Some time ago I wrote about what I thought was one of the best beginner fountain pens, so I thought it was time to write about one of my absolute favorite pens. This is the pen you buy if you want to skip the beginner pens and just buy a super good pen straight away, or if you already have a couple of pens and want to upgrade.
This is the Pilot Custom 823, one of Pilots top of the line pens and only vacuum filler pen. The pen comes in three different colors, a clear one, an amber one and the one that I have, smoke. All of them are translucent so that you can see how much ink is left in the pen, but the Smoke one is almost so dark as it looks black, and I like black. It does however change color in strong light depending on what ink you use. I use Iroshizuku Shin-kai in it right now and then the pen gets a beautiful blue shine.
One problem is that all the colors aren’t available in all parts of the world, hey, Pilot doesn’t even sell the pen AT ALL in Europe. Therefore, I needed to get mine directly from Japan via an eBay seller, something I don’t like to do as fountain pens can be a bit finicky, but I had no choice. For those interested in buying it on eBay I can tell you that it was about 210€ and as I live in Sweden I got to pay around 50€ more in VAT. Price wise I would say the pen is worth every cent and more, If you only are getting one pen (and don’t want a flex nib), this is the one.
One thing to note is that this pen has a built in filling system instead of the more common converter (in which pens you can also use cartridges). That means that this pen can contain more ink, but it’s also harder to clean. The special filling system also need you to unscrew the back of the pen a few millimeters if you are going to write more than a few notes. That can probably be annoying for some people but I don’t really care. One thing I like about the pen is the weight and size. I would call this the perfect size for both small and large hands and I can write for hours with it.
Last but not least, let’s talk about the nib as that is what actually does the writing and probably is the most important part of the pen. I’m not going to get too “geeky” but let’s start with a couple of words about nibs for you beginners out there. A nib is often described as being smooth or writing with a bit of feedback. A smooth nib is one that you almost can’t feel when you write with it, it just glides over the paper. The writing feel of a nib that has a lot of feedback could more be described as the feel of when you write with a wooden pencil.
This pen has a nib that I would call the golden mix of the two, it is super smooth but with some feedback so you actually can feel that you are writing. Another thing I like about the nib is that it’s pretty big so it flexes a bit for some line variation and a great feel. The shape is also quite long and slender so you get a perfect view of what you are writing, perfect for sketching.
There you have it, that is why I love this pen.