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Pilot Custom748


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#1 rokurinpapa

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 09:27

[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.)


P1020452.jpg

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.

P1020454.jpg

P1020455.jpg

P1020457.jpg

P1020462.jpg


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

Writing Sample

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[52]: 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


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#2 ParkerBeta

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 10:21

Thank you for an excellent review of a pen of whose existence itself I was unaware until now! It is curious that the Custom 748 had so many options for the 18kt nib, whereas the Custom 845 (which uses the same 18kt nib) does not.
S.T. Dupont Defi with (steel) F nib
Montegrappa Nero Uno Linea M nib
Visconti Sterling Silver Skeleton M nib
Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze Age EF nib

#3 Blade Runner

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 10:52

Very nice!

Just for fun here are my Montblanc Solitaires, including the Barleycorn and Pinstripe guilloche.

Posted Image
Cheers

#4 MYU

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 14:25

Rokurinpapa, thank you very much for showing us the Pilot Custom 748. I had no idea it existed. It's also great to know the convention behind the numbering of Pilot Custom pens. I wonder if they will go to a 4 digit numbering for new pens released after 2018? Or perhaps they'll drop the leading "1" digit, in kind with the trailing digit (as with Custom 74). Is there some cultural reason for omitting the "1"? I've heard that in some cultures, there is an aversion to certain numbers (in the USA, you'll often see the number 13 skipped in the numbering of floors in a hotel or office building). As for the Japanese, this is what I've come to know:

Traditionally, 4 and 9 are unlucky. Four is sometimes pronounced shi, which is also the word for death. Nine is also sometimes pronounced ku, which can mean suffering. 13 is also occasionally thought of as unlucky, although this is imported from Western culture. Because of these unlucky numbers, sometimes levels or rooms with 4 or 9 in them don't exist in hospitals or hotels, and particularly in the maternity section of a hospital, the room number 43 is avoided because it can literally mean "still birth." Therefore, when giving gifts such as sets of plates, they are normally sets of three or five, never four.


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#5 rokurinpapa

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 00:23

Thank you all for kind words.

Very nice!

Just for fun here are my Montblanc Solitaires, including the Barleycorn and Pinstripe guilloche.

Posted Image
Cheers


I have a Montblanc1468(pinstripe) M too. I love it very much!

rokurinpapa

#6 rokurinpapa

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 01:22

Rokurinpapa, thank you very much for showing us the Pilot Custom 748. I had no idea it existed. It's also great to know the convention behind the numbering of Pilot Custom pens. I wonder if they will go to a 4 digit numbering for new pens released after 2018? Or perhaps they'll drop the leading "1" digit, in kind with the trailing digit (as with Custom 74). Is there some cultural reason for omitting the "1"? I've heard that in some cultures, there is an aversion to certain numbers (in the USA, you'll often see the number 13 skipped in the numbering of floors in a hotel or office building). As for the Japanese, this is what I've come to know:

Traditionally, 4 and 9 are unlucky. Four is sometimes pronounced shi, which is also the word for death. Nine is also sometimes pronounced ku, which can mean suffering. 13 is also occasionally thought of as unlucky, although this is imported from Western culture. Because of these unlucky numbers, sometimes levels or rooms with 4 or 9 in them don't exist in hospitals or hotels, and particularly in the maternity section of a hospital, the room number 43 is avoided because it can literally mean "still birth." Therefore, when giving gifts such as sets of plates, they are normally sets of three or five, never four.



I wonder the numbering of CUSTOM after 2018,too. I think there is no cultural reason for omitting the"1". In Japan, odd numbers are preferable and "1" is a good number.Perhaps because of basis of CUSTOM series,"1" is omitted, just a guess.

rokurinpapa

Edited by rokurinpapa, 24 September 2009 - 01:23.


#7 troglokev

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 08:22

Those were good finds on the auction sites.

I've often wondered about the numbering system used by Pilot... It almost makes sense, now. I work for a Japanese company, and I'd have to admit that Japanese product naming is a process that is often incomprehensible, and sometimes just plain weird.

#8 Nikolaos

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 09:34

These are great looking pens and definitely on my list for the future. I love sterling silver pens and have a nice collection of Pilot vintage sterling.
Thanks for one more great review rokurinpapa

nikolaos

Edited by Nikolaos, 12 October 2009 - 06:15.


#9 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 23:00

very nice and unusual pilots :) congrats on the pens

Edited by georges zaslavsky, 11 October 2009 - 23:00.

Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time

#10 Immoteus

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 00:47

Thank you for the reviews! I remember viewing these pens on the Pilot site in 2007. Although, they're still a bit too flashy for my preference. Is there an considerable weight difference between these and the Custom 743?
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#11 escribo

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 01:33

Many thanks for such a comprehensive review of that fine pen, and for all the extra information about Pilot pens in general. Very useful.
The 748 is now on my radar; I'll certainly look any time that I see one for sale. Though it's unlikely I'll be able to afford it, who knows?
I might find a rare bargain like you did.
Regards,
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EDIT: Oh no! Immoteus, how long have you had that sig? :o I swear, I didn't copy it from you...

Edited by escribo, 12 October 2009 - 01:36.

I may not have been much help, but I DID bump your thread up to the top.


#12 rokurinpapa

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 06:32

Thank you for the reviews! I remember viewing these pens on the Pilot site in 2007. Although, they're still a bit too flashy for my preference. Is there an considerable weight difference between these and the Custom 743?


I do not have 743,but perhaps it weighs about 25g. So 748 is more than 2times as heavy as 743.

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#13 MYU

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 16:49

The images in the post ended up broken, probably due to the software upgrade. I was able to test a fix in a separate section and it works if I keep the displayed images to a maximum of 5. I've had to provide links for the remaining images. Sorry for the inconvenience, rokurinpapa. Hopefully the admins will get the software issues straightened out soon so we can have more images displayed. Thanks for your patience.

~Gary

Edited by MYU, 13 October 2009 - 17:06.

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#14 rokurinpapa

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 16:33

748 have vanished in Japanese market strangely.Now I can find no 748. Owing to this review? Impossible!
748 may have become rare now.

rokurinpapa

#15 Ed Ronax

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 14:50

Excellent review, thanks.
And how can this be, because he is the Kwisatz Haderach.


#16 rokurinpapa

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 15:19

The 748 is a wonderful pen. I have the sterling silver barleycorn version and I would buy the gold plated version in a flash if I could find it. Discontinuing this pen was a major mistake by Pilot - I assume that metal pens are not the 'done thing' in Japan, where maki-e and urushi rule the luxury pen market.


As for sterling silver pen, now there are only GRANCE NC and Silvern among Pilot fountain pens. Why? I do not know.
For example, sterling silver version of capless(vanishing point) would be attractive.

rokurinpapa

#17 Blue_Moon

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Posted 05 October 2015 - 19:19

I was looking all over the place for info on how Pilot named their pens. I had remembered reading that information previously, but could not remember, and I had difficulty finding it again. Others may be interested as well, so...BUMP.


Franklin-Christoph, Italix, and Pilot pens are the best!
Iroshizuku, Diamine, and Waterman inks are my favorites!

Apica, Rhodia, and Clairefontaine make great paper!


#18 Algester

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 06:53

the numbers are named as the year since Pilot's founding then the third number is the price point I think it was stated in kmpn and in here
ahh yes it is this thread that is pointed
Interesting there's such a thing as a 745
http://www.okahisa.com/new_page_70.htm

Edited by Algester, 06 October 2015 - 07:00.







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