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Pilot Justus 95 (M)


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#41 A Smug Dill

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Posted 24 December 2019 - 03:22

With the staggering number of top-quality pens that you already own, I somewhat doubt that the Justus will really add something.

I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it!

 
I finally got around to doing some initial testing with my new Pilot Justus 95 with barleycorn guilloche on the black resin barrel, rhodium trim and rhodinated F nib.
 
I wasn't actually expecting it to be significantly longer than the Pilot Custom Heritage 912 — although I could have known that if I bothered to read the pens' specifications and compared them — but thankfully its barrel and section diameters are more or less the same as on the CH912. Even the barrels are the same length; it's the gripping section that's longer on the Justus 95 that is much longer, and consequently its cap is also longer to accommodate that. A plain black resin pen body with flat ends would have been utterly boring to me, and only "this much" better than a plain black cigar-shaped pen body, but the very subtle barleycorn guilloche redeems it, even though it's nothing like the pattern in texture and depth of the guilloche on the Aurora 88 Black Mamba (which I've concluded, after two foiled attempts to get it, that it isn't mine to have). As with larger ink capacity, "wetter" ink flow, and more "flex" in a nib, wider girth does not automatically mean a pen is superior or more pleasing to me; but I'm glad the size of the Justus 95 has not made it a distraction or annoyance to use for writing. I haven't tried suspending the CH912 and the Justus 95 by a rubber band to find their respective centres of gravity, but if anything, the longer gripping section housing the "extra" softness-adjustment mechanism probably shifts the weight balance forward towards the nib compared to the CH912, and that's a good thing.
 
In terms of the product's execution delivering what is promised by "what it says on the tin", and fulfilling what I imagine must have been the pen's design brief, I'd say it has done so astoundingly well.  :thumbup:
 
fpn_1577155020__pilot_justus_first-look_
 
There is some minor differences in how broad a line the user can get with different settings of the softness dial, but I'd say anyone who acquires this pen with more control (or a wider range) of "flex" — as if that was synonymous with line width — in mind would be utterly misguided, and through no fault of Pilot at that. What the softness control affects is the amount of pressure it takes to get the maximum "safe" spread of the tines achievable with this nib. It's almost the perfect pen for writing flair, if the range of line widths at the maximum-hardness setting on this pen already satisfies the particular user; the dial will allow that user to change how controlled or, on the flip side, how flamboyant his/her writing with the usual handwriting technique and amount of applied pressure will look on the page, and alternatively, how much effort it takes to achieve a particular "flair" or look. There are days when I feel more energetic and purposeful, and others on which I would be less so; the softness control can be used to "make it up" for me, when I don't feel like using as much force and concentration, so that my "personal" writing does not come out looking flat on those less energetic days.
 
The nib is very responsive to changes in the pressure applied, in the sense of rapid "snap-back", even at the maximum-softness setting. None of this "wet noodle" garbage that stops the tails of minuscule 'g' and 'y' in English, as well as the , wān, piě, and gōu strokes in Chinese kǎishū, from ending with crisp, sharp points that make the proper aesthetic.
 
The other thing that the dial does, as @TheDutchGuy has pointed out earlier, is noticeably change the apparently wetness of the pen. This would be very useful, either to accommodate different inks of which the user likes the colour but not the flow characteristics, or for ink reviews. If I was still of a mind to do detailed ink reviews, the Pilot Justus 95 would be a marvellous writing instrument with which to demonstrate how the ink would appear coming out of pens of different levels of "wetness" — not that I think the Justus 95 deserves to be relegated to fulfilling only a primary role of test equipment.

Before I received my pen, I was a little apprehensive that EF wasn't a nib width option on offer; but the F nib has proven to be quite fine enough for my purposes. More importantly, irrespective of the softness setting it can deliver almost equally fine lines (when little or no pressure is applied); the difference is in the "wetness" of the lines. While that isn't nearly enough to make it a "grail pen" for me, I've long been yearning for a pen that will deliver crisp and narrow enough lines (at least to be worthy of a EF or F nib width grade) but "wetly". This pen will certainly do it, if any pen can, at the maximum-softness setting; but if an ink proves too "wet" for a particular application or a particular type of paper being used, that dial may just be the trick to make that ink usable on that paper.
 
