I've owned this pen now for about 6 months with the extra fine nib, and I still love using it. This is the only fountain pen I own (I sold my TWSBI Precision after getting the Aero), and I don't personally feel a need to buy anything else (except maybe a cheap pen for traveling). When I was shopping for my perfect one pen collection, I was considering the Diplomat Aero, Pilot Vanishing Point, LAMY 2000, and YSTUDIO Classic Revolve.
Ultimately, I decided on the Diplomat Aero, because I liked the simplicity of the design, the fine machining, and robust build quality. It accepts standard international converters or cartridges, it has a standard #6 nib, and a nicely tapered grip section that doesn't feel too thin or too thick. I feel like I could use this pen for many years considering there are very few parts that could "break", and if the nib or converter do break or get damaged, it will be easy to find replacements. While I'm sure the VP and 2000 are also excellent pens, I wasn't a fan of the small ink capacity of the VP, and I wasn't a fan of the thick grip section of the 2000 and the need to hold the pen just right to get the nib in the "sweet spot".
The writing experience is fantastic. Diplomat uses JoWo nibs, but my understanding is that for the Aero, JoWo manufacturers the Aero nibs with higher tolerances according to Diplomat's own specifications. This results in a nib that writes smoother and more consistently than any stainless steel nib has a right to. The flow is just right, maybe a touch on the wet side depending on the ink, and the lines are sharp and well defined with the extra fine nib. If anything, I wish it was just a touch finer, but that's just because I tend to write small and use my fountain pens for note taking.
Oh, and if you haven't done so already, look up a video of someone capping this pen. It is satisfyingly, perfectly tactile. It lives up to the hype. Also, even though it's a snap cap, the pen has never dried out on me, even if I haven't touched it for over a week.
If I had any complaints about the Aero, they are as follows:
- If you aren't using good quality paper, the nib won't hide it. Cheap paper will feel scratchy, but use good paper (like Rhodia or Mnemosyne) and the nib will reward you accordingly with effortless, precise writing.
- The price is just a little steep for what it is, especially considering you can get the VP with a 14k gold nib for less. If you can get this pen for ~$150 or less, it's definitely worth it.
- I wish it was a screw-on cap rather than a snap cap. The snap cap is very satisfying, but I do have concerns about it wearing out, and if I'm not careful it can be a little loud/distracting if I'm using it during a meeting. I've heard that Diplomat is very good about replacing the caps if they do happen to wear out though.
- While I like the size and weight, it may not be for everyone. It is a bit on the heavier side as far as fountain pens go (especially compared to resin pens), but it's well balanced so I find it very comfortable. I could see though how the size and weight may be a dealbreaker for some people.
Ultimately, if you're looking for your first premium pen, the Aero should be on your shortlist, especially if you value simplicity, craftmanship, and a pen that feels solid in the hand. I plan on using this pen for many years to come.
Online fountain pen communities always have nice things to say about the Diplomat Aero pens, even if these pens are never the superstar of any particular category. Not as glamorous as Watermans, not as high tech as a Pilot Vanishing Point, not as "affordable journeyman" as a Lamy Safari. But still, the Aero has rapidly become my go-to pen for all occasions. Quality craftsmanship, a wonderful nib, and a unique design make this one of those pens that everyone ought to buy at some point. Give it a try. You won't be disappointed.