The Pilot Custom lineup today starts with the model FK-700R-B at the bottom. Pilot calls this pen just the "Custom", no suffixing numbers. The pen is available in black plastic with golden trims. 4 nib grades are available, EF-F-M and B. This review deals with the B example. Thus the complete model number/ordering code of this pen becomes FK-700R-B-B.
The pen came to me in this simple flip up pilot box (Z-CR-EN).
The pen will arrive sealed in a poly sleeve with the hangtag on the clip. I have been using this pen for while and removed the tag etc. but i show them here for the sake of documentation. No converter was included, the Con-20 is compatible, but has to be purchased separately. One black cartridge and instruction leaflet for the pen were provided.
Moving on to the pen. It is slim, cylindrical and has a quiet elegance. It will likely not catch much attention when carried clipped to one's shirt pocket. It is a top quality pen in my view, despite the low asking price, that is the achievement of Pilot and a triumph of their mass production techniques.
The cap is press fit type unlike the rest of the pens in the present Custom lineup. The cap engagement is precise with an audible click.
The clip details: A strip of black lacquer runs down the middle. The name CUSTOM is stamped at the end of the clip itself:
The clip and the printed Pilot on the cap lip are not perfectly aligned on my example, that is the only error that i could find on my pen.
The cap says Japan at the back:
Side profile of the clip, simple, but provides good tension:
The clip button is attached to the flat clip bar at just two points, very nicely done spot welding:
Closeup of the cap imprints:
The Nib: Open Flared nib, plain, unadorned without any scroll work etc. The nib is soft and responsive, no flex however. The nib looks very similar to the nib found on the 78G, NSF pen (Non Self Filling), Pilot MR etc. However this nib is flat in cross section where as the steel counterparts are rounded in cross section, there is a profile difference.
Hallmark of a well made gold nib, see how the gold sheet is thick towards the tip and thins down towards the section, yielding a good friction fit in section.
The section threads:
Some comparison pictures:
L-R: Custom 74, Custom, Pilot NSF pen(quite old, notice the old style sticker), 78G
L-R: 78G, NSF, Custom, Custom 74
Some writing samples:
Performance: The nib needed no adjustment. the slit was perfectly gapped, amazing performance. The B is a nice smooth juicy writer.
Cost: Pilot has priced this gem of a pen at just 7000JPY plus 8% tax. With some discounts and adding shipping and import duties to it, I was able to buy this pen from sellers based in Japan at a landed price of 5980JPY which roughly translates to INR 3700/- or USD60. I think it is a remarkable achievement of Pilot and their engineering to offer such a nice pen with a gold nib at the 60USD price point. Nothing short of a marvel in my book.