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Pilot Custom 823

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By Wesley James Young
PilotCustom823
Pilot Custom 823
When I am asked what my favorite pen is, I always come back with the Namiki Custom 823. Now you are probably wondering what the name means. Thanks to that very same engine of procrastination which allows you to view this review, we can know the number represents year this pen was released, 82 years from the company’s founding in 1918, and the 30,000 yen price on that release date. As for the custom, well no one seems to have a good answer for that portion. My personal theory is that it is just there because the marketing people happened to pull that buzzword out of a hat. But don’t let the name drive your decision, this pen is more than an alphanumeric name.

Appearance & Design
Pilot Namiki Custom 823
Pilot Namiki Custom 823
The color is rich amber color unlike anything you have likely seen on the market. Now I am usually not drawn to gold but the gold-plated trim on this piece compliments the amber too well to pass it over. The clip also embraces a beautacious simplicity by having the company name in a light weight font over a tapering surface ending in a large ball. In contrast, the name of the pen is engraved in a significantly heavier weight. The barrel is translucent allowing you to see the amount of ink inside of the pen, at least 2.2 ml at a complete fill.
Pilot Pens
Pilot Pens
Now I will point out that posting this pen is not something I would recommend. You can but it does not sit well on the barrel in my experience. I do not mind because I do to post most of my pens but if you are the sort who must do so, bear in mind that this pen will probably not work will in that area.

Construction & Quality
The coloring of the resin is consist. The gold is plated properly. I find no flaws with the build quality of the pen. The clip is you typical tension clip and a rather tight one at that so it will stay in the shirt pocket unless you tell it otherwise. After some months of use, the plunger mechanism has not failed me yet, nor have I read of others having issues of that sort with this pen.

Nib & Performance

Namiki Custom 823
Namiki Custom 823
Pilot is a Japanese company, so think a size down in terms of nib with if you are used to Pelikan Pens or Lamy Pens. The nib on this pen is a size 15 nib in 14k and it is a fantastic write. Pilot’s 14k nibs have one of the best balances of springiness and smoothness to deliver a satisfying write as I move across the page. Available sizes are Fine, Medium, and Broad.

Filling Mechanism
This pen fills by a plunger filling mechanism. All you have to do is unscrew the blind cap, pull back the plunger rod, put the pen in the ink and push down. Seconds later you have about 2/3rd’s of the pen full of ink. To get a compete fill, point the nib up and pull back on the rod till the plunger is just below the ink in the pen, then put the nib in the bottle and push down.
Pilot Custom 823
Pilot Custom 823
Now some of you may notice the pen stops writing after a few minutes. This is not a problem with the pen but a result of the mechanism doing what it is supposed to. When the blind cap is fully screwed into the pen, the plunger cuts the feed off from the rest of the pen. To get the flow back in the nib, simply keep the blind cap unscrewed during extensive periods of writing.
The retail price is $360 ( our price is $288) . For that you get a box lined with silver colored cloth and a bottle of Pilot Blue ink. For a gold nibed fountain pen, that is not very high. For this pen, I think the price tag is thoroughly justifiable. Especially since this pen is a perfect everyday pen. Not too flashy, writes well, you can fill it on a Monday and likely see three or four Monday’s go by before you need to fill it again. If you’re like me and get bored with colors after a period of time, you will change them out long before you exhaust the ink in the pen.

Final Remarks
This is one of those pens every stylophile should have.
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