Review written with Perle Noir in a Spirax 5 subject book (which seems to have non-feathering paper, even for BSB!! Not very smooth paper though, which is a small sacrifice mitigated by a good nib... Read on!)
EDIT: couldn't upload the handwritten review in readable resolution. Will transcribe to type soon! Apologies for the delay.
EDIT II: THE REVIEW
I've been eyeing this pen for quite some time, mainly due to the unanimous 'ooh's and 'aah's it gets from FPNers on a regular basis. I'm a one-pen-at-a-time kinda guy, so when I look for that one pen to use all day every day for all eternity (or that's the plan), I try to make sure it's a good one. Of course, the result of that mentality is that I can't remember the last time I've had just one pen... But that may all change now.
At the risk of spoiling the suspense, I'll say that this pen lives up to all expectations. As to how exactly it does this... read on! (Please note that I've just broken up with my Pelikan M805, and this pen is in many ways the 'rebound pen', so a warning that comparisons between the two abound in the following review)
BUILD QUALITY, DESIGN AND DURABILITY - 5/5
Based on the couple of days' use this pen has had, the quality seems stellar in every respect. Whereas my Pelikan began developing a scuff ring around the barrel where the cap lip came in contact after only a few hours' use, the finish on this pen appears to resist the appearance of scuffing. The plastic is thick and substantial, however injection molding marks are visible at the treads. I couldn't give a hoot, though some may have their sanity compromised by those slight grooves.
The trim is gold (not my preference) but well applied and executed, especially when it comes to the cap etchings. They are not just engraved or stamped through the metal; they are filled with the plastic of the type from which the pen cap is made, resulting in a completely smooth surface. It has no affect on the performance of the pen itself (unless you were hoping to stamp the words "***Custom 823*** PILOT MADE IN JAPAN" with the cap ring), but ti shows a brilliant attention to detail lacking in many other pens in this price bracket.
Perhaps most impressive is the absence of a 'rust ring' around the bottom of the section as found on the Pelikan M800. This pen was truly designed to WRITE and ENDURE, at the expense of unnecessary bling.
BALANCE AND FEEL IN THE HAND - 4.5/5
In this area the Pilot leaves its Pelikan nemesis for dead. The M805 was shamefully top heavy, not at all suited for the rigours of a long writing session. The Pilot, on the other hand, is perfectly balanced while having about the same overall heft as the Pelikan. My only qualm is I'd rather the weight be slightly on the lighter side, as I'm used to very light pens. However, if one was to ask me if this was an instrument suited for intensive writing, I'd say 'YES!' and emphatically so (if you couldn't tell from the capitals).
THE NIB - 6/5 (Fine nib)
I'm not certain the above rating is in concordance with the tacit FPN review guidelines, however words simply do not do this nib justice. As you put pen to paper, it makes you appreciate how in Japan they still view nib-making as an art, and not a process for mass-production. This nib is not sourced from Bock, Schmidt, Jo-Wo or any other jo-blow nib manufacturer that pumps out little pointy steel bits by the hundreds. Pilot knows what they're doing, and it shows: smooth with slight feedback, even inkflow and a flexible, bouncy feel characterises this beauty. If you're expecting a wet noodle or even semi-flex, keep walking, but there is just enough expressiveness here to let any reader know you've been writing with something special. However, with this in mind, the nib is so bouncy it's almost like writing on a trampoline. The nib just skips across the page (in a good way). In short, a job very well done, and by far the best nib I've ever tried (and I've tried many).
FILLING SYSTEM - 5/5
This topic has been covered in other reviews and topics ad nauseum, and most likely if you're thinking of purchasing this pen, the filling system is playing some sort of role in your infatuation (fine, interest. getting ahead of myself...). So I'll keep it short: easy to use, HUGE capacity, functional. You can easily check your ink levels, even on my smoke version.
The drawback: Need to unscrew the blindcap before use. What a way to shackle the legs of the world's best runner.
If you do any writing, buy this.
Thanks for reading!!
Edited by Ytland, 27 September 2011 - 06:12.