Is the Pilot Justus 95 worth the price I paid for it? I certainly feel that way. Was it worth the wait? Given that the long wait should've been entirely avoidable, I don't think that's a reasonable question; but I'm glad I didn't cancel the order out of impatience. (One of the other factors is that Japanese sellers seem not be able to offer the models with the barleycorn guilloche pattern, but only ones with the length-wise parallel lines, which is a style I don't particularly like.)

 
With other readers in mind, I have marked out these points of difference from the O.P.'s pen that is reviewed.


As always:  1. Implicit in everything and every instance I write on FPN is the invitation for you to judge me as a peer in the community. I think it's only due respect to take each other's written word in online discussion seriously and apply critical judgment.  2. I do not presume to judge for you what is right, correct or valid. If I make a claim, or refute a statement in a thread, and link to references and other information in support, I beseech you to review and consider those, and judge for yourself. I may be wrong. My position or say-so carries no more weight than anyone else's here, and external parties can speak for themselves with what they have published.  3. I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable. If it is something you can test for yourself and see the results, I entreat you to do so.

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#42 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 24 December 2019 - 07:58

Impressive writing samples, Dill, as always. If I could do that, I’d frame it and hang it over the fireplace (well, if I had a fireplace). How feedbacky is the nib on your Justus? As mentioned, mine was rough. Smoothing it was an experience... this is not an easy nib to work on, and risky... it turned out great but I’ve had my share of ‘phew...’ moments while working on it.



#43 A Smug Dill

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Posted 24 December 2019 - 09:08

Thank you for your kind words, @TheDutchGuy, and of course for your review of the pen that "enabled" me to spend money on a Pilot Justus 95! :)

The nib on my pen is remarkably smooth, for something with which I can put down 14 parallel horizontal lines in a 5mm square area. It's less feedbacky than Sailor and Platinum F nibs, but still allows me to sense what I'm doing on the page and respond kinaethestically. It's simply marvellous! I wouldn't dream of "working" on this nib at all, even though I have few qualms about reshaping the nib on my (rather more expensive) Pelikan 815 Metal-Striped pen myself.

Edited by A Smug Dill, 24 December 2019 - 15:32.

As always:  1. Implicit in everything and every instance I write on FPN is the invitation for you to judge me as a peer in the community. I think it's only due respect to take each other's written word in online discussion seriously and apply critical judgment.  2. I do not presume to judge for you what is right, correct or valid. If I make a claim, or refute a statement in a thread, and link to references and other information in support, I beseech you to review and consider those, and judge for yourself. I may be wrong. My position or say-so carries no more weight than anyone else's here, and external parties can speak for themselves with what they have published.  3. I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable. If it is something you can test for yourself and see the results, I entreat you to do so.

#44 Honeybadgers

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Posted 24 December 2019 - 11:49

@Honeybadgers, thank you for the heads-up all the same, even though it never crossed my mind to replace the feed on the Pilot Justus — or any of my brand-name Japanese, Italian or German fountain pens — with third-party, after-market components.

 

Oh, I thought you were into them since you've referred to the FNF feeds for FA nibs a few times.

 

Oh well, can't be done anyways  :P

 

My justus F is crazy smooth as well, for how fine it is. not a hint of tooth or scratch, only that pleasant, responsive "drag" of nib on paper.

 

I think I paid $100 for mine, including doing a little tune-up on a couple pens for a gentleman. I'd say it's an absolute screaming deal of a pen at anything around $200. Around $300, it's starting to get dangerously close to a few other pens that I might consider superior.


Edited by Honeybadgers, 24 December 2019 - 11:52.

