Pilot Custom 74 First Impression

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So I’m trying out this new type of video that I’m calling ‘First Impressions’. Essentially, I want to capture the excitement and enthusiasm that I have when I try out a new product for the first time. When I’m doing thorough reviews, I tend to be so focused on remembering my facts right and making sure I cover all of the important points before I finish that it can put a damper on the excitement I would normally show.

I want to capture just some of what goes through my head when trying something for the first time. In this case, it’s the Pilot Custom 74. Now, I have to be honest and say I did ink this pen up and use it for a few lines before I got the idea to do a first impression vid, so this isn’t literally a first impression. But it’s a pretty good idea of what you could expect, I suppose!

Another great benefit to this style of video is that it takes significantly less time for me to produce, so I’ll be able to do a lot more of them! My goal would be to do a first impression vid for every new product we get in (especially pens).

So let me know what you think! If it sucks, just tell me so. If you love it, tell me that to. Just post what you think about my video or the Pilot Custom 74 in the comments…

2017-10-11T03:06:47+00:00 April 7th, 2011|Pen Reviews|41 Comments
  • WOW, that is just the pen I am looking for, but i'm so broke right now. time to start saving for it now, maybe i'll get it in the fall.

  • Ron

    Nice video! I had no idea about the filling mechanism. I just assumed it was c/c.

  • Ryan

    You say the lack of skipping may be due to the ink or the pen. I'd say it's probably both. Though I don't have a 74, my Pilot pens have been some of the most consistent out of the box of all my pens. Also, the Iroshizuku inks are likely the best behaved inks I've ever used. Together, it's a match made in heaven.

  • Love the video! Keep up the good work! ๐Ÿ™‚ New converter is just awesome! Donโ€™t like the pen so muchโ€ฆ New Vanishing Point Matte Black is cooler!

  • Jesser20

    I really like the idea here. Getting to see you unpack, examine and use the pen without having to worry about an official review is very cool. It may not be as fact-packed as one of your full reviews, but honestly not every new product you get may deem that much attention. However, a first impression of every cool new product that comes through your shop…? Definitely worth the time. I think this is a great idea to include us in the fun while keeping your spirits up. Great job, Brian.

    Also, maybe Rachel could write a line or two in some of these videos. It may help to give those of us with smaller hands a different perspective. The pictures you have for the ENP, on the site, demonstrate quite a difference and it's been very helpful. Just a random idea… either way, I look forward to seeing more of these videos.

  • Kite

    That was a great 1st impression video; I especially like how you unpack, examined the box before going onto the pen. The most important part of the video for me is how the nib writes. I was surprised to find that the normal nibs that US Pilots pens have is already so springy, it makes me wonder if the Soft Pilot nibs that you can only get from Japan is going to be even more springy, or does this US nib correspond to the Japanese Soft nib?

    Also, I wasn't sure if it was mentioned in the video but is that a Fine or Medium nib in your pen?

    Lastly, you have seriously tempted me once again with the 74 because I'm a sucker for springy nibs like the one shown in the video….

    PS: The Con70 actually creates a vacuum AFTER you released the button, not when you push it. Pushing the button pushes out the air, releasing it creates the vacuum. Just something small that I thought I point out ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Kite

    It is CC. The converter shown in the video is the Pilot Con 70 converter. The custom 74 is one of the few Pilot pens that can take all 3 converters, which is a plus since the Con70 converter has a huge ink capacity!

  • Cesar T. Garcia Ramirez

    I have to agree with Jesser20, a hands comparision would help that or having it next to a ruler. Shame you didn't also show a first impression of the converter system too given it's uniqueness.

  • Haha, yes, I know the feeling! I have a lot of pens on my want list that are out of my budget ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Thanks for adding to this Kite. That's one thing I missed in the video, is that that actually is a converter. I think it'll be a separate topic for another video, as it's a converter unlike anything I've ever seen before. It holds a nice amount of ink, too!

