It’s very easy to wax lyrical about the Pilot Custom Heritage 912, particularly with the FA (Falcon) nib. Over the past six months, I’ve mentioned it several times — always favourably.
In fact, it might just be my favourite pen.
Here are five things I love about it.
1: Modern but classic
Glossy piano black. Flat ends. Rhodium trim. Swooping sword-like clip. And, of course, that supremely unadorned Falcon nib. Little touches help the 912 stand out from the more traditionally styled Pilots. I love the way it looks.
2: Big but light
The 912 is not a huge pen. Capped and uncapped it’s on a par with the Lamy 2000. But the big cap band makes it look and feel large in the hand.
What about when writing? The nib is long, which makes it feels spacious against the page. And the section is just that hair fatter than on the 912’s slimmer cousins, the 91 and 92. And it’s lightweight, even with a converter full of ink. All of which means it’s truly comfortable for long periods.
3: Fine but flexy
The Falcon, FA, nib is the beating heart of my 912 and the main reason I love it so much. The truth is that this nib is the best and most refined factory flex nib you can buy, certainly at the price.
It’s miles easier to flex than the Noodlers, more flexible than the Bock Ti, and by all accounts is flexier than the Aurora 88, Omas Extra Flessible, or any of its rarefied competition. Yes, it railroads a tiny bit if you use the wrong ink and rush it. But you can get some genuinely beautiful, broad flares out of it, with very little effort. I would go so far as to say that the 912 has contributed more to me improving my handwriting than any other pen.
Most importantly, when you don’t flex it, you’ve still got a great nib. It’s glass-smooth, extremely fine, and wet. I use it for note-taking all the time and love it.
4: Premium but cheap
From Japan direct, the way I buy all my Pilot pens, you can get the 912 for about £120. Think of all the pens that cost £120 or thereabouts. Pens like the Diplomat Aero, the Edison Collier, the Aurora TU, the Visconti Rembrandt, Pelikan M205, Bexley Phoenix. All have steel nibs. Most have standard converters instead of the big Pilot CON-70 (which admittedly I don’t like that much). And most importantly, none of them will give you the writing experience of the FA nib.
Of course, I’ve written about many gold-nibbed pens available for less than the 912. The Platinum 3776, Pilot 91 and Pilot 92, for example. None of them have the same feel of quality, though.
For value, I think the Lamy 2000 is probably the best competition. Gold nib, top-quality finish, unique design, piston filler, and if you’re lucky, available for under £100. But, again, no unique nib.
5: Any nib you want, but it has to be black
Pilot offers some colour choices on other pens in its range (and with the Vanishing Point, it goes nuts). But the 912 is only available in black.
Not a problem — you get choice where it counts: the nib. As well as the FA, you can choose Posting, Waverley, Stub, Music and Soft nibs as well as the usual widths. I personally think the FA is the most interesting, but I’m still super keen to try the PO and WA nibs next. When you buy a premium pen from another manufacturer you’re lucky to get a choice of F, M or B. Well done Pilot for offering choice.
Legend has it that it’s the choice of nibs that justifies the word “Custom” in the 912’s full title.
Which pen do you reach for first?
I guess the real evidence of my love for the 912 is evidenced by one fact: I can’t remember a single day since I bought it when it hasn’t been inked.
It’s an absolute workhorse, utterly reliable, with a fine enough nib for detail work yet a fast enough feed and comfortable enough grip for long meetings. And it’s also the most creative pen in my collection — great for writing messages in cards, and for doodling. So it gets a lot of use. I haven’t tired of it, even as other pens have come and gone.
So, there you have it. The Pilot Custom Heritage 912 FA. Probably my favourite pen.