a fan of how it looks? Swap it out for the Con-70 or Con-40. You've got choices, my friend! One of the selling points is that it can fit the larger Con-70, so you can up your ink capacity easily!

They also accept any Pilot ink cartridge.

Pilot Con-B, Con-40, and Con-70 on white dot grid paper


Writing Experience

You'll find a familiar nib on the Explorer if you've used Pilot's Metro, Kakuno, or Prera. It's the same steel nib and feed, so you know what you're getting – consistent and reliable performance. The nib and feed can technically be switched with any of the above mentioned pens, and you'll get the same writing experience.

When it comes to writing, it's smooth sailing. These nibs are on the stiffer side but deliver a consistent performance. It's not too smooth, not scratchy – just right. It’s very reliable. Pilot pens are highly consistent in their performance, and a delight to write with.

Writing sample of Pilot F and M nibs in black ink on white dot grid paper



Now, let's do a quick face-off with the Pilot Metropolitan. Presentation-wise, they're like twins separated at birth. They both have the same nibs, feeds, and the same ink-to-paper awesomeness.

Regarding durability, brass (Metro) wins over plastic (Explorer) in the long run. But don't underestimate plastic – it can hide wear and tear like a pro. The build quality is exceptional on both of these pens.

And the color game? Explorer wins this round with white, black matte, clear, a straight-up blue (which the Metro doesn’t offer), and various other color options. The Metro does have some fun design options with their Retro Pop collection, but overall, the Explorer has some colors a bit out of the ordinary.

Filling-wise, the Explorer takes the cake because it can rock the Con-70, a massive ink-holding converter that Metro can't handle.

Assorted Pilot Explorer fountain pens in a wide variety of colors on a white background


In conclusion...

There you have it, folks – the Pilot Explorer. It's a solid pen at a solid price, perfect for gifting or treating yourself. This fountain pen can take anything you throw at it, and keep up. It's got great options in terms of colors and nibs, and it's going to offer that familiar Pilot writing experience you've come to know and love. I give it 2 thumbs up!


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