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


#45 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 24 December 2019 - 15:21

 

I'd say it's an absolute screaming deal of a pen at anything around $200. Around $300, it's starting to get dangerously close to a few other pens that I might consider superior.

 

 

As far as modern pens go, i.e. pens that you can buy brand new right now, personally I can think of a few that are somewhat equivalent but none that are superior. Regardless of price. Yes, my Homo Sapiens is a unique pen because of beauty and the materials involved, but purely as a writer, it doesn’t surpass my Justus. None of my modern pens do (not that I have a huge collection). Now vintage pens, that’s another matter. For example, I received a wonderfully restored 1947 Parker Vacumatic Jr with needlepoint flex nib this week and that’s one of the best pens I’ve ever had the pleasure to use. Materials, construction, design, nib, flow, feel, size, weight... my hands and my eyes tell me that this pen is close to perfection. Other contenders would be my old Boston pens with needlepoint semi-flex nibs, such as these or some of these. But I ramble ;-) . No other modern pen offers what the Justus has to offer, at least not in its price range and as far as I know.


Edited by TheDutchGuy, 24 December 2019 - 15:25.


#46 Honeybadgers

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Posted 25 December 2019 - 08:24

 

 

As far as modern pens go, i.e. pens that you can buy brand new right now, personally I can think of a few that are somewhat equivalent but none that are superior. Regardless of price. Yes, my Homo Sapiens is a unique pen because of beauty and the materials involved, but purely as a writer, it doesn’t surpass my Justus. None of my modern pens do (not that I have a huge collection). Now vintage pens, that’s another matter. For example, I received a wonderfully restored 1947 Parker Vacumatic Jr with needlepoint flex nib this week and that’s one of the best pens I’ve ever had the pleasure to use. Materials, construction, design, nib, flow, feel, size, weight... my hands and my eyes tell me that this pen is close to perfection. Other contenders would be my old Boston pens with needlepoint semi-flex nibs, such as these or some of these. But I ramble ;-) . No other modern pen offers what the Justus has to offer, at least not in its price range and as far as I know.

 

around $300-500, you can get your hands on a less desirable color/model of the wahl doric with the 14 way adjustable nib.

 

I have one of those, and good sweet meaty jesus is that the holy grail of pen nibs. I love my justus, no question, but my doric does rather make it look like amateur hour. from nail hard to wet noodle and everything in between.

 

The only thing that makes me go "ehhhhhh" at the MSRP of the justus is the other flagship, the 823. With an FA nib and self filler (which is a plus or minus for some people, definitely a plus for me) it's more of a true flex nib option.

 

I do like the versatility of the justus. I can make it soft for taking notes and hard for writing chemical/mathematical formulas.

 

I think I'd rate it even higher if Joey would make an ebonite feed for it. I'd probably not be as highly disposed towards the 823 if I wasn't able to fit mine with an ebonite feed.


Edited by Honeybadgers, 25 December 2019 - 08:27.

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


#47 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 25 December 2019 - 12:59

 

I have one of those, and good sweet meaty jesus is that the holy grail of pen nibs. I love my justus, no question, but my doric does rather make it look like amateur hour. from nail hard to wet noodle and everything in between.

 

I’ve never had the pleasure of trying one, but I’m sure you’re right. But that’s a vintage pen, right? As I said, there are some vintage pens that surpass the Justus as an instrument of writing. But I’m not aware of new pens that do so.

 

fpn_1577278505__76348dec-a117-447a-89b1-

 

^—This little pen is my personal revelation, perhaps like the Wahl is to you. And yes, as a writer it surpassed the Justus. It’s perfect for long sessions of cursive writing (with barely any flex), or book-style writing (where it gives a bit on downstrokes) to really deploying the flex capabilities of the nib. Not that my handwriting deserves a pen of this quality...

 

(PS I’m sooooo glad that I resisted to buy the new MB 149 flex... saved me about 850 dollars...)


Edited by TheDutchGuy, 25 December 2019 - 13:00.


#48 RaviG

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Posted 26 December 2019 - 08:48

I wanted to buy this pen but the feedback issue was a deal breaker.



