Pilot Custom 823: Initial Thoughts

I don’t typically write reviews. I read them. A lot of them. Mostly for products that I never have any intention of purchasing. For the longest time, the Pilot Custom 823 was one such product.

I’m so glad that changed.


The 823 is a boring pen at first glance. Cigar shaped, and colored, it doesn’t turn heads. You can see the large ink capacity through the demonstrator which highlights whatever fun ink you have.

The 823 shines, literally, when you uncap it. With a gorgeous nun jumping out at you, it begs to be put to paper. Exactly when the 823 hits dead trees, it delivers.

This Pilot is the best nib that I own. The weight afforded by the vacuum filling mechanism makes the pen feel sturdy in your hand, yet light enough for a serious brain dump. I never regret picking up this pen.

While the understated brown and gold aesthetics of this pen have grown on me, especially with the large ink capacity in full view, I do like more “out there” pens. But that is seriously my only complaint.

If you have the means, buy this pen. Even if you’re not nutty about fountain pens, you owe it to yourself. This is one of the all-time greats.