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A Somewhat Critical View Of The Pilot Custom 823



TheDutchGuy
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TheDutchGuy

I really appreciated the (re)view. I bought my wife the Pilot Decimo for her birthday, and now I'm somewhat envious that she has this nice pen! I don't have any Japanese pens, and it seems everytime I see a Goulet pen video he is very positive on the brand. The only question is whether I go straight for the 823, or check out one of the lesser offerings from Pilot or one of their local competitors. The review is a good reminder to keep my expectations in check. As I live in Canada, it is not always possible to check out a pen in person, so various takes on the same pen is very, very helpful.

Thanks!! Japanese pens write with a certain... character. Many love it, many don't. Buying untried is a risk. Having said that, my Sailors grew on me, and they kept growing until they became my favourite pens. By far. I don't use them everyday, in the same sense that you don't eat your favourite food every day, but every time I pick them up... magic. The 823 F is also still growing on me. Over time I've discovered that my gripes with this pen mainly come from two reasons. First, the rigidity of the nib. It's a very large nib and I had expected some bounce. Second, the narrowness of the nib. It's by far the finest (as in in: narrowest) nib of all my pens. Kudos to Pilot for making a nib this fine that writes on every kind of paper; I can easily do swirly signatures on office paper, no problem, no scratchiness. But there is tooth. On a scale of 0 to 10, I'd say this nib has scratchiness 0, tooth 5, feedback 7. I love the feedback but am still getting used to the tooth. Whenever I use Rhodia or Clairefontaine paper, I prefer to go for the 823 F because this paper reduces the tooth but keeps the feedback - and that is very, very, very nice.

 

I think I'm happy with the pen now. It adds something to my little flock of pens that no other pen has.

 

(823 M nibs are totally different from the 823 F nibs, much closer to a good Western M.)

Edited by TheDutchGuy
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I finally got my 823 from Japan in clear with WA nib. I like it a lot. It feels different in a great way to my 149 or Nakaya, however so it should. They are all great pens in their own right. The WA nib is very smooth and of course it holds a nice 2ml of ink (my refill i've weighed).

So far after a few days writing with tsuki-yo, I love this pen. The WA nib having been checked, etc by Tokyo Pen Shop is just superb. It's smooth with some feedback, awesome. Am glad I now waited for the Japanese version and didnt get one when I was in the Fountain Pen Hospital in NYC a few weeks back. :D

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TheDutchGuy

^---Nice!! I've never had a chance to try a waverley nib. What's the appeal?

Edited by TheDutchGuy
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^---Nice!! I've never had a chance to try a waverley nib. What's the appeal?

 

The main appeal is smoothness no matter the angle of the pen, nor the stroke being written, ergo a very good nib for lefties who have a lot of 'push' strokes when they write, sometimes pens are not very good at the push strokes. The WA nib negates this. You can write the same consistent line width no matter the angle you hold the pen. Unlike the FA nib, the line does not vary when you alter the angle at which you write.

So really its all about being a smooth writer. Now don't get me wrong, my 149 and Nakaya are both great writers, however the 823 is smoother.

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On Pilot ink - would have though P.W. Akkerman, Appelboom, LCdC, would all sell both regular and Iroshizuku inks (oddly enough the few UK shops I've just looked at no longer have the regular Pilot ink in aside from cartridge form, just Iroshizuku).

That's probably why. They call it upselling. Why sell you a quarter-liter of blue ink that'll last forever when they could sell you fancier inks in 50ml increments for the same price?

 

Many manufacturers feel compelled to torpedo their more basic product lines when they realize the facts of life.

Edited by Corona688
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PenandDesign

My eventual conclusion was that the 742 was the most optimum for me from cost, performance and long term wear and tear point of view.

Hari, could you please expand on why you like the 742 (and what nib you like)? I havent heard much about the pen. Thank you.

Visit Pen&Design!

 

@penanddesign

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Hari, could you please expand on why you like the 742 (and what nib you like)? I havent heard much about the pen. Thank you.

742 and 743 are nearly same in size. You can even swap parts. The nib and feed are different. The 742 was subjectively optimum for me and was available for 110-120usd on ebay in those days. I built a full collection of nibs and at the moment I like the Cosu.

 

https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/101033-pilot-custom-743-vs-742/

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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My 823 in medium arrived from Japan about a month ago and I absolutely love it. If it were thicker and could be held longer in my big hand without fatiguing me it would easily be my favorite pen. It's a very close and cherished second as it is.