#49 A Smug Dill

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Posted 26 December 2019 - 09:00

I wanted to buy this pen but the feedback issue was a deal breaker.

 

 

Try one for yourself before deciding, even if it's difficult and/or cost you money to travel to a bricks-and-mortar store with one you'll be allowed to handle and/or test by the staff there. The F nib on my Pilot Justus 95 definitely offers less feedback than the EF and F nibs on my Sailor and Platinum pens, but not completely devoid of feedback to make the pen a piece of unusable rubbish.


As always:  1. Implicit in everything and every instance I write on FPN is the invitation for you to judge me as a peer in the community. I think it's only due respect to take each other's written word in online discussion seriously and apply critical judgment.  2. I do not presume to judge for you what is right, correct or valid. If I make a claim, or refute a statement in a thread, and link to references and other information in support, I beseech you to review and consider those, and judge for yourself. I may be wrong. My position or say-so carries no more weight than anyone else's here, and external parties can speak for themselves with what they have published.  3. I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable. If it is something you can test for yourself and see the results, I entreat you to do so.

#50 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 05 March 2020 - 17:06

fpn_1583427058__9c886332-0d5c-4112-b1e6-

 

It was bound to happen. Appelboom now carries Pilot, so I spent a pleasant afternoon in the shop trying out a C74, a CH92 and a Justus 95, all with F nibs. My Justus has a M nib and that pen writes more like a Western M than a Japanese M. In the H setting I can still get reasonably thin lines, so that’s the setting that I mostly use. Sometimes I write letters using cursive, and for that I use the S setting. But I was itching to try an F because over time my tastes have shifted towards thinner lines. Long story short: although the C74 F and the CH92 struck me as good pens, the class difference with the Justus 95 F was very obvious. On a side note, good though they are, I do not think that the C74 and the CH92 stand up to Sailor’s Pro Gear Slim and 1911 Standard (yes, I did direct A/B comparisons). In that price range I really feel that Sailor rules supreme. The Justus is a different matter and the F was everything that I’d hoped it would be. The difference in line width compared to my older M is huge.

 

Some comparisons:

fpn_1583427687__da93b613-d8eb-4f4b-8fca-

 

The line width of my Justus F is slightly wider than that of my beloved Sailor Pro Gear Slim F and comparable to that of my equally beloved Pro Gear Slim MF. But the Justus has a soft, bouncy, adjustable nib, can be used unposted and generally feels like a more high-end pen (which it is). Also the Justus is slightly more “forgiving” than the Sailors, i.e. it is less difficult to write neatly.

 

I fell in love with the F, was offered a very good price, and bought it. With just these two pens in my shirt pocket I can handle anything, either at work or at home. Awesome stuff.



#51 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 06 March 2020 - 07:47

The nib on my pen is remarkably smooth, for something with which I can put down 14 parallel horizontal lines in a 5mm square area. It's less feedbacky than Sailor and Platinum F nibs, but still allows me to sense what I'm doing on the page and respond kinaethestically. It's simply marvellous! I wouldn't dream of "working" on this nib at all, even though I have few qualms about reshaping the nib on my (rather more expensive) Pelikan 815 Metal-Striped pen myself.

 

 

The F nib on my new rhodium-trim Justus is very, very smooth as well. But as you say, there is still enough tactile response to facilitate good coordination. This outstanding nib is a far cry from the M nib on my older, gold-trim Justus. That nib was rough when I bought the pen. I could feel it and I could hear it. It was grating. But I sensed its potential, the price was good and I figured that I could tune the nib to my liking. And indeed I could, but that was the most difficult nib that I’ve ever smoothed. It turned out beyond my expectations but it was an ordeal.

 

Regarding Pilot feedback vs Sailor feedback: in general, i.e. across their respective product lines, I personally prefer Sailor’s pencil-like feedback over Pilot’s drag-like feedback...

 

...I’ve owned a C823 and disliked the nib; I could not get used to the feel and response of the nib, which struck me as rather primitive and unpleasant.

