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Pilot Falcon Gold vs Rhodium Trim, Does Rhodium look like steel?


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I'm having a hard time deciding between which I like more between the Pilot Falcon in Gold Trim or in Rhodium Trim. I don't have physical access to those pens so I can only rely on pictures. 

 

My main question is does the rhodium trim make the nib look like a regular steel nib? Or is the rhodium plating much shinier such that one can easily see that it is more than steel? 

 

I would also be interested in hearing your stories about how you made (or are making) your decision. Was the difference clear for you? Did you have to see them in person to decide? Did other pens influence your decision? 

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1 hour ago, Mixiu said:

I would also be interested in hearing your stories about how you made (or are making) your decision.

 

Price. I just wanted to try out the Pilot Elabo for its nib, so when Amazon offered the black resin with gold trim version with SF nib at a good price, I bought it. It doesn't put down as fine a line as I hoped; so, when Amazon offered an Elabo with SEF nib, this time in black resin with silver trim, at a good price I bought that too.

 

In the spirit of your main question, which I'll assume to be really about whether a higher-priced, more ‘premium’ nib made of precious metal would look distinguished next to a significantly cheaper nib, I'll ask: can you easily tell the difference visually between a ‘solid’ gold nib and a gold-plated steel nib, without looking at the inscriptions on the nib body?

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct, and valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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I don't think most people look at it and go "oooh! rhodium!!!". Some might tell the difference, but not me. Doesn't bother me though. None of my gold nibs up to now are obviously gold. It's far more obvious to me that a gold-toned nib is not gold.

 

Generally I prefer the nib match the pen body trim. For that reason, I would recommend the rhodium because there are more falcon bodies in rhodium.

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1 hour ago, A Smug Dill said:

I'll ask: can you easily tell the difference visually between a ‘solid’ gold nib and a gold-plated steel nib, without looking at the inscriptions on the nib body?

I'm not sure, I haven't seen gold nibs and gold-plated steel nibs. I assume it's usually hard? 

 

35 minutes ago, dragondazd said:

Generally I prefer the nib match the pen body trim. For that reason, I would recommend the rhodium because there are more falcon bodies in rhodium.

What do you mean by "trim"? Is it the accents that are on the body of the pen? Like the color of the clip or the color of the ring at the base of the cap? Don't they match the nib's color when you buy the Pilot Falcon? What do you mean by "more falcon bodies in rhodium"? 

 

I guess my question is does rhodium appear shinier than steel or is it about the same? 

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59 minutes ago, Mixiu said:

I guess my question is does rhodium appear shinier than steel or is it about the same?

 

Is it seriously that difficult to do a Web search for “rhodium vs steel nib” and read a few pages (and/or waste time watching some video content), and use that to help make up your mind? Out of the first four matches returned by Google, there's Goulet talking about nib materials and coatings in a video, there's a reddit discussion specifically about your question, and there's FPNibs giving its expert view since they sell nibs and do custom nib work including all sorts of plating.

 

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct, and valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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36 minutes ago, Mixiu said:

What do you mean by "trim"? Is it the accents that are on the body of the pen? Like the color of the clip or the color of the ring at the base of the cap? Don't they match the nib's color when you buy the Pilot Falcon? What do you mean by "more falcon bodies in rhodium"? 

 

I guess my question is does rhodium appear shinier than steel or is it about the same? 

Yes the accents usually match the nib. But you could mix and match .... I just saw you could buy a spare nib from Anderson Pens yesterday.

 

Shininess: Not really. 

 

 

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The way I understand the question, it's whether the rhodium trim looks like steel.  It doesn't.  It's very shiny and reflective, far more than steel.  The only issue is that most people will probably think it's just a chrome plate.  Gold has that unmistakable gold yellow color.  OK, it could be mistaken for highly polished brass.  

 

In the past, I was a gold snob, and only wanted gold trim.  I've seen a lot of vintage pens with wear of the gold trim.  Gold is a soft metal.  It will scratch easily.  For that reason, I've started getting pens with rhodium plating.  The rhodium (or platinum) plate is a very hard, scratch resistant coating.

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8 minutes ago, MidSouthern-Dad said:

The way I understand the question, it's whether the rhodium trim looks like steel.  It doesn't.  It's very shiny and reflective, far more than steel.  The only issue is that most people will probably think it's just a chrome plate.  Gold has that unmistakable gold yellow color.  OK, it could be mistaken for highly polished brass.

 

Or, a ‘solid’ gold (14K gold alloy or better) nib could be mistaken for a steel nib that is merely gold-plated. Does one tell by the colour? The smoothness of the nib's polish as supplied, and clarity of the reflections? How well will a mirror finish hold up after Week One in the hands of the user if, say, paper towels are used to wipe the nib clean of excess ink after filling from the bottle? How does one account for a deliberate matt finish on any of the nib materials?

 

That's before any consideration of how discerning an eye the observer has. A professional jeweller would be able to spoke differences “a mile away” where Joe Average may see none. How does one answer the question if, say, the owner of the pen can't see the differences, but everyone else can? Would it still be worth getting the rhodium-plated gold nib then, if looks are the primary consideration? What if the situation is flipped, and the owner can see the differences, but everyone who he/she interacts with or bothers to ask would say they can't see anything to suggest to them that the nib may not be just polished steel?

