Pilot Pen’s Flexible Nibs07/02/2010
A thread on FPN prompted me to evaluate my experience with Pilot’s flexible nibs. No images for this post since I no longer have one of the pens and another is headed out for repairs. However, the descriptions ought to give you a pretty good sense of what to expect from each model.
Pilot Elite Pocket Pen S(oft) F(ine) – Has very little flex but great flow. An uncommon nib but a good writer. Made in the 1970’s.
Pilot Custom 74 S(oft) F(ine) – Has very little flex. Not even enough to call it semi-flex. It is a very good writer with a little give to the nib. The C74 has enough length to write comfortably without posting. It is not a heavy pen and so is excellent for long writing sessions.
Pilot/Namiki Falcon S(oft) F(ine) – Has a bit more flex that increases with use. This nib qualifies as modern semi-flex but is stiff compared to vintage semi-flex. At some angles the SF can be quite sharp and catch on paper that isn’t fairly smooth. With one of my Falcons the sharpness has decreased over time and is now rarely an issue. This is one nib that can write incredibly fine while also giving you the option of a dramatic signature. IME it makes a great all-around writer especially for those who like inks that shade well. The Namiki Falcon really brings out that characteristic.
Pilot Custom 742 FA(lcon) – Can flex well for a modern pen but cannot compete with vintage flex. The FA doesn’t give as much or snap back as fast as a good vintage nib. Transitions from thin to thick and back require more hand control to avoid jerky lines than with vintage flex. The 742FA nib is unlikely to produce a satisfactory result for heavy-handed writers but there are a lot of other nib options for this Montblanc 146 sized model. The FA is better for those who have at least some experience with flex. If you want a cart/converter pen with good build quality and a flexible nib, this is the best pen I’ve found in its price range.
I have heard great things about Namiki Falcon nibs modified by John Mottishaw but have no personal experience with them. Someday I will rectify that omission.