Pilot Custom 74 Fountain Pen
This is the first guest post by Blake S. You can find Blake on Twitter and Instagram by the name @penjonesing. I love his photography and review style and want to thank him for answering my call for guest posters. I had the pleasure of meeting Blake at the Miami Pen show and was excited when he offered to do some guest posting. Let Blake know how he did in the comments!
Ink: Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-Kai
Paper: Rhodia No. 18 Dot Pad
Handwritten Review Scans:
My first real fountain pen purchase was from Goulet Pens. I also watched hours of Brian Goulet’s videos. He always praised, and still does, the Pilot Custom 74 with medium nib. I purchased this pen about 2 years ago along with a bottle of Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-Kai. They’ve been inseparable ever since.
Appearance and Packaging:
The Custom 74 comes in a decent, matte black, Pilot branded clamshell box. The inside is really fake velvet lined and has a “Secret” compartment that houses a CON-70 converter and the pen’s paperwork. I opted for the clear smoke color with rhodium trim. It’s definitely a looker and strikes a nice balance between professional and fun. The pen boasts several rhodium trim rings, including a Mont Blanc-ish cap band that reads “Pilot Custom 74 – Made in Japan”. The clip is also rhodium and reads Pilot vertically. The clip has a ball at the end, which is a little different, but I like it. It’s a pretty firm, tight clip. I wear my pens horizontally on my shirt placket, under a tie, so it works well for me, especially on thin shirts.
My smoothest nib, bar none. I’ve owned a couple (German) $1,000 MSRP fountain pens and neither of them came close to this pen. It glides across even cheap paper and is my perfect round nib width. It has a beautiful spring to it which I don’t experience much with other 14K nibs.
The Custom 74 is a cartridge/converter filled pen. The included CON-70 converter is high quality and decent capacity. It fills by push button vs. twist/screw mechanism, which is also cool.
This pen is pretty light, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While its length makes it comfortable to hold posted or unposted, I prefer posted for the added weight. I could stand for the grip section to be a bit larger as I have larger hands, but that’s personal preference.
- Classic, but fun design
- The nib smoothness
- Cool converter type
- Could be a bit wider
My first gold-nibbed Pilot and a great one. The 74 has me considering a Fermo and Custom 912. I’m also looking to pick up a Sailor pen to settle the best Japanese nib debate!
6 thoughts on “[Guest Post] Pilot Custom 74 Fountain Pen Review”
Blake thanks for the review. That’s a good-looking pen!
Great post. I’ve had a Custom 74 for a couple years now and love it. I agree that the spring in the nib was a suprise and, for me, is one of the best aspects of the pen. I got mine in broad and with wet inks it wrote a little too wet; I paired it with R&K Salix and now I never use anything else with it. I’m not totally in love with the CON-70, I find having to hold the pen between your fingers and push down on the button somewhat awkward, but the extra ink capacity makes up for it so I give it a push between it and the CON-50.
The only problem is that it’s a fast, slippery slope to the 823.
Thanks for the reply, Brandon! I didn’t really consider your point on the con 70 for the review, but you’re right, it can be a goofy process, especially with a less than full bottle of ink. I think for capacity’s sake I will probably go with a custom heritage 92 as a gateway pen to the 823. We’ll see!
Thanks for the reply, Brandon! Great point on the con 70. I didn’t think about that in the course of my review, but you’re right. It is a bit goofy to maneuver especially when you’re working with a less than full bottle of ink. I think for capacity’s sake I will probably start with a custom heritage 92 as a gateway pen to the 823. We will see!