A Surprising Joy

It’s not often I write a pen review — let’s be honest, it’s almost never — mostly because there are so many reviewers out there. However, in this particular case, I feel impelled to share my thoughts.

About a month ago, I realized that I no longer had an orange pen in my “Under $250” category. I can’t have a pen rainbow without orange. To try to fix that issue, I solicited some suggestions from my lovely local peeps in the DC Metro Pen Crew.

I received a lot of suggestions, and the Pilot Custom 74 is the one I ultimately decided on. By sheer coincidence, I had a birthday coupon for Pen Chalet, so that’s who I ordered from.

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to love it. I thought it would be perfectly adequate, and fill a void. Perhaps a pen to rotate out at a later date once I found a truly spectacular orange pen.

Pilot Custom 74 in its box.
A fairly plain pen, but that cap hides a real delight.

However, once it arrived and I’d inked it — with Diamine Pansy — I was pleasantly surprised. And with each consecutive use, I like it better. I have it with a Fine nib, and it glides across paper in the most delightful way. It approaches TWSBI 580 nibs in wetness.

I even found myself reluctant to clean it out at the end of the week. I wanted to keep it inked, to keep using it, which almost never happens. I’m usually happy enough to use whatever pens I have for the next week that I don’t mind putting away my pens from the previous week. It’s a testament to how much I enjoy using the Custom 74.

If you like feedbacky nibs, the Custom 74 is not for you. But if you like buttery smooth nibs, I highly recommend it. And this is coming from someone who prioritizes pen appearance over function. While the Custom 74 isn’t the most beautiful pen in the world, its function makes it divine. I’m definitely happy I bought it. I wouldn’t even rule out the possibility of another in the future, maybe with an Extra Fine nib.

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