Pilot Custom 92
It's been too long since I last took a look a fountain pen on the blog! A bit out of distraction and disorganization, with our recent trip, and other things going on in the shop, but here is one of my all time favourite pens: the Pilot Custom 92. It's a piston filler with a smooth and wet 14K nib. There's nothing really so "incredible" like about it that makes it stand out - like being made out of some rare ebonite, or having some crazy filling mechanism - but it's just that it does what it's supposed to do really, really well.
It's a simple and classic pen. Being a piston-filler, it holds a great amount of ink, which fills easily, and its 14 k nib writes beautifully every single time - smooth and wet. To boot, I just think it's a great looking pen. It's a bit understated, while still looking classy; it fits very well in the hand and with good proportions and details. I've actually had mine, the demonstrator filled with ink on the far right in the picture below, in my collection for a while, and it's far and away one of my favourite pens. If I had a top five pens, this would be in it for sure (I don't have a top five, because I think I've made this statement about more than five pens, but this one really for sure).
It pops up regularly in my Instagram shots like here and here and here because most of the time I'm just grabbing what I have close by and ready to use. I think I've basically had it inked up since I got it. The real problem for our shop is that it's a special order pen, along with the Pilot Custom 74 and the Pilot Falcons, so it sometimes seems like our stock is trickling in, and every time we've received a batch, they've sold out - sometimes before we could even get a photo of it up online.
Filling this pen is about as simple as it gets - you move the piston down by twisting the end cap, or the end of the barrel. You dip the pen into a bottle of ink, submerging the nib, and then you twist the end cap in the other direction, pulling ink up like a syringe (except with a twisting motion).
But the real star of this pen is the nib, both because it's a beauty but also because it writes so well. I've loved and still love many pens, but it's always the ones that write for you every single time that are the ones you reach for without thinking twice. I have a medium, which has been wet and smooth and writes perfectly every time I pick it up, even after I've left it for a while without using it. It's just slightly bouncy, it gives a bit of responsiveness, but it's definitely not soft. There is a soft nib on the black Custom 74, or of course you could try the Falcon if you're looking for a softer nib.
When we first got the Custom 92s, we only got a few units each of medium and fine, and I'm not really a Japanese fine kind of writer (those are pretty fine). While we now also have the broad, and while I normally love a broad nib, the medium is just right for me, and I think I would choose a medium again if I had the chance to do it over. Maybe I just really like this particular nib too much to give it up. The medium is enough to show a bit of shading and character, and while it's nice and wet, I can also use it to scribble notes on invoices on copy paper or shopping lists on post-it notes.
The paper for the writing sample is my Life Noble Notebook, and the ink is Waterman Mysterious Blue, one of my favourite inks. A customer came into the shop the other day and asked what I was writing with, and I happened to be using my Custom 92. We didn't have any in the pen case yet to show him, so I grabbed my Custom 92 from the back. He kind of joked (I think) about using my pen, because you know how finicky pen people can be about their pens - I don't really seem like one of those people, right?? In any case... While I'm not exactly out front too often to let customers try out whatever's in my pen roll, this is one of my best writing pens that I'm always so glad to have people try - no matter what style of holding a pen or writing with a pen you have (he was a leftie!), or what nib size you normally prefer, it's just a pleasure to write with. For some more writing samples and also more shots of the pen, I used it with Caroube de Chypre in this blog post. The pen and the ink both are absolutely stunning with that chocolate and sparkle, but with any ink, the Custom 92 is a beautiful pen. We have the smoke and the clear and also the orange, although the orange isn't up online yet - all in fine, medium and broad. If you're interested in the orange, just send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can set you right up. We got a pretty good shipment this time, along with the Pilot Custom 74s (same nib, cartridge/converter instead of piston), so I think these will be around for at least a little while.
***And for a real behind the scenes shot, here's what it really looked like when we were taking photos for this blog post.
This is our newest human team member, Danielle, who was my hand model for a few of these shots, along with our newest furry team member, the cat. If you couldn't tell, we're in the apartment taking the photos, behind the shop. In the shop, our team is doing their thing without either me or Jon (not that I'm usually too helpful) because - get this - Jon has left to go pick up a generator in Mississauga. Yesterday, we just received notice that on Friday, our building is going to have a power outage from 10 am to 5 pm so we're going to be doing some scrambling to process orders, print receipts, run the router, turn on the lights... In this shot, Danielle and I are trying to whisper because Caleb is asleep on the bed literally just behind Danielle, and the cat is slinking around trying to sniff the ink and get in the way. I have to laugh when the odd person comments that our Instagram or blog photos don't look half-bad, because behind the curtain, it could be its own show - shipments of broken ink, the dog stealing and and eating an entire block of cheese from the table, power outages for an entire work day, half-frozen peas all over the floor. You can all say you support small business, and truly mean it.