  • Definitely! I think the pen and ink were made for each other…wait a minute…they're both Pilot, so they really were made for each other! Ha! Seriously though, it's not often I get a spontaneous moment where I just throw an ink into a pen and it writes like this…it was a special experience for me. What'll be more of a test is when I get to know this pen a little better and use some other inks in it.

  • Haha, you're not the first to talk about this pen and the matte black VP! They're entirely different pens altogether. But both very cool in their own rights! I smell a head to head pen video coming on…

  • Awesome feedback, thank you! Rachel and I were just talking over lunch how we'd like to do videos together. We do Write Time together and it's a blast, so why can't we do first impression videos together? I think that would be so much fun. Honestly, the reason we haven't before is because of the style of video, it didn't allow for as much personality as the first impression vids do. But with a little more free-form, we can really have some fun with it. I agree, having both of us use a pen for the first time would be great!

    The only logistical thing I'm thinking is where would be the best place to put the camera…when we're talking about more personality type videos, it may make more sense to have the camera facing us so you can see our facial expressions instead of just our hands. But then that wouldn't show the pens as much. Or we could cut back and forth…..thoughts?

  • I'm glad you like it! Normally the boxes are hardly worth talking about, but in this case it's definitely on the nicer end. I find I tend to keep my nicer pens (m800, Music Pen, Custom 74, VP, Falcon, etc) in the original boxes. So to me it kind of matters. Plus, the box is the first thing you see, so it sets the stage for your first impression of the pen.

    My pen is a medium, though it writes closer to a German fine. However, in the video I'm using Kon-Peki, which is a pretty wet writing ink. Overall, I'd say it evens out to be a pretty solid medium line.

    The nib is springy! And it's only a #5 nib, which is a little smaller than other pens its size. I'm a bit surprised at the spring in it given it's a #5 nib and 14k instead of 18k. I don't know what kind of magic they put in their nibs, but I'm definitely a Pilot fan now!

    PS: Thank you for clarifying! Admittedly, I knew nothing about the filling mechanism when I shot this video, except from my first inking with Kon-Peki. I've since pulled it off and taken it completely apart…it's a bit complex and very interesting for those that like to tinker! You are entirely right, it draws a vacuum after the button is released. I don't even know if calling it a button fill is the correct term, or what. It's a button/vacuum/converter! Unlike anything I've seen before.

  • Though I now have a bit of experience with the converter, I'll still do a video on it. It will probably benefit for me to do a little research and know what I'm talking about with the converter.

  • Ryan

    Pilot makes a similar pen, the Pilot Custom Heritage 92, that has a piston converter. It's a bit more expensive, though.

  • Ryan

    Err…. I didn't mean piston converter. I mean it has a piston-fill system built right in.

  • PeppWaves03

    That would be awesome! I know I am looking at either the VP or the Custom for an early birthday present to myself ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I had no idea so many people were deciding between these two! It's obvious to me now that I need to do a comparison vid!

  • I love the format and the pen. first impressions sound like they will be a lot of fun!

  • I like this new format. Keep 'em coming.

    My question is about the injection molding. What types of… molding are there? What do the more expensive fountain pens like Mont Blanc etc use? I'm a noob in regard to these technical aspects.

  • Jesser20

    Good point about the camera. As a video guy myself, I'd generally say two's better than one if you have more than one camera handy. But then, as you've mentioned before, part of the fun of these first impression videos is less fiddling and technical worries – I imagine extra uploading and editing is not something you'd like to add to your work load ๐Ÿ™‚

    I think the most important thing here is whatever you decide to do, these first impression videos should always remain fun and loose, don't let them become tedious or difficult, even if that means letting them run a little longer than planned. And by adding the dynamic you and Rachel have together, I think you could have some pretty amazing videos.

    Sorry I didn't offer any concrete ideas here, but I'm pretty passionate about video and I can tend to write a lot (don't want to spam :P), so I'll send you an email later. Good luck in the mean time!

  • Rhea

    Love this format of video – if Rachel joins in just put a mirror on the work surface so we can see both of you – haha! This is what makes the Goulet Pen Company so special – you share a true event just as we would at home if we purchased the pen. Thank you for bringing us helpful information that's a lot of fun too!

