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A Comparative Review - Pilot Custom 823, Justus 95, And Falcon

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#1 ByronZ

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 07:40

I recently posted two topics requesting suggestion for a new pen and I finally decided to get a Pilot Justus 95, with a F nib. I promised to do a comparative review after I get my hands on the Justus, and here it is. Here are the links to those two reviews just incase if you want to see all the great suggestions I received:
    1. http://www.fountainp...n/#entry4189695
    2. http://www.fountainp...3/#entry4195283
 
Here are some pictures of my Justus 95 (F), currently inked with Monteverde Jade Nori:
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First, let me talk about the appearance of this pen. I like the design. The black body and the gold clips/rings of this pen is a perfectly classic design that I enjoy very much. I enjoy classic style and I don't like any thing with a big brand logo on it. When it comes to the nib, I enjoy its clean and sharp design. In short, i

t is elegantly understated.

As mention in my other topics, a very big reason that I don't want to commit to a Montblanc is because of that white star. Since I am a college student, I will not feel comfortable taking it out to take notes with.
 
Next, let me talk about the writing experience. I was specifically looking for fine nib that can be used as a daily driver and this nib certainly fulfills my recrements.
1. The hardness can be adjusted for a different writing experience. I find the hardness adjusting nob very interesting to use. I agree that you will get approximately the same line variation no matter you set the pen all the way to hard or soft. However, you will also need different amount of pressure to flex the nib - it requires much less pressure to flex when set to soft, and the hard setting is really helpful when you don't want to have too much line variation in the writing. Also, the ink flow is directly proportional to the hardness setting - soft setting gives a much wetter nib and the hard setting restrict the ink flow. Both of the extreme points of the settings gives very pleasant writing experience and it allows me to switch "the feel" after a long writing session so that I can always find it interesting to write with.
2. If you are concerned that this is too soft a nib and it is hard to control therefore not good for daily (fast) notes taking - please don't. It is not meant to be a flex pen. It is really just giving you a very springy writing experience - more springy than a Pilot Custom 823 (M) but definitely much easier to control when compered to a Pilot Falcon (SEF). Yes, if you slow down (Iroshizuku ink makes it much less prone to railroading), then you can get some decent line variation to make things looks fun once in a while. Please remember though, this is NOT a FLEX pen. In my opinion, its is a fantastic BOUNCY academic (science oriented) notes writer/daily driver.
3. Smoothness. It is not as smooth as the Custom 823 (M) but much smoother than the Falcon (SEF). It has a very slight feed back that I enjoy very much. This also makes it not having any hard-starting issue.
4. Thanks to the Con-70 converter, the ink capacity of this pen is great! I always have enough ink in it, and I do not have worry about running out in the middle of my writing session. I had problem with the Falcon, when falcon was my only gold nib pen, I had to carry additional Con-40 (not 50) converter filled with ink(sealed with a little cap I made out of a used Muji roller ball refill).
5. Love the size and weight!! It is a perfect fit in my hand, so is the Custom 823.
 
Now I want to show you my current daily carries with some beautiful pictures of them:
 
1. Pilot Custom 823 (M)
 
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2. Pilot Falcon (SEF)
 
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3. Lamy Al-Star (EF)
 

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4. Finally, some comparative pictures:
 
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5. Writing samples (sorry that the color of the ink is inaccurate since my scanner is my iPhone)
 
I will include generic writing samples and things I writes a lot. These pictures will explain to you why I enjoy finer nibs.
 
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REMARK ON PILOT FALCON: It is a fun pen to use but I will not recommend using it as a daily driver for science oriented writing. It is too flexible that I always get distracted from the things I am trying to learn. I had to put a lot of attention on controlling the nib.
 
You might noticed that I did not talk about the Lamy steel nib. I also go two Pilot Kakuno pens (F & M). They are both great pens but . I find the Kakuno M nib to be as thick as the Lamy EF by much wetter than it. The Lamy is smoother than both Kakuno, though I enjoy the pencil-like feed back of Kakuno very much. I believe they are all great entry level pens. 
 
I have to say, though, that I enjoy a 14k gold nib much more than any the steel nibs I have (I also had a lot other steel nib pens throughout my academic career). This is probably because that I started with fountain pen very early (elementary school) but never had my own gold nib pen until college. I am just kinda tired of the steel nibs. This is what holds me back from the Italian pens that are in the same price range as the Japanese pens. Please PROVE to me if you think I am worrying too much. I am also not sure about the how quality of the pens differ between a Japanese pen and an Italian pen in the same price range. I do care about the design (appearance) of the pen. But as I said in the beginning, I actually love the classical understated design! Therefore the design of Italian pens will not be an excuse that can let me ignore how they differ in writing. For me, WRITING EXPERIENCE OVERRIDES EVERYTHING.
 