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct, and valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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On 5/11/2022 at 5:57 PM, Mixiu said:

does the rhodium trim make the nib look like a regular steel nib?

 

My very shiny Rhodium-plated Falcon nib has a 14K hallmark on it, so there's no mistaking it for steel for that reason as well. 

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A rhodium coated nib in isolation will "look like polished steel" to the casual observer who isn't into fountain pens, yes. But side by side, the rhodium next to polished steel will look different - brighter, cleaner, more reflective.

 

If you are buying the pen for yourself - get what you like best.

If you are buying the pen to show off to others - don't. No one will notice or care.

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Below are two pens side by side. The black one is a Pilot Custom Heritage 912, with rhodium trim (clip, rings around the pen's cap and body) and rhodium plated 14k gold nib. The other one is a Conklin Endura Abalone L.E. with polished stainless steel trim. Judge for yourself how similar they appear.

 

PXL_20220518_030624857.thumb.jpg.d9f75ba27f69a1f6b725cd56de024eec.jpgPXL_20220518_030419186.thumb.jpg.df5bb4346a97da6c66e323bbe5e69619.jpg

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On 5/12/2022 at 10:57 AM, Mixiu said:

I don't have physical access to those pens so I can only rely on pictures. 

 

See for yourself. I didn't doctor these photos, but I also did not do anything to try and emphasise any differences in the set-up.

 

large.540593965_Pilotsteelnibnexttoarhodium-plated14Kgoldnib.jpg.1a1e08ff42dc0f7171583b1e838f124e.jpg

 

I really don't care which Pilot Elabo you end up deciding to get. If you want that pen and/or type of nib, then you're spending the money for a gold nib regardless; and I hope, whichever you choose, it will perform the way an Elabo's nib should and give you that special writing experience and performance. If the shape of the Elabo's rhodium-plated nib and the 14K-585 stamp on it, not to mention your knowledge of what it is, is not sufficiently distinguished for you, then by all means get the yellow gold one. You can then compare that visually against all manners of gold-plated steel nibs, from Chinese-made to Japanese-made and German-made, to see if you feel that's the better aesthetic decision in retrospect, instead of just picking the nib you happen to like better considered in isolation.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct, and valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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On 5/12/2022 at 9:40 AM, A Smug Dill said:

black resin with gold trim version

 

B) I didn't know that existed!

It's all about the greys...

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FWIW to the question and discussion, as I am not familiar with the Falcon, I have a rhodium plated (I assume it’s plated anyway) Laban Skeleton and it looks like a clear pen wrapped in very, very shiny chrome, the kind of shine that a car enthusiast would get very excited about.

 

As for which I prefer, GT or CT, it really depends on the pen. I generally prefer GT simply because I like gold, but some colors just look better in CT. And some pen models can look cheap in CT and expensive in GT , while some can look terribly old-fashioned or even fake in GT and clean and modern in CT. So, GT or CT really is a matter of personal taste on most pens. But as I said, I’m not familiar with the options on a Falcon.

FP addict thanks to #Penpalooza. Currently can't stop collecting Diplomats.

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Steel and stainless steels are alloys, and there are actually quite a few formulations and processes to make them, so "stainless steel" may not look exactly like "stainless steel" in all cases.

 

As far as the OP, it's really preference.  Some people hate gold.  Some people think gold fits with certain body colors and not with others.  I can't even tell you my preference since I have pens in both.  I've even thought about some of those black plated metals are that are popular lately but haven't bought one (yet?).

 

By the way, on my Pelikans, my cheap steel nibs are plated gold and the gold nibs are mostly or sometimes entirely plated white.

 

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This is sort of a non-answer, but rhodium looks like rhodium... (spoiler alert: I *am* a jeweler)

 

I would however say that polished stainless steel or chrome plating are two of the most neutrally colored metals and rhodium is right there with them as a very shiny "silver" metal (actual silver has a white undertone compared to rhodium). and no, rhodium plating doesn't look cheap compared to yellow gold in my opinion.

also, gold plated trim on pens usually doesn't look the same as karat gold in jewelry, while rhodium is only used in plating form, so a rhodium plated pen part has the same exact look as a rhodium plated jewelry item (it's primarily used on white gold jewelry, in order to mask the faint warmth/yellow cast that most white gold shows when not in full polish).

older pens with "gold filled" trim often approximate the look of karat gold better, but both methods look good when done well (and Pilot plating is well done IMO).

 

my personal pen trim choices are based on two things: in some cases a pen "just looks better" one way or another, if that's the case I choose the more attractive look (to my eye of course), the other primary concern is matching my other regularly used personal accessory, a wrist watch. since most of my watches have stainless steel cases, I tend to lean toward steel, or white metal trim on pens if it's available. 

if a pen I like isn't available in the trim I prefer, it then depends on the scarcity of the model in question and how good the pricing is... as @A Smug Dill pointed out, sometimes a good enough deal makes a compromise on style worth considering.

 

There's really no wrong answer here ;) 

David-

 

So many restoration projects...

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  • 4 weeks later...

So is the gold trim version only for the US market? Looking around I can't find any sellers anywhere else.

It's all about the greys...

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38 minutes ago, AmandaW said:

So is the gold trim version only for the US market?

 

Most likely not; but I think the gold-trimmed resin Elabo was discontinued some time ago, as I can't see it in the product listing on Pilot's Japanese web site today.

 

I found a couple of listings in New Zealand:

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct, and valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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