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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