Pilot Custom 74 - Smoke (M)
Length capped: 142mm/5.6"
Length posted: 154mm/6"
Length unposted: 135mm/5.3"
Weight w/full converter: 23.7g
Pros: Looks, converter type, buttery smooth nib
Cons: None. Seriously!
I've had my Pilot Custom 74 for quite a while now, I wanted to spend some time with it before reviewing it because it's truly one of my favorite pens, if not THE favorite. I'd learned of the Custom 74 from watching some of Brian Goulet's videos. His blue Custom 74 with a Medium nib has long been his favorite pen and he's raved about it on multiple occasions. After hearing this several times, I decided to take a look. I really loved the look of the pen, and realized how big of a sucker I am for demonstrators. It was tough to choose, but I ultimately chose a Smoke color with a Fine nib.
Upon receiving the pen, I was instantly in love with it. The Smoke color demonstrator barrel was an amazing color - and very unique. I've not found a pen that's currently being made with this color which is a shame honestly. It's a classic design with a modern twist which I very much appreciate. Also amazing, was the nib itself. Pilot's nibs are Japanese made, so they run finer than their German counterparts. It was very fine but smooth and felt great on nearly every paper I tried.
Over time, I realized that my tendencies toward finer nibs were fading as I'd fallen in love with inks as much as I had fountain pens. The Fine nib was great and I had no complaints about it other than it just didn't put enough ink down on the page to show off my ink color. I opted to order a Medium nib after Pen Chalet had an amazing deal on the Custom 74 with the Pen Addict Podcast discount. My boyfriend and I ultimately gave my Fine Custom 74 to Josh for his birthday, who you may remember from my story on the counterfeit Lamy Safari.
For every time I'd raved about how amazing the Fine nib was on the Custom 74, I was astonished but how much MORE amazing the Medium was. The thing glides across the page, like butter on a hot plate coated in oil. Writing with this pen has never been a disappointment to this day. To date, it's the only pen I have that I'm convinced could not be improved with a little bit of smoothing.
The section of the pen has a nice taper to it that flares back out, making it comfortable to write with for long periods of time. The taper is not too thin and accommodates my grip perfectly, so that makes it especially comfortable for me personally. For those who tend to choke up on their pen as they write, the threads are not harsh at all, so you shouldn't experience any discomfort with that.
The weight is fairly light, but not too light, so it doesn't fatigue the hand either. The length unposted is more than long enough to make it comfortable - posted is almost too long for my taste and I have fairly large hands; about 7" from the tip of my middle finger to the base of my palm.
The Pilot Custom 74 truly is an amazing pen. The praise that it receives is well deserved, and the nib is something to be marveled. If you've been considering one, do yourself a favor and pick one up!