Endless Captiva & Creator Review

Why make bog-standard pens when you can get freaky with them? That's what Endless did with their Creator & Captiva fountain pens!

Photo of a retractable fountain pen & a captive converter fountain pen on an orange & blue backgroun
Listen to this post in the creators voice

I love it when we see a new company try to break into the fountain pen manufacturing world, especially when they're taking risks from the off with their designs. Endless are one such company. They made their start with notebooks using the fountain pen friendly Tomoe River paper, before switching to their own Regalia paper, but decided to break into fountain pens with the Creator back in May 2023. Most companies start with fairly standard affairs & then build upon that as they gain experience. Endless, on the other hand, decided to make the most notoriously difficult to get right style of fountain pen that they could possibly try—the retractable. There's a reason I can count the number of companies that make retractable fountain pens on one hand. They're far more complex to make than any capped pens, so it takes some guts to try and release one as your first attempt. So, how did they do?

Endless Creator

Photo of the Endless Creator retractable fountain pen on an orange background
Endless Creator

I'll start with the positives. They truly made the pen their own. It's not just some copy of an already proven design (cough Majohn A1 cough), the pen has a unique & instantly recognisable look. Despite the angular & somewhat aggressive styling, I actually found the pen fairly comfortable to use, with my wonky grip fitting into the facets quite nicely. The ABS material it's made from is fine, comparable to the ABS on the matte Lamy Safari, so it's grippy enough for me. The medium nib it came with was smooth, wet, & wrote well. The nib is the same type that you see in the hooded Parker 51 pens and their many, many imitations. I've seen plenty of these nibs over the years, but I've never seen them with the sword imprint present on this nib before. I'm assuming it'll be Indian-made, but I can't say for sure. As good as the nib was, I ended up swapping it out for a Chinese mini-fude nib as I enjoy the line variation they allow, something that they actually made available themselves later on. I also like the way they designed the window on the nib unit so that it lines up with their —⦁⦁⦁ logo on the converter. It's nice little touches like that I appreciate.

Close-up of the Creator's medium nib with a sword engraving on an orange background
The Creator's medium nib and the engraved sword

However... as soon as I pressed the knock I was met with a horrible, grindy squeak. I've gotten used to it over time, but it was incredibly jarring. Not a good start. Turns out it doesn't seal particularly well either. This is something all retractable fountain pens struggle with, but some deal with it better than others. The Creator doesn't deal with it that well. Depending on the ink, if I've left it alone for even a few hours I need to prime the feed to get it going again, which isn't ideal for a pen designed around quick deployment.

That being said, I don't regret buying the pen. I have a huge amount of respect for Endless trying something so ambitious & different with their first pen, and I want to see them keep doing this. I believe a Creator 2.0 is in the works, so I'm looking forward to seeing what lessons they've learned from this one.

Endless Captiva

Photo of the black & orange Endless Captiva fountain pen on a blue background
Endless Captiva

But the Creator 2.0 was not their next pen. Much to my & many other's surprise, at the end of May 2024 Endless sprang the Captiva on us. At first glance it looks much more traditional than the Creator, opting for a normal screw cap pen this time. But this being Endless, they'll have something weird going on. Your attention is quickly drawn to the large inset dial on the end of the pen and a long ink window in the middle. "Oh, so it's a piston filler?" I hear you ask. No. Well, kind of, but not really. That would be far too straightforward, wouldn't it? What we have here is what's known as a Captive (or captured) Converter pen. Sort of. Captive Converter pens aren't something you hear about all that often, but they are out there, most recently seen in the Taiwanese TaG Submarine as well as some Visconti's. Essentially, they're a cartridge/converter pen where the converter has been glued in place. There is then a mechanism on the end of the pen similar to the blind cap on a piston-filler which will turn the converters knob as you twist it, allowing you to fill the pen without having to take it apart. They're not super-popular as many people feel that they have the downsides from both c/c & piston filling pens without any of the benefits. I'm not sure I fully agree with the latter part, but the former is certainly true.