 

Carl

Oh, I know this of myself

I assume as much for other people

We’ve listened more to life’s end gong

Than the sound of life’s sweet bells

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TheDutchGuy

My 823 in medium arrived from Japan about a month ago and I absolutely love it.

With hindsight I should've gone for a medium as well. But no real regrets, because it's a really nice pen and my only one in western EF territory.

 

How I perceive a pen is very subjective. If I start the day writing with my old MB 146 or my new Kaweco Supra Brass broad (both of which are very smooth writers, but with their own character) and then switch to the Custom 823, I experience the 823 as too rigid and very feedbacky. But if I start the day fresh with the 823 and use that pen exclusively, then I totally adore it. If I change to the MB later in the day, I perceive that pen as too smooth and a bit devoid of character. Unless you're dealing wit extremes, it's just so difficult to make objective statements about how a nib feels. It's like temperature: if you leave a colder room, you'll experience warmth, and vice versa.

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This is absolutely right, when switched immediately from a broad to extra fine, many pens can feel exceedingly toothy and even scratchy, (technical issues aside) but when done the other way round, the extra fine feels and therefore writes beautifully, this has happened many times with me.

 

It is therefore always good to keep pens of different nib width and section girths, weight to play around with :)

Edited by minddance
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.... Unless you're dealing wit extremes, it's just so difficult to make objective statements about how a nib feels. It's like temperature: if you leave a colder room, you'll experience warmth, and vice versa.

Great point. I experience this too.

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I have an amber 823 in B and smoke in M, both outstanding pens. I recently took out the o-ring and now leave the blind cap screwed in all the time. Flow is great. Wish I did that earlier. Can't beat the Pilot nibs in my opinion. I also love the SM nib on my 742.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My Pilot 823 with a broad nib is superb. It is far superior to my two Pilot 912s. I love the weight, the size and the nib. I'm even hesitant about having the nib italicized. I'm sure I will. I always do. But, it feels so good as it is. Nonetheless, the line, however smooth and reliable, is boring. It is great till I compare it to my Pendleton Brown italics. Then it pales. But, I love the way it writes. I even love having to open the plunger to let the ink flow to the feed. The amber is beautiful.

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Fresh and useful perspective on the 823. Thank you for investing the time to write it.

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  • 11 months later...
neverforget

I've seen 'boring' mentioned multiple times here with regard to the 823 line. Examples of a non-boring line would be appreciated for sake of comparison.

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MuddyWaters

Since the main pen that I am reading reviews and watching videos on is the pilot 823,this is one of the threads I enjoy reading the most. I prefer to read constructive criticism than endless praise on pens. It's easier to make an educated guess / purchase when being aware of people's feedback on the pens, especially since fountain pens get automatic likability points.

 

what I gather is that people find this pen to be a great "writer's pen" due to the ink capacity, moderate size and nib reliability. On the other hand, some people find the nib to be round and boring (too perfect), as I found the pilot 74 nib to somewhat be. Sailor and platinum are often mentioned as alternatives with more nib character and feedback, but they are not available in a similar ink capacity unfortunately, nor size really.

 

So anyway, I will try before I buy.

Edited by MuddyWaters
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I stumbled over this: "However.... regular Pilot ink bottles are literally unobtainable in Europe" - in the start post.

 

Why not ordering in Japan?

 

INK350BB, INK350B, INK350R are 350ml bottles of blue-black, black and red.

https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B001P2XUAY/

https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B001P2XUB8/

https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B001P35A74/

All 3 together 36 Euro.

 

If you can't order it directly at Amazon, then use a Proxy.

 

Shipping for these 3 bottles is less than 50 Euro.

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"Nonetheless, the line, however smooth and reliable, is boring. It is great till I compare it to my Pendleton Brown italics."

 

Perhaps the question should be what pens/nibs did you have Pendleton Brown italic nibs put on? And why? Pre-PBI nibs, were those pens more or less boring than the 823?

 

Would the 823 be as great with a PBI nib?

 

A Parker 51 medium nib is as boring as they come, with no view of ink sloshing around inside. Not a fun filling system like the 823. Its virtues lie elsewhere: totally reliable, for all practical purposes bulletproof, and not flashy.

 

To pick up a pen for occasional use with an italic nib is fun. But for a full day of 8 hours or more of writing I look to smooth and reliable.

 

It's great to have such choices, and select the tool for the job at hand.

 

gary

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