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Most of my daily use fountain pens are gold nibs in fine or medium, and the nibs are mostly rigid. However, occasionally I purchase the other varieties, when I find the options interesting enough to try out. The pen to be reviewed this time is a pen that I don’t use often, but still enjoy using it when it is in the pen rotation. This pen is the Pilot Falcon Black/Rhodium.
Fountain Pen: Pilot Falcon Black/Rhodium
Nib: 14K gold soft extra fine
Filling System: Pilot proprietary cartridge/converter
Production: Regular edition
1. Packaging (7/10):
The pen box that comes with the Pilot Falcon Black/Rhodium is similar to the one from the Pilot Vanishing Point Blue Carbonesque. Just a simple but strong cardboard box that shows the pen in a clear and straightforward approach. Other than that, there is nothing fancy. It is not the most interesting looking packaging for the pen in this price range, but it serves its purpose just fine.
2. Pen Design (6/10):
The Pilot Falcon Black/Rhodium has a decent length. When closed, the length is similar to some commonly seen flagship/sub-flagship pens such as the Lamy 2000 and the Pelikan Souverän M800/M805. The cap of the Pilot Falcon Black/Rhodium posts fairly deeply and securely, making the length of the pen when posted shorter than those two mentioned earlier. Because of the lightweight resin construction, this pen is not heavier at any particular point. With or without posting, the weight distribution is quite balanced.
The whole body of the pen is black, decorated with silver coloured (rhodium plated) trims. There are two thin rings near the two ends of the grip section. One ring decorates the end of the barrel. On the cap, two cap bands are used, followed by one more ring on the other end, and the clip right beneath it. In addition, a silver coloured disk is placed on the top of the cap.
The nib of the Pilot Falcon Black/Rhodium is perhaps the most distinctive feature of the pen. Apart from how it writes, the shape of the nib is already quite special. Unlike the commonly seen “conventional” nibs, the Pilot Falcon’s nib is near a triangular shape. It has a narrow nib shoulder and the two tines are long and narrow. If looked sideways, it’s easy to see that the nib is not one smooth and flat piece. Instead, the front is higher than the end of the nib. Also the nib feed has a smooth surface instead of having many cutouts. The engravings on the nib are simple, just the “14K-585” indication of the gold content, the Pilot branding, followed by the “<SE>” marking, representing that it is a soft extra fine nib.
While I don’t find any issue with the build quality of the pen, and it has no problem during the use, to me the aesthetic design of the pen is poorly executed. First, the pen looks loaded with trim rings, but they have inconsistent widths. Also, the clip’s straight lines and sharp corners do not seem to match well with the curvatures of the pen body. Personally, I feel that the appearance of the pen is no where near fancy. I don’t find it that classic looking either, because of the special nib shape, and the unbalanced feel brought by the widths of the rings in proportion to the size of the pen. For the pen’s weight, I don’t like it either. Personally I prefer my pens to have a bit of extra weight. The Pilot Falcon Black/Rhodium is certainly very comfortable to use, but just feels too light and cheap in the hand.
3. Filling System (6/10):
The Pilot Falcon Black/Rhodium has a Pilot proprietary CON-50 converter. When I reviewed the Pilot Vanishing Point Blue Carbonesque, I gave it a score of 7/10. In the Pilot Vanishing Point, a proprietary converter can hep design the pen’s push button mechanism to always work reliably. However, the Pilot Falcon doesn’t deserve that extra credit. The Pilot CON-50 converter doesn’t hold a lot of ink. The tight fit on the pen and its wide opening make it hard to remove, but easy to cause ink/water splash upon removal. In such case, using a proprietary converter doesn’t offer much benefit to the users.
4. Nib Performance (10/10):
This is where the main selling point of the Pilot Falcon is in my opinion. This nib is marked as a soft extra fine nib, and it is definitely the case here. Out of the box, this extra fine nib writes surprisingly smoothly. Since the nib is really fine, it does give a hint of feedback, but it’s not uncomfortable. What’s even better is that, this 14K gold nib offers semi-flex. The long nib tines are able to react to the pressure applied, in order to separate and give a much thicker line on the paper. They are also able to quickly spring back, when the pressure is released. The line variation is quite obvious, particularly since it is an extra fine nib.
With flex writing, the feed is very capable of controlling the ink flow. Unlike the Omas Ogiva Alba’s extra flessibile nib, which has a very wet ink flow, the Pilot Falcon writes much drier, but I rarely encounter any railroading problem. The feed always catches up with just the right amount of ink.
Extra fine nibs, especially the ones that are really fine, such as this one from Pilot, are usually not in my regular rotation. However, the smoothness of this extra fine nib, the well managed ink flow, and the decent amount of line variation, make it wonderful to use.
5. Pen Cleaning and Maintenance (10/10):
The Pilot Falcon Black/Rhodium is mostly made of resin. Other than the normal micro-scratches from the regular use, I don’t see any obvious issue with the pen. The best way to protect it would be to store it in a pen case and carry it around in a pen pouch, which can keep the pen from any significant wear and tear.
Being a cartridge/converter filling pen, the Pilot Falcon is easy to clean.
Pen Design: 6/10
Filling System: 6/10
Nib Performance: 10/10
Pen Cleaning and Maintenance: 10/10
The Pilot Falcon Black/Rhodium is not the best looking pen in its price range, but certainly provides an affordable option for the flex writing with a modern fountain pen. And the performance of the nib is outstanding. For me, this pen is not often in my pen rotation, but its soft extra fine nib adds more varieties to my pen collection, and the quality of the nib make it one of the best choices as a modern flex pen.