Photo of the nib units & converters for the Endless Captiva & Creator on a faux-marble background
The nib units & converters for the Captiva (top) & Creator (bottom)

Thankfully, the Captiva does things a bit differently by allowing the converter to be removed, which makes cleaning far easier. It uses a Schmidt screw-in converter that's fairly standard looking. Well, apart from the large, grooved, metal knob that's been fused to it. Other than that, it's a normal converter. Since it's a standard international fitting, you could technically put a cartridge in it instead, but it'd leave a huge hole in the back of the pen. I went for the Cult Pens exclusive "Stealth Orange" colourway, so the knob on mine is a gorgeous metallic orange. Speaking of colourways, this is something new for Endless as well. The Creator was only available in black with silver trim, but the Captiva has 4 colourways (that I'm aware of, at least): 3 standard & 1 store exclusive special edition. For the standard models we get the choice of "Infinite Space" or "Deep Ocean", a.k.a black or blue with silver trim, and "Stealth" which is entirely black, including the nib. The "Stealth Orange" from Cult is—as you can imagine from the name—the same as the all-black "Stealth" version, but with some orange, namely: an orange knob and an orange dot on the cap finial. It's definitely the best looking in my opinion, but I am biased towards orange. The ABS material is again very close to the Lamy Safari, but the glossy version this time. I prefer the matte material as I can find the glossy can sometimes be quite slippery. It does look great, though, especially in photos. But, the gloss has another downside in that it's a giant fingerprint magnet, so as good as it looks straight out of the box, keeping it looking that good can be a bit of a pain.

Close up of the Endless Captiva's orange piston knob
The orange converter piston knob

The other exciting part of this pen is in the nibs. They've done something generally only seen on Esterbrook pens by including options for Architect & Needlepoint grinds as standard. Unlike Esterbrook, though, they aren't charging a large premium for these special grinds, only increasing the price by £5. I would love to see more companies try this. Unfortunately, the Architect, Needlepoint, Stub, & Extra Fine nibs are only available on the models with plain steel nibs, which is a shame. I've emailed Endless to see if it's possible to buy individual nibs, and they will indeed sell you them for ~$30, which is great to know. The #6 black fine nib I have in mine is lovely, smooth, and reasonably wet. I really like the imprint they have on it. The —⦁⦁⦁ logo down the centre gives a cohesive & precision feel to the pen as it lines up with the long ink window and the logo on the converter knob. Speaking of precision, the logo on the aforementioned converter knob is centred on the top side when the pen is inked, and is centred on the bottom side when the converter piston is fully wound down. Just like with the Creator, it's the little touches like this that I really appreciate in a pen, as it shows a great deal of thought and care has been put into both the design and the manufacturing.

Close-up of the Endless Captiva's black fine nib
The black fine nib of the Captiva

There are a few things I don't like about it. As I mentioned earlier, I'm not a huge fan of its glossy, fingerprint-magnet finish. There have also been a few occasions when I've tried to cap the pen but it has gone on at an angle, causing the threads to cross & stick. Because the threads are just plastic, I'm concerned that if this happens often enough it will eventually cause damage to them. From an aesthetic standpoint, I don't really like the gap between the end of the piston knob and the end of the pen. It can be reduced a bit by unscrewing the converter a full turn, but that's not really an ideal solution. It's still held firmly in place, and I haven't had any issues with it running dry in this configuration yet, so it seems like it still has enough of a connection to the feed. And... well, that's it, those are my only complaints and none of them are deal-breakers. I've heard some worries that the exposed piston knob might be easily turned by accident, but after having used it for a few weeks I've found that it's not something I worry about any more than I do with other piston fillers. There's enough resistance that it takes intentional effort to turn it, so although it is possible, I think it's unlikely to be an issue.

I like the Captiva a lot, much more than the Creator, and I think Endless have done a really nice job in bringing us a more "normal" pen. For £60-65 depending on the colourway & nib choice, it's more expensive than the Creator's £40 price tag, but I do believe it's worth the extra cash, especially if you get it with a non-standard nib grind. This is a pen I can see myself using a great deal, & I'm excited to see what they have in store for us next!