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The Nth Pilot Custom 74 Review



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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


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  • soniknitr

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Thanks for reviewing this. :)

 

off topic: is that a Chopra chess set that forms the backdrop?

 

Thanks Hari. It's not Chopra, had got this from lakkar bazar, Shimla quite cheap (Rs 150) :)

Edited by soniknitr

You have come to earth to entertain and to be entertained - P.Y

 

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sonik u make the c74 look so beautiful in burgundy,

it looks much better than the black or the translucent c74

i am gonna get one from rakuten next month.

Pilot custom heritage 74 all nibs, 742 Fa and PO nibs, 823 F 92 F,M, 3776 FM,EF,1911F

And all indian pens

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sonik u make the c74 look so beautiful in burgundy,

it looks much better than the black or the translucent c74

i am gonna get one from rakuten next month.

Incidentally, the only 74 that I have retained is a Burgundy in F.

In case you wish to write to me, pls use ONLY email by clicking here. I do not check PMs. Thank you.

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The 74 is my favorite Pilot. Compare a top of the line 743 with a lower end 74 and I really can't see how Pilot charges so much more.

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As per usual, an excellent review soniknitr, thanks.

 

I just bought a soft-medium 74 and while I think it is a nice pen (my SM has an almost too-juicy nib), I don't think it is worth the North American price point. The Japanese / eBay price is another matter and it represents a good value there.

 

I certainly don't think it is nearly as nice a pen as my 823.

Edited by frogbaby
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sonik u make the c74 look so beautiful in burgundy,

it looks much better than the black or the translucent c74

i am gonna get one from rakuten next month.

Thank you Ravi. The burgundy looks cooler than the black one (I gave it away).

Points to redeem too :)

You have come to earth to entertain and to be entertained - P.Y

 

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The 74 is my favorite Pilot. Compare a top of the line 743 with a lower end 74 and I really can't see how Pilot charges so much more.

 

I would take a 823 for the nib size + fun filling system, against a usual 743. I am not very sure but discovered from a Japanese seller that the nib size/type (like pilot#15 pens RRP is 30000 JPY) also decides the price for a pilot pen in addition production quantities.

 

As per usual, an excellent review soniknitr, thanks.

 

I just bought a soft-medium 74 and while I think it is a nice pen (my SM has an almost too-juicy nib), I don't think it is worth the North American price point. The Japanese / eBay price is another matter and it represents a good value there.

 

I certainly don't think it is nearly as nice a pen as my 823.

Thank you. Most certainly I agree with you on a 823, but for a price < USD 80 these days, c74 is kind of a steal. And the nibs of all c74s I had, have been really great like yours.

Edited by soniknitr

You have come to earth to entertain and to be entertained - P.Y

 

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The 74 is my favorite Pilot. Compare a top of the line 743 with a lower end 74 and I really can't see how Pilot charges so much more.

I am actually amazed at how Pilot is able to offer the 74 at the price at which they do. I feel 74 is sold at wafer thin margins, if there is any.

Edited by hari317

In case you wish to write to me, pls use ONLY email by clicking here. I do not check PMs. Thank you.

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I am actually amazed at how Pilot is able to offer the 74 at the price at which they do. I feel 74 is sold at wafer thin margins, if there is any.

I completely agree. While I am not the biggest fan of PIlot in general, the 74 is an amazing deal. The only better deal in new fountain pens is the Platinum 3776.

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I completely agree. While I am not the biggest fan of PIlot in general, the 74 is an amazing deal. The only better deal in new fountain pens is the Platinum 3776.

same price. I had complaints reg the quality of gold plating on the trim and the quality of molding on the older 3776 pens, but with the Century, Platinum seem to have addressed these issues.

In case you wish to write to me, pls use ONLY email by clicking here. I do not check PMs. Thank you.

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mehandiratta

 

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

 

amazing review...

was it writing amazing just out of the box....

vaibhav mehandiratta

architect & fountain pen connoisseur

 

blog | instagram | twitter

 

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amazing review...

was it writing amazing just out of the box....

Thanks Vaibhav. Yes, amazingly soft & smooth writer out of box. My experience with pilots has been very good as opposed to sailors.

Edited by soniknitr

You have come to earth to entertain and to be entertained - P.Y

 

Some Pen & Paraphernalia Reviews

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Finally somebody with same experience about Sailor compared to Pilot.

All my Pilots are amazing writers, I am now considering why I was such an idiot to buy so many pens, when I really needed 2 - 3 Pilots.

I have 2 Sailors, a vintage one, very very nice, based upon that I bought a Professional Gear and will prolly try to sell it on ebay, that is how happy I am with it.

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The 74 is my favorite Pilot. Compare a top of the line 743 with a lower end 74 and I really can't see how Pilot charges so much more.

I concur! I have the 74 Demonstrator with a fine nib. Its a very smooth writer with a nice wet flow. Fountain pens do not get any better than this one!

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