Somehow, in my scramble through the fountain pen hobby, I skipped the Pilot Cavalier. I think a lot of people do--it's not a pen I've heard much buzz about. And that's a bummer, because this is a great little pen.
The body is brass, giving it a nice weight, but it's a slim pen, so it isn't too heavy. This special Red & Pink Duo-Color edition is slightly larger than a standard Cavalier, but it's still very slender, which may not be as comfortable for larger hands. That does, however, make it well-suited to the smaller pen loops found in planners and folios. The brass is coated in a lovely marbled pattern. All the colors are gorgeous and rich, and very difficult to capture in a photograph. There's a shimmer to it that just doesn't come though. So you'll have to take my word for it that this is one of those pens that you'll find yourself staring at as you think what to write.
The furniture is gold-plated, the grip section and cap jewel are black plastic, and the nib is gold-plated steel (here in a size medium). The clip is firm--maybe a little too firm--and the cap snaps securely to close. It posts nicely without becoming too long or back-heavy, though the balance does feel better to me unposted.
As much as I prefer threaded caps, I'm developing a real appreciation for snap caps when I need to write a quick note. I have had some instances of the nib drying out slightly when the pen is stored nib-up. When I've stored it horizontally, I haven't had any trouble.
The pen takes Pilot's proprietary cartridges or the con-20 converter. I'm firmly in the camp that despises the con-20 and I wish that Pilot/Namiki would release more fun colors in their cartridges. So this pen will join my Prera and Vanishing Point in the ranks of pens that get their cartridges refilled with an ink syringe.
The nib is a nice wet writer with gentle feedback but no scratch. It's surprisingly springy for a small steel nib and shows some nice line variation. The nib is narrower than the Metropolitan nibs and it wraps around the feed in a way that makes it non-removable. It writes better than the handful of Metropolitans I've tried. There's no skipping or ink starvation--just good, reliable consistency.
I've been using this pen for daily journaling and as my planner pen, and it's been lovely. It's at a great spot in terms of price and look, I feel. It's a step up from the beginner pens (like the Pilot Metropolitan, Lamy Safari, and TWSBI Eco), but well below the cost of the next-level fancier pens (like the Pilot Vanishing Point, Pelikan M200, or Sailor Pro Gear Slim). It writes, looks, and feels like it could be more expensive than it is. It would make an excellent work/office pen, where you want to look a little bit fancy without exposing a nicer pen to the hazards of the workplace. It's also at a great price-point for a thoughtful gift for someone you'd like to push over the edge into fountain pen addiction.
Even though I missed this pen on my first trip 'round the pen world, I'm delighted to double back and make up for lost time.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)