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Aditkamath26

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.

 

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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. 

 

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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.

 

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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. 

 

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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

 

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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. 

 

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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.

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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.

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Thank you for a well written and thoughtful review.  Good photos too!

“The proper definition of a man is an animal that writes letters.”


Lewis Carroll


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Chiroptera121

Excellent review!  Thank you for sharing you pen 🙂.  I have an amber 823 and love it...if I could only have one pen, it would definitely be in the running.

Do the best you can, with what you have, where you are. 

~Theodore Roosevelt

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doclocs13

In my opinion (also), it is one of the best (if not the) pound for pound pens out there. Functionally speaking, it covers everything. The only downside is the "plain" design. I know a number of people who can't get past the design. 

 

It actually is quite easy to clean without cracking anything. I do a deeper clean on mine when I store it; primarily to ensure there is no ink in the threads on the end finial. The TWSBI wrench works perfectly to remove the filing rod.

 

Currently I have the Smoke with a medium nib. Beautiful writer and so comfortable. At one time I had the Amber with a fine nib. Though it wrote very well, I struggled with the feedback on the fine nib. I even had it tuned by a nibmeister. I had to return it. Now that my tastes have "evolved", I wonder if I would like it. Though I don't want to buy another 823, I think I would try to get a fine nib if I could find one.

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Aditkamath26
3 hours ago, doclocs13 said:

In my opinion (also), it is one of the best (if not the) pound for pound pens out there. Functionally speaking, it covers everything. The only downside is the "plain" design. I know a number of people who can't get past the design. 

 

It actually is quite easy to clean without cracking anything. I do a deeper clean on mine when I store it; primarily to ensure there is no ink in the threads on the end finial. The TWSBI wrench works perfectly to remove the filing rod.

 

Currently I have the Smoke with a medium nib. Beautiful writer and so comfortable. At one time I had the Amber with a fine nib. Though it wrote very well, I struggled with the feedback on the fine nib. I even had it tuned by a nibmeister. I had to return it. Now that my tastes have "evolved", I wonder if I would like it. Though I don't want to buy another 823, I think I would try to get a fine nib if I could find one.

 

If you don't want another 823, you could try getting a used 743 in fine. And if the 743 is too plain, you could go the urushi route and have it lacquered. That would make for one hell of a fine pen! 

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Aditkamath26
6 hours ago, Chiroptera121 said:

Excellent review!  Thank you for sharing you pen 🙂.  I have an amber 823 and love it...if I could only have one pen, it would definitely be in the running.

 

Thank you! The 823 indeed is a strong contender for a one pen collection!

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Aditkamath26
8 hours ago, OCArt said:

Thank you for a well written and thoughtful review.  Good photos too!

 

Thanks!

 

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thank you for your review - agree excellent pen.  the new 743 with fa nib is also strong contender

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Aditkamath26
3 hours ago, lionelc said:

thank you for your review - agree excellent pen.  the new 743 with fa nib is also strong contender

 

Need to try the 743 someday!

 

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doclocs13
12 hours ago, Aditkamath26 said:

 

If you don't want another 823, you could try getting a used 743 in fine. And if the 743 is too plain, you could go the urushi route and have it lacquered. That would make for one hell of a fine pen! 

 

While I am curious about those pens, my decision not to get them is more that I limit the number of pens that I have and they are not better than my "lowest ranked" pen. However, my loophole is just getting a nib :)

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TheDutchGuy

Your handwriting is wonderful! I wish I could write like that. Nice photography as well!

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Aditkamath26
On 1/29/2021 at 12:36 AM, TheDutchGuy said:

Your handwriting is wonderful! I wish I could write like that. Nice photography as well!

 

Thank you!

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Thanks for a great, thorough review; very clear handwriting with nice flow too! I'd rather have simple, reliable filing systems, if they made it in a rhodium finish and a nice colour (Mustard? Deep blue?) it would be more interesting to me.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

 

B. Russell

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Aditkamath26
9 hours ago, senzen said:

Thanks for a great, thorough review; very clear handwriting with nice flow too! I'd rather have simple, reliable filing systems, if they made it in a rhodium finish and a nice colour (Mustard? Deep blue?) it would be more interesting to me.

 

Thank you! I get that about all the points you mentioned. I would love if the Smoke variant had chrome trim too. And though the balance on the pen is wonderful because of the filling system, I'm not thrilled by it. Now, if they made a flat top 823 with the Custom 92 clip and colors...

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Thanks a lot for such enthusiastic review. I bought mine a year ago w/ fine and I could not be more in agree with you.

What I enjoy most is the point that you could get bored of using it before you have wasted  just the half of the amount of ink it can carry.

Best wishes for you all.

Vic.

 

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When I viewed the first photo, the color of the pen appeared to be blue, I immediately opened another tab, and searched for a new Custom 823 in BLUE, yes, I discovered Blue is not a color to be had on the 823. So, after reading on, the same Smoke version I have was the one you presented in your excellent review. But I'm wondering, how long before you start thinking about the Amber version? 

 

   I did buy the Smoke version with a medium nib, and felt exactly like you. I didn't think I would buy the other 823, until I justified my need for a broad nib, so it was written. I will buy the Blue, because I want a fine, stub, left oblique, etc. etc.... please Pilot no more colors. 

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