Now, I am officially looking for suggestions for my future pen. Should I try Sailor? should I go with Custom 742/72 for more varieties in nibs and cheaper in price? or should I go for an Italian pen? Which pen do you think will fulfill my needs the best?
 
Please let me know if you have any question! I would love to answer them.
 
Thank you all!

Edited by ByronZ, 26 April 2019 - 07:55.


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#2 Honeybadgers

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 08:08

I love my justus 95 particularly because I can switch it between soft for writing notes and hard for writing chemical formulas.

 

Maybe check out a pelikan M20x in EF. It's a steel nib, but it's about as soft as the justus 95 in soft mode. quite bouncy. Just avoid the demonstrator. If anything can teach you that steel can keep up with gold, it can. Also check out the lamy 2000 EF.

 

If you like firm, scritchy japanese nibs, sailor's 1911 standard / pro gear slim is a somewhat small but very satisfying pen. very pencil like in feel, though I do not enjoy their M nib, I'd go with an f or a Zoom if you want something silly.

 

the 3776 UEF is a great pen for scientific writing.

 

You can get an FA nib in an 823 if you buy from tokyo pen quill shop. The FA nib is dramatically softer than the Falcon.


Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)


#3 SenZen

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 14:21

Thank you, very informative. I'd love to see someone come up with a mechanism similar to the Justus, not to adjust the bounciness but ink flow.


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#4 Honeybadgers

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 15:41

Thank you, very informative. I'd love to see someone come up with a mechanism similar to the Justus, not to adjust the bounciness but ink flow.

 

You can sort of already do this with a vac filler or japanese eyedropper.


Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)


#5 ByronZ

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 18:26

I love my justus 95 particularly because I can switch it between soft for writing notes and hard for writing chemical formulas.
 
Maybe check out a pelikan M20x in EF. It's a steel nib, but it's about as soft as the justus 95 in soft mode. quite bouncy. Just avoid the demonstrator. If anything can teach you that steel can keep up with gold, it can. Also check out the lamy 2000 EF.
 
If you like firm, scritchy japanese nibs, sailor's 1911 standard / pro gear slim is a somewhat small but very satisfying pen. very pencil like in feel, though I do not enjoy their M nib, I'd go with an f or a Zoom if you want something silly.
 
the 3776 UEF is a great pen for scientific writing.
 
You can get an FA nib in an 823 if you buy from tokyo pen quill shop. The FA nib is dramatically softer than the Falcon.


Thx for the suggestion!! How much difference is the 823 FA when compared to 742 or 743? Also, I wonder how stiff the 21k Sailor nib is. Is it as stiff as a pilot steel nib on a Kaküno/metropolitan?

#6 A Smug Dill

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Posted 28 April 2019 - 06:06



Also, I wonder how stiff the 21k Sailor nib is. Is it as stiff as a pilot steel nib on a Kaküno/metropolitan?

 

 

In my experience, no; the Sailor 21K H-F nibs are relatively soft compared to Pilot's steel F nibs in the MR (of which the MR Metropolitan is just one of three 'sub-' lines), 78G and Prera lines.

 

By the way, I really like your writing samples — including the Chinese poem, even though I don't write in simplified Chinese myself — because they show both a broad range of how/what your write, and to a broad audience who may write in a variety of styles, hands and languages. (On the basis of those samples, though, I'll never entertain the thought of buying a Pilot 823 with #15 M nib, because the line width just turns my stomach.)


Let's give each other due respect, and approach discussion rigorously. I believe we're all peers and equals here as fellow hobbyists, with common interests in the acquisition and use of fountain pens, but no shared values and no obligation to offer each other moral support for one's narrative.

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Don't think 'cos I'm talking', we're friends

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#7 Honeybadgers

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Posted 28 April 2019 - 08:11

Thx for the suggestion!! How much difference is the 823 FA when compared to 742 or 743? Also, I wonder how stiff the 21k Sailor nib is. Is it as stiff as a pilot steel nib on a Kaküno/metropolitan?

 

I'd say the sailor is nearly as stiff as the metro's steel nib. the bigger the sailor nib, the softer it'll be. the KOP being quite a bit softer than the 1911S with either the 14k or 21k (I can't tell a difference between the two in the 1911S) and the 1911 large is quite firm but not rock hard.

 

the 743 and 823 use the exact same #15 nib and feed. The ebonite feeds from flexible nib factory are made for the 743 but are also a factory fit into the 823. So the 743 FA and 823 FA are identical. Pilot only licenses the 823 with the FA and WA nib to one seller, but the overall cost, shipped to me in the US, was only a few dollars more than the MSRP of a US retailer with the F/M/B, and you do retain the warranty with the FA nib since it was purchased from the retailer that is authorized to purchase them that way. You usually have to wait 1-4 weeks since they're special order.

