11 November 2010

Heritage 92

Para Kinno-san, amigo.

Pen review: Pilot Custom Heritage 92.

A common complaint among stylophiles fond of Japanese pens is the lack of exciting filling systems in modern pens—cartridge/converter is the system of choice among Japanese companies. The primary exception to this rule are the oversized and expensive Namiki eyedroppers. In recent years, however, some self-filling pens have shown up in the market. The plunger filler Pilot Custom 823, and the piston filler Sailor Realo were these newcomers among the three big Japanese companies. The much smaller company Katoseisakusho also produces some piston fillers, but those pens are seldom spotted in stationary shops in Tokyo.

Such was the pen scene up to this past October when Pilot released another demonstrator pen with a self-filling mechanism—the Custom Heritage 92.

The Pilot Custom Heritage 92.

1. Appearance and design. (8.5/10)
This pen is a perfect transparent demonstrator with silver accents. The 14 K gold nib is rhodiated. Shape-wise, this pen is basically a torpedo with flat ends.

The clip has a new design that departs from the classic ball-ended Pilot clip. There is no inscription on it, and the Pilot brand is signed only on the nib.

The nib inside the cap. The translucent gray sheet is clearly visible.

Inside the cap, the nib is covered by a grayish translucent plastic, probably to hide both ink stains and condensation.

2. Construction and quality. (9.0/10)
Everything fits and works perfectly out of the box. The cap adjusts tightly to the barrel end, and the piston is very smooth in its function.

The pen, posted.

The pen, so far, has little use, but its construction materials look very correct and do not show any scratch.

3. Weight and dimensions. (8.0/10)
This pen is basically a Custom 74 with a piston filling system and flat ends. The Heritage 92 is heavier than its cartridge/converter relative. It is well balanced, especially if unposted.

Length capped: 137 mm.
Length open: 121 mm.
Length posted: 151 mm.
Diameter: 13.5 mm
Weight: 20 g (dry).

Custom 74 and Custom Heritage 92, side by side.

4. Nib and writing performance. (7.0/10)
This pen, as the Custom 74, uses size-5 14 K gold nibs, but only four of the eleven possible points are available on the Heritage 92: F, FM, M and B. I can see no real reasons for this policy. Pilot seems unable to combine exciting nibs with interesting filling systems.

The nib and the feed.

This unit in particular is equipped with an FM nib. Thin, smooth, and with a nicely wet flow. But also rigid and uncharacteristic. There is no problem in swapping nibs among Pilot pens with size-5 nibs other than the possible change in color.

In conclusion, good writing nib, albeit boring; very small selection of nibs.

5. Filling system and maintenance. (8.0/10)
The selling point of this pen is the filling system—a piston filler à la Pelikan. And indeed this pen looks like a Pelikan.

The piston, half way.

The piston knob.

The piston works very smoothly and holds about 1.2 ml of ink, which is only 0.2 ml more than the 1.0 ml capacity of the Pilot CON-70 converter available for most of the Custom series of pens. And this capacity is smaller than that of similar piston fillers by Pelikan or Twsbi. Being a self-filler, this pen is harder to clean than a cartridge converter, but the nib and feed set can easily be removed from the section.

A different issue is the coloration the barrel might acquire in direct contact with inks. Not much can be said as of now as this is a newly released pen.

6. Cost and value. (5.5/10)
In the Japanese market, this pen costs JPY 15000 (plus 5% tax)—JPY 5000 more expensive than the very similar Custom 74 or Custom Heritage 91. The 92’s looks and filling mechanism are more exciting, but the nib selection is also a lot more limited with no possibility to choose music or coarse or soft nibs. And should we want a demonstrator, we could also get the transparent version of the Custom 74.

If compared to other brands, Twsbi and Pelikan offer similar products. Twsbi 530’s price is less than one third of the Pilot´s; and the Pelikan M200 costs, in Japan, JPY 10000 (plus 5% tax). Both of them use steel nibs.

Therefore, I tend to think that those extra JPY 5000 are a steep overprice for a piston whose performance is comparable to that of the converter CON-70.

7. Conclusion. (46.5/60=77.5/100)
Nice looking pen, but the piston filler comes at an extra cost of JPY 5000, and is associated to a very limited number of nibs. Other than this, the Custom Heritage 92 is a nice writer with a good supply of ink.

ADDENDUM March 17th, 2011: A correction was added--the CON-70 converter has a capacity of only 1.0 ml instead of the 1.4 ml some sources claimed, and a careful measurement of the ink deposit showed a capacity of only 1.2 ml.

(Pilot Custom Heritage 92 – Pelikan Turquoise)

Bruno Taut
(Madrid, November 11th, 2010)
[labels: Pilot, Pelikan, Twsbi]


anele said...

Ainnnsss, qué bonita dedicatoria :))))

Okami said...

Thanks for another great review - I do wish that they would combine these new filing systems with great nibs.

Akari nghèo mạt rệp said...

Hi, can you give me some advise on changing this pen's nib and cleaning it?

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks for passing by.

To remove the nib and the feed, just grab them firmly (with thumb and index´s second knuckle, use a wide rubber band for a better grip) and pull them out of the section. Once released, cleaning them is easy.

Replacing the nib is trickier--you need a spare one and Pilot does not sell them as parts.

Thanks for commenting.


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