The Pilot Custom 912 is one of those pens that's attractive in that distinguished "black pen with rhodium trim" kind of way, but it's main purpose is to act as the showpiece for Pilot's specialty nibs, including the stub (SU), the Waverly (WA), Posting (PO), Music, Soft Fine (SF), and the Falcon (FA) nibs. The pen featured in this review sports Pilot's semi-flex Falcon (FA) nib, which is the first that I've had the opportunity to try for an extended period of time. While I can see why many people really like this nib, it doesn't work so much for my personal handwriting style.
The Pilot Custom 912 is a sturdy, well-built pen that could easily serve as your daily driver (provided, of course, you find a nib that works for your writing style). It's on the larger side (5.5 inches unposted and 6.25 inches posted), but still fits very comfortably in the hand. The Custom 912 uses Pilot's Con-70 high capacity pump-style converter, which is the same one that comes with the Custom 74 and which I always enjoy. The barrel is made of black resin, and since the pen is a cartridge-converter filler, it's a light pen, making it suitable for longer writing sessions (again, assuming you have the appropriate nib). Rhodium plated trim and a 14k gold nib lend a classic look, if a somewhat unexciting one.
The Pilot Falcon (FA) Semi-Flex Nib
The nib is plainly intended to be the star of the show on the Custom 912. I wrote with a Pilot Metal Falcon many years ago, and wasn't blown away. For whatever reason, my print-cursive hybrid style of handwriting doesn't lend itself to the Falcon/FA nib's flex. (To be more accurate, I should say semi-flex - the FA nib is not a "flex nib" in the vintage sense, but it's more than just "springy"). As you can see below, you can coax some very nice line variation out of this nib, but I didn't find it to be the smoothest writing experience when printing, as opposed to writing cursive. This past weekend I had the opportunity to test drive Aurora's new vintage-style flex nib, which, in my opinion, seems more versatile in terms of easily switching between cursive and script. I should have a review of that nib up on the blog in the near future.
Takeaways and Where to Buy
I will definitely purchase a Custom 912 at some point, but it probably won't be a model with the Pilot FA nib. This past weekend I also had the chance to write the Pilot's PO nib, a super-stiff, extra-fine Japan-only specialty nib that would probably be my first choice. (NOTE: being able to test rare and hard-to-find nibs is one of the many benefits of visiting pen shows!) That said, I know many people who enjoy writing with flex and semi-flex pens who love the Pilot FA nib and can make it do wonderful things with their handwriting.
Many thanks to Ron at Pen Chalet for loaning me this pen for review purposes. Pricing on the Pilot Custom 912 is currently $224, minus whatever coupon code or discount Ron is running. As of the time of this review, Ron currently has the Custom 912 in stock with Extra Fine, Soft Fine, Stub, Music, Falcon (FA), and Waverly nib options. The PO nib still seems to be unavailable stateside, so if you're interested in that option you'll have to take your chances buying internationally.
Disclaimer: This pen was loaned to me by Pen Chalet for review purposes and returned to Pen Chalet after completion of my review. This post contains affiliate links.