Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pilot Custom 74 Clear Demonstrator

Being a Pilot Namiki fan I thought I'd review The Pilot Custom 74 from my collection, an interesting fountain pen. The Custom 74 has a clear demonstrator barrel and the nib is solid 14K gold with rhodium plating. The tassie (the cup shaped bezel at the end of the barrel), grip and cap are in a contrasting smoke grey resin. The appointments--the clip and trim--are plated in rhodium. The pen can be filled using a converter or ink cartridges, in this case I'm using the onverter and have filled the pen, which has a fine nib, with Noodler's Old Dutch Colony Sepia exclusive to th4e Fountain Pen Hospital.

Here's why I find it interesting. Various write-ups mention it's flexible nib, which puts me in mind of the Falcon and Falcon II. But my Custom 74 doesn't flex, it's as hard as a nail. Not only that, it feels scratchy when I write, like a tooth diggining into the paper. I don't know if I've got the bummer of the batch or what, but I'm definitely going to have the nib tamed down. Perhaps into a fine cursive italic, as I've gotten to like my Rotring 900 CI quite alot.

Other things of note: it's a lightweight pen, medium-sized, and the smokey grey cap is still clear enough to see ink drops from the nib. I haven't noticed any ink creep on the nib, and other than the scratchiness the Custom 74 writes wonderfully well. The piston converter can be a royal pain but with time and practice you get used to it.

I'm not sure this is a great pen, but it's definitely a good one to add to your collection. Especially if you love clear demonstrators, as I do.


  1. Thanks for bringing up nib flexibility, PB.

    Is there some generally accepted standard for judging nib flex? How desirable is flex, and at what price? My steel-nibbed Jinhao is "firmish", my gold-nibbed Parker 75 seems to have some flex. Somehow I can't imagine additional flex in either adding all that much to the writing experience. Then again, I've had little enough acquaintance with FPs.

    BTW---what is "ink creep"?


  2. If your Pilot/Namiki pen is not writing smoothly, send it back. Period. I've never picked up one that didn't write smoothly and whoever you bought it from should send the nib back to them for replacement. Don't keep a nib that isn't what it should be. Especially from a company with a reputation like this. They will make it right for you.