 

...I’ve thoroughly tried many different Pilots with various nib sizes: C823’s, C745’s, C74’s, CH92’s, Justus, Falcon, VP. Basically I dislike the nibs of any model that starts with a “C”, for the same reasons that I disliked by C823’s nib.

 

...The Justus, the Falcon and the VP are my favourite Pilot pens. I’ve tried many and liked most. If I didn’t already have a very nice Lamy Dialog 3, then I’d buy a VP. If I didn’t already have a magnificent vintage pen with flex nib, then I’d buy a Falcon.

 

It’s kind of funny that in general I prefer Sailor in every aspect of the game (nibs, feel, response, QA, inks, price/performance, etc), yet the Justus strikes me as perhaps the best modern fountain pen available today.



#52 A Smug Dill

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Posted 06 March 2020 - 10:50

@TheDutchGuy, I'm very glad you and your new F-nibbed Justus 95 hit it off so well!

 

I think we're quite aligned in our thinking. The Pilot Custom series are the gold-nibbed Japanese fountain pen product line (from the 'Big Three' brands) that I like least; the only one I like and will keep for the long haul is the Custom Kaede, and unfortunately it certainly contributes to my placing Pilot below Sailor and then Platinum in my esteem.

 

The Justus 95 is great, and without being stuck in an unhappy arranged marriage to a boring old glossy black cigar-shaped pen body. I love my Hannya Shingyo (which has a 18K gold #10 F nib that is of the Custom line's design), Elite 95S, Capless (Vanishing Point) pens with raden, wood and matte-finish metal barrels; the Elabo/Falcon is good enough and different enough to be worth mentioning, even though I don't prefer them over the aforementioned Pilot pen models, much less gold-nibbed Sailor models. (I can't say I get along well with the glossy lacquer-finished Capless VP models, though; and all of them have the issue of not being very effective in preventing ink evaporation when their nibs are retracted.)


As always:  1. Implicit in everything and every instance I write on FPN is the invitation for you to judge me as a peer in the community. I think it's only due respect to take each other's written word in online discussion seriously and apply critical judgment.  2. I do not presume to judge for you what is right, correct or valid. If I make a claim, or refute a statement in a thread, and link to references and other information in support, I beseech you to review and consider those, and judge for yourself. I may be wrong. My position or say-so carries no more weight than anyone else's here, and external parties can speak for themselves with what they have published.  3. I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable. If it is something you can test for yourself and see the results, I entreat you to do so.

#53 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 06 March 2020 - 17:09

@TheDutchGuy, I'm very glad you and your new F-nibbed Justus 95 hit it off so well!

 

Thank you!

 

Iroshizuku shin-kai is the pen’s first ink. On the one hand I love the understated beauty of that ink. On the other hand the line width of this pen is so narrow that a more lively colour might look better. Still in doubt on that.



#54 cgreenberg19

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Posted 18 March 2020 - 13:25

Thank you for this review; very helpful. I had to make the difficult decision between the Justus 95 and the Custom 912, then after many hard hours of thinking I bought them both. Which is not bad for me, only for my wallet. I love them pen, but I do wish it came in a broader nib than medium.



#55 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 18 March 2020 - 16:54

Thank you for this review; very helpful. I had to make the difficult decision between the Justus 95 and the Custom 912, then after many hard hours of thinking I bought them both. Which is not bad for me, only for my wallet. I love them pen, but I do wish it came in a broader nib than medium.

 

 

You’re welcome! Hopefully your two new pens will give you many years of writing pleasure!



#56 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 15:39

Update.

 

The F nib on my second (and most recent) Justus became more smooth than it was when I bought it, just from using the pen. It was pretty smooth from the start, but is now almost mirror-smooth. I didn’t tune it, I didn’t do anything to it, I just used it with a featherlight touch, with good ink, on good paper. Anyway, the increased smoothness comes at the expense of some tactile response and control and I’m not sure I like that.








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