If you can get past the if-it’s-Monday-it’s-the-maroon-tie sobriety of its design, the Pilot Custom series can be a nib discovery tour. The 742 and 743 series come with music, stub (or sutab), coarse, wavily (akin to Sailor’s zoom) and falcon nibs, aside from the usual fine, medium and broad. The falcon nib, also known as the FA nib, has shoulder cutouts like Nakaya’s elastic nib, but unlike the elastic nib, it can flex.
I had a 743 with an FA nib, which I sold to a friend. The 743s come with size 15 nibs; perhaps the size of the nib has something to do with how flexible it is, because the 742’s size 10 FA nib feels significantly more flexible than its larger sibling.Â
The trace of blue on the nib is from the Pilot Iroshizuku line of inks; asa-gao, or morning glory, is a vivid blue with a tinge of purple. It is not the shocker that is Noodler’s Baystate Blue, but then again shocking blue would probably be part of a Pilot Harajuku line.
The writing sample is much enlarged, but it should give you an idea of the proportion of thick to thin lines this nib can produce. The sample below is closer to true size.Â
I gave myself two pens for Christmas this year – this one, and a Sailor 1911 demonstrator with a music nib. It was supposed to be the Pelikan M800 demonstrator with engravings, but Pengallery had sold out all their stock in three weeks, and as my friend Tom always says, the i in Leigh stands for impatient. Or impulsive. (He has yet to say irritating, irascible, irate, or immaculate.)
When I travel, I like carrying at least one vintage pen with a flexible nib, for sketches and journal entries. The FA nib isn’t vintage flex, but it’s quite close – with the advantage of being a cartridge/converter pen, which means less fuss. Heaven knows we all could use less fuss.