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The Pilot Custom 823 has been my grail since long and I finally got one last year as a high school graduation present. Now, this review might seem heavily biased, but I assure you that isn’t the case. This truly is a perfect pen for me and I can find NO faults with it, whatsoever. That being said, hope you like the review. Design and Appearance: The pen has a classical cigar design. It has rounded ends with slight tapers, a few accent bands and a ball ended clip in yellow gold trim. The center band is engraved with ‘CUSTOM 823’ and ‘PILOT MADE IN JAPAN’ each group of text separated by three stars. It is also filled with a black lacquer that sharpens the look a bit. I love that little detail. The clip has PILOT engraved vertically, but no lacquer filling. The resin used here is a translucent black, or smoke as Pilot calls it. It looks classy yet not boring as that slight translucency kind of glows with the shade of the ink filled. Overall, I find it quite nice in terms of looks. Quality and Construction: The pen feels solid. It’s nothing like the Platinum 3776 which feels slightly flimsy, in my opinion. Construction is also quite good. You can see the seams on the section but they are smoothed out so you don’t really feel them. The threaded cap is liquid smooth. The blind cap for the vacuum filling knob unscrews with some roughness but I don’t really notice it at all since I keep the knob unscrewed always. The one caveat about the 823 is that the material is susceptible to cracks if you were to disassemble and over tighten anything. I’ve made a promise to myself to never disassemble the thing. Filling System: One of the main USPs of the 823 is the vacuum filler. I’m not a huge fan of the system itself, because it is tough to clean, but I LOVE the heft and balance it provides to the pen. Mine works smoothly. It also has a good ink capacity so I like using it for notes. I know it’s not going to run out anytime soon and being with a fine nib, that helps too. One thing about the system is that it seals off the section if screwed all the way in. This helps in things like air travel and avoids any leakage. But what it also does is limit supply to the feed so once you’re out of all the ink already stored in the feed, you’ll have to unscrew the blind cap and saturate it once more. It might be troublesome to unscrew it each time you write, so I just keep it unscrewed all the time. I’ve taken this pen on the flight with half a barrel of ink and there was no leakage whatsoever Comfort and Writing: The pen fits my hand like a glove. The balance is perfect. The section has a gentle curve that allows a nice grip and the threads on the barrel are smooth enough to not bother my grip. As I mentioned earlier, the vacuum filling rod really helps with the heft and balance of the pen. As for writing, Pilot has nailed this 14k fine nib. It is unbelievably smooth for how fine it is. The grind is also slightly unusual in that I sense a slight architect character in it if I were to lower my writing angle a bit. The nib itself does have a very slight bounce to it. The paired blue-grey feed has no ink starvation problems and I think it looks pretty good too. I have it inked with Waterman Mysterious Blue but the sample is written with Krishna Paakezah. I do prefer using slightly wetter inks in it, they feel so much nicer to write with. Final Thoughts: I got this pen used, but it was only inked once and then stored. It still had the stickers and all. For the price I paid, I don’t know if there’s any other pen delivering this much value. Yes, the 823 doesn’t have an award-winning design. Yes, the 823 does not have fancy Italian resins or celluloids, neither does it have the elegance of a German pen. But what it does have is a fantastic writing experience coupled with a perfect balance (at least for me). It is a pen that just works.