[Pilot CUSTOM 748]
[Brief introduction] This is my fourth pen review in English.
Pilot CUSTOM series have been its main-force units and various kinds of CUSTOMs have been launched. Regarding existing products, there are CUSTOM74 series (74(No.5nib),742(No.10nib),
743(No.15nib), traditional torpedo shaped pen), CUSTOM823 (torpedo shaped pen with rare plunger filling system (No.15nib)), CUSTOM845(flagship model, made of ebonite coated in clear urushi lacquer, flat-top design (No.15nib)), CUSTOM MAPLE(torpedo shaped pen made of maple with old type flexible No.10nib), CUSTOM Legance (made of marbled colorful propionate resin, flat top design(No.5nib)) and CUSTOM98(short-sized torpedo shaped pen (No.3nib)).
CUSTOM 748 is a higher grade model of CUSTOM 743. The main body material is sterling silver or brass plated thickly by gold. The pattern of the body is barleycorn or stripe. So there are 4 different models, silver-barley(FKK-8MS-BC), silver-stripe(FKK-8MS-S), gold-barley(FKK-8000G-BC) and gold-stripe(FKK-8000G-S). The shape and the size is the same as 743. The nib is also the same No.15 nib. But the nib of 748 is made of 18K while the nib of 743 is made of 14K.
It is a matter for regret that 748 was discontinued in 2007. I do not know the reason, but I guess that the reason is simple, 748 must have been a poor seller. 748 must have been regarded too expensive in Japanese market because the design seemed plain at a glance in spite of its high price. Perhaps 748 is such a pen that the more you use, the more you realize the value.
By the way, you may wonder the meaning of numbers. The first two numbers mean the number of years from the foundation of Pilot(1918) and the third number means the price of Japanese Yen. CUSTOM 845 was launched in 2002 and the price is 50,000 Yen(+2,500yen consumption tax),743 was launched in 1992 and the price is 30,000 Yen(+1,500yen consumption tax). How about CUSTOM 74? Its price is 10,000 Yen (+500yen consumption tax) and in this case, "1" is omitted.
In the Summer of 2008 when I had been almost fountain pen enthusiast, I often watched the Yahoo auction for fountain pens. I found the CUSTOM748(silver-barley F) offered by chance. I decided to bid on it because of its low price. Finally I got it at a good price. In the Spring of 2009 when I had been established fountain pen enthusiast, I again found the CUSTOM748(silver-stripe SFM) offered by chance. Finally I got it at a good price again. I have come out of a dream since that time.
I will not have nothing to do with gold 748......perhaps.
1 First Impressions (9/10) – The box has suede like exterior and a velvet inner cloth. But the quality of it is after all cardboard. I was not disappointed because I do not like a pompous box. There were the 748 F, 1 Pilot black cartridge ink, instruction paper and light grey polishing cloth. The 748 looked profound sending forth out mat silver shining. I was moved to have the genuine article.(The situation was similar when I got 748SFM.)
2 Appearance & Design (8/10) – 748 is a traditional torpedo shaped pen, similar to 743. The harmony of gold(rings, clip and nib) and silver(body and nib) is decent. The cap end ring made by Pilot's jewelry processing technology is fairly broad (you may not know that Pilot is also famous for its jewelry products). "CUSTOM748 *** STERLING SILVER ***" is engraved clearly on the cap ring in black. The grip section is made of black resin. Glittering silver bullets of cap end and barrel end have no patterns. There is nothing novel. I feel the design is not cool but uneventfully warm with a sense of safety like the feeling of a young boy with his father. Both the patterns of barleycorn and stripe are elaborate. Of course, the striped one is more shining and slippery.
3 Weight & Dimensions (8/10) – The length of this pen capped is almost the same as that of Montblanc 149, measuring 150mm long, but a bit longer when uncapped 135mm long, and almost the same when posted 165mm long. The maximum diameter of the barrel is 16mm, almost the same. It weighs about 55 g when posted, too heavy for long writing in general, but I feel pleasant strangely, about 35g when uncapped, a bit short for me.
4 Nib & Performance (9/10) – My pens comes with 18k solid gold two tone F and SFM nibs (EF,F,SF,FM,SFM,M,SM,B and BB nibs were available, "S" means "soft".). The size of the nibs is No.15 of Pilot, the largest among ordinary Pilot pens. 743 has 14k No.15nib and EF,F,SF,FM,SFM,M,SM,B, BB ,C,PO,FA,WA,SU nibs are available while 845 has 18k No.15nib and only F,M,B and BB nibs are available. I do not know the reason. 748 F is very smooth , wet a little, little flexible, produces clear accurate fine line suitable for writing formal documents. 748SFM is more smooth , wet a little, fairly flexible as vintage ones, produces interesting fine -medium line with a shade of color, suitable for writing private memorandums. They are beautiful. I also like No.10 nibs but No.15 nibs have distinctive style of their own, like bigger cars with more piston displacement.
Nib Comparison, tops
Nib Comparison, feed
5 Filling System (9/10) – They come with Pilot Con-70 converters that are Push Button type and hold most ink(about 1.1ml) among Pilot converters (other Con-20, Con-50). It is very easy to fill it up with ink.
Let me add a few more words. Con-70s attached to 748 are in fact made specially. They are the black type Con-70s made of black resin (not urushi) for high end pens (they are not available independently in general, only attached to the high end pens).
Filling system, CON-70
6 Cost & Value (9/10) - Now you can know the list price of 748. Yes, of course, the price is 80,000 Yen (+4,000yen consumption tax), about $800 at current rate. I think the price is reasonable for its weight of sterling silver cunningly wrought and the value of 18kt No.15nib. As stated above, I got 748s at a good price. So I think I got a good deal.
7 Conclusion (Final score: 8.7)- I use 748F in my place of work and 748SFM in my house. So far I have been fully satisfied with these pens. 748 was already discontinued, but at present time it is not so rare at least in Japan and it is not so popular for some reason or other. It is more obscure outside Japan. So you may be able to get one at a good price like me. But I am convinced that it is worth having throughout your life. If you happen to find it at reasonable price, I recommend you to think of getting it.
Edited by watch_art, 02 February 2014 - 17:19.
fixed link issues