 

I think the 823 FA with a 2 channel ebonite feed from flexible nib factory (I have the three as well and it's ludicrously wet, not useful for everyday use) is in my top five. the feed really transforms it into a nice juicy flex writer. The #15 FA nib is quite a bit bigger and softer than the #10 FA nib in the 742. It's a very soft, like a vintage "full flex" (softer/wider than semiflex but not a wet noodle) and the nibs are quite a bit softer than the justus 95 on soft or the Falcon. The tipping itself is a pilot F. Not the best for writing chemical and mathematical formulas (I had to be careful what ink I used in that situation as drier inks would be prone to hard starts when used for math/chemistry) but as a modern flex pen, it's pretty peerless once you give it the ebonite feed (which is about $15) and the 823's body/filling system is just perfect. 

 

Still, the justus 95 is one of my most used pens because of that adjustment bar. Nice and soft when I'm taking notes, and firm and precise when I'm writing chemical formulas.

 

If you like adjustable nibs, look into a wahl doric with an adjustable nib. They tend to be a it pricey but their adjustable nibs are INSANE. I have one that i'm going to send off for restoration soon (some are lever fill, some are vacuum fill, and they come in sizes from demi to ENORMOUS) and I got the chance to use one that had a stub that went from a nail 1.0mm to a hyperflexible wet noodle 3-4mm just by adjusting the slider.


Edited by Honeybadgers, 28 April 2019 - 08:13.

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)


#8 ByronZ

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Posted 28 April 2019 - 17:41

I'd say the sailor is nearly as stiff as the metro's steel nib. the bigger the sailor nib, the softer it'll be. the KOP being quite a bit softer than the 1911S with either the 14k or 21k (I can't tell a difference between the two in the 1911S) and the 1911 large is quite firm but not rock hard.
 
the 743 and 823 use the exact same #15 nib and feed. The ebonite feeds from flexible nib factory are made for the 743 but are also a factory fit into the 823. So the 743 FA and 823 FA are identical. Pilot only licenses the 823 with the FA and WA nib to one seller, but the overall cost, shipped to me in the US, was only a few dollars more than the MSRP of a US retailer with the F/M/B, and you do retain the warranty with the FA nib since it was purchased from the retailer that is authorized to purchase them that way. You usually have to wait 1-4 weeks since they're special order.
 
I think the 823 FA with a 2 channel ebonite feed from flexible nib factory (I have the three as well and it's ludicrously wet, not useful for everyday use) is in my top five. the feed really transforms it into a nice juicy flex writer. The #15 FA nib is quite a bit bigger and softer than the #10 FA nib in the 742. It's a very soft, like a vintage "full flex" (softer/wider than semiflex but not a wet noodle) and the nibs are quite a bit softer than the justus 95 on soft or the Falcon. The tipping itself is a pilot F. Not the best for writing chemical and mathematical formulas (I had to be careful what ink I used in that situation as drier inks would be prone to hard starts when used for math/chemistry) but as a modern flex pen, it's pretty peerless once you give it the ebonite feed (which is about $15) and the 823's body/filling system is just perfect. 
 
Still, the justus 95 is one of my most used pens because of that adjustment bar. Nice and soft when I'm taking notes, and firm and precise when I'm writing chemical formulas.
 
If you like adjustable nibs, look into a wahl doric with an adjustable nib. They tend to be a it pricey but their adjustable nibs are INSANE. I have one that i'm going to send off for restoration soon (some are lever fill, some are vacuum fill, and they come in sizes from demi to ENORMOUS) and I got the chance to use one that had a stub that went from a nail 1.0mm to a hyperflexible wet noodle 3-4mm just by adjusting the slider.


Thank you again for the detailed reply!! I just did a quick research about Wahl Doric. I also found some new old stock from 1950s of Eversharp Symphony No.917 and No.713. What do you thing about those? Are the good flex? How are they differ from Pilots FA nib?

Edited by ByronZ, 28 April 2019 - 17:45.


#9 Honeybadgers

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Posted 29 April 2019 - 04:11

I don't know anything about the symphony, but if it has the adjustable nib, it'll be broadly the same. The nibs tend to go from either full flex or absolute monster wet noodle to perfect nail, whereas the justus goes from a firm fine to a little softer than a soft fine. I'd say the firmest doric I've tried was a little softer/wider than a FA at full throttle and down to a nail with the slider all the way up.

 

They're insane nibs. It's part of why they command such a huge price.

 

 

I wouldn't recommend the vac filler dorics because they're kind of specialty items to restore. Stick with a lever filler.


Edited by Honeybadgers, 29 April 2019 - 04:12.

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)






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