REVIEW: PILOT CAPLESS LS FOUNTAIN PENsureshjain.com
For as long as I can remember, the Pilot Capless and I have had quite a love-hate relationship. They’re fantastic pens, bombproof, great writers – sure! But, as I highlighted in my re-review of the Capless, none of the Caplesses (Caplessi?) that have gone through my hands managed to captivate me. So I sold mine a long time ago, and never really looked back… Until Pilot released the Capless LS!
While the new Capless LS is quite an interesting pen, I doubt that it made the splash that Pilot was hoping for when it came out. After all, it banks on the vast success of their evergreen Pilot Capless. The LS aims to be a more luxurious version of the Capless’ success story (even the name LS, ‘Luxury Silent’, says so) and has a price tag to match! But does it actually manage to be a better pen than the already very good original one? And does it manage to keep my attention longer than the original?
The LS departs a fair bit from the purely utilitarian design of the original Capless. Purely in terms of form, the Capless LS does away with the more classic design elements, replacing them with more modern and angular lines. It’s also a slightly more chunky-looking pen because of that.
I’ve always found the sleek and futuristic design of the vintage Capless very befitting for a technically advanced pen like the Capless. The classic lines of the original don’t really do it for me. So the modernized look of the LS is already an improvement, at least in my opinion.
The knurled center ring is quite literally the center of attention: it’s big and accentuated by the fact that it sits recessed into the barrel. This interesting design choice stands out and creates a very strong visual break between the section and barrel of the pen.
The front of the Capless LS got a thorough redesign as well, again showing more angular, clean lines. The clip sits a bit further back. But ultimately, it’s the slimness of the redesigned clip that makes this a better, more comfortable design to hold – at least in my opinion.
|L to R: Lamy Dialog 3, Leonardo MZ Grande, Pelikan M805, Pilot Capless, Pilot Capless LS, Lamy 2000, Lamy Safari|
The LS grew a bit bigger, chunkier, and heavier than the regular Capless. While the regular Capless is a rather heavy pen already (30 grams), I find that the slightly larger dimensions of the LS help offset the additional weight (40 grams). It doesn’t really feel that much heavier. The LS measures 14.5 cm, compared to the 14 cm of the original, though both are roughly the same length – 13.8 cm – when ‘open’. The LS may seem wider around the section (because the entire pen is thicker), but the section actually has a longer taper. So, around one-third down the length of the section (around where I grip it in the above image), both pens are actually almost the same diameter (the LS is just a fraction of a millimeter thicker).
I find the slight added thickness of the LS quite pleasant, but what’s even better is the change to a much narrower clip. It’s much less intrusive on your grip than the beefy clip of the standard Capless, to the point where I almost don’t notice it while I write. I’m sure that’s a selling point for a lot of people.
|Hm, what do we call this? A knock with a swiveling ring with a thumb stud… yeah, that seems to be about the dumbest, most accurate description I can think of!|
The LS’ updated click mechanism is the main attraction of this pen. The knock is now almost entirely silent, with the swiveling ring around the knock acting as sort of a dampener as it rotates 270° back and forth. That ring has a kind of protrusion on one side (a thumb stud?) accentuated by a line that runs along the edge, filled with black paint (on the matte black pen, it’s red for a nice accent. I wish they’d use glow-in-the-dark photoluminescent paint like on a watch dial!).
While it is cool, the LS certainly trades in some usability for the coolness factor of seeing that ring swivel around the barrel. While ‘opening’ the pen is still done by clicking the knock, the nib can only be retracted by flicking the ring and letting it unwind on itself. It’s a bit finicky and definitely slower than just pressing the knock again (add to that, the dampened mechanism also takes a surprisingly long time to retract). I wish it’d just click both ways for easier and faster use, but with the added dampening and silence of the rotating mechanism. I also suspect that it’s not quite as practical for lefties, as the thumb stud on the ring is oriented so that it’s in the correct position for right-handed writers.
Getting under the hood, this is where I’ve always enjoyed the Pilot Capless – a very user-focused EDC pen with a fantastic 18k gold nib. The nib may be tiny, but it’s an excellent writer as with all Pilot pens! I chose a broad nib this time, as I find Pilot’s medium nibs a bit too wide for EDC yet not wide enough for a fun broad writing experience (the F is a much better choice for a daily writer). As expected, it’s buttery smooth and juicy, as it glides across the page (it even sings, really!).
The Pilot Capless LS has a couple of cool features left and right: the design is a bit more modern and clean, the clip is much more comfortable, and the knock mechanism is quite cool and quirky (albeit not as practical and straightforward as the original). Purely in terms of function, the LS doesn’t really improve over the original. But its design certainly makes the LS a more interesting and cool pen to me.
Whether or not it’s cool enough to justify the massive price tag of 475€ (at La Couronne Du Comte, get 10% off with discount code ‘Penthusiast’) or 440$? I’d recommend looking out for a sale on the LS, which is how I got a hold of mine at a much more reasonable price. At full MSRP – more than twice the price of a regular Capless – the LS does not sound like a sensible purchase at all… But then again, sensible is not always what we’re after in this hobby, is it?
Note: La Couronne Du Comte is a sponsor of this site. I received a discount on this purchase, which enabled me to write this review. I was in no way influenced in the making of this review, the opinions shared in this review are completely my own! This post does not contain affiliate links.