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  1. PILOT x SOMÈS Pen porch Review These photos were taken with my mobile phone in order to save time and make blog-writing easier. Hope the downgraded image quality won't spoil my identity as a professional photographer as well as digital image specialist. I always carry a few pens with me so I have the need to find some good pen porches for them. The pen porch shown in my previous Pelikan M800 Review (Here) caught some friend's attention and asked me about it, so I decided to write this review. This Porch is a "PILOT x SOMÈS" 3-slot pen porch, it's producd by SOMÈS SADDLE for Pilot, SOMÈS is the only and renown maker of leather horse saddles in Japan. http://www.somes.co.jp/ Telling from the exterior, this is an eye-catching, high quality leather article. The hardened leather seems almost bullet-proof, very promising in offering the best protection to our beloved pens, l was sold.It is a good leather article, but it may not be the best all-rounded pen porch. Well, the material, craftsmanship and the eye-catching factor all worth the price, but my little problem with it mainly lies in the design department. The porch has minimal branding, just a stamp at the back. The stitching is very nice, the light brown hard leather looks cool, feels very nice to the touch and sets this one apart from the majority of pen porches that are made of soft leather, but this hard leather may not be the best material for fountain pen porch - it is very absorbent to water, that means it can be easily stained by fountain pen ink. Perhaps the black version is more stain-resistant. Here comes another little problem with the use of hard leather, the cover always bounce back to its closed position(to take this photo, I spent some effort to make it stay open...for merely 1 or 2 seconds). No big deal but if the cover can stay open or be flipped backwards when the pen porch is set on a desk, it'll be more convenient to switch between pens. This pen porch is not a very large/long one. The pen in the left is a Pilot Custom 74, while that in the middle is a Pilot Custom 743. This is a PILOT pen porch but IMO is a bit too short for her own 742/743/823/845 or the Namiki pens, especially if you put these pens in the side slots - which are narrower and shorter because the bottoms are round. If you put a long pen in the side slots, a large portion of its cap will look quite exposed to air and not feel like being very well-protected. I feel much more comfortable to put the shorter Platinum 3776 or Sailor 1911s in the shorter side slots, rather than a Pilot pen. The official photo of the pen porch was taken with some Custom74s clipping to the leather and stay put, however, in reality the leather is too thick for most (including the C74) pens to clip practically, pens with spring-loaded clips can clip easier but they look weird with the clips springing very wide, and the added thickness of the clips makes inserting the porch cover into the belt a lot more difficult. The clips will easily leave permanent marks to the leather too. I'd rather let the pen clips stay inside the slots. While the exterior of this pen porch looks almost bullet proof, the internal partitions are way too short, they extent not more than half-way down the porch. As the leather is too thick for a pen to clip on it and stay put, there's a very high chance for many pens(depending on shape and girth) to wobble and hit/press on each other at both ends, one of my wooden pens had actually been damaged this way, there is a dent on its cap, very likely caused by the clip of the pen next to it. It's better to select short, girthy, rod shape penes which fit the slots perfectly to minimize wobble. I would never put metal pens together with plastic (or precious resin XD) pens in this pen porch. VerdictThis pen porch is very eye-catching and very nice to the touch, the hardened leather seems to offer very good protection from external factors, but pens hitting each other within the porch can potentially cause damage, this is. disappointing especially as it is the most expensive pen porch Pilot offers, in which the price is more expensive than a lot of other luxury brands. It's still a good pen porch but you need to pay serious attention to select the suitable pens for it. I feel that the big problem can easily be solved if the overall length of the casing be extend by just 5mm, and the length of the internal partitions be increase to at least 3/4 of the entire internal length of the porch, this will then be a great pen porch for a lot of pens.
  2. This one is my all time favourite pen and one of my first fountain pens with a gold nib. The Custom 74 (C74) was released as in 1992, sporting a Pilot#5 14k nib. I was planning to review it for a long long time but thanks to all the other pens, it never got the attention it truly deserves. Here is a link of the review on my blog: The Pilot Custom 74 Review The C74 was launched 74 years after the company’s inception (i.e. 1918), and as usual it does carry the first two digits of the model number as ‘74’ and the third digit is by default ‘1’ usually refers price at launch of the pen (i.e 1 X JPY 10,000). The demonstrators were released much later with the coloured ones specifically meant for the US market. I have always felt that the C74 along with the Custom Heritage 92 are the best starter premium pens. The C74 (for the Asian market) comes packaged in a standard pilot gift box (Z-CR-GN) which is more of a protection than presentation and the pen also reverberates with this understatement. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-CdTw8q1vIis/VdllHrQATMI/AAAAAAAAFLo/76Vr7h-W_nY/s1600/DSC_5391.jpg DESIGN - THE CLASSICAL CIGAR (5/6) The C74 comes in four standard designs of glossy resin - Black, Deep Green, Deep Red (or bordeaux), and Deep Blue, all in gold plated trims. The resin material feels strong though not heavy. There are also the clear and coloured demonstrators (blue, orange, violet and smoke) with silver trims and smoky finials, available at higher price points. I would personally prefer a piston-filling CH92 when it comes to demos. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-7owyZpWqHFA/Vdlkli2RgeI/AAAAAAAAFLQ/j7xt6YQDpcU/s1600/3custom74.jpg The cylindrical cigar starts with rounded off finial and a gold plated clip/ring syncing nicely with concentric cap bands before concluding with a golden dazzle at the end of the barrel. The glossy red resin shines moderately under light, preserving its business like look. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-dfpSmKIV_ck/VdllGuZxL_I/AAAAAAAAFLg/c_8AAGUCiS0/s1600/DSC_5399.jpg The cap is light and unscrews with little less than two turns, revealing a dazzling golden nib. The grip section is moulded from the same resin and a golden ring announces the beginning. But as usual the nib dazzles out from the rest of the pen. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-dIFZH-SAprQ/VdllgLOHF8I/AAAAAAAAFMI/N4w8M93o3Wo/s1600/DSC_5413.jpg The two injection-moulding threads are somewhat visible at the threads of the barrel and grip. I would have preferred polishing them off, through there is little room for argument at this price point. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-2DxF8tHZqyE/VdllVrd8KzI/AAAAAAAAFL4/IFuABBIT-To/s1600/DSC_5502.jpg The cap with a rounded off finial preserves a classical look. A few things etched across a lower centre band include the model name of CUSTOM 74 and PILOT MADE IN JAPAN, separated by a Star. An concentric narrow band above renders some differential aesthetics. The clip is tension-fit and has the shape of an inverted triangle, ending up with a golden sphere. PILOT is engraved vertically at the top. The design of the clip is reminiscent of Parker Big Red pens of the 70s. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-1IH-E5yK_7g/Vdll5YY5XoI/AAAAAAAAFM4/u3fKyPHkNF8/s1600/cap74.jpg FILLING SYSTEM (6/6) The barrel unscrews from the section with four and a half turns. As you can observe the section has metal threading syncing with the resin threads of the barrel. You can also see one of the feeble lines of injection moulding on the outer threads of the barrel. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-e6XOmkCaIkE/VdllSjI7VII/AAAAAAAAFLw/c1584Mm5kK8/s1600/DSC_5488.jpg The pen takes all pilot converters CON-20 (0.9 mL), CON-50 (0.7 mL) & CON-70 (1 mL) along with pilot proprietary cartridges (0.9 mL). I have used the included CON-70 converter with this pen with a push button filling mechanism. Mind you, the ink bottle with have some froth during the otherwise fun filling exercise. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Yi21VMoZFrA/VdllqqfN5lI/AAAAAAAAFMo/lXrTL-kLDqA/s1600/DSC_5515.jpg NIB - ALL THAT MATTERS (6/6) The nib is friction-fit and comes in a standard 14k design across four stock widths - EF, F, M & B. In addition to these four there are eight special widths available across SF, FM, SFM, M, SM, BB, MS & C. It’s comes rhodiated for the silver trimmed demos although the widths are limited to F, M & B. The tail end of the nib specifies the month and year of manufacture. It has a standard scrollwork where the elongated hexagonal imprint separates the design from the outer shoulders and tines, with a decor running inside its circumference, encompassing the circular breather hole. The branding and nib specifications of PILOT, 14k-585 (58.5% Au Alloy) along with the nib size and width are imprinted below the breather hole. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-t6aCbVsp20o/Vdlll5rR7zI/AAAAAAAAFMQ/fMnBP6Y6CAw/s1600/DSC_5538.jpg A standard bluish grey plastic feed with moderately spaced fins delivers a buffer capacity and a decently sized feeder hole gives a decent ink suction. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-y4hBDIq9FNk/Vdllm9BgJqI/AAAAAAAAFMY/Q25DT6d8D5Q/s1600/DSC_5551.jpg The only difference I find between the C74 nibs and the rhodiated nibs of the CH92, is on the softness front, which makes the C74 nib more delightful. PHYSICS OF IT (6/6) – RELATIVELY SPEAKING I do not know why but the cigar shape of a pen does give an extremely comfortable feel to my hands. The cap weighs only 8 grams. It’s a comfortable grip section with around 1 cm girth. For my hands the un-posted C74 lacks a bit of weight rather than length. Uncapped Length ~ 12.5 cm Posted Length ~ 15.5 cm Nib Leverage ~ 2 cm Overall Weight ~ 20 g Capped, uncapped and posted comparisons with a few similar pens in terms of dimension and heft like the Custom Heritage 92 and the Pelikan m605 go below for your reference. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-SJzLYZJXINc/VZwdbOWPLMI/AAAAAAAAEvU/Cx0-Bfye-o8/s1600/DSC_4256.jpghttp://2.bp.blogspot.com/-I0dLszXTRNI/VZwdlOG5djI/AAAAAAAAEvc/vFO5zr9WD5A/s1600/DSC_4259.jpghttp://3.bp.blogspot.com/-BWLWFs_-pzM/VZwdtlyizTI/AAAAAAAAEvk/MofrsO9Twts/s1600/DSC_4266.jpg ECONOMIC VALUE (6/6) The C74 retails at around USD 160 for the rhodiated demonstrator versions in the US, although the glossy resin versions sell at USD 100 or less, in Japanese shops like Engeika or Rakuten. I had bought the first pen a long back for close to USD 100 from Engeika’s Indian Arm - Pensindia. I do find the C74, a terrific value for money. OVERALL (5.8/6) This 14k nib is the smoothest of all my nibs and it has a moderately wet flow. The nib is sturdy and does not have any variation between horizontal and vertical lines. This medium nib has an exquisite level of softness with a fair amount of spring which makes it phenomenal. These wet lines take almost 25 secs to dry a wet ink like Diamine Majestic Blue on MD paper. These grids are 5 mm squares. Overall, a must buy pen! http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-dtfShFpOBiE/Vdll_ArG4-I/AAAAAAAAFNA/lMVgIXuTKr0/s1600/DSC_5572.jpg Thank you for going through the review. You can find some more pen and paraphernalia reviews here. ADORABLE REVIEWS FPN Review Blue Demo
  3. Budzynski

    Pilot Custom 74 Nib Exchange

    Hi everyone! Is there anyone who would like to exchange medium (M)/Fine Medium (FM) or Fine (F) nib for a Broad (? I decided that I'd have more use of a finer line. I've had this nib since last month and it is in perfect condition.





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