Pilot Custom 912 with Music Nib
Fountain Pen Review
- Review Ink: Robert Oster Fire and Ice
- Review Paper: Various
- Description: A flat ended, medium-large sized pen from Japan with a stubby music nib
- Nib: 14k Rhodium Plated Gold, double slit music nib
- Filling Mechanism: Pilot CON70 pump converter
- Weight: 25g overall
- Measurements: 5.5″ capped, 6.2″ posted, 4.9″ uncapped
- Color Options: Black/Silver, many nib options available
Pilot’s 912 series are pretty plain from the outside. It’s under the cap where they begin to shine. This series of high-end pens are available with a broad (PEN JOKES…see what I did there) range of specialty nibs. The 912 is available with a Waverly, Falcon, Soft Fine, Stub, and my choice – the three tined music nib. Admittedly, the music nib and I got off to a rough start (I put it on blast on my Instagram page), but I think things are starting to turn around. Read on to see how this premium offering from Pilot holds up!
This pen was courtesy of JetPens.com. They sent it over for review. This means my hard earned money did not pay for it, so please read the review with that in mind. However, I did accumulate a TON of JetPens sponsorship store credit by writing reviews to buy this sucker so it’s kinda like I worked for it? Anyway, THANK YOU JETPENS!
Appearance & Packaging:
The Pilot Custom 912 has a nice presence to it. It’s by no means small, but it isn’t a hulking monster like a Montblanc 149 or Visconti HS. By Japanese standards, it’s a pretty large pen. It measures in at 5.5″ capped, 6.2″ posted, and 4.9″ uncapped. More on how it feels in hand later. The black acrylic body is glossy with nice finishing. It’s accented with rhodium plated furnishings (silver…it looks silver) throughout. The cap band is particularly nice. It’s deeply engraved and filled with black paint to make the name of the pen really pop out.
I like the addition of a few stars, and it’s always nice to see “Made in Japan” somewhere prominent on the pen. The clip has a unique taper to it that’s almost reminiscent of Pelikan’s clip styling (sans bird). The top and bottom of the pen are flat, which I always like. I think it gives the 912 a more modern appearance than its rounded counterparts. On the outside, the pen isn’t particularly impressive or show stopping, but it’s the nib inside the cap that does all the heavy lifting. The Custom 912 comes packaged in a nice gift box. It comes with a slip cover for some additional niceness too. My guidelines for evaluating packaging is as follows: Would I feel like a cheap jerk if I was giving this as a gift to someone if this is the box it came in? The answer is here is no. The packaging is perfectly adequate, albeit unremarkable.
Nib Performance & Filling System:
Here’s where things got off to a rocky start. The music nib. Let’s start with a little backstory. I used to be a huge fan of extra fine and fine nibs. Couldn’t get enough of them. This was back in college when I was taking a TON of notes, all by hand. Nowadays I lean more towards medium, and even broad nibs. The more ink this thing lays on the page, the better. It’s just more fun that way. How do I feel about stubs? Honestly, not so great.
It turns out that a music nib is very similar to a stub. They’re a bit softer around the edges than a traditional stub too. Honestly, just read this post by Gourmet Pens and then come back. Instead of two tines, there’s three. That means there’s more ink flow. Now, me being a fan of broad nibs, I figured “WOW, WHAT COULD BE BETTER THAN A REALLY BROAD NIB THAT HAS MORE INK FLOW!?” For my writing style and preferences, it turns out that there are probably a lot of nibs that would be better for me. Like a normal broad nib, or even a coarse nib from Platinum. Now, it’s not Pilot’s fault that I didn’t like their music nib. It’s probably mine for not doing my due diligence when researching the nib.
In practice, the music nib writes like a stub. It’s on the wet side and there’s a tiny bit of flex if you push it. The nib is a little finicky about the writing angle, so some extra care is needed when writing. Once swapping out the standard Pilot blue ink I was using to something more interesting (Robert Oster Fire and Ice…dang what an ink!) the nib and I started to get along better. If you’re into music nibs or stubs, definitely consider checking out the offering from Pilot. If your not, maybe just stick with something more affordable like Lamy’s stub. I don’t think having the nib in 14k gold really adds anything over a steel version other than a hefty chunk of cash.
The 912 fills by way of Pilot’s CON70 converter. Instead of turning a knob, you submerge the nib and push the button on top of the converter. It works really well and holds a nice amount of ink. The converter is relatively easy to clean out by filling and emptying with fresh water, then taking out and rinsing. This converter is nice, but at the $225 price, I’d like to see a piston or even a vacuum system like the 823.
In hand, the 912 is a pleasure to write with. The balance of the pen is spot on, even when posted. It may be a bit long to some, but the balance isn’t considerably thrown off when posting the cap. Writing with no cap on is equally comfortable, as the pen measures in at 4.9″ uncapped. No matter how you prefer to write, there’s probably a comfortable position for you. The grip features a slight taper before the nib, as to avoid inky fingers.
The diameter of the grip is comfortable for me as well. There’s no giant step from the body to the section, so those who choke up on the pen will probably find it comfortable as well. The threading for the cap is shallow and soft, so no biting there. Overall, the pen is comfortable and the finishing is as expected for a $200+ pen from a reputable manufacturer.
- Understated, classy looks
- Many nib options
- Large, visually impressive 14k gold nib
- Me and music nibs aren’t the best of pals
- Price may be hard to swallow for some
- Some may think it’s too plain looking
I’m a big fan of Pilot pens. I’ve had multiple Vanishing Points, a Metropolitan, a Custom 74, a Custom 823, and now the Custom 912. Most represent a pretty solid value for what they are. Pilot’s line is made well, have great nibs, and have several different features spread across the different models. The 912 is one of the more expensive options, and that should be addressed. If you’re looking for a nib that’s slightly out of the ordinary, then it would probably be the best choice for you. If you’re looking for a nice writing, medium-large pen with a standard nib, it might be best to look into the Heritage 92 line instead. The CON70 converter is no slouch, but at $225, I’d like to see an integrated filling system of some sort. Overall, the 912 is a solid entry into the high-end fountain pen world, but it’s not going to blow everyone’s socks off. My rating? One out of two socks blown off. It’s cool, but I think for the money you can do better. If you’re looking for a nice black and silver pen with flat ends and a unique nib, then this is just what you’re looking for.