Pen Review: Pilot Falcon Black/Rhodium

The Pilot Falcon Black/Rhodium is currently for sale. (SOLD)

For the list of pens currently for sale, please visit here.

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.

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Basic Information:

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):

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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.

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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.

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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):

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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.

Summary:

Packaging: 7/10
Pen Design: 6/10
Filling System: 6/10
Nib Performance: 10/10
Pen Cleaning and Maintenance: 10/10

Total: 39/50

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.

 

The Pilot Falcon Black/Rhodium is currently for sale. (SOLD)

For the list of pens currently for sale, please visit here.

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Pen Review: Omas Ogiva Alba Violet

For the list of pens currently for sale, please visit here.

 

Many pen companies release limited edition pens that have each pen numbered. Such pens are often used to celebrate a certain anniversary or represent a particular theme. The Omas Ogiva Alba collection is one example of it. This collection contains fountain pens in three different colours: violet, orange, and green. The collection was to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Omas company, and the colours chosen are the ones found in the Aurora Borealis. There were 327 fountain pens made for each colour. This review is going to cover one of the pens in the collection, the Omas Ogiva Alba Violet.

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Basic Information:
Fountain Pen: Omas Ogiva Alba Violet
Nib: 14K gold fine nib, extra flessibile
Filling System: Piston
Production: Limited edition

1. Packaging (10/10):

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In terms of packaging, the Omas Ogiva Alba collection has one of the best presentations in my pen collection. The light grey hard cardboard box is inside a dark grey cardboard sleeve. Lifting the top half of the box, the pen is presented and wrapped inside a small plastic bag, which has a sticker that indicates the nib option and the limited edition number. What’s also included is a light grey pen pouch made in the velvety fabric, which is used for the interior of the box as well. Overall, there is great design consistency and excellent build quality. It’s simple but also elegant. It’s luxurious but not overwhelming.

2. Pen Design (8/10):
The Omas Ogiva Alba Violet fountain pen is beautiful. Its length is similar to flagship pens such as the Pelikan Souverän M1000 and the Montblanc Meisterstück 149. But comparing to the Montblanc Meisterstück 149, the Omas Ogiva Alba has a slimmer body. The pen is made from cotton resin, and the lightweight pen sits very well in the hand. The shape of the pen body is commonly seen, but the fluted design on the barrel and cap, combining with the purple material that is slightly translucent, make this pen look very elegant.

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The cap can be posted securely onto the back of the pen. Posting the cap makes the pen very long and a bit back heavy. Personally I don’t post the cap for this pen. The grip section is long and have small steps from the barrel to the nib. The length and width of the grip section make it comfortable to be held. However there are threads right in the middle of the section. The threads do not really bother me when I’m holding the pen. But I think it will be more comfortable to hold the pen if the threads can be moved to either the front or the back of the grip section. Also on this part of the pen, the limited edition number is engraved here.

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There are two rings on the cap, one being just a thin band and the other carrying the greek key design. A similar set of rings are installed near the edge of the grip section. Together with an additional thin band on the piston knob and the rigid but easy-to-use roller clip, all of the metal trims are rhodium plated. This shows an excellent design consistency that matches really well with the purple coloured barrel.

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In comparison to the rich decorations on the pen, the nib engravings seem to be a bit underwhelming. Other than the nib specifications engraved there, there is actually no art decoration on the nib. The engravings indicate that the nib is made of 14K gold and the nib width “F” is marked on the side of the nib. What’s perhaps the most interesting engraving is the “extra flessibiile” on the top. More details about it will be covered in the nib performance review. Even though the nib looks a bit boring, the rhodium plating still ensures that the colour scheme of the pen is consistent.

3. Filling System (6/10):
I really like the piston filling system. However, I have to deduct several points here for the Omas Ogiva Alba Violet. First of all, the piston does not operate smoothly. When I turn the piston knob, there is a fair amount of friction. If the pen is left not inked for a while, it becomes even more difficult to get the piston to move. It feels like the piston is stuck in the barrel. This leads to the second issue. There is no simple way to lubricate the piston, because neither the piston mechanism nor the nib unit is easily removable. Not only the piston cannot be maintained, cleaning the pen also takes a lot of effort. The pen cannot be flushed with direct access to the inner barrel, so that the users are forced to operate the piston repetitively. Unfortunately the piston is not powerful enough and it takes extremely long to fully clean the pen. The third issue related to the piston is the piston seal. It seems that ink constantly gets trapped behind the piston seal or between the two ends of the seal. Then the trapped ink dries out and more or less ruins the beautiful demonstrator appearance. The dried ink may also impact the smoothness of the piston operation. The basic functionalities of any piston filling mechanism are there. However these problems make the pen less enjoyable to use. If these issues can be fixed, together with the large ink capacity that is already offered, it will be an even better fountain pen.

4. Nib Performance (10/10):


This is where this pen really shines. As mentioned earlier, the nib has an engraving that indicates “extra flessibile”. This is my most favourite feature on this pen: the nib offers quite a significant amount of springiness and flexibility. Without much pressure, the nib gives a wet and fine line. When pressed down a bit, the nib tines flex out slightly and provide line variations to the handwriting. Meanwhile, the ebonite feed has no problem catching up with the ink flow, making the writing really enjoyable. It can be considered as around a semi flex nib and it is not commonly seen on modern pens. Of course, using any flex nib should be done with enough care and caution, in order to make sure that the nib is not applied with too much pressure and damaged. once the users can fully understand the capability and limit of the nib, it can bring a lot of characters to the handwriting.
The nib writes right out of the box and doesn’t really require any adjustment. Also there is no issue with hard start or skipping. In general, it writes with a wet ink flow, so that it works the best with better quality paper that handles feathering and bleed through well.

5. Pen Cleaning and Maintenance (7/10):
Being a piston filler, not having an easily removable nib unit impacts the ease of pen cleaning and maintenance. As mentioned earlier, cleaning the pen by operating the piston takes a great amount of effort. Meanwhile, the piston has issues with trapped ink and cannot be easily lubricated. Being a translucent fountain pen, these issues are not only making the pen less convenient to use, but also not ideal for the pen’s appearance.

Summary:
Packaging: 10/10
Pen Design: 8/10
Filling System: 6/10
Nib Performance: 10/10
Pen Cleaning and Maintenance: 7/10

Total: 41/50

The Omas Ogiva Alba Violet is a great limited edition offering. It has an excellent pen design with a packaging that matches the same high standard. The 14K gold fine nib with “extra flessibile” definitely gets the spotlight and its performance is one of the best in my collection. It would be an even more amazing pen if the piston design can improve, in order to bring better cleaning efficiency and maintainability. Having a nib unit that is not easily removable can be inconvenient for a piston filling pen, especially one that has a piston that can benefit from a bit more lubrication.
Overall, I think this pen is a great offering for its price range. It may not be an ideal daily writer, but the amazing nib can provide excellent character to the handwriting.

 

For the list of pens currently for sale, please visit here.