  • Glad you like it! They will be fun…I was actually a little 'conservative' on this one because of the fact it was the first. Imagine Write Time, but in a shorter, better quality video, and that's what I'm shooting for!

  • I'm no expert on injection molding, at all. So perhaps I'm not the best to ask. But more or less, there's not a huge difference between different injection molding processes. The type of plastic (resin) used may be different, and of course the molds are different, but that's about it. What you're paying for most of the time is the design, overall quality control, and of course, the nibs. Gold is at $1400+ per ounce right now, so when you're getting any pen with a gold nib, you can bet that's a significant portion of the cost!

  • Haha, mirrors! Oh my, that would get confusing! Seriously though, I'm really encouraging Rachel to get in on the videos. We'll get her more involved though, she adds a lot to my personality (clearly). ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hugh Scher

    Another example of having a friend in the business!

    Brian, great format all around – the topics and depth of each is great. Your start-to-finish walk-through is just right and just enough. Loved it!!

    What a great way to share your unique position and the passion you and we share together. Current products, new products you bring on, and like this First Impression of something new to you (and likely some of us, me included)…keep 'em coming.

    No where but Goulet Pens can this be found!


  • Ryan

    This video shows the production process of a Pelikan Souveran pen: http://youtu.be/EWhEytzwVmA

    There is a surprising amount of care taken throughout the production process. I'd imagine that it's similar for makers like MB.

  • Awesome feedback, thanks so much! I think for a while I've been trying to do reviews like they've been done by other bloggers before, which just isn't quite my style. I feel like with this video, it's coming much more natural to me, and the positive response has been almost overwhelming. I'm so pumped and motivated to make more videos, and since this style is so much easier for me to produce, I know I'm actually going to be able to deliver!

  • The Heritage 92 actually isn't one we have access to. It must be either a Japan exclusive or an old model that's no longer imported to the US.

  • OMG the music in that video is AWESOME!! It's obviously something made years ago, but it is one of the most comprehensive videos I've seen on making pens. It's very interesting! All that specialized equipment is nuts! I just wish I knew German so I could understand what the guy was saying.

  • Ryan

    I believe it's actually pretty newish. Judging by the retailers who carry it now, I think it's probably Japanese only currently.

  • Ryan

    The thing that struck me was all the steps in making the nib. Then I realized that those were the old nibs and that the ones they use today are even more ornate (and two-toned to boot.)

  • Yes, but that actually doesn't surprise me. I started out as a pen maker (not nibs though) before I got into retailing them. Though I never made nibs, I knew the process was quite involved and requires a lot of skilled hands!

  • Ah, that would explain it. Maybe if it sells well enough there, they'll consider bringing it here.

  • Rhea

    I just remembered what was missing from the video – fist pounding!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • HAHA! Yes, I need more fist-pounding in my videos!

  • Hey Brian, Great video! I definitely like the impression as opposed to the review.. All I typically get out of a review anyway is how someone feels about the pen, and you provide your feeling without all the boring details here, so that's perfect! My only suggestion, which it sounds like you intend to do anyway, is to include the initial inking and writing. This way any problems or strange new things you encounter will be shown, and we can also see how you figure it all out.
    Great work!

  • I agree, that's the same thing I look for in a review. In retrospect, an inking would have been really good, especially with this unique filling system. That can always be a separate vid. In the future, my FI vids will be true first impressions, where I haven't even taken the pen out of the box yet! I'll show the first inking, getting ink on my fingers, possibly spilling my sample vials, everything! I'm shooting for some reality here, good or bad ๐Ÿ˜‰ After all, I go through all of the same emotions you all do every time I get a new pen!

  • Joe Williams

    Did you say the nib was gold? I am on your site thinking of buying it and it says 14 k rhodium. which is right?

  • Songyi Yuan

    It is 14 karat solid gold. The demonstrator versions are rhodium plated (thin layer of rhodium over the gold). Also know that rhodium is not normally measured in karats, so if you see "14k rhodium", it normally means a gold nib that has been plated.