Hi All! Here comes a new "ruthless review". My ruthless reviews have a few peculiar features:
- Very strict. If a pen costs hundred of euros, no faults are allowed. A good pen gets a 60/100, a great pen an 80/100, an almost perfect one a 90/100. Only a divine pen can have above 90.
- Add a few peculiar criteria: "Nib appearance", "Usability in shirt pockets", and "Out-of-the-boxness", meaning to what extent a nib was perfect right after leaving the seller. Also, don't care about the box.
NOTE: I've introduced a change in this review. Previously I used to rank each of the ten factors on a 0-10 scale, adding up to 100. However, I've decided that some aspects should be made more important. Here they are, ranked by importance and by number of points they get as a result ("Construction" and "Quality of materials" have been merged into one). There's also a bit of logic as to why some factors are more important than others:
- 1. "Nib performance" gets a max. of 30 points - Why? Is there anything more important than the nib? A pen is a worthless piece of plastic if the nib does not write well.
- 2. "Appearance and design" gets a max. of 20 points - Why? What good is a FP if it's not beautiful? Note: I hate flashy pens, so a LE Montegrappa would probably get a zero
- 3. "Nib appearance" gets a max. of 10 points - Why? A nib is what you'll most likely see when writing with a FP. It has to be beautiful, otherwise you're going to hate your pen.
- 4. "Cost and value" gets a max. of 10 points - Why? Not among the top-three points because after all, we don't collect FPs because of their cost-value ratio, I guess.
- 5. "Construction and materials" gets a max. of 10 points - Why? This is quite important but not as much as, say, in a car rating, for we almost all use pen cases anyway.
- 6. "Out-of-the-boxness" gets a max of 5 points - Why? Since most of us know how to do nib-fixing (and a nib meister is never too far), I've reduced the importance of this factor.
- 7. "Filling system and maintenance" gets a max. of 5 points - Why? Hard to rate as it's subject to individual preferences. I'll keep it among the lower-importance factors.
- 8. "Weight and dimensions" gets a max. of 5 points - Why? For me it's almost ininfluential: I like both small and big pens. So it will be a low-importance factor.
- 9. "Clip and usability with shirts" gets a max. of 5 points - Why? Can be very important for some, but irrelenvant for others.
So, here's the review!
Pilot Custom 74 - Blue with 14k n.5 M nib (pictures here: http://global.rakute...tem/fkk-1000r/)
· Nib performance: 30 out of 30
This pen has a magnificently good nib! It's soft, springy, with a bit of feedback but not too much, with a bit of line variation but not so much that you lose control, it's basically the perfect everyday nib. I'm going to keep this inked forever, always ready on my desk. I'm absolutely amazed.
· Appearance and design: 15 out of 20
Conservative, not very creative, but with a nice combination between the blue of the body and the gold trims. It makes it classy without being banal. Note: this is not the demonstrator version, but the plain blue one you can get from Rakuten.
· Nib appearance: 8 out of 10
This is a small, pretty nib, with some nice scrollwork. The only thing is that it would be nice if it had a rhodium masking in some places to make it bicolor.
· Cost and value: 10 out of 10
Ok here comes the awesome part (well, the other awesome part, after the nib): I paid USD 72 for a 14k gold nibbed pen with a fantastic nib, from a world-class manufacturer. Compare it with the USD 150 you pay for a Lamy 2000 with its dull nib, and you get the idea. This Pilot is awesome value for money!
· Construction and materials: 6 out of 10
Good, although not the best: the plastic has a slightly cheap feeling, but nowhere close to the cheapness of a Platinum pen.
· Out-of-the-boxness: 5 out of 5
This nib's absolute perfection was achieved with no tuning or fixing at all: it was perfect straight OOTB. I didn't even need to flush it!
· Filling system and maintenance: 4 out of 5
It's a cartridge/converter pen, which is not great, but 1. hey, it's a USD 72 pen! And 2. the converter is Pilot's famous con-70, which is by far the best converter in the market. So we definitely cannot complain here
· Weight and dimensions: 3 out of 5
This pen is a little bit too long for many people, but being super-light-weight, this is not likely to be a major issue. The only complain is that the section is perhaps a bit too thin for some people.
· Clip and usability with shirts: 2 out of 5
Pretty bad: the pen is so long that it probably won't fit in many shirt pockets. It's great for jacket inner pockets, though.
Final score: 83 out of 100. This, for a ruthless review like these, is a really high score. Trust me, if you've never tried a Pilot n.5 14k gold nib, you must get one. I've never had such a great experience on a daily writer. This is pure pleasure to write with, a perfect nib in an elegant design, with good quality and very convenient price.