Boy oh boy. I really wish I had hopped on the Pilot 78G train earlier, because it’s been a real struggle finding this pen. Of course, it may have been easier if I wasn’t so particular: it had to be teal, and it had to have the broad nib. The broad nib is actually an italic nib, which I thought was really cool!
This pen has been discontinued by Pilot, so anything you find now is pretty much new old stock. It’s not difficult to find in the fine and medium nibs, but it’s definitely getting difficult to find in the broad nib. It’s approximately 5 1/4 inches (13.5 cm) long capped and 4 3/4 inches (12 cm) uncapped. The pen is very light, only a few grams, but the all-plastic construction is sturdy. It doesn’t flex in the hand at all, and it definitely feels like a pen you can throw into a bag without worrying about it. The pen is a cartridge/converter but it comes with a Pilot squeeze converter (I think it may be proprietary, although I’m not sure). It holds a fairly decent amount of ink.The nib on the fine and medium offerings is very similar to the nib of other Pilot pens, like the Pilot Metropolitan and the Pilot Prera. In fact, I’m fairly certain that the Pilot Metropolitan was introduced to replace the Pilot 78G. On the broad, however, I’m fairly certain it’s exactly the same as one on the Pilot Plumix, only gold-plated. I personally think the only difference is the aesthetic. You can definitely find this exact nib in other offerings that aren’t difficult to find. Plus, you can swap out the nibs, which is one thing you may want to keep in mind–the Plumix does not offer italic nibs in gold, only the plain steel color. But I think this pen has a very classy look that I don’t think you could find in the other pens. Obviously the Metropolitan and the Prera are very good looking pens (the Plumix is… well, it’s definitely something), but the 78G definitely filled a sort of Montblanc-y gap while also being inexpensive. The good thing is just like most Pilot nibs, this pen writes very well. The writing is very smooth and surprisingly forgiving. I thought that an italic nib like this would be a little hard to use and would take a little learning curve, but I was out of the gate and running without problems. An italic nib is different from the normal nibs you may find because there is no tipping material: you write with the stub-like part of the nib. There is, however, a type of nib called a stub nib: these ones do have tipping material. The main difference between an italic nib and a stub nib is that an italic nib is “sharper”: a stub nib is more forgiving but doesn’t have as much line variation because the tipping material is more square than rectangular. An italic nib will give you a lot more line variation (from very thin to very thick) as you write normally because of the tip’s rectangular shape, but it’s more likely to catch on paper. I was a bit wary of using the italic nib because I’d never used one before: I’m glad to know my worries are completely unfounded. Keep in mind that Japanese nib sizes are generally finer than those of their European counterparts: I’d say that the italic nib runs between a European medium and a broad. I love how this pen makes my handwriting look: pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.
Here’s a writing sample if you’re interested:
I found this pen on eBay for about $20 with free shipping. Unfortunately, you can’t find the Pilot 78G in many places anymore. His Nibs has them with the stub nib in dark green and black. eBay is also a great place to look, and you may just be able to catch a stub nib. Good luck!
I’m not affiliated with His Nibs, but I have ordered from them previously and they’re a great